Social Media Round Up – The Emoji Reaction Project and Closing the net on the World Wide Web

Emoji and mean it

Back in perhaps simpler times we could see news shared on Facebook and just ‘like’ it or keep our immediate reaction to ourselves (or, if we felt strongly enough, leave a comment to express those thoughts). Along came Facebook’s reactions and we can convey a range of emotions via a click of a button including our anger or sadness at the raft of negative news stories being posted in our news feeds.

Now, a new tool in the US allows users to channel that emotion into action. The Emoji Reaction Project uses an extension that, whenever you feel strongly enough to use one of the Facebook ‘sad’ or ‘angry’ reactions, offers up the chance to donate to a relevant cause, gives details for local protests or the option to call a local representative. It’s great to see a real force for good coming from the spread of negativity online, bravo!

Unilad blocked

This week, the Facebook page for the viral news website, Unilad, was temporarily shut down by the platform. Anyone trying to access the page was met with a notice to state it “isn’t available right now”. Mystery surrounded the sudden closure of the page, which has 34 million followers, with rumours circulating on Twitter.

One user claimed to have reported a post about the recent death of rapper, Lil Peep, which had attracted what he described as “disgusting” user comments. Following the reporting of the page, a response from Facebook was allegedly sent to say the page had been “deleted for violating community standards”.

The page is now live again with Facebook stating it was a “temporary downtime due to a minor internal issue”. If the user is correct and the page was suspended for the posts by its followers, that’s an interesting situation for brand pages to be in regarding responsibilities surrounding controlling their community. It raises the question, should that responsibility sit with the brand or with Facebook itself?

Closing the net on the World Wide Web

A big story in the US this week is the news that the Federal Communication Commission is seeking to repeal Obama-era regulations on net neutrality. The rules currently guarantee all websites and online services a level playing field when accessed through any internet service provider. The argument that ISPs should be allowed to prioritise data speeds of certain sites over others has been made for years, but so far resisted.

Abolishing the rules would allow internet companies to charge sites such as Facebook and Netflix for faster data speeds whilst throttling access to those sites that don’t pay up. The great fear around this is the creation of a two-tier internet; the freezing out of disruptive start-ups and the entrenchment of the already dominant tech players. It could also have implications for media plurality, with the political will of certain ISP owners influencing access to news sources that may disagree with their own world view.

It’s all a little concerning, but seems like an inevitability that in the States, at least, the openness of the World Wide Web is about to become a little less open.

Once you pop…

Our love of junk food related stories knows no bounds. With Thanksgiving in America this week, we have a lot to be thankful for, including two stunts that have gone viral from our old favourite, KFC, and starch-based snack supremoes, Pringles.

For the holiday season, Pringles has come up with a selection box with a difference: a Thanksgiving dinner in the form of crunchy hyperbolic parabaloids. Looking like a TV dinner, the crisp company’s, box of treats is divided into compartments, each with its own roast dinner related flavour, from turkey to mash potato, stuffing to creamed corn. We’re particularly intrigued by the green bean casserole flavour.

Perhaps less successful in the viral-stakes than the Pringles roast dinner box, but something that caught our attention nonetheless, was Kentucky’s digital isolation tent. Designed to help you escape the pressures of Cyber Monday, the Internet Escape Pod, is a $10,000 tent designed to block wireless signals and free you from the commercial pressures of the online sales – all under the watchful embrace of Colonel Sanders.

Not sure we’ll be forking out ten grand for a foil igloo, but we’d gladly demolish a box of Thanksgiving Pringles or three.

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