Monday

Feds Propose Employee TikTok Ban: SMC 1(12)

Social Media Communication in the News: 
Real-Time Discussion Starters

House Would Ban Federal Employee Use of TikTok
The Politico Morning Tech newsletter reports that some Democrats and Republicans in Washington are moving forward with efforts to curtail the influence of TikTok, which is owned by a company in China: "Lawmakers will this week consider a proposed defense bill amendment that would bar government workers from using the video sharing app."

Meanwhile, some TikTok users developed fake "safety calls" to play if they become worried about a meet-up, Mashable reports. "In one, TikTok user donteatmycheeseburger reminds the viewer to charge their phone, noting that they downloaded a location sharing app," the story explained. "In another, TikTok user graciddy pretends to be annoyed at the viewer for running late" and "pretends that she can see their location." The safety calls also may suggest that someone will be waiting for them when they arrive at a location. Men also have said they find themselves in unsafe situations.

The original video concept has been adapted by TikTok users in other places. Personal safety has been added to previous efforts during the global Covid-19 pandemic, #BlackLivesMatter and "civil unrest."

Question: What other ways could social media communication posts be created and used to help people fearing personal harm? How do you see users practicing social good on your news feed?

#SMC2021 In-Brief
  • "Hundreds of hyper-partisan sites are masquerading as local news," Nieman reports. A project is mapping the potential to further polarize communities during #Election2020.
  • "Google records what people are doing on hundreds of thousands of mobile apps even when they follow the company’s recommended settings for stopping such monitoring, a lawsuit seeking class action status alleged," Reuters reports.
  • Former opinion writer at The New York Times went public with her resignation letter that blames Twitter for a decline in editorial standards: "Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor."

ICYMI: TikTok Money, Politics & Security

At first glance, TikTok may seem fun, but the popular app was a gold mine for new social media influencers. TMZ reported that Sean, also known as @seandoesmagic, "has 13.5 million followers, says the China-based app shutting down would be financially crushing because he makes $15,000 to $20,000 per sponsored post."

The threat to ban TikTok is coming from the Trump Administration, lawmakers and now Amazon. Yahoo!

reports that Amazon employees had been asked to delete the app from mobile phones used for company email. Amazon "told U.S. employees to remove TikTok from all mobile devices connected to Amazon email by the end of the day, or lose access to their email." Later that day, the AP reported that Amazon reversed itself: “This morning’s email to some of our employees was sent in error... There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok.”

Axios framed the story "amid a broader backlash against TikTok, in part due to questions around possible ties to Beijing." TikTok owner ByteDance is said to raise data security issues for individuals, companies and the U.S. government. India already has responded with a broad ban of Chinese apps.

Currently, China, India and the U.S. have the three largest number of Internet and social media users. Politico concluded that the Covid-19 Coronavirus global pandemic dramatically grew TokTok audience size and critics: “The alarm bells have gone off from a number of different perspectives, in a bipartisan way, and we want to get to the bottom of the problems,” House Energy & Commerce Consumer Protection Subcommittee Chair Jan Schakowsky said.

The #BlckLivesMatter movement also has gained momentum through TikTok videos produced by users among many demographic groups.

At the same time, the Chinese government attempted to cut access in Hong Kong to TikTok and other social media apps in response to political protests.

Question: How should the U.S. with its First Amendment freedoms respond to security threats posed by TikTok and other software with connections to China and other nations?


SMC news is curated for Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law and Ethics, third edition (2021).

Tuesday

TikTok Money, Politics & Security: SMC 1(11)

Social Media Communication in the News: 
Real-Time Discussion Starters

TikTok Money, Politics & Security

At first glance, TikTok may seem fun, but the popular app was a gold mine for new social media influencers. TMZ reported that Sean, also known as @seandoesmagic, "has 13.5 million followers, says the China-based app shutting down would be financially crushing because he makes $15,000 to $20,000 per sponsored post."

The threat to ban TikTok is coming from the Trump Administration, lawmakers and now Amazon. Yahoo!

reports that Amazon employees had been asked to delete the app from mobile phones used for company email. Amazon "told U.S. employees to remove TikTok from all mobile devices connected to Amazon email by the end of the day, or lose access to their email." Later that day, the AP reported that Amazon reversed itself: “This morning’s email to some of our employees was sent in error... There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok.”

Axios framed the story "amid a broader backlash against TikTok, in part due to questions around possible ties to Beijing." TikTok owner ByteDance is said to raise data security issues for individuals, companies and the U.S. government. India already has responded with a broad ban of Chinese apps.

Currently, China, India and the U.S. have the three largest number of Internet and social media users. Politico concluded that the Covid-19 Coronavirus global pandemic dramatically grew TokTok audience size and critics: “The alarm bells have gone off from a number of different perspectives, in a bipartisan way, and we want to get to the bottom of the problems,” House Energy & Commerce Consumer Protection Subcommittee Chair Jan Schakowsky said.

The #BlckLivesMatter movement also has gained momentum through TikTok videos produced by users among many demographic groups.

At the same time, the Chinese government attempted to cut access in Hong Kong to TikTok and other social media apps in response to political protests.

Question: How should the U.S. with its First Amendment freedoms respond to security threats posed by TikTok and other software with connections to China and other nations?

#SMC2021 In-Brief
  • A "BlueLeaks" server that stored Houston, Texas police and FBI records dating back to 1996 was seized in Germany, the Associated Press reported. Email addresses and phone numbers reportedly were not redacted, but some identities in the stolen documents were protected. Officials in Germany and the U.S. refused comment on the significant hacking data breach.
  • In London, "privacy watchdogs in Britain and Australia have opened a joint investigation into facial recognition company Clearview AI over its use of personal data 'scraped'  off social media platforms and other websites," AP reported. “The investigation highlights the importance of enforcement cooperation in protecting the personal information of Australian and U.K. citizens in a globalised data environment,” the regulators said in a brief statement.
  • President Trump's Twitch channel is back after a suspension for two weeks, Business Insider reports. "Hateful conduct is not allowed on Twitch," the statement said. "In line with our policies, President Trump's channel has been issued a temporary suspension from Twitch for comments made on stream, and the offending content has been removed."
ICYMI:Zoom Adds Waiting Room and Password Requirements
The soaring popularity of Zoom video conferencing software during the Covid-19 "stay at home" efforts forced app updates. Previous options to have a waiting room and password are now required, after "Zoom bombers" entered open rooms and disrupted meetings. In some cases, participants were attacked with pornographic content. 

The Citizen Lab issued a report suggesting that the app also suffered from weak encryption, and the company hired less expensive programmers located in China.

At the same time, Wired readers were encouraged to learn how to become Zoom power users by learning its large number of available settings.



Question: What legal and ethical issues exist for schools and businesses moving classrooms and offices to Zoom spaces?

SMC news is curated for Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law and Ethics, third edition (2021).

Monday

Zoom Popularity, Issues During Covid-19: SMC 1(10)

Social Media Communication in the News: 
Real-Time Discussion Starters

Zoom Adds Waiting Room and Password Requirements
The soaring popularity of Zoom video conferencing software during the Covid-19 "stay at home" efforts forced app updates. Previous options to have a waiting room and password are now required, after "Zoom bombers" entered open rooms and disrupted meetings. In some cases, participants were attacked with pornographic content. 

The Citizen Lab issued a report suggesting that the app also suffered from weak encryption, and the company hired less expensive programmers located in China.

At the same time, Wired readers were encouraged to learn how to become Zoom power users by learning its large number of available settings.



Question: What legal and ethical issues exist for schools and businesses moving classrooms and offices to Zoom spaces?

Quibi Tries to Monitize Brief Video
Hollywood stars and executives are backing a new video app. Quibi is offering a 90-day free trial, but the service will start charging at $4.99 per month. The Atlantic reports that, "Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman say they have an app for that, or at least an argument for it. They’re the founders of the new 'quick bites' streaming service, backed by Hollywood’s biggest studio players and A-list content creators with the goal of delivering filmed entertainment in installments of 10 minutes or less."

https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2020/04/how-quibi-plans-to-hook-audiences/609466/

Question: Why would people pay for Quibi video? How can it compete with YouTube and other established channels?

ICYMI: Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Google and Microsoft Fight Coronavirus Misinformation
Social media sites joined to battle misinformation about the spread of Covid-19. Business Insider  reports that a joint statement on Facebook pledged to combat "fraud and misinformation about the virus, elevating authoritative content on our platforms, and sharing critical updates in coordination with government healthcare agencies around the world" (para. 3).

"In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Facebook is supporting the global public health community’s work to keep people safe and informed. Since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a public health emergency in January, we’ve taken steps to make sure everyone has access to accurate information, stop misinformation and harmful content, and support global health experts, local governments, businesses and communities," the statement said.

https://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-google-youtube-microsoft-reddit-twitter-fight-coronavirus-covid19-misinformation-2020-3

https://about.fb.com/news/2020/03/coronavirus/#joint-statement

Question: Are the social media platforms doing enough to fight misinformation and disinformation? What else could they be doing?

SMC news is curated for Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law and Ethics, third edition (2021).

Tuesday

Coronavirus Misinformation, Social Distancing and Boredom: SMC 1(9)

Social Media Communication in the News: 
Real-Time Discussion Starters


Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Google and Microsoft Fight Coronavirus Misinformation
Social media sites joined to battle misinformation about the spread of Covid-19. Business Insider  reports that a joint statement on Facebook pledged to combat "fraud and misinformation about the virus, elevating authoritative content on our platforms, and sharing critical updates in coordination with government healthcare agencies around the world" (para. 3).

"In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Facebook is supporting the global public health community’s work to keep people safe and informed. Since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a public health emergency in January, we’ve taken steps to make sure everyone has access to accurate information, stop misinformation and harmful content, and support global health experts, local governments, businesses and communities," the statement said.

https://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-google-youtube-microsoft-reddit-twitter-fight-coronavirus-covid19-misinformation-2020-3

https://about.fb.com/news/2020/03/coronavirus/#joint-statement

Question: Are the social media platforms doing enough to fight misinformation and disinformation? What else could they be doing?

Mark Cuban: Bored Athletes Will Create Social Media Explosion
"You are going to see a social media explosion — Twitch streams, TikTok dances — as players deal with their own boredom and further connect with fans," Mark Cuban predicted. "As for the (Dallas) Mavericks, once things start to normalize, we're discussing having clinics to get kids out and exercising," the NBA basketball team owner was quoted on Axios.

https://www.axios.com/mark-cuban-coronavirus-interview-eb260519-0769-483d-9f45-577860e1614c.html

Question: How could your organization use social distancing and home work to create entertaining content?

In Case You Missed It: World Health Organization TikTok Coronavirus Posts
One response to the growing Coronavirus threat is WHO public service announcement-style posts on TikTok. Gizmodo reported that the agency is correcting misinformation about the growing threat and spread of the virus to 4,300 cases in 48 countries.

“We are on the highest level of alert or highest level of risk assessment in terms of spread and in terms of impact,” said Dr. Mike Ryan. “This is a reality check for every government on the planet: Wake up. Get ready. This virus may be on its way and you need to be ready. You have a duty to your citizens, you have a duty to the world to be ready” (para. 2). 

Engadget added that WHO is targeting #Covid19 safeguards: "...the WHO stresses that you don't need a mask if you aren't experiencing symptoms" (para. 1).

Meanwhile, Corona beer "coming ashore soon" Twitter advertising tasted flat. Amid criticism, the brand responded that the ads were "consistent" over three decades. Maggie Bowman told The Star, “While we empathize with those who have been impacted by this virus and continue to monitor the situation, our consumers, by and large, understand there’s no linkage between the virus and our business” (paras. 5-6).

At the same time, on Facebook ads were banned that created a run on face masks. AP reported that, "Ads that guarantee a cure or prevention are also banned" (para. 2).

https://gizmodo.com/the-world-health-organizations-making-tiktoks-to-tackle-1841987951

https://www.engadget.com/2020/03/01/who-joins-tiktok-to-fight-coronavirus-misinformation/ 

https://www.thestar.com/business/2020/02/28/corona-beer-faces-backlash-for-coming-ashore-soon-ad-campaign.html 

https://apnews.com/5218eebf3b0564cb4574f4ffdfe2960c

Question: How could the WHO gain more viewers to their TikToks?

Twitter Fleets are Its Version of Disappearing Stories
Success of Facebook and Instagram Stories that disappear after 24 hours, much like Snapchat Snaps, prompted Twitter to test a planned launch of its Stories called Fleets. TechCrunch reports that a Twitter trial in Brazil happened before a U.S. start.

"Unlike Tweets, Twitter’s new Fleets can’t receive Likes, Replies or Retweets. And they’ll disappear entirely after 24 hours," TechCrunch reports. "You could visit someone’s public Twitter profile and tap to view their Fleets even if you don’t follow them. But their Fleet won’t circulate Twitter’s network, show up in Search or Moments, and it can’t be embedded on an external website (para. 2).

Twitter is among the last social media sites to add disappearing Stories. Twitter research shows users do not tweet, if they want to avoid public communication. Among the changes ahead, Twitter will create privacy controls for followers only.

"The company says the ephemeral tweets, which it calls 'fleets,' the AP reports, "because of their fleeting nature, are designed to allay the concerns of new users who might be turned off by the public and permanent nature of normal tweets" (para. 2).

https://techcrunch.com/2020/03/04/twitter-starts-testing-its-own-version-of-stories-called-fleets-which-disappear-after-24-hours/

https://apnews.com/afc211cfd5fb653140f1ff6e5a091870

Question: Why are many people worried that public tweets should not be permanent?

SMC news is curated for Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law and Ethics, third edition (2021).

Sunday

Fleets Pivot Twitter Toward Privacy: SMC 1(8)

Social Media Communication in the News: 
Real-Time Discussion Starters

Twitter Fleets are Its Version of Disappearing Stories
Success of Facebook and Instagram Stories that disappear after 24 hours, much like Snapchat Snaps, prompted Twitter to test a planned launch of its Stories called Fleets. TechCrunch reports that a Twitter trial in Brazil happened before a U.S. start.

"Unlike Tweets, Twitter’s new Fleets can’t receive Likes, Replies or Retweets. And they’ll disappear entirely after 24 hours," TechCrunch reports. "You could visit someone’s public Twitter profile and tap to view their Fleets even if you don’t follow them. But their Fleet won’t circulate Twitter’s network, show up in Search or Moments, and it can’t be embedded on an external website (para. 2).

Twitter is among the last social media sites to add disappearing Stories. Twitter research shows users do not tweet, if they want to avoid public communication. Among the changes ahead, Twitter will create privacy controls for followers only.

"The company says the ephemeral tweets, which it calls 'fleets,' the AP reports, "because of their fleeting nature, are designed to allay the concerns of new users who might be turned off by the public and permanent nature of normal tweets" (para. 2).

https://techcrunch.com/2020/03/04/twitter-starts-testing-its-own-version-of-stories-called-fleets-which-disappear-after-24-hours/

https://apnews.com/afc211cfd5fb653140f1ff6e5a091870

Question: Why are many people worried that public tweets should not be permanent?

TikTok Hype House Trademark Dispute
A Los Angeles home to TikTok stars, the Hype House, is the site of a trademark fight over its name. Insider reports that Daisey Keech, 20, and Thomas Petrou, 21, dispute their roles in the launch of the creative content site. Petrou had collaborated with social media icon Jake Paul.

"Petrou is widely credited with co-founding the Hype House in December with the help of 17-year-old resident e-boy Chase Hudson," Insider reports. "But, in recent months, Keech — who no longer lives in the house — has been vying for a title change and a more collaborative decision-making process in the group" (paras. 2-3).


Question: Why do you think so many creative media people struggle with securing intellectual property rights?

In Brief: Trump's Media Lawsuits are About the Campaign, Not the Law
A Washington Examiner commentary suggests that President Trump's campaign defamation lawsuits against CNN, The New York Times, and the Washington Post cannot survive First Amendment libel standards for public officials. "But the campaign doesn't care about that. It cares about how these lawsuits burnish a key narrative for mobilizing the base — namely, that President Trump is a Washington outsider taking the fight to unfair enemies," Tom Rogan wrote. "And it's now abundantly clear that the Trump campaign views these lawsuits as a key reelection tool."

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/trumps-media-lawsuits-are-about-the-campaign-not-the-law

Question: Do you think political defamation lawsuits will have any impact on the election?

In Brief: Site Bans and Suspensions Become Common
TikTok has banned a viral "skull-breaker challenge" that  "involves two people kicking the legs from under a third, making them fall over," The BBC reports. "US prosecutors have charged two youngsters with aggravated assault over the prank and warned parents to stop their children taking part" (para. 2). Meanwhile, Twitch suspended a user for accidentally firing a gun.

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51742854

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51768454

In Case You Missed It: World Health Organization TikTok Coronavirus Posts
One response to the growing Coronavirus threat is WHO public service announcement-style posts on TikTok. Gizmodo reported that the agency is correcting misinformation about the growing threat and spread of the virus to 4,300 cases in 48 countries.

“We are on the highest level of alert or highest level of risk assessment in terms of spread and in terms of impact,” said Dr. Mike Ryan. “This is a reality check for every government on the planet: Wake up. Get ready. This virus may be on its way and you need to be ready. You have a duty to your citizens, you have a duty to the world to be ready” (para. 2). 

Engadget added that WHO is targeting #Covid19 safeguards: "...the WHO stresses that you don't need a mask if you aren't experiencing symptoms" (para. 1).

Meanwhile, Corona beer "coming ashore soon" Twitter advertising tasted flat. Amid criticism, the brand responded that the ads were "consistent" over three decades. Maggie Bowman told The Star, “While we empathize with those who have been impacted by this virus and continue to monitor the situation, our consumers, by and large, understand there’s no linkage between the virus and our business” (paras. 5-6).

At the same time, on Facebook ads were banned that created a run on face masks. AP reported that, "Ads that guarantee a cure or prevention are also banned" (para. 2).

https://gizmodo.com/the-world-health-organizations-making-tiktoks-to-tackle-1841987951

https://www.engadget.com/2020/03/01/who-joins-tiktok-to-fight-coronavirus-misinformation/ 

https://www.thestar.com/business/2020/02/28/corona-beer-faces-backlash-for-coming-ashore-soon-ad-campaign.html 

https://apnews.com/5218eebf3b0564cb4574f4ffdfe2960c

Question: How could the WHO gain more viewers to their TikToks?

SMC news is curated for Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law and Ethics, third edition (2021).

TikTok #Covid19 Wash Hands Posts: SMC 1(7)



Social Media Communication in the News: 
Real-Time Discussion Starters

World Health Organization TikTok Coronavirus Posts
One response to the growing Coronavirus threat is WHO public service announcement-style posts on TikTok. Gizmodo reported that the agency is correcting misinformation about the growing threat and spread of the virus to 4,300 cases in 48 countries.

“We are on the highest level of alert or highest level of risk assessment in terms of spread and in terms of impact,” said Dr. Mike Ryan. “This is a reality check for every government on the planet: Wake up. Get ready. This virus may be on its way and you need to be ready. You have a duty to your citizens, you have a duty to the world to be ready” (para. 2). 

Engadget added that WHO is targeting #Covid19 safeguards: "...the WHO stresses that you don't need a mask if you aren't experiencing symptoms" (para. 1).

Meanwhile, Corona beer "coming ashore soon" Twitter advertising tasted flat. Amid criticism, the brand responded that the ads were "consistent" over three decades. Maggie Bowman told The Star, “While we empathize with those who have been impacted by this virus and continue to monitor the situation, our consumers, by and large, understand there’s no linkage between the virus and our business” (paras. 5-6).

At the same time, on Facebook ads were banned that created a run on face masks. AP reported that, "Ads that guarantee a cure or prevention are also banned" (para. 2).

https://gizmodo.com/the-world-health-organizations-making-tiktoks-to-tackle-1841987951

https://www.engadget.com/2020/03/01/who-joins-tiktok-to-fight-coronavirus-misinformation/ 

https://www.thestar.com/business/2020/02/28/corona-beer-faces-backlash-for-coming-ashore-soon-ad-campaign.html 

https://apnews.com/5218eebf3b0564cb4574f4ffdfe2960c

Question: How could the WHO gain more viewers to their TikToks?

'Old Man Steve,' 81, Among Elderly TikTok Stars
Steve Austin has had a YouTube channel for 12 years, but NBC News reports that he has gone viral by joining TikTok. He is one of the many former Vine video artists finding a new home beyond Instagram.

Search "old man" on TikTok, and "old man steve" jumps to the top. He has more than 603,000 followers and 5.5 million likes. Over coffee, he recently posted, "Well good morning. I hope y'all have a great day. And when you go out today, be sure and smile and say 'hello' to people."

https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/entertainment/entertainment-news/81-year-old-old-man-steve-has-taken-over-tiktok-with-adorable-cooking-videos/2309771/

Question:Who is your favorite TikTok star? Why?

In Brief: Twitter CEO Faces Takeover Bid

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey could be ousted by billionaire Paul Singer and and Elliott Management. The Guardian and Bloomberg News report that the "Republic mega-donor" has purchased a “sizable stake” and “and plans to push for changes at the social media company, including replacing Dorsey” (para. 2).

https://amp.theguardian.com/technology/2020/feb/29/paul-singer-elliott-management-twitter-jack-dorsey 

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-29/singer-s-elliott-is-said-to-seek-to-replace-twitter-ceo-dorsey

Question: Are social media platforms too open to political manipulation? How should we respond?

In Case You Missed It: Online Marketers Steal Social Media Influencer Faces
Wired reports that YouTube and Instagram influencers say they have not authorized marketers to illegally paste their faces onto bodies to sell sketchy products. Once found, the first response should be to send a cease and desist email to Amazon or other sites failing to monitor advertising. An influencer must identify "the specific infringement" (para. 10). It may take the help of a lawyer or brand marketing expert to force a take-down of the image.

"For now, platforms are not proactively dealing with image theft on behalf of influencers," the Wired investigation noted. "It’s up to the individual to report it." Fans sometimes provide the first warning of trouble.

https://www.wired.com/story/youtube-instagram-influencers-stolen-faces/

Question: How could the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) make it easier to stop fake advertising?

SMC news is curated for Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law and Ethics, third edition (2021).