Social media is a fluid technology — nearly every day, the major social media networks are announcing a big change, coming under fire for the latest controversy or moving forward in smaller ways. Social Feed is a collection of those smaller changes that you may have missed with this week’s biggest news — like Facebook axing Explore and the split feed tests, Twitter’s new bookmarks and YouTube’s new geotags. Find Social Feed every weekend for the latest social news tidbits.
YouTube’s new moderation staff accidentally suspended some channels
In the wake of the Logan Paul fiasco and a fake news video of a Florida school shooting survivor hitting the trending section, YouTube’s moderators got a bit overzealous this week. In a statement on Wednesday, February 28, YouTube said that new members of the team misapplied policies and removed videos that should not have been taken down. Bloomberg said that several entire channels — with largely right-wing views — were pulled. YouTube’s statement continues an ongoing discussion on finding the balance between moderation and censorship.
Facebook Pages tests Broadcast Messenger, a tool for sending out mass chat messages
Businesses could soon have the ability to send out mass messages on Facebook. On Wednesday, Facebook began testing the Broadcast Composer with select Pages in the U.S., Mexico, and Thailand. The tool allows businesses to send a group of people the same message using the messaging tools in Pages. Facebook says the tool is designed for small businesses that don’t have the resources to develop auto-response bots.
So are Facebook users about to get a bunch of marketing messages on Messenger? Not exactly — businesses can only send the messages to users that initiated contact. Facebook says it will be looking to see that both people and businesses find value in the tool before considering a wider rollout.
Facebook also added new quick responses for Pages along with more customization options for businesses using Messenger.
Fire department saves a choking child — via Facebook
When one Michigan woman needed to call 911 but didn’t have a phone, the mom instead messaged a fire department on Facebook. When her son started choking, the mom reached out to who she thought was a local fire department on Messenger. In her panic, however, she contacted the Wayland, Massachusetts department instead of the Wayland, Michigan department. The Massachusetts department, however, contacted the appropriate authorities and walked her through what to do until an ambulance arrived. The fire department later reported that the boy is fine after the ordeal.
The EU gives social networks a one-hour deadline to remove illegal content
The European Union has released new recommendations for social media companies and the guidelines now give the networks an hour deadline to remove illegal content such as hate speech and child pornography once the post is flagged by authorities. The changes also push for both more automation and more human oversight to the process. The recommendations aren’t actually law but the European Commission says it will follow-up with legislation if the guidelines aren’t followed.
Facebook is spending $3 million to help local journalism
After rolling out efforts to promote local news in the news feed, Facebook is now looking to boost local journalism with a new accelerator program. The three-month, $3 million program is designed to help newspapers grow their digital subscriptions. The Facebook Journalism Project will work with 10 to 15 metro news companies on training and coaching, including individualized plans to help that particular area. The program already includes several large but local publications such as the Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and the Miami Herald.
Facebook says there were few Russian-backed ads during Brexit
Facebook found only $1 worth of Russian-bought ads on Brexit topics last year and after continuing with a second investigation, the social media platform did not increase those numbers. The network promised to look into the ads again after criticism, but now says it didn’t find any ads outside of the three purchases that amounted to less than $1. In comparison, Facebook’s investigation into an alleged disinformation campaign during the U.S. presidential election uncovered more than 1,000 times that with more than 3,000 ads.
Feedless is an app for social media users that can’t handle the distraction
If Facebook’s news feed algorithm changes to promote more posts from friends isn’t enough, a new app could help eliminate the distraction — by removing the feed entirely. Feedless is an iOS app by Ryan Orbuch that dwindles Facebook, Twitter and Instagram down to only a few basic features. With the app, users can update their status and see notifications — but the news feed is gone. The app only works inside the Safari browser version of the social networks, but the free app already has a handful of five-star reviews on the App Store.
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