All posts by JenThorpe

Twitter Adds Warning When You Try to Like a Labeled Tweet



Twitter users have probably seen some tweets that have had labels added to them. This began ahead of the 2020 election. At the time, Twitter users could not retweet a labeled tweet. They could, however, quote tweet them and add their own commentary.

Twitter has now announced, in a tweet on @TwitterSupport, an expansion of their policy:

Giving context on why a labeled Tweet is misleading under our election, COVID-19, and synthetic and manipulated media rules is vital.

These prompts helped decrease Quote Tweets of misleading information by 29% so we’re expanding them to show when you tap to like a labeled Tweet.

I tested out Twitter’s new restrictions on clicking like on a labeled tweet. When I clicked like, a small pop-up appeared that said: “The claim about election fraud is disputed” in bold text. It also said “Help keep Twitter a place for reliable info. Find out more before liking”. The pop-up included a button that said “Find Out More”.

I clicked the “Find Out More” button, which lead to a Twitter curated page with facts that show that voter fraud is exceedingly rare in the United States. Plenty of articles that back up that assertion can be found there.

What happens if I don’t want to “Find Out More”? There is a small, empty, heart on the pop-up at the bottom, with the word Like next to it. It is still possible to like a post that has been labeled as misleading from that pop-up – even if the user didn’t proceed to the fact-checked information. The pop-up slows people down, and functions as a deterrent for people who click like without thinking about it first.

Twitter’s original plan may have been to put the restrictions on labeled tweets ahead of the election, and perhaps revert back after Election Day. Twitter is continuing to use those restrictions. To me, it makes sense to do this because there are people on Twitter who continue to post misinformation about voting and the outcome of the election.


Snapchat Introduces Spotlight



Snapchat has introduced Spotlight. It enables Snapchat users to create short videos that include music – much like TikTok does. Right now, Snapchat is holding a contest where people can submit their best video Snaps and potentially earn money.

Submit your best video Snaps to Spotlight for the opportunity to earn a share of more than $1 million that we’re distributing to creators every day! Or, lean back, watch, and pick your favorites!

Snapchat recommends that those who want the opportunity to earn money follow Spotlight’s content guidelines. Requirements include that your video must be vertical and with sound. You can only post your own content for the video, but may use music from Snapchat’s licensed library. You must be at least 16 years old to enter.

Spotlight is currently available in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, and France. Snapchat says more countries are “coming soon”.

To me, it appears that Spotlight is Snapchat’s way of competing with TikTok for the attention of younger users. Those who already use TikTok could be enticed to give Snapchat’s Spotlight a try, in the hopes of winning some money for their efforts.

Now is a good time for this contest, as many young people are stuck at home due to remote learning and lockdown efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. It could encourage students to have some fun and to express themselves creatively.

According to TechCrunch, Snaps in Spotlight won’t disappear from being surfaced in the feed unless a creator chooses to delete them. In other words, the Snaps that are entered into the Spotlight contest could be viewed by users that are new to the creator. It might help new creators build an audience, which would not only benefit the creator, but also Snapchat itself.


Twitter will Transfer @POTUS Account to Biden on Inauguration Day



The @POTUS Twitter handle will automatically transfer to President-elect Joe Biden when he is sworn in on Inauguration Day, Politico reported. It does not matter to Twitter if President Donald Trump has conceded by that time.

Other official Twitter accounts associated with the presidency will also automatically transfer on Inauguration Day. This includes @whitehouse @VP and @FLOTUS.

I remember when this shift of Twitter handles occurred when President Trump was Inaugurated. At that time, I was following the @POTUS handle because I wanted to keep up with the news from the Barack Obama administration. After Trump was Inaugurated, I noticed that the @POTUS account was showing news from the Trump Administration.

“Twitter is actively preparing to support the transition of White House institutional Twitter accounts on January 20th, 2021, Twitter spokesperson Nick Pacilio said in an email. “As we did for the presidential transition in 2017, this process is done in close consultation with the National Archives and Records Administration.”

Politico explained that the handover of these accounts does not require the Trump team and the Biden team to share information. All of the existing tweets on those accounts will be archived. Twitter itself will transfer the accounts and reset them to zero tweets.

Personally, I think this transition of the @POTUS account from Trump to Biden is going to take some Twitter users by surprise. I expect that some people, who don’t understand that Twitter normally shifts presidential accounts from the outgoing administration to the incoming one, will be posting angry tweets.

That said, the @realDonaldTrump account is not among the presidential accounts that will switchover on January 20th. Trump can keep using that account – but he will lose the special treatment that world leaders receive. This means he should be more careful about what he tweets, or risk having to delete tweets or having his account suspended.


How Twitter and Facebook Will Handle Trump’s Account After January 20



The New York Times reported some details about how Facebook and Twitter will handle President Trump’s accounts after he is no longer a world leader. Once again, it appears that the two social media companies have very different plans about how to respond to whatever Trump posts after his presidential term is over.

In a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Senators asked Facebook’s Chief Executive, Mark Zuckerberg, and Twitter’s Chief Executive, Jack Dorsey, questions about their platforms. It appears that the Republicans, and the Democrats, had differing ideas about the topics that were most important to ask questions about.

The New York Times Reported the following:

Jack Dorsey said, “If an account suddenly is not a world leader anymore, that particular policy goes away.” He was referring to Twitter’s current policy of adding a label to Trump’s tweets to indicate that the content of the tweet was disputed or glorified violence. Labeled Tweets cannot be liked or retweeted.

Most Twitter users have to abide by rules that forbid threats, harassment, impersonation, and copyright violations. If someone breaks one (or more) of these rules, they may be required to delete that tweet. Or, their account may be temporarily banned.

According to The New York Times, Mark Zuckerberg said at the hearing that Facebook would not change the way it moderates Trump’s posts after he leaves office. Facebook has labeled some of Trump’s posts in which he made claims that Facebook deemed to be false information. Facebook users could still like and share those posts.

This information is useful for people who currently use Facebook and/or Twitter, as it allows people to decide for themselves which policy they would prefer to see. Those who want to read Trump’s posts after he is no longer President might choose Facebook – who will label misleading posts and leave them up. Those who would prefer their Twitter feed not to be cluttered with reactions to Trump’s misleading Tweets, may stick with Twitter.


Apple Announces App Store Small Business Program



Apple announced the App Store Small Business Program. It will launch on January 1, 2021. The new program reduces App Store commission to 15 percent for small businesses earning up to $1 million per year.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our global economy and the beating heart of innovation and opportunity in communities around the world. We’re launching this program to help small business owners write the next chapter of creativity and prosperity on the App Store, and to build the kind of quality apps our customers love,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The App Store has been an engine of economic growth like none other, creating millions of new jobs and a pathway to entrepreneurship accessible to anyone with a great idea. Our new program carries that progress forward — helping developers fund their small businesses, take risks on new ideas, expand their teams, and continue to make apps that enrich people’s lives.”

Apple says the comprehensive details about the program will be released in early December. It has revealed the essentials of the program’s participation criteria.

  • Existing developers who made up to $1 million in 2020 for all of their apps, as well as developers new to the App Store, can qualify for the program and the reduced commission.
  • If a participating developer surpasses the $1 million threshold, the standard commission rate will apply for the remainder of the year.
  • If a developer’s business falls below the $1 million threshold in a future calendar year, they can requalify for the 15 percent commission the year after.

According to MacRumors, “The fee cut won’t benefit some of the developers that have been the most vocal about Apple’s commission rates, such as Epic Games, but it will relieve some of the pressure on the small business owners that need the most help.”


Huawei is Selling its Honor Smartphone Brand



Huawei Investment and Holding Co., Ltd. announced that it has decided to sell all of its Honor business assets to Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology Co, Ltd. According to Huawei, this sale will help Honor’s channel sellers and suppliers make it through this difficult time.

Reuters reported that Honor is a budget brand smartphone unit of Huawei. It is being sold to a consortium of over 30 agents and dealers, according to a joint statement signed by 40 companies involved in the purchase.

Huawei will not hold any shares in the new Honor company after the sale, according to the statement, with the buyers setting up a new company, Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology, to make the purchase, the statement said.

Reuters also reported that sources with knowledge of the matter said that the U.S. government will have no reason to apply sanctions to Honor after it separates from Huawei.

Forbes reported that Honor made a name for itself by selling cheap smartphones. It also has a range of other low-budget equipment including laptops and routers that, Forbes reported, Honor “is currently banned from selling in the U.S.”

The Forbes article includes statements from Chief of Research at CCS Insight, Ben Wood. He pointed out that the deal has been confirmed, but has yet to be completed. He expects that Huawei will wait until after the U.S. administration transition in January happens before the consortium that will purchase Honor will attempt to re-engage with suppliers.

To me, it appears that Huawei hopes that by selling its Honor brand that incoming U.S. President Biden will choose to overturn current President Trump’s executive order that affected Huawei. The order blocked Chinese telecommunications companies from selling equipment made in the United States.


Facebook Labels on Trump’s False Claims Didn’t Stop their Spread



Facebook has placed labels on content that includes misinformation about elections. The labels have been added to some of President Trump’s posts in which he made claims about the election that Facebook deemed to be false information. Unfortunately for Facebook (and its users), the labels did almost nothing to stop the spread of false information posted by President Trump.

BuzzFeed News reported that a Facebook employee asked last week whether Facebook had any data about the effectiveness of the labels. A data scientists revealed that the labels do very little to reduce the spread of false content.

The data scientist noted that adding the labels was not expected to reduce the spread of false content. Instead, they are used “to provide factual information in context to the post.” BuzzFeed News reported that the labels on President Trump’s posts (that contained false information) decreased reshares by about 8% and are among some of the posts that got the most engagement on the platform.

Why did that happen? The answer seems obvious, based on what BuzzFeed News reported. Facebook applied some labels to some of President Trump’s posts that contained misinformation about the election. It didn’t actually do anything to prevent users from liking or sharing those posts.

Twitter also applied labels to some of President Trump’s tweets that contained misinformation about elections. The addition of a label disables a user’s attempt to Retweet or Like those tweets. Users can Quote-Tweet them if they want to add their own commentary in regards to a specific labeled tweet.

On November 12, 2020, Twitter posted an update about their work regarding the 2020 U.S. Elections. In it, Twitter stated that they saw an estimated 29% decrease in Quote Tweets of the labeled tweets due in part to a prompt that warned people prior to sharing. In the same post, Twitter stated that they don’t believe that the Like button provides sufficient, thoughtful consideration prior to amplifying tweets.

I find it interesting that Twitter and Facebook appear to have entirely different ideas about what to do about election related content that is misinformation. Both applied labels, but Twitter took things a step further and disabled user’s ability to Like or Retweet those kinds of posts. Neither platform was 100% successful at stopping the spread of misinformation – but Twitter did a better job of it than Facebook.