All major social media platforms issue joint statement on coronavirus misinformation
In an unprecedented move, Facebook, Reddit, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube have all banded together to release a joint statement about their efforts to tackle misinformation about COVID-19.
The statement, which was released across a number of company sites, read “We are working closely together on COVID-19 response efforts. We’re helping millions of people stay connected while also jointly combating fraud and misinformation about the virus….”
Details of the joint effort have not been detailed, but last week, U.S Chief Technology Officer Michael Michael Kratsios held a remote meeting with representatives from major tech companies on how to coordinate efforts related to the virus as millions of people adjust to working from home.
Facebook begins testing of new ‘Horizon’ VR platform
Facebook has started sending out invites to beta testers for its new social VR app ‘Horizons’ where users will interact in the virtual world.
From a video released last year, we know ‘Horizons’ will be a cartoonish virtual reality world in which users will be able to establish a presence and interact with contacts.
Momentum around ‘Horizons’ has been growing as Facebook recently acquired several top VR game developers and integrating them into its Oculus VR division. Don’t be surprised if VR becomes a major digital trend for the rest of this year.
Snapchat launches new AR creation tools for brands
Snapchat has released its Lens Web Builder, a tool that simplifies the process of building augmented reality effects.
Whereas previously brands required a high level of design and programming expertise to create AR Lenses, the new tool, which can be accessed from common web browsers, allows users to create a basic Lenses in minutes without AR design experience.
In addition to hundreds of Snap-supplied assets, including 3D objects, effects, and animations, creators can upload 2D assets, such as logos and images, for personalisation. The custom lens is then available for use in Snapchat ad campaigns, subject to daily minimum spending requirements.
TikTok to open new Transparency Centre in America
Chinese owned social media platform, TikTok, has announced it is to open a new ‘Transparency Centre’ in Los Angeles.
The move comes during a national security investigation by US lawmakers who have raised concerns about the company’s potential misuse of user’s personal data and whether it was censoring content on behalf of the Chinese government.
The facility will allow outside experts to view how TikTok’s teams operate day-to-day, and look into concerns around moderations on the platform.
Twitter cracking down on bots
Twitter’s latest developer policy update now requires all developers to clearly identify if they are operating a bot account, what the account is, and who the person behind it is.
Bots have repeatedly been identified as a key issue in influencing tweet discussion – during the 2016 US Election, researchers uncovered “huge, inter-connected Twitter bot networks” seeking to influence the political discussion. More recently, new analysis found that a quarter of all tweets about climate on an average day are produced by bots.
Of course, scammers will just ignore this, but the ruling may give Twitter more impetus to take action against bot accounts that violate its policy.