Inside Social - December 12th, 2019

Inside Social (Dec 12th, 2019)

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1. Facebook admits that it is behind in creating a promised advisory board that will serve as a "supreme court" for content moderation decisions. In a blog post Thursday, the company said that it has taken its time to craft a strategy for naming members to this advisory board, and its first co-chairs and members likely won't be named until January. Brent Harris, Facebook’s head of governance and global affairs, tells Reuters, "This is not a ‘move fast and break things’ project," and the company is now working to narrow a list of 1,000 nominees to a group of no more than 40. Harris adds that the list of potential board members includes "former heads of state to Nobel Prize winners to people who moderate groups on Facebook to local judges," and nominees came from 88 different countries. The company published an updated draft charter for the board in September, and the company has committed $130 million to the first six years of the project, including travel expenses for board members. – REUTERS

2. If you needed any further proof of the surging growth and popularity of TikTok, memes and stars born on TikTok figure prominently on Google's "Year in Search" for 2019. Lil Nas X's song "Old Town Road," which gained its popularity on the platform, became the most searched song of the year on Google. So-called "e-girls" and "e-boys," with distinctive teen styles, became the stars of TikTok and their own subculture to rival Instagram influencers — and they were also among top Google searches. And makeup influencer James Charles parlayed his own YouTube fame into an also huge following on TikTok, which was reflected in his place at number 3 in the top "people" searches on Google. – BUSINESS INSIDER

3. Much as we recently found that Tinder does not screen for sex offenders, a new app called MeetMe that combines video live-streaming with dating had a recently jailed sex offender as one of its "VIP Streamers." Deonte Fisher, 26, who was recently incarcerated on charges of sex offenses with a minor, became the 58th most popular streamer on MeetMe despite the app pledging to screen out offenders. Fisher went by the handle "Yogi Bear," and he landed in Illinois' sex offender database after he was convicted of molesting a 15-year-old girl when he was 20. The parent company of MeetMe, meanwhile, the Meet Group, makes claims on its website about being an industry leader in protecting users, and says it's one of the only dating apps that screens for registered sex offenders. MeetMe says that Fisher slipped through because he used a different last name in his profile, and logged in through Facebook, where he was also using a different name. "Our number one priority is providing a safe environment for our over 15 million monthly users to connect and interact," a spokesperson said. – WASHINGTON POST

4. Big philanthropists and nonprofits in the U.S. are starting to bankroll antitrust efforts against Big Tech companies including Facebook. Organizations including the Ford and Hewlett Foundations and groups run by billionaire George Soros and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar are funding efforts to reexamine economic policies in Washington relating to tech companies, as well as look at corporate accountability practices. Another nonprofit that is battling on this front is the Economic Security Project founded by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes — who made his own wealth in Facebook stock and has become one of Mark Zuckerberg's most ardent critics over the last year. Hughes's group is pooling funds from multiple sources in order to wage war on what he has called Facebook's "anti-American" and monopolistic style. – NEW YORK TIMES

5. Twitter is bringing back labels for Congressional and state candidates in 2020 races like ones it introduced during the 2018 midterms. The labels appear below a user's name in Twitter threads and help identify when and how candidates are interacting with constituents and critics on Twitter. The labels will begin appearing again around March 3. – ENGADGET

6. Facebook, as everyone knows, has a serious problem with attrition among teens and young adults, but there are more concrete numbers for 2019. For the demographic of ages 12 to 34, Facebook has seen big losses in U.S. users in the last three years. Seventy-nine percent of users in that age range said they used Facebook in 2017, and that number fell to 67 percent last year, and 62 percent this year. Meanwhile, 82 percent of respondents of all ages said they used Instagram daily, while less than 60 percent report using Facebook daily. – TECHCRUNCH

7. A podcast that gained popularity on Slack competitor Discord, called NulledCast, is in some hot water after it hacked into multiple people's Ring doorbell systems and harassed them live on air. Software used to hack into Ring accounts has been making the rounds, and hackers have been able to access private Ring systems using previously exposed emails and passwords on the web. – VICE

Inside Social is written and curated by Jay Barmann. Jay has spent a decade covering the social media space and the tech world in general for, the San Francisco branch of Gothamist. As editor of Grub Street San Francisco, he also covered the food world around the Bay Area. As a freelance writer he has written for SF Weekly, 7x7, Curbed SF, Eater SF, Eventbrite, New York Magazine, and San Francisco Magazine, among others. Follow him on Instagram at @conflator or Twitter at @jaybarmann.


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