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).

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."

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).

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.

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).

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