Facebook or Fakebook?

Facebook claims that they are trying to suppress anti-vaccine messaging on its social platform, and they’ve taken actions to reduce the distribution of health-related misinformation.

In recent years, anti-vaccination groups appear on Facebook, who sharing and posting info against vaccines frequently. Accordingly, there has been a rise in cases of measles and other infectious diseases across the country. According to CNN, on Thursday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff wrote open letters to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai about his concern that the technology companies are allowing the spread of anti-vaccine misinformation.

Schiff wrote, “Facebook and Instagram are surfacing and recommending messages that discourage parents from vaccinating their children, a direct threat to public health, and reversing progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases……There is no evidence to suggest that vaccines cause life-threatening or disabling diseases, and the dissemination of unfounded and debunked theories about the dangers of vaccinations pose a great risk to public health.”

There’s no doubt that social medias become hotbeds for fake news. It seems that the lies spread like wildfire on social medias which even faster and broader than truths do. According to the study, ”true news stories took about six times longer to reach 1,500 people on Twitter than hoax stories”. So why the fake news spread so fast? Probably because the fake news is always novelty, which can catch our attention easily. However, fake news may cause real consequence. It’s said that the 2016 president election decision was influenced by online false rumors in a sort of way. It’s urgent to stop fake news spreading on the social medias and some countries already have actions. Here’s where governments are taking action to against online misinformation.

China has the laws to against misinformation. On 2013, China’s top court said people would be charged with defamation if false rumors they shared online were viewed by 5,000 internet users or reposted more than 500 times. On 2016, the government criminalized creating or spreading rumors that “undermine economic and social order”. Another law on 2017 requires social media platforms to solely republish and link to news articles from registered news media. In addition, all social medias in China contain the function that lets users report potential falsehood. Users who post false rumors will be banned from posting for up to 30 days depending on the number of repost. An account will be suspended if the user posts fake content five or more times in a three-month period.

Fake news on social media is a complex phenomenon, which might be a knotty problem of long-standing. Personally, social medias are my main approach to get news. I have addiction to social medias which provide me an opportunity to stay informed with the latest news simply by scrolling the cellphone. At the same time, social medias make me get misinformed easily. There’s no doubt that both of social media companies and government are responsible for stopping the spread of fake news. But as the user, shouldn’t we be more critical towards the online information?

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Social Media Brings Me to Cinema

Recently, a Chinese comedy called Pegasus was just released last week. I am not a movie guy so I normally have no idea about any movie news until everyone starts talking about it after a few weeks of the first show.

Now it is only five days after the first show, and I have already watched the movie. I need to give the credit to social media. WeChat, a Chinese social media platform where almost every Chinese has an account. It has become one of the major communication apps in China. There is a mode called Moments where people can either share news wand create their own content. This is where I saw the news.

It was almost the same day as the first show, I saw one of my friends posting an article and it was about a movie. I didn’t pay attention too much since I am not a movie guy like I mentioned. I didn’t even click the article and continued swiping for more interesting content.

Two days later, when I woke up in the morning, I started to check my WeChat like always, I saw two people post the same article about that movie. But I still didn’t pay much attention to it.

Three days later, there were more than five people posting the same article about the same movie. That was when I started to be curious about what happened at all. I opened the article and started to read. It was very long and I didn’t have patient to read. But my mindset was that there are reasons many people post this. Then I kept reading. After reading all the content, I knew that the movie was about professional race car driver’s comeback. Oh man, I told myself, that was something that I wanted to watch for sure. I am a car enthusiastic who love everything about cars, especially Motorsports (racing). Obviously, the ending of this story is that I went to the cinema watching the movie as soon as I could.

I often felt that I could easily miss this movie which I really enjoyed while watching. I need to thank social media that it really “tried so hard” to attract my attention. Because of so many times that I have seen the article, I get the enjoyment in the end. But also, I realize that if any news doesn’t show up many times, it might not be very important to me as well. It is also because of the repetition. It is a pretty interesting phenomenon of the repetition, what do you think?

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Dog in a Maze

We all heard all kinds of challenges, for example, ice bucket challenges, maze challenge and so on. But did you hear there is a maze challenge for dogs? Recently, a challenge that is designed for puppies is really popular and many owners accepted the challenge and posted their videos on the Instagram.

“pino.the.corgi” and this is an account that is created by the owner of the puppy. All posts in the account are all about the puppy. It’s a corgi named Pino. In terms of the maze, it’s about how you design it, and you can use all kinds of bottles to show your design layout. The challenge is about letting your puppy go in and out in the maze that you design for it. Obviously, the puppy can’t upset any bottles, or the challenge is failed.

The maze challenge even has different levels. As the level goes up, it is getting more and more difficult. Level 1 looks like this.

However, when you are thinking about how smart Pino is, it just finished its 9th level challenge so far. It looks like this.

While Pino was doing more challenges, other puppies started doing as well. In the Instagram, when you search hatch tag “mazechallenge”, it will tell you how many other participants are. As you can see, people using all different kinds of bottles. Some can be as simple as plastic cups.

Puppies with an alcohol-loving owner can also join the challenge.


Some challenges look as weird as this.

In all, if you have a puppy, you can join the challenge as well. Would you?

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What potential does this “smart jersey” really hold?

Over the All-Star weekend, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver introduced a new “smart jersey” at their tech summit. This jersey that the NBA has been working on allows you to change the name and number on your jersey by using an app on your phone. This futuristic jersey had me asking a lot of questions, as it did on Twitter as well. Lots of tweeters brought up great points about the advantages to the consumer and the effects on business when this jersey arrives, which may not be for another 20 years.

As you can see, there are a lot of different perspectives on this jersey idea. For one, it is great for fans because they purchase this jersey and can rotate or change which player they want to wear that day without purchasing multiple jerseys. This is especially helpful when players get traded, say a day after you purchase the jersey with the team they are departing. Have you ever seen a video of an angry fan burning a jersey of their favorite player who just left their team? Now a thing of the past! On the flip side, it’s going to be real easy to change your allegiance and I’m sure it’s going to stir up a lot of drama within friend groups, work groups, families, etc. when your loyalty is questioned.

From any jersey retailer’s perspective, this may be bad news. I can’t imagine that the NBA would put out a product that could destroy their sales, but we will see what happens. A huge side note to the advantages for fans is that we don’t know how much this will cost, the NBA may price this item pretty high to help cover for jersey sales overall. I would imagine a large “gasp” from companies that sell jerseys when they initially heard this – the thought of fans only having to purchase one jersey but still having the freedom to wear multiple could be a scary thought.

Lastly, there is the unknown. With a product so unheard of, the possibilities are endless. Will this just be used to change names and numbers, or will businesses jump on this idea and use it as a walking advertisement? I can imagine Ben Simmons’ jersey displaying an ad for Wendy’s or Kia during a timeout or warm-ups, who knows. Will there be batteries associated? Is it comfortable? Can it be WASHED? The questions are plentiful and the imaginations of Americans are running wild, so I’m eager to see what this “smart jersey” will present whenever it makes its debut.

Citations: https://twitter.com/search?q=smart%20jersey&src=typd

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What’s Love Got to do With it?

There are arguably two types of people in this world, those who celebrate Valentine’s Day, and those who avoid it like the plague. Regardless of what side you’re on, it’s fair to say that the amount of money spent on cards, flowers, balloons, and sweet treats seems to take the stage. The average American who celebrates the holiday spends $143.56 on gifts and/or a night out. Total spending hit over 19.6 billion last year and savvy businesses know they want a piece of that action. While ads play a huge role in that average spend though, they may not be the only thing encouraging loved ones to drop some serious cash.

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What if social media didn’t exist? What if you couldn’t show all of your twitter followers the amazing gifts your boyfriend got you or the red roses you purchased for your wife? Would you still have gotten them?

Forget about the ads forced in front of your face when you’re just trying to scroll through adorable puppy photos, I’m talking about what Elite Daily refers to as “living for likes”. It’s the idea that we only go certain places or do certain things strictly so we can post about them. If we couldn’t flaunt how much our significant other spent on a Valentine’s Day gift, or we couldn’t brag about how much wifey material we are made of under a photo of freshly baked heart-shaped cookies, would we even do it?

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According to The Happiness Effect by Donna Freitas, 73% of surveyed college students always try to appear happier on social media. These platforms are highlight reels featuring a curated selection of our best moments. It’s getting to the point where “doin’ it for the gram” is driving our actions and begs us to wonder, are we becoming so thirsty for likes that we’re willing to alter our lives just to get them?

 

Cited:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/retail/2018/02/04/consumers-show-valentines-day-love-with-near-record-spending-forecast/110036926/

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/xwkxad/experts-explain-why-doin-it-for-the-gram-makes-us-do-dumb-things

https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-generation-living-for-likes-1487115843

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The Tech Dystopia is Upon Us

politico

Last summer, news had broke that Toronto and Canadian government officials had agreed to a $50 million dollar contract with the sister company of Google, Sidewalk Labs. The contract was for a major real estate venture that would turn the eyesore waterfront area of Port Lands, Toronto into a beautiful and futuristic looking smart city. The reaction was mixed, as some outlets were excited about this possibility and others were weary about why a major tech company would pursue such a venture and addition to their lack of experience and knowledge in urban planning and city development. Critical details of what Sidewalk Labs was planning were minimal but stories about their vision book and surface level information was quickly spreading.

Meanwhile in America, Amazon was in the middle of its headquarter sweepstakes. This bizarre event had major cities and states bending over backwards to see who would provide Amazon  the best package of billions of dollars in tax breaks and prime real estate, in hopes they could secure it’s headquarters and potentially 25k jobs for its citizens. The negotiations of these sweepstakes were also very private, because Amazon threatened city officials of being dismissed from the sweepstakes if any leaks occurred. Later in November, Amazon revealed the winners of their new headquarter locations. Once some of the details of what that venture would look like came out to the public, serious backlash occurred and politicians and citizens alike voiced their concerns with how lopsided and favorable the deal was to Amazon. After facing so much public backlash from one of the possible NY headquarters, Amazon announced they would be pulling out of the deal. What does this have to do with Google, Sidewalk Labs and Canada? Good question.

googles vision

Last weekend, a few major stories about the nefarious business practices of Google started to circulate. It was reported that Google had been creating small secret shell companies, one of the companies Sharka LLC had recently received a $10 million dollar tax break from a small town in Texas. One of the officials involved in the deal, even revealed he knew this shell company was backed by Google but it was still kept under wraps. It was startling to find out Google, a company said to be worth $110 Billion, would go to these lengths to secure a tax break that isn’t even a drop in the bucket to their yearly revenue. Even more disturbing is that Google is currently in the midst of acquiring a massive real estate portfolio across the country.

land

The second news story about Google that dropped this weekend, someone leaked the details of their Sidewalk Labs partnership with Toronto. It turns out that the Sidewalk Labs venture was bigger than the reported 12 acres of the waterfront Port Lands property, it was 350 acres. Not only that, they were having constant communications with local government officials that citizens were not aware of. It doesn’t stop there, Sidewalk Labs was also seeking property tax fees and developer fees from tax payers, as if they were a government entity. It’s really spooky that a lot of the 80’s movies about future dystopias is slowly starting to look like a real possibility. Our government’s inaction from lobbying and naivety has led to some of the most wealthiest and powerful monopolies this world has ever seen. Amazon and Google is subverting and threatening our democracy by pursuing these secret deals that directly impact tax payers and avoiding the democratic process. Amazon, Google, and any other major multi-national company won’t let these failures derail them. Sooner rather than later, our government needs to enact sweeping and powerful regulations that will break up these monopolies, like they did in the 80s to the Bell system. This is not the free market capitalism or private sector competition that economist and politicians feed to us about what makes the American economy so unique.

Photo Credits: Politico.Washington Post.Toronto Star.

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Brita USA Gets Creative With The Bachelorette Cast

Chase Brody McNary Chooses his forever love, Brita Stream

Like most companies, Brita USA, is taking full advantage of the more cost effective way to advertise their products by using social media! The company posted a Sponsored Ad on Instagram where Brita’s actor – the popular fan favorite Bachelorette contestant Chase Brody McNary sits outside on a beautiful snowy day holding a single rose contemplating between a bottle of water and a “more stable” Brita water bottle. The gut wrenching ad concluded with Chase giving his final rose to the undeniable Brita Steam!

The Brita USA captioned the later post with “*Patiently waits for @chase_brody_mcnary to break up with bottled*”. Chase decided to profess his love in his own original follow up on Instagram captioned “With Valentines Day coming I need something to help quench all the thirst. I’ve decided to commit to the Brita Stream and break up with bottled water.  Now I can instantly pour filtered water on my own time! #Britaisbae”

More and more companies are opting out of the traditional, under viewed, and expensive ads and replacing them with a more cost effective social media ad such as this where their costs are as simple as the actors pay and any props needed! With The Bachelor and The Bachelorette’s extensive fan club, this ad caught quite the giggle from almost every audience it reached! Good choice Brita USA!

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