4 min read

August Social Media Updates

It’s been a very very busy month for happenings in social media. Most news is based on what we’re calling the ‘TikTok Saga’, starting with Trump’s Executive Order to ban the app and the subsequent happenings. Have a look through to keep up to date with this unprecedented app ban as well as updates from Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Tiktok Saga

Here we’ve documented the topline happenings with the TikTok ban in the US.

Trump signs order to ban TikTok

Trump signed a new special executive order to ban the Chinese app in the US.

This order states that all US business must stop working with the company (and WeChat, another massive Chinese app) within 45 days.

The American government raised concerns about the users’ personal data being gathered by the parent company ByteDance and given to the Chinese government.

This is another country looking to ban TikTok, with India banning the app in the end of June 2020. And there’s discussion within the government whether the app will continue in the UK too!

TikTok ordered to divest us operations

Following on from the ban earlier in the month, a new order given on August 14th gave TikTok’ parent company ByteDance 90 days to divest their US operations.

Companies interested in buying include:

  • Microsoft
  • Oracle
  • Alphabet (Google’s parent company)

This would be a massive pickup for any business if it goes through.

TikTok challenge Trump’s order

Obviously not happy with the ban, Tok Tok confirmed plans to sue the Trump administration.

A spokesperson for the app said:

“To ensure that the rule of law prevails and that our company and users are treated fairly, we have no choice but to challenge the Executive Order through the judicial system.”

The challenge won’t affect any of the sales discussions.

TikTok are also looking to ensure their employees are still paid even if the ban isn’t lifted.

They say the claims that user info will be given to the Chinese government are simply not true and a matter of conjecture.

Chinese government introduce restrictions, stalling TikTok buy out

China has imposed new rules on the export of propriety technology.

“The new restrictions… cover computing and data-processing technologies as text analysis, content recommendation, speech modelling and voice-recognition.

Technologies on the list can’t be exported without a licence from local authorities.”

This means that the sell-off could still happen, but there would be limits put on what’s actually sold. This means whoever buys TikTok would miss out on the algorithm, getting a shell of the app and the brand name.

It’s TikTok’s complex algorithm that makes it work so well so this will definitely throw a spanner in the works.

That’s the end of the TikTok saga for now!

TikTok announced voice control capabilities via Alexa with a collaboration with Amazon.

With the new Alexa skill, users can:

  • Open the TikTok app
  • Search videos
  • Explore sounds
  • Record video

This shows that companies are still happy to work with TikTok even during the potential ban.

New Twitter prompts to stop harmful/offensive replies

Twitter is testing a new feature which automatically scans replies to tweets for harmful or offensive language.

This technology works by spotting language that they’ve identified as harmful as well as looking at how the accounts have interacted previously.

If a tweet is flagged, users receive a prompt asking if they want to revise their tweet, delete it or continue to send it.

This will make users think twice about the language of their tweets in a move from the platform to prevent misinterpretation or offence.

New twitter labels for government & state-affiliated media accounts

After banning state-backed media ads and political ads last year, Twitter has extended the types of political accounts that they label to include:

  1. Key government officials (“foreign ministers, institutional entities, ambassadors, official spokespeople, and key diplomatic leaders.”)
  2. “Accounts belonging to “state-affiliated media entities, their editors-in-chief, and/or their senior staff.”
Twitter Government Labels

This is to keep the platform transparent and keeping everyone informed as possible when using the app.

They’ve also stopped putting tweets from these types of accounts in the recommended section of timelines, notifications and search.

Twitter adds new search prompt to help users find official voting info in the US

Twitter has added new prompts in order to guide users to official voting information within their platform.

For the US only, when users search for voting-related terms, they receive a prompt to guide them to official information from VoteGov, USAGov and the US Election Assistance Commission.

This is a move to stop the spread of misinformation and present users with factual and timely info.

Facebook testing short-form video TikTok copy with Indian users

In yet another reach to grab some market share of the Indian ex-TikTok userbase, Facebook is testing a new short-form video feed in the main app with users from India.

Facebook is trying to capitalise on users from India who are pining for a replacement (India had the second largest TikTok user base after China!) after trialling Instagram Reels in India first.

For comparison, Instagram in India only has 100 million active users (compared to 200 million on TikTok) but 300 million on Facebook, representing a great opportunity to keep users on Facebook’s platforms.

Facebook introduces prompt when sharing COVID-19 content

A new prompt will show on Facebook when sharing articles related to COVID-19 in an attempt to prevent the spread of misinformation.

This prompt shows the link’s source and the first-shared date as well as pointing users to official resources.

Fake news and old articles being shared as new is rife on Facebook, with this step following on from previous updates like prompting users when sharing an article that’s older than 90 days.

Instagram suggested posts brought to the main feed

Suggested posts from accounts you don’t follow will start showing up in your feed!

After you’ve caught up with all the content from the people you follow, you’ll be greeted with a new suggested post section.

You can continue scrolling through suggested posts for as long as you like, and the content shown here is different from what’s on the explore page.

You’re shown posts that are thought to be similar to the users you already follow.

Instagram Suggested Posts in Feed

Some users aren’t happy with this though, with the consensus being “don’t fill my feed with posts from users I don’t follow.”

Linkedin bringing stricter measures for inappropriate content

This is aimed at quickly removing “hateful, harassing, inflammatory or racist content” using AI and machine learning to highlight potentially harmful private messages with an in-message prompt.

Once a message is flagged, users can view the message and report it or mark it as safe.

Keep it locked on our LinkedIn for the latest social media updates.

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