July 19, 2018 By Zak Mehan
Social media-based protests haven’t always had the best rap when it comes to creating meaningful, tangible change, with participants sometimes being derided as “slacktivists” or “armchair activists.” But new research from Pew shows that this perception might be shifting.
The report, which focuses largely on the trajectory of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag over the past five years found that Americans really do believe social media plays a critical role in political engagement and social activism. 69% of Americans feel social media platforms get politicians to pay attention to specific issues, while 67% feel they help create sustained movements for social change. What’s more, approximately half of Americans have been civically active on social media in the past year.
While the report does show that people are starting to take this form of activism more seriously, the public hasn’t been entirely won over – a majority believe that social media can distract people from “issues that are truly important.”
While there’s clearly still some ambivalence surrounding the role social media can and should play when it comes to advances specific causes, one thing is for certain: hashtag activism is likely here to stay. The #BlackLivesMatter hashtag has been periodically spiking since 2013, and #MeToo has appeared an average of 61,911 times a day on Twitter since the campaign took off in early May.
As large protests and rallies organized surrounding hashtags like #MeToo and #NeverAgain have shown people aren’t just stopping with a click of the share button, they’re using these hashtags to organize and push for real-life change. Brands, organization and politicians take note: don’t underestimate the power of #activism.
The end of truth as we know it? Ramped up artificial intelligence capabilities could grant cybercriminals an unprecedented amount of power, that, according to a new report, the U.S. is entirely unprepared for.
The biggest concern, according to the report are “deepfakes”— hyper-real AI-synthesized videos that falsely depict someone saying or doing something. “We’re moving into an era where seeing is no longer going to be believing,” explains one of the report’s authors.
Deepfakes aren’t the only concern when it comes to AI, cybersecurity and information security are also at stake. The ability of algorithms to reassemble individual users’ data trails may herald a new era of email phishing, involving automated custom targeting of phishing scams or blackmail using low-cost audio or video forgeries.
As cybersecurity threats become more and more sophisticated, companies will need to begin preparing to meet this challenge head on. Aside from deploying AI tools to detect false information or attacks, updates to corporate policy, risk analysis and ramped up intelligence programs will play a key role in mitigating the human risk element. It’s also probably wise to update crisis management plans.
The Washington Post is starting a channel on Twitch, a live streaming video platform best known for its use among gamers. The channel will feature two shows – live news coverage hosted by Libby Casey and “Playing games with Politicians” hosted by David Weigel interviewing prominent politicians while they play video games.
Why Twitch? Twitch has a large untapped video audience with over 15 million daily active users – as many viewers as CNN and MSNBC – many of whom (64%) are millennials. While Twitch mainly has user-generated live streams, the amount of professionally produced content is increasing as brands are recognizing the opportunity to reach this new audience.
Against the backdrop of millennials’ preference for a more active role in the content they consume, Twitch’s ability to provide immersive, interactive and relevant services is seen as a major opportunity to drive engagement.
We’re likely to see an increase in content that prioritizes real-time interaction and incentivizes a personal connection between the content and viewer. Especially with news media brands jumping in, it’s worth keeping track of how new types of content take off and how this more interactive environment could shape the landscape outside of Twitch as well.
Snapchat is launching a news partnership initiative Axios
How social media bots could tank your stock price Recode
Digital video studios face an identity crisis Digiday
Reminder: Other people’s lives are not fodder for your feeds TechCrunch
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