Social Media Protests, Snapchat Ad Restrictions And A YouTube Star’s Mistake In This Week’s Friday Download
January 8, 2018
By FTI Consulting
It’s been a while, but we’re back and kicking off 2018 with Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘personal challenge’, which he posted on his Facebook profile yesterday.
In 2016, Zuckerberg built a personal AI assistant for his house. In 2017, he wanted to meet and listen to people in all 50 states (it’s unclear what he thought of the rest of the world). This year, Zuckerberg’s challenge isn’t personal – it’s all about work. With fake news and Russian interference scratching at Facebook’s reputation in 2017, Zuckerberg wants to get people loving the platform again, and he wants to prove that Facebook can regulate itself. What the Senate will have to say about that is anyone’s guess.
You won’t have failed to notice (or maybe you have – we’re not judging) that for more than a week, anti-government protests have roiled Iran. The protests, which began over economic hardships, have evolved into the largest demonstrations the country has seen in nearly a decade. In response, the country isn’t just cracking down on the unrest in the streets; it’s restricting access to Instagram and Telegram, the instant messaging service that’s nipping at the heels of industry-leader WhatsApp.
Telegram users subscribe to public channels to get news that isn’t available on state media, and Ministers are claiming that Iranians are relying on the platform to spread messages about upcoming protests and share images from demonstrations. They’re probably right and this may well be fuelling dissent; however, is blocking access to the platform really going to stop Iranians sharing information? Maybe in the short term, but history speaks for itself; denying access to social media not only angers the public, it encourages internet users to turn to other digital tools and move their conversations into darker areas of the internet, which are notoriously difficult to monitor. What happened when Iran blocked Facebook and Twitter in 2009? Half the population joined Telegram.
Last summer, Diageo-owned Captain Morgan rum sponsored a Snapchat lens which allowed users to add a beard and a pirate hat to a picture of their face. Sadly for us all, the lens is no more. Diageo was accused by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) of not taking “sufficient” care to prevent its ads from reaching kids and teens. So the company decided to pull all advertising from the platform until it can be sure of Snapchat’s ability to keep its ads away from users under the legal drinking age.
But – and it’s a big but – with Snapchat users self-reporting their age, that day may never come. So it could be down to companies operating with age restrictions around advertising to make it clear that they’re not intentionally aiming ads at underage users. That means supporting targeting with behavioural data that excludes people with interests associated with younger people. Justin Bieber and fidget spinners might be a good place to start.
On Monday, YouTube superstar Logan Paul shared graphic footage of an apparent suicide victim in Japan’s ‘Suicide Forest’. The backlash was swift and unyielding, causing Paul to delete the video from YouTube, but not before it had been watched more than 6 million times and – it turns out – copied by countless viewers.
Hours after the original video was removed, it was readily available on YouTube again. The platform tried to get rid of re-uploads, but there are still a handful of complete videos and a whole host of stitched-together reaction posts which include original clips.
YouTubers understand the rules of the site. They know how to subvert the system (in this case, by censoring the graphic material) and ensure a video lives forever. If you’re working with influencers, make sure you trust them with your company’s life (or at least its reputation), and think twice – maybe even thrice – before posting those clips of the Christmas party.
Also This Week
Politician faces criminal investigation over ‘barbarian Muslim gang-raping hordes’ tweet – Telegraph
Twitter ended the year on a fascinating run – Tech Crunch
Snapchat to introduce ‘2017 Story’ and ‘Stories Everywhere’ feature – The Drum
Instagram tests letting users post Stories directly to WhatsApp – Tech Crunch
The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of FTI Consulting LLP, its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals, members or employees.
FTI’s digital practice in EMEA operates as a centre of excellence for digital communications within the firm and is staffed by a team of practitioners with industry experience of consumer, corporate and financial communications. The team runs an active portfolio of multi-sector brands and partners with FTI’s teams and clients to provide a wide range of online reputation management services.