March 10, 2017 By FTI Consulting
Another busy week at FTI, and this Friday we have a great collection of stories from across the digital spectrum. We’ve had a look at Facebook’s latest venture into virtual reality, the power of fake news on millennials, and social media restrictions on Canadian companies. Just as importantly, the And Finally this week is a real treat – we’d recommend a watch.
Facebook’s acquisition of virtual reality (VR) company Oculus in 2014 turned heads (in more ways than one), and much was made of the potential of immersive social media content on the platform. Three years later, the social media giant has finally taken a large step towards full VR integration into their platform, with a selective launch for the Samsung Gear VR headset.
There are already 25m 360 degree photos on Facebook, and over 1m 360 degree videos, with publishers like The New York Times, CNN, The Economist, and National Geographic already taking advantage of the format. Popular opinion is positive on it, but whether such support and interest can sustain itself beyond the novelty value of the headset remains to be seen. For the companies that identify meaningful and innovative ways of using the format to engage with audiences, the benefits could be manifold.
Kids are meant to be social media-savvy but according to research only 44% can tell a fake news story from a real one. The Common Sense Media report has also identified Facebook as the preferred social media site for getting news for teens (47%), while tweens (10-12 years old), use both YouTube (41%) and Facebook (37%). In comparison only 18% of (US) adults get their news from social media.
Despite all the hype, ‘fake news’ and ‘alternate facts’ are not new phenomena. There are examples of fake news from over 500 years ago, while alternative facts are a form of propaganda still openly used by many governments around the world. What is new is that they are increasingly harder to identity, spread quickly and hard to correct once they filter into mainstream news. For every ‘fact’ there is a counter-fact and what makes it a challenge is that online – it can all look the same.
The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) issued new guidelines this week for social media usage, telling companies that material information must be disclosed via traditional means (i.e. a press release in the SEDAR filing system press releases) and that social media can only be used as a secondary channel to further disseminate news and information. This guidance is consistent with guidance in the UK and Europe where material information must be at first shared via traditional means.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US has had a different approach since 2013 whereby companies can use social media platforms to announce key information in compliance with Regulation Fair Disclosure so long as investors have been alerted about which social media will be used to disseminate such information. Once you’ve figured out the regs, then you should check out the best practice.
Pokémon Go players have walked nearly 9bn kilometres [Economist]
How the world became hooked on social media [FT]
Thousands of women launch virtual storefronts in Indonesia [Mashable]
Project 1917 is recreating the events of 1917 in real time [Project1917.com]