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Bitcoin Clinches Top Spot in Crypto Social Media Mentions

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Bitcoin is the most mentioned term related to innovative value transfer systems, data from social media on the topic of payment and fintech, reveals. BTC received 957 mentions in December, as the coin wrapped up a stunning decade of price appreciation.


Analysis of social media activity by GlobalData revealed Ethereum was also an often-mentioned term, with 158 mentions in December. The coin is not as prominent itself but has become the basis for a wider system of tokens and payment channels. The analysis reveals the crypto space has become an integral part of a boom in payment service and fintech expansion.

The decade ahead is one anticipated to be swept with technological disruption, the way we #pay for things makes no exception. GlobalData has forecast which #Countries will most likely be the #leaders in moving towards a truly #cashless #society https://t.co/xyy0xoqzMO

— GlobalData Banking (@Banking_GD) January 13, 2020

Tweets and mentions of BTC are often related to price action and predictions. In 2019, this was also the leading coin, with a robust 92% net gain, explaining the active discussion. Over the past year, BTC also dominated the market in terms of overall capitalization and brought more attention to itself with new futures and options platform launches.

Cryptocurrency is also an often-mentioned term, with 809 mentions in December. According to analysis, a boost to mentions came from the ShapeShift and Coinbase Twitter handles, stressing the possibilities for safer transactions.

Cryptocurrency, Blockchain Still in Vogue

Crypto and cryptocurrencies were the second most mentioned terms during December. Improved security for trading digital currencies was highlighted in tweets by digital currency trading platforms ShapeShift and Coinbase that came up with new features to safely transact using cryptocurrencies. Overall, cryptocurrency was mentioned 809 times on social media.

.@YouTube just removed most of my crypto videos citing “harmful or dangerous content” and “sale of regulated goods”… it’s been 10 years of making videos, 200k+ subs, and 7M+ views. WTF are you guys doing @TeamYouTube?! pic.twitter.com/MPcKbBVrC4

— Chris Dunn (@ChrisDunnTV) December 23, 2019

Blockchain was still one of the hot terms, mentioned in relation to venture capital. Blockchain is viewed as the more harmless term, possibly allowing the usage of the technology without adopting a disruptive stance to money or finance. Active mentions come on the tail of increased venture capital investments in the space, from $2 million in 2012 to as much as $2.5 billion in 2019, as noted by Bitcoin supporter Jameson Lopp.

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Fintech was also a breakaway topic, with 381 mentions. The sector expects expansion and adaptation in 2020, as fund inflows to this space grew in the last few months of 2019. Mentions of fintech were tied up with relations to AI, machine learning, blockchain, as well as 5G, cybersecurity, and Chinese fintech ecosystems.

In 2020, the expectations are for regulations to become clearer and more transparent, as the sector sheds most of its fly-by-night projects. Regulators constantly adapt to new inventions in the space, moving in to either codify or ban some activities. Regulations in the EU tend to focus on money-laundering and terrorist financing. The US Securities and Exchange Commission looks into IEO token sales, with a critical eye on breaking securities law.

What do you think about the prominence of Bitcoin in social media mentions? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images via Shutterstock, Twitter: @Banking_GD, @ChrisDunnTV

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Meta’s Developing and ‘Ethical Framework’ for the Use of Virtual Influencers

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Meta's Developing and 'Ethical Framework' for the Use of Virtual Influencers


With the rise of digital avatars, and indeed, fully digital characters that have evolved into genuine social media influencers in their own right, online platforms now have an obligation to establish clear markers as to what’s real and what’s not, and how such creations can be used in their apps.

The coming metaverse shift will further complicate this, with the rise of virtual depictions blurring the lines of what will be allowed, in terms of representation. But with many virtual influencers already operating, Meta is now working to establish ethical boundaries on their application.

As explained by Meta:

From synthesized versions of real people to wholly invented “virtual influencers” (VIs), synthetic media is a rising phenomenon. Meta platforms are home to more than 200 VIs, with 30 verified VI accounts hosted on Instagram. These VIs boast huge follower counts, collaborate with some of the world’s biggest brands, fundraise for organizations like the WHO, and champion social causes like Black Lives Matter.”

Some of the more well-known examples on this front are Shudu, who has more than 200k followers on Instagram, and Lil’ Miquela, who has an audience of over 3 million in the app.

At first glance, you wouldn’t necessarily realize that this is not an actual person, which makes such characters a great vehicle for brand and product promotions, as they can be utilized 24/7, and can be placed into any environment. But that also leads to concerns about body image perception, deepfakes, and other forms of misuse through false or unclear representation.

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Deepfakes, in particular, may be problematic, with Meta citing this campaign, with English football star David Beckham, as an example of how new technologies are evolving to expand the use of language, as one element, for varying purpose.

The well-known ‘DeepTomCruise’ account on TikTok is another example of just how far these technologies have come, and it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where they could be used to, say, show a politician saying or doing something that he or she actually didn’t, which could have significant real world impacts.

Which is why Meta is working with developers and experts to establish clearer boundaries on such use – because while there is potential for harm, there are also beneficial uses for such depictions.

Imagine personalized video messages that address individual followers by name. Or celebrity brand ambassadors appearing as salespeople at local car dealerships. A famous athlete would make a great tutor for a kid who loves sports but hates algebra.

Such use cases will increasingly become the norm as VR and AR technologies are developed, with these platforms placing digital characters front and center, and establishing new norms for digital connection.

It would be better to know what’s real and what’s not, and as such, Meta needs clear regulations to remove dishonest depictions, and enforce transparency over VI use.

But then again, much of what you see on Instagram these days is not real, with filters and editing tools altering people’s appearance well beyond what’s normal, or realistic. That can also have damaging consequences, and while Meta’s looking to implement rules on VI use, there’s arguably a case for similar transparency in editing tools applied to posted videos and images as well.

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That’s a more complex element, particularly as such tools also enable people to feel more comfortable in posting, which no doubt increases their in-app activity. Would Meta be willing to put more focus on this element if it could risk impacting user engagement? The data on the impact of Instagram on people’s mental health are pretty clear, with comparison being a key concern.

Should that also come under the same umbrella of increased digital transparency?

It’s seemingly not included in the initial framework as yet, but at some stage, this is another element that should be examined, especially given the harmful effects that social media usage can have on young women.

But however you look at it, this is no doubt a rising element of concern, and it’s important for Meta to build guardrails and rules around the use of virtual influencers in their apps.

You can read more about Meta’s approach to virtual influencers here.





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Meta Publishes New Guide to the Various Security and Control Options in its Apps

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Meta Publishes New Guide to the Various Security and Control Options in its Apps


Meta has published a new set of safety tips for journalists to help them protect themselves in the evolving online connection space, which, for the most part, also apply to all users more broadly, providing a comprehensive overview of the various tools and processes that it has in place to help people avoid unwanted attention online.

The 32-page guide is available in 21 different languages, and provides detailed overviews of Meta’s systems and profile options for protection and security, with specific sections covering Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

The guide begins with the basics, including password protections and enabling two-factor authentication.

It also outlines tips for Page managers in securing their business profiles, while there are also notes on what to do if you’ve been hacked, advice for protection on Messenger and guidance on bullying and harassment.

Meta security guide

For Instagram, there are also general security tips, along with notes on its comment moderation tools.

Meta security guide

While for WhatsApp, there are explainers on how to delete messages, how to remove messages from group chats, and details on platform-specific data options.

Meta security guide

There are also links to various additional resource guides and tools for more context, providing in-depth breakdowns of when and how to action the various options.

It’s a handy guide, and while there are some journalist-specific elements included, most of the tips do apply to any user, so it could well be a valuable resource for anyone looking to get a better handle on your various privacy tools and options.

Definitely worth knowing either way – you can download the full guide here.

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Twitter bans account linked to Iran leader over video threatening Trump

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Twitter bans account linked to Iran leader over video threatening Trump


Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets with relatives of slain commander Qasem Soleimani ahead of the second anniverary of his death in a US drone strike in Iraq – Copyright POOL/AFP/File Tom Brenner

Twitter said Saturday it had permanently suspended an account linked to Iran’s supreme leader that posted a video calling for revenge for a top general’s assassination against former US president Donald Trump.

“The account referenced has been permanently suspended for violating our ban evasion policy,” a Twitter spokesperson told AFP.

The account, @KhameneiSite, this week posted an animated video showing an unmanned aircraft targeting Trump, who ordered a drone strike in Baghdad two years ago that killed top Iranian commander General Qassem Soleimani.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s main accounts in various languages remain active. Last year, another similar account was suspended by Twitter over a post also appearing to reference revenge against Trump.

The recent video, titled “Revenge is Definite”, was also posted on Khamenei’s official website.

According to Twitter, the company’s top priority is keeping people safe and protecting the health of the conversation on the platform.

The social media giant says it has clear policies around abusive behavior and will take action when violations are identified.

As head of the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Soleimani was the architect of its strategy in the Middle East.

He and his Iraqi lieutenant were killed by a US drone strike outside Baghdad airport on January 3, 2020.

Khamenei has repeatedly promised to avenge his death.

On January 3, the second anniversary of the strike, the supreme leader and ultraconservative President Ebrahim Raisi once again threatened the US with revenge.

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Trump’s supporters regularly denounce the banning of the Republican billionaire from Twitter, underscoring that accounts of several leaders considered authoritarian by the United States are allowed to post on the platform.



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