The Social Media Report #3
A look at the week's news at the intersection of social media and society
Welcome to the latest edition of The Social Media Report, a review of the week’s developments in technology, digital and social media. In this edition we take a look at social media regulation, fo, which are themes that have resonated most strongly in the news events.
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Each week we review what have been the prominent themes in social media and tech, then offer a run-down of the leading stories. Here’s our week in review.
The week in review
Facebook’s oversight board is up and running: the newly-formed and long-anticipated Facebook oversight board is designed to hear appeals on contentious issues taking place on the social network, such as removal of content or disputes. Announced back in 2018, it has taken an age to get off the ground. It is now accepting cases.
The future of video while COVID claims Quibi: as lockdown took hold early in 2020, hot video startup Quibi launched to great fanfare. But the platform pitched as a Spotify-meets-YouTube for the mobile, on-the-move mindset found itself with a world not very much on the move. Backed by Hollywood and silicon valley veterans, Quibi couldn’t swing its fate, as this week the service announced it was shutting down on December 1st. A stark example of just how much user behaviours in video consumption have changed in the last six months.
Did a Dutch hacker guess Trump’s Twitter password was ‘maga2020!’?: we’ve seen both Twitter and the White House deny claims that a Dutch researcher hacked President Trump’s Twitter account by sheer guessing his password. VN.nl’s profile of the hackers and the hack is well worth a read, even if only because they dress our caped crusader up as a literal digital Batman.
Facebook moderators are essential workers: staffers at a Dublin-based FB contractor are being forced to go into the office, while Ireland returns to its highest tier of COVID lockdown, as they’ve been categorised as essential workers.
Wikipedia gets WHO content: The world health agency has announced that it will license its material to Wikipedia, allowing the information to be reposted widely into 200 languages, a first between the two organisations.
Google’s next billion users - ‘Mumbai not Mountain View’: this is a fascinating look by WSJ into Google’s Next Billion Users Team, where innovation is at work on visual language amongst other things.
Pew says Gen Z spend more time on non-game apps: if you are interested in what people actually spend time on when on their phones, this Pew survey is worth a read.
LinkedIn stories made available worldwide: LinkedIn joins the party.
NYT long-read on Palantir: a fascinating look at what Palantir’s technology is used for, its origins and what’s next.
Euro tech curbs on the horizon: France and the Netherlands call for tough EU powers to curb Big Tech.
Instagram investigated by EU: The EU is investigating Instagram over its handling of children's data, including allowing email addresses and phone numbers of under 18s to have been made public.
AI fact checking the presidential debates: tech from Logcially is profiled in this BBC programme, including interviews with human fact checkers.
NYU gets a shutdown request from FB: this is really interesting. A research lab at NYU has been looking into political advertising on Facebook, and now Facebook is trying to shut it down.
The Citizen Browser Project launches, Auditing the Algorithms of Disinformation: nonprofit newsroom The Markup investigates how the world's most powerful institutions use technology to reshape society.
Marcus Rashford tweets made into a Google Map: a huge story in the UK. While government this week voted against offering free school meals to children on lockdown over school breaks, premiership footballer Rashford, who recently received an MBE for his free school meals campaigning, has been sharing posts on his Twitter account showing local restaurants and councils that have been deciding to go against Government policy and offer free school meals of their own. Blanket front page news, and now all Rashford’s tweets have been made into a Google Map.
Telemedicine is booming in China: the number of startups in China surges from under 150 in 2019 to nearly 600 this summer, amid easing government.
TikTok and secret hate take-downs: TikTok has said that is working to tackle coded language and symbols that promote hate speech, after viral videos spread widely.
Silicon valley feels the burnout: research into the effects of a remote working world from the perspective of high-tech teams.
Flights, boats and more things to nowhere: flights and cruises to nowhere are a thing, as is Singapore’s meals on an A380 which doesn’t take off.
Fake commutes: people have started creating a fake commute in order to build separation between home and work life.
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