My Five #397

Follow me down the rabbit hole in this week’s My Five, with QAnon conspiracy theories, the weird world of McInfluencers, and accusations of TikTok being used to spy on us.

You are reading: My Five #397

Five things worth sharing from the last week or so, brought to you by a different member of the Browser Media team every Friday.

This week’s My Five is by Vic.

1. WWG1WGA

You may be asking, what the heck does WWG1WGA mean?

For those of you who don’t know, WWG1WGA is ‘where we go one, we go all’; a term coined by QAnon.

You may now be asking, what the heck does QAnon mean?

QAnon started in 2017 after an anonymous 4Chan user known as ‘Q’ began posting cryptic messages on the platform, claiming that they are employed by the US Government, working on the inside to bring down the ‘deep state’.

Here’s an example of one of those messages.

Okay.

Followers of QAnon will try to decipher the ‘clues’ left by Q. They have decided that JFK is still alive, tout drinking bleach (known as MMS, or Miracle Mineral Solution) as a “miracle cure” for coronavirus, and claim that a number of Hollywood stars and politicians are part of a global child trafficking ring (though in light of the Epstein revelations, worryingly, maybe they are onto something on that last one).

Apart from recommending chugging down bleach, it all sounds like a few harmless conspiracy theorists banding together to try and make sense of a load of gibberish, right?

Wrong. With a predicted 3 million followers on Facebook alone, the QAnon community has become somewhat of a cult, and with the backing of several prolific right-wingers (including President Trump), there have been incidents of people being harassed, hurt, and even killed.

With all that in mind, this week Twitter made the decision to take action against QAnon by suspending about 150,000 accounts worldwide, with more than 7,000 accounts already removed in recent weeks for violations.

Twitter also said it would stop recommending content linked to QAnon and block URLs associated with it from being shared on the platform.

I have personally enjoyed getting lost in QAnon rabbit holes on Twitter (not because I believe in it, but because I enjoy the terrible memes and videos they post).

*Makes aeroplane noise*

I’ll miss those guys.

2. Backed by The Google Guarantee

Google has found yet another way to make money from local small businesses – yay, Google!

For a mere $50 a month, ‘The Google Guarantee’ badge is available for businesses based in the US and Canada that pass a screening and qualification process through Google Local Services.

What this means is that if a customer books a service through Google and decides that they aren’t happy with it, Google may refund the amount paid for the service. $2,000 is the upper limit of lifetime coverage for claims. There’s the added benefit of users being more likely to trust a business that is ‘backed’ by Google, too.

Greg Sterling over at Search Engine Land lays out what this could mean for Google in terms of revenue if the program proves to be successful:

“Google’s market opportunity here is in the millions of potential customers. For example, if Google were to successfully upsell two million businesses that had claimed their listings it would represent $1.2 billion in annual revenues. No word yet on bulk pricing for multi-location businesses or franchises.”

3. Do-do-do-do-do (they have been paid to say) I’m lovin’ it

We’ve talked a lot about finding the right influencers to represent your brand on the Browser Media blog.

Influencer marketing has seen significant growth in the past five years and is now a staple in marketing strategies for companies of all sizes.

However, one brand I didn’t think would be using influencer marketing, is McDonald’s.

As pointed out by Caitie Delaney this week, McDonald’s influencers don’t seem to be consuming much of the menu, but when it comes to matching their outfit to the brand or pretending to enjoy eating it, they’re lovin’ it.

4. FAQ WTF

Ah, remember back in 2019 (you know, when there wasn’t a deadly pandemic) when FAQ schema became a thing and SEO people everywhere went and marked up web copy on Q&A pages in an attempt to get them to be picked up in SERPs?

Well, Google now appears to be showing fewer Rich Results & FAQ/How To Schema Results.

How bad is the impact? See for yourself.

5. TikTok to be blocked?

On both sides of the pond, politicians are freaking out about TikTok, a Chinese-owned video-sharing app.

This is because unlike those nice trustworthy social media platforms like Facebook (lol), they are concerned about what TikTok does with its data, how its algorithm works, what content is being shared… and whether or not the Chinese Government is spying on its users.

Whether or not TikTok does end up being banished from the UK and the US is yet to be seen, but considering Huawei has been shut off from 5G networks, creators might want to begin looking for alternatives just in case.

Latest from the blog