Social media news you missed: January recap

media update Jenna Cook examines these stories under her microscope and reveals exactly why they’re making headlines.

YouTube stops recommending conspiratorial videos…again

The news: Youtube announced on Friday, January 25, that it will reconfigure its recommendation algorithm – the thing that automatically suggests videos to users based on what they’ve already watched. Why? In order to reduce the distribution of content that “comes close to – but doesn’t quite cross the lineto promote false information and conspiracies.

Although it may seem like a very noble pursuit, many users receive content suggestions that turn out to be #FakeNews.

But let’s remember for a moment that while there are strict regulations on YouTube that discourage misinformed content, it’s not banned. And Why do not? Because the Platform has long been an online space where users can freely and openly express their opinions and ideas, even when those opinions and ideas are not entirely factual.

Great, so anyone can say whatever they want and that’s totally okay? Well no. YouTube owes it to its users to create the best possible experience – that is, users looking for news should have access to real, factual content.

Enter the technical team responsible for the recommendation algorithm. YouTube specifies that it will be a six-month operation applying – initially – to only 1% of the content of their site, provided that it is in English. This means that in the meantime, there will still be fake news slipping through the cracks.

So, until the new improved algorithm hits the streets, users will have to be a bit skeptical of their news.

Why it’s making headlines: YouTube’s crackdown on the spread of fake news and misinformation is a step in the right direction for the world’s largest video platform. The content giant is best known for its ability to deliver content that users like, rather than verifying. But we live in hope for a world where fake news becomes old news.

#DeleteFacebook just got harder

The news: Have you ever tried to delete Facebook from your phone? In the end, you can’t – at least that’s the reality for some troubled Android users. By now, we’re all pretty tired of the scandals surrounding Facebook, but the reality is that there’s a LOT of dirt still uncovered.

The last WHAT? is that Facebook has been tied to a deal with Android smartphone makers. So what’s the problem ? Manufacturers are required to preload the Facebook app on phones – and make the software indeliblei.e. a permanent feature of the device.

And while you can’t delete it, you can disable it – thank you Facebook! This deal has left users wondering what kind of information Facebook has access to even if the app has been disabled – can they still see your personal data? Track your location? I mean, you can’t blame people for being paranoid – Hello, Cambridge Analytica.

According to the social platform, once the app is disabled, it will stay like this – in a dormant or zombie phase – until reactivated.

Why it’s making headlines: If users can deactivate and activate the app at any time, and there is no additional information for the platform, then why would Facebook make this move in the first place?

It’s been discussed whether this is an attempt by Facebook to outshine its competitors, or a way to improve targeted advertising. Either way, no one is really sure yet.

Get ready for Instagram’s “self regram” feature

The news: Earlier this month, Instagram announced its new “self regram” feature. We now know what a regram is – when user A likes a photo on user B’s profile and wants to post it on his own account while giving credits to user B – but what is an auto-regime?!

As the name suggests, it’s a chance to repost your own content – except not in the way you’d expect. This new feature will allow you to create a post and re-post it to different accounts – AT THE SAME TIME.

An Instagram spokesperson told TechCrunch, “We’re rolling out this feature to provide a better experience for people who often post to multiple accounts.”

Here’s an overview of what the feature looks like:

Don’t get too excited just yet, especially if you’re an Android user, as it’s only available on iOS at the moment. A few critics (I’m talking about your social media account managers) say that this feature could potentially take away the authenticity that makes Instagram so successful.

Why do you ask? While the feature saves users time, posting content that should suit all of these accounts means less exclusive and unique content in the long run. And if one image, one caption, and one set of hashtags takes up space on five different accounts, we could be in for a cookie-cutter future.

Why it’s making headlines: Autogram will streamline content, making it easier for businesses, influencers, and us insta-aficionados to post the same photo, video, or story to multiple accounts instead of posting them one at a time. And that’s pretty cool. But let’s not forget that copying and pasting can seriously dilute the amount of exclusive content we see. And that’s not so cool.

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*Image courtesy of Vector