The aftermath of the Parkland mass shooting exemplifies the ugly side of social media

Bots. Conspiracy theories. Bullying. We’re seeing it all.

Want a perfect example of the kind of content challenges Facebook and Twitter are up against? Just look at what happened over the past few days in the aftermath of the mass shooting last week in Parkland, Fla., which left 17 dead and has reignited discussion about gun control in America.

In the week since, we’ve seen the worst social media has to offer.

Russian bots on Twitter tried to create animosity among critics and advocates of the Second Amendment. High school students who survived the shooting have been mocked online for standing up to politicians and calling for gun control. And now conspiracy theories are circulating on Facebook and Twitter to try and tear down those same students, calling them “crisis actors” and suggesting they’re puppets for liberal politicians.

What we’ve learned from Parkland is that, even in the wake of tragedy, divisive and troubling content still thrives on social media platforms. No one is safe from mockery and ridicule, including children and teenagers. And it’s not entirely clear what anyone can do about it.

Here’s one example: Conservative political commentator and author Dinesh D’Souza mocked grieving Parkland High School students on Twitter.

Here’s another, calling Parkland student David Hogg — who has been identified as one of the most vocal and visible students from the school — an “attention whore.”

The tweets are insensitive and embarrassing. Are they against Twitter’s user guidelines? Probably not. But Twitter is full of tweets like these, stuff that feels gross or mean or uncomfortable, but doesn’t merit any formal action from the company because it’s not necessarily threatening or abusive.

It’s one of the tough challenges Facebook and Twitter deal with, and one of the reasons social media can feel like such an ugly and discouraging place.

We’ve also seen conspiracy theories run rampant. One Facebook user posted that Hogg was a “crisis actor” and not an actual Parkland student. The conspiracy post was supposedly shared more than 110,000 times in six hours, according to a screenshot from NBC News’s Micah Grimes. (It appears that Facebook has since removed the offending account.)

This other Facebook video, which calls Hogg a “crisis actor scumbag,” has more than 20,000 views. Even the President’s son, Donald Trump Jr, liked a tweet that suggested Hogg was “running cover” for his father, who is apparently a former FBI agent.

The harassment got bad enough that Marco Rubio, the Republican Senator from Florida, had to come out on Twitter in defense of Parkland’s students.

Part of the problem is that Facebook’s and Twitter’s algorithms are set up to reward posts that receive lots of shares or comments — “engagement” that is considered a signal to show those videos to even more people. Even if Facebook can catch videos on the same day they’re posted, the Hogg video is evidence that misinformation can and will still spread like wildfire before anyone has the chance to take it down.

The Parkland shooting has created a perfect storm for the social media world we now live in. There have been positives — Facebook and Twitter have given high school students an incredible megaphone to come out and push for stricter gun control regulations. Teenagers who might otherwise be ignored are sending messages that are reaching millions and, in some cases, publicly challenging elected officials in an effort to get something done.

But it’s hard to have to witness the ugly side of social media. And in the wake of tragedy, it looks uglier than ever.


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SOCi Touts 100% Revenue Growth as Location-Based Social Marketing Business Excels

SOCi, a global leader in social media and reputation management for multi-location brands, recently announced several growth milestones, including YOY double-digit growth and numerous awards and accolades, further cementing the company as “the go-to social media SaaS platform in the rapidly growing location-based social media marketing landscape.”

According to a statement emailed to MMW, most recently SOCi received the prestigious Local Visionary Award for “Best Solution for Multi-Location Retailers,” hosted by Street Fight, that celebrates brilliant and intrepid organizations who are moving the local marketing technology industry forward with creativity, ingenuity and success.

This award comes on the heels of winning the 2018 Winter IMPACT Award for its blog community and engagement – largely focused on educating marketers on how to leverage location-based social media marketing to drive strong business results. Earlier in the year SOCi was named among the Top B2B Tech Companies in San Diego by G2 Crowd, a leading peer review site for business software.

SOCi also recently appointed industry veteran, Monica Ho as its Chief Marketing Officer. As CMO at SOCi, Monica will employ her over 20 years of integrated marketing and technology experience to spearhead initiatives that will result in overall company revenue growth and increased brand presence and awareness.

Per the company’s assessment of the current market landscape, location-based social media marketing is a widely underserved but rapidly exploding growth category for marketers. An area increasing in importance as seen in recent developments and announcements from the top tier social players who are showing strong favor to more locally relevant and engaging content over generalized content.

“2017 was a tremendous year for SOCi,” said CEO and Founder, Afif Khoury. “Through strategic partnerships, ongoing product developments, and hiring the best and brightest in the industry, SOCi has strengthened its foothold in a very niche and important social media space. In just the last 12 months we’ve seen a significant increase in the importance of localized content and engagement,” said Khoury. “With Facebook’s recent algorithm update, the need for actual meaningful engagement via content, as well as highly targeted ad campaigns and strategies are more important than ever. Thanks to our innovative and proprietary solutions we will continue to help multi-location businesses grow and remain relevant.”

The post SOCi Touts 100% Revenue Growth as Location-Based Social Marketing Business Excels appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.


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