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.



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.


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).





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).



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).

No comments: