Clubhouse is the hot new social app that’s generating buzz from those who suffer from FOMO-disease (Fear of Missing Out). This invite-only, audio-based iPhone app is like listening in on someone else’s phone call. After a year of Covid privation, Clubhouse fills a need by creating community.
TikTok has announced that it’s taking new steps to ensure that it’s protecting users from body-shaming and self-esteem issues. It’s placing bans on weight-loss ads and identifying new tools to connect users to professional services that assist with weight issues. Somebody at TikTok understands that food issues can be potentially life threatening. That for too many young women, self-esteem is tied to how they look. To being thin.
Conspiracy theorists are nothing new, and according to Donald Trump, “I’ve heard these are people that love our country, and they like me.” He doesn’t seem to get that these groups are really dangerous. There’s a new, emerging message of change, inclusion and decency.
The Iowa caucus got off to an inauspicious start, but it officially kicked off the 2020 Presidential race. Let’s take a look at how people are getting their election-year news. Facebook and YouTube are the most-used social sites for accessing news—43% of US adults use Facebook and 21% turn to YouTube for their news.
TikTok’s popularity is fueled by the fear of missing out (FOMO) and what seems to be an insatiable desire to be seen, to have an audience, if only for a moment. TikTok promises that you can “watch endless videos customized specifically for you. A personalized video feed based on your preferences.”
But incidents over the past year have caused privacy experts to question how data from TikTok is being collected and used, and whether it’s being censored by the Chinese government.
A “disinformation-for-profit machine” is Elizabeth Warren’s description of Facebook. Salesforce’s Marc Benioff said the social network “needs to be held accountable for propaganda on its platform.” Politics and social media are inevitably intertwined. Who’s accountable? Apparently no one.
Linkedin Company Pages can be an overlooked resource–a chance to post article and posts about your company. Upload images, videos and news. Linkedin remains the career and corporate platform. Use the company page just like your Facebook company page.
Google has finally thrown in the towel on Google Plus. No surprise here. Google launched their social media application in 2011 to compete with Facebook and it never really gained traction. By 2018, Google Plus was little more than an afterthought. But you really have to wonder why all those smart people at Google couldn’t make this work. They’re calling it quits after a data breach.
What were those circles all about anyway?
When Google Plus came out, we created accounts and gave it a try, but it wasn’t fun because, well, no one else was using it. No one really engaged. Apparently 90% of user sessions lasted fewer than five seconds. Compare that with addictive sessions on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
But there’s more to this story than just an application that no one wants to use
Google chose to sunset Google Plus over an issue with bigger implications. According to The New York Times, “security vulnerability exposed the private data of some 500,000 users.” Google didn’t tell us about the application’s security issue when it was discovered because it didn’t appear that anyone had gained access to user information, and the company’s Privacy & Data Protection Office decided it was not legally required to report it.
If you’re not paying attention, data security has become a very big deal
The decision to stay quiet raised eyebrows in the cybersecurity community, as it comes against the backdrop of relatively new and stricter rules in California and Europe that govern when a company must disclose a security episode.
Up to 438 applications made by other companies may have had access to the vulnerability through coding links. Outside developers could have seen user names, email addresses, information about occupation, gender and age. They apparently did not have access to phone numbers, messages, Google Plus posts or data from other Google accounts.
Google was concerned about damage control
Now, according to The Wall Street Journal, a memo prepared for senior executives by Google’s policy and legal teams warned that disclosing the problem would expose the company’s vulnerability and invite regulatory scrutiny. CEO Sundar Pichai would likely be called to testify before Congress in the same way that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg did after its security breach. Google had planned to announce the disclosures, but moved up the announcement date when it learned of The Journal’s article.
In May, Europe adopted new data protection laws that require companies to notify regulators of a potential leak of personal information within 72 hours. Google’s security issue occurred in March, before the new rules went into effect. And yes, this applies to Google—it’s a global company.
California is getting serious about information accountability
California’s strict new privacy law goes into effect in 2020. In the event of a data breach, consumers can sue for up to $750 for each violation. It also gives the attorney general the right to pursue companies for intentional privacy violations.
What’s next? A hearing about whether tech companies are filtering conservative voices in their products. The Republicans are going to be all over this one.
It’s been a tough year for Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook
Facebook’s data wound up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica, who used the information to target voters during the 2016 election. Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see the names of virtually all Facebook users’ friends without consent and gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read Facebook users’ private messages. Facebook downplays the data privacy breach, claiming that it never granted access to user data without permission.
You really can’t overestimate the value of user data
Personal data has become the most prized commodity of the digital age, and it’s traded on a vast scale by powerful companies in Silicon Valley and beyond. For those who may not understand what this is all about, it’s hard to overestimate the value of user data. Data helps us understand consumer buying habits, and it’s worth its weight in gold. It helps companies know how to market to whom. Facebook users make it easy by happily providing detailed information about their lives as they fill in fields with their new job titles, education levels, marital status, interests, hobbies, etc. This information can all be exported and shared with other companies.
Sharing consumer data: How this works
Let’s say you just got engaged, so of course you added this to the Relationship field of your Facebook page. The average couple spends $25,000 on their wedding, so there’s a lot of money to be made here. Now think of all the vendors that service the wedding industry—florists, bakeries, hotels, caterers, photographers, dress designers, wedding planners, etc.
The more upscale (You’ve already identified your education level, community and job title, which are affluence indicators), the more interested these vendors are going to be. They want to identify those couples who are most likely to be spending upwards of $25K so they can begin marketing to these potential new wedding clients.
Facebook executives have acknowledged missteps over the past year
Facebook understands they’ve got to regain user trust, and it requires stronger teams, better technology and clearer policies. One spokeswoman says it has found no evidence of abuse by its partners. Some of the largest partners, including Amazon, Microsoft and Yahoo, said they had used the data appropriately, but declined to discuss the sharing deals in detail. Facebook did admit to mismanaging some of its partnerships.
What’s next for Facebook?
Facebook is facing decelerating revenue growth—they’ve begun to saturate their market, at 1.74B users. Data privacy issues have taken a toll, but Facebook sees big opportunities in private messaging. Stories format and video. Facebook is investing in data privacy and messaging. Augmented and virtual reality represent a significant investment.
This last summer, California’s state legislature passed a groundbreaking bill that will give residents unprecedented control over their data. The law, criticized by pro-business groups like the Chambers of Commerce, will become law on January 1, 2020. Tech giants are racing to supersede the law with more industry-friendly legislation. A lot could happen before then.