Facebook Pivots: SMC 1(13)


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

Facebook Pivots To Labels and Simplicty
The #Election2020, #Covid-19 and calls for criminal justice reform have marked social and economic upheaval this year. In this context, social media giant Facebook is among sites fighting back against misinformation and disinformation with new labels. The Associated Press reported this week that U.S. posts about voting may be followed by "an addendum to their messages -- labels directing readers to authoritative information about the upcoming presidential election." Voting by mail has become a hotly contested policy issue within social media spaces. Facebook also is banning "implicit hate speech," blackface posts and anti-Semitic use of "stereotypes," Business Insider reported. Civil rights groups have claimed that Facebook is a platform for "the spread of hate speech and misinformation."
At the same time, Facebook has announced that more than 1,000 targeted advertising tool options are being removed to simplify paid and promoted posts, Social Media Today reported: "As part of our latest efforts to simplify and streamline our targeting options, we’ve identified cases where advertisers - of all sizes and industries - rarely use various targeting options. Infrequent use may be because some of the targeting options are redundant with others or because they’re too granular to really be useful. So we’re removing some of these options."

On yet another front, Facebook said that Covid-19 made it more difficult this year to remove harmful content. The AP reported that, "Sending its content moderators to work from home in March amid the pandemic led the company to remove less harmful material from Facebook and Instagram around suicide, self-injury, child nudity and sexual exploitation."Facebook used more content and less technology to monitor posts.

Question: How could Facebook improve its news feed to better meet your needs as a user during this election year and global pandemic?

#SMC2021 In-Brief
  • Twitter will allow users to limit tweet replies to followers and mentions, Social Media Today reported.
  •  QAnon groups have millions of members on Facebook, an audit revealed,
  • An Executive Order by President Trump claims TikTok poses a national security and U.S. economic threat.
ICYMI: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?

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