Social Media In The News: Big Buyouts, Crowdsourcing Lies, Representing The Police Online and The ‘Truth’ About Google+

It was another big week for social media with news that Facebook is buying Whatsapp for 16 Instagrams, while a project is being conducted to better understand and predict when a social media frenzy is nothing more than an overblown rumour. At the same time, it was noted that police departments around the world continue to struggle with how – and why — to participate in social media. Then there is Google, who unintentionally revealed they don’t particularly care about Google+ taking off – they just want your data.

Facebook Spends $19 billion on WhatsApp
In a move that left a lot of people around the world asking, “…why?” and rendered others$140 million richer overnight, Facebook brought WhatsApp into their increasingly ubiquitous fold. With 450 million average monthly users, 70% of which are actively using the app on a given day, WhatsApp may be Facebook’s ticket to growing into a full-blown communications utility, instead of ‘just’ the leading social network.
[Financial Post]

Twitter Hoax or Breaking News?
Whether a suspected hoax ends up being fact or fiction, there’s no doubt that breaking news in social media is often met with a healthy dose of skepticism. But what if there was a program that could analyze the conversation and weed out the rumours from the truth? A three year project called Pheme might just make the idea of a social media lie detector a reality.
[BBC]

Police Personas in Social Media
It can be tricky to represent authority figures authentically in social media. Especially when they are responsible for the safety and security of the public while also being accountable to stringent vocabulary and conduct rules. Although there are some excellent examples of individual police departments thriving in social media, on the whole…there are more instances of impossibly rigid standards of conduct aiming to control a conversation that’s already happening.
[Economist]

How Google+ Tracks Your Behaviour
There’s no denying that Google dictates a number of our digital decisions, given their lock hold on our almighty search results. But outside of the “SEO benefits” of Google+, why should you join? Participation in a thriving community may not be the number one answer (mostly because Google+ is often likened to a “barren wasteland of circles”). And while it is unlikely many of us would hand-deliver an immense amount of data and behaviour-tracking information to Google, that’s exactly what we’re doing.
[The New York Times]

Posted on: February 21st, 2014 by