October 25, 2017 By FTI Consulting
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is under fire for the way Twitter handles online abuse, particularly against women and minorities. Critics say the current rules have been inconsistently enforced, leading to a flourishing culture of threats of violence against users. The recent suspension of actor Rose McGowan for calling out sexual abusers triggered a massive uproar, resulting in boycotts and stinging media coverage.
In response to the boycott, Twitter announced that changes are coming and they will “act more aggressively to limit the number of bullies and harassers using Twitter.” Given Twitter’s lackluster response to date, critics are adopting a “wait and see” approach as to whether they’ll take the issue seriously.
It’s been a rough week for Jack Dorsey. Turns out that in March of 2016, Dorsey retweeted two messages from the account @Crystal1Johnson – one about the importance of racial tolerance and the other celebrating #WomensHistoryMonth. But a deeper dive shows the now-suspended account wasn’t exactly what it appeared to be.
Per a report from Russia’s RBC, the account was one of many created by Russia’s “troll factory” to manipulate Western opinion. Adding insult to injury, this news comes at a time when calls to hold both Twitter and Facebook accountable for foreign interference in our electoral process are becoming louder.
The fact that the head honcho of Twitter himself got hoodwinked should give us all pause when it comes to social media engagement. Before retweeting from an account you aren’t familiar with, take a step back, do your research, and remember that things aren’t always what they seem in the Twitter-verse.
This week, we got a masterclass in creating viral content from two fast food giants – KFC and Burger King. Social media user @edgette22, noticed that KFC’s Twitter handle only follows 11 accounts – all five Spice Girls and six guys named Herb—a clear nod to the chain’s 11 herbs and spices that make up their secret recipe. Naturally, the internet went crazy. According to their creative shop, the joke was planted over a month ago, and they “weren’t sure if anybody was going to find it.” The guy who found it happens to work at a PR agency, so there’s always a chance that this wasn’t as unplanned as claimed, but we’ll avoid being skeptics for now and simply note that sometimes subtlety pays.
On a much more serious note, Burger King has been making waves with its new anti-bullying PSA. The spot, which juxtaposes the reactions of customers reacting to the bullying of a high school junior to the bullying of a Whopper Jr., has been lauded across the internet and become the subject of a viral tweet. The ad is a good reminder of how quickly viral content can raise a brand’s profile, and about the ability of brands to raise awareness. Seems like a win-win in our book.
Jumping from fast food to frozen, don’t be surprised if you start seeing a whole lot more about Eggo waffles this week. The brand, which plays a strangely important role in the Netflix original Stranger Things is ramping up for Friday’s premier of the second season. While Netflix doesn’t offer paid placement, the brand has been working (how effectively seems to be a matter of opinion) to capitalize on it, launching everything from original recipes to a Google Chrome spoiler blocker. Any brands looking to cash in on what could be one of the best opportunities for free publicity we’ve seen in a while should keep an eye on Eggo this week.
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I mean…don’t we all?
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