Ta kontakt med oss

SOCIAL

Trump is not doing anything to stop weaponisation of social media

Publicerad

“A small handful of powerful social media monopolies control the vast portion of all private and public communications in the United States.” So said US President Donald Trump, unlikely challenger of corporate power and even more unlikely defender of democracy on the occasion of the announcement of his Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship, issued on May 28.

Trump issued the order after Twitter, the president’s favourite weapon of disinformation, dared to fact-check and slap warnings on some of his tweets, including one posted after protests broke out in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing. According to Twitter, Trump’s threatening statement – “When the looting starts, the shooting starts” – violates the company’s rules about glorifying violence.

In response to this unprecedented type of correction, Trump’s executive order seeks to remove the immunity afforded to internet companies by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a law that protects companies like Twitter and Facebook from being sued for libel if users publish defamatory content on their platforms.

The logic here is baffling: if internet companies are going to censor his free speech, Trump will try to remove the protection that allows free speech in the first place – protection that has allowed him to tweet with impunity!

As if that was not enough, Trump is claiming, with newly found antitrust vigour, that a concentration of corporate power (in the form of “censorship” of his tweets) is a direct threat to American democracy. As the executive order states: “When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a dangerous power. They cease functioning as passive bulletin boards, and ought to be viewed and treated as content creators.”

The Trump administration is right about one thing: social media platforms are not mere bulletin boards. In reality, their algorithms can promote or hide content according to opaque principles that they are not obligated to disclose, and which are not regulated.

Their policies can also foment hate speech and disinformation, which can have serious political ramifications and even put lives at risk. As the coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated, however, the current administration and its supporters consider it acceptable to endanger some lives in the interest of profit maximisation.

Still, Trump’s strategy is not well thought out, and experts agree that the changes to the law proposed by the executive order – changes that would require the Federal Communications Commission to be involved in determining which companies should be protected by Section 230, and which ones should not – would be ineffective and possibly in violation of the First Amendment, which prevents the government from restricting free speech.

Even if it all came to pass, the good news for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is that his company could escape Trump’s wrath. While Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has suggested that their fact-checking is necessary to allow users to judge content for themselves, Zuckerberg has consistently held that social media companies should not be in the business of determining what is true or what is not (this time, some Facebook employees are publicly disagreeing with their boss and holding virtual walkouts).

Zuckerberg’s insistence might have less to do with a passion for free speech and more with the fact that controversy, disinformation, and unrest are good business drivers for social media platforms.

They increase traffic and get more users to spend time watching advertisements. This explains why Facebook dismissed its own research about the divisive effect the platform has on society. Facebook, like tobacco companies, knows it is not in the business of protecting its users, as the sharp increase in customer data breaches also shows.

Meanwhile, the government sees hate speech and disinformation posted on social media as useful data points that can be used to monitor citizens, or even foreigners applying for visas.

As for why Twitter, which has previously removed content from Presidents Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil and Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, is finally standing up to Trump, there is a simple explanation: the tide is finally turning, and many who have been silent may be feeling it is finally safe to be openly critical.

Corporations are coming out in support of Black Lives Matter. Celebrities are participating in George Floyd protests (as long as selfies can be posted afterwards). It is now acceptable at the highest levels of power to make fun of Trump’s obesity or give him nicknames like “President Tweety”.

Trump’s absurd comments that he is prepared to sic the “most vicious dogs” on protesters outside the White House have invited comparisons to Mr Burns, the wealthy evil character in the “The Simpsons” animation, famous for his command – “release the hounds”. All this would be amusing if the country were not in the midst of a pandemic, burning with social unrest, and struggling with record unemployment.

So, yes, there is reason to question the relevance of Section 230. And yes, social media corporations wield power in ways that are anti-democratic, like Trump says in his executive order. But beyond that, it is all theatrics.

Trump is what philosopher Harry Frankfurt would call a bullshitter, someone different from a mere liar. According to Frankfurt, a liar still acknowledges the existence of the truth, if only to distract us from it.

A bullshitter, on the other hand, no longer cares about the truth and is only interested in creating impressions. These may have been enough to get Trump elected in 2016 (with a little help from Cambridge Analytica and Russia, which is now trying to take advantage of the George Floyd protests). But perhaps some of his bullshit is finally catching up with him.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

Read More

SOCIAL

Five Ways To Make Your Startup Stand Out From The Competition

Publicerad

Five Ways To Make Your Startup Stand Out From The Competition

Making your business stand out from others in a crowded marketplace is key to its success. High-quality products and services, a smart pricing strategy, and effective marketing are just the basics. The most successful entrepreneurs have a few extra tricks that separate their business from the rest of the pack.

Tell a strong story

Businesses need to do two things to succeed; be relevant and distinctive. As Steven Hess, founding partner at WhiteCap, explains, doing one without the other will lead to failure. “Being relevant on its own leads to a focus on price and an inevitable sublimation into the sea of sameness, and customers will not look for you,” he says. “Being distinctive without solving a problem leads to gimmickry and longer-term weakness. You have to do both, and one way of uniting the two is with a strong story.”

This could focus on the founder’s story, what led them to set out on their business journey, how they identified the problem they are solving, and how they are solving it uniquely. Stories can also be drawn from customers; how are they using your products or services? What problem does it solve for them?

“You also need to look at how your competitors are presenting themselves and then present yourself in the opposite way,” says Hess. “This will feel uncomfortable, and most businesses fail at this point. Why do ads for cars, financial services, estate agents, etc., look the same? It’s because most of us don’t want to stand out. We’re afraid to fail and be seen to fail. But if we are not being seen, being distinctive and solving a real problem, we’ve already failed.”

Focus your messaging on customer needs

A company’s messaging has to be focused on its potential customer’s biggest wants and needs. It should clarify what people will get if they buy from you, what transformation they will see, and how they will feel afterward. “Most importantly, it should communicate what people will miss out on if they don’t buy from your startup,” says business growth consultant Charlie Day. “When you shift your messaging from simply trying to grow a business and make money to focusing on your customer’s biggest wants and needs, the sales and growth will come, and it will set you apart from others.”

Target an underrepresented audience

This can be a powerful way for startups to stand out. “By focusing on a group that larger companies often overlook, they can differentiate themselves and appeal to a unique and untapped market,” says Vladislav Podolyako, founder and CEO of Folderly. “And by providing solutions to the specific needs and challenges of this audience, startups can establish a strong reputation and build a loyal customer base.”

For example, a fitness startup targeting older adults can stand out by offering specialized classes, products, or resources. By providing solutions to the physical limitations of older adults, the startup can differentiate itself from other companies, address the unique fitness challenges faced by older adults, and build a loyal customer base.

However, as Podolyako points out, this strategy must be carefully thought out. He says: “The startup may be associated with an older audience only, so you should work with PR agencies to get the positioning right and potentially think about creating a sub-brand.”

Differentiate your social media strategy

A unique voice and communication style will make you stand out on social media. However, it’s not just what you say but what you do that makes the difference. “If everyone is offering ‘how to’ tips on LinkedIn, create some short form behind-the-scenes videos. If everyone is doing special offers on Facebook, publish some tip-based stories,” says Catherine Warrilow, managing director of Daysout.com. “Make yourself accessible for customer support on the social media channels used by your audience, for example, via What’s App or Messenger.”

Respond promptly to customer calls

Making it easy for customers to contact you and get a response is vital for customer engagement and retention. Yet, businesses are surprisingly poor at answering their phones, listing phone numbers on their websites, and responding to voicemails. It’s a massive turn-off for customers, as a survey by global communications company Moneypenny revealed, with unanswered phone calls topping the list of consumer gripes, cited by 43% of respondents, followed by annoying hold music (35%).

Joanna Swash, Group CEO of Moneypenny, says: “Customers use the phone when they have an urgent or sensitive issue to discuss, so companies cannot afford to provide a poor call experience; business will be taken elsewhere. By mastering the art of call handling, businesses can keep their customers happy and loyal and boost the bottom line in the process.”

Källlänk

Fortsätt läsa

SOCIAL

Twitter Experiments with Reply Filters, Timeline Controls, and the Capacity to Search Your Tweet Likes

Publicerad

Twitter Experiments with Reply Filters, Timeline Controls, and the Capacity to Search Your Tweet Likes

Amid the various large-scale changes at Twitter, the platform is also working on some smaller tweaks and updates, which may or may not ever get released, but could provide valuable functionality for many users.

First off, Twitter’s testing the ability to search through your Likes, so you can find out who, specifically, has liked your tweets.

That could help you glean more context when reaching out to someone, or just another way to understand who’s responding to your tweets.

And it could be particularly valuable as a research tool for marketers in understanding their audience and who they’re reaching with their tweets.

Twitter’s also testing a new way to filter your replies, which could be handy if you get a lot of responses to a tweet.

Tweet reply sorting

I mean, I’m not sure how many people are getting so many replies to their tweets that they need a filtering option, but for those that are, this could be a simple way to ensure you’re staying up on the most relevant responses and responders, to better manage your engagement.

Finally, Twitter’s also experimenting with new timeline settings, which would provide more control over your timeline and pinned lists.

Twitter timeline controls

Note also, in the middle screen, that Twitter’s developing an option that would enable you to hide your tweet view counts, which would provide another way to manage your activity in the app.

As noted, all of these are in test mode, with Twitter engineer Andrea Conway posting them for public opinion, before exploring further development. But they could be handy, and while they’re not game-changers as such (which may mean they get less priority), smaller tweaks and updates like this could be significant for certain users, and could make it easier to manage your tweet activity.

We’ll keep you updated on any progress.



Källlänk

Fortsätt läsa

SOCIAL

Fed-up accountant 'shocked and disappointed' after his Facebook account is taken down again

Publicerad

Fed-up accountant 'shocked and disappointed' after his Facebook account is taken down again

A fed-up accountant has spoken of his “disappointment” after his Facebook page was taken down AGAIN. Last July, we told how Suleiman Krayem feared …

Källlänk

Fortsätt läsa

Trendigt

sv_SESvenska