Friday Social: Royal News, Twitter Replies, and TikTok Info Ban

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Our #FridaySocial is a weekly round-up of the key social media news stories from the previous seven days.  Let us know your thoughts in the comments or via Twitter – @Umpf

Harry & Meghan to Step Back

Twitter exploded this week as Prince Harry & Duchess Meghan announced via social media that they will be stepping back as senior members of the Royal Family.

It’s been revealed that the couple may not have discussed the details of their royal ‘conscious uncoupling’ with the rest of the family, as Buckingham Palace hastily issued their own statement:

We’re staying tuned for more news from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Twitter to Limit Replies

The social media app has announced this week that it will be adding a new setting allowing users to choose who can reply to their tweets.

Twitter’s Director of Product Management, Suzanne Xie, announced the updates at a CES event in the USA. There will be four new ‘group’ settings:

While Twitter has good intentions to reduce trolling and abuse, users are divided on the new feature. Many have commented that limiting replies may mean that incorrect info and ‘fake news’ can’t be disproved or countered as easily, and could allow high profile users – politicians, for example – to remain in an echo chamber. Xie confirmed this is something that Twitter will be monitoring.

TikTok Bans ‘Misleading Information’

TikTok has this week issued a ban on ‘misleading information’, as its global growth continues.

In new guidelines, TikTok states: “We remove misinformation that could cause harm to an individual’s health or wider public safety. We also remove content distributed by disinformation campaigns.”

The app doesn’t go into further details on how it will determine what is misleading, but the bold step sets TikTok apart from Facebook and Twitter which have both distanced themselves from policing the truth.

As an example, a spokesperson has told Reuters that TikTok would consider a heavily-edited video attempting to make Nancy Pelosi seem incoherent to be misinformation – while both Facebook and Twitter declined to remove the same content.

 

 

Twitter Philanthropist Raises $1 million for Australia

Model Kaylen Ward has reportedly raised an estimated $1 million for the Australian bushfire relief in exchange for nude photos, after tweeting her fundraising offer on 4 January.

Since her initial tweet, Ward has updated to say that her efforts haven’t been appreciated by everyone: “My IG got deactivated, my family disowned me, and the guy I like won’t talk to me all because of that tweet. But f*** it, save the koalas.”

BuzzFeed News has reported that Facebook disabled Ward’s Instagram for ‘violating our policies’, as offering nude images is not allowed on Instagram.

TikTok Hacking Bug

In other TikTok news, cyber threat intelligence firm Check Point Research has published a piece looking at a TikTok bug that was only fixed in December 2019.

The team discovered that the bug could allow hackers to –

  • Get a hold of TikTok accounts and manipulate their content
  • Delete videos
  • Upload unauthorized videos
  • Make private “hidden” videos public
  • Reveal personal information saved on the account such as private email addresses

TikTok was informed of the issues and they’ve since been rectified, but the findings understandably raise concerns over the security of the app – which currently has more than one billion users.

More information on the vulnerabilities can be found on Check Point Research’s website.