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. WhatsApp comes under fire for disappearing messages
There are a huge number of messaging platforms out there that have disappearing message features, with a focus on privacy, like Telegram, or for sharing ‘in the moment’ content, like Snapchat.
WhatsApp is now jumping on the bandwagon, giving users the option to have their messages disappear 24 hours from the time of posting, with parent company Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg stating:
“There is a certain magic in just sitting down with someone in-person, sharing your thoughts in confidence, knowing you are both connecting in private and in that moment.”
However, while this feature is nothing new, the decision has come under scrutiny from the government (because we all know they’d never use such channels to communicate, haha), and children’s charities, who fear that WhatsApp will be utilised by offenders to groom minors even more so than it already is.
Ultimately, Meta is moving towards end-to-end encryption in messaging across all of its products, including Facebook and Instagram, and while it gives assurances that measures are in place to detect abuse, only time will tell as to how effective this is. Given the major issues with hate speech on their platforms, which are out in the open for all to see, I certainly have my concerns.
2. TikTok teams up with brands for a 2 day ecommerce live streaming event
TikTok has been investing in improving its shopping experiences for users, and the businesses who advertise on the platform.
Partnering with big brands, including JD, L’Oreal, Charlotte Tilbury, and Look Fantastic, the ‘On Trend’ event takes place on 8/9 December in the UK, and will allow users to complete purchases directly within ‘the TikTok experience’, making transactions virtually frictionless.
3. Instagram encourages teenagers to take a break
I find that of all the apps I scroll through mindlessly, Instagram is probably one of the nicer ones. Of course, this is due to the fact that I only follow really awesome people I know, obscure punk bands, meme pages, and accounts that feature cute baby seals.
But it’s not a safe space for everyone. The Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, recently gave evidence to a US Senate subcommittee on consumer protection, where he was asked about internal research leaked by a whistleblower that showed the social media app had a toxic effect on teenagers. The research showed that Instagram led one in three teenagers to feel worse about their bodies, and 13% of teenagers in the UK to have suicidal thoughts.
To counter this, Instagram launched the “take-a-break” feature, which will trigger after they have been scrolling for a certain amount of time. While Mosseri told Senators he wants teens to be safe online, it seems a more effective option for safeguarding teens would be to delete the app, rather than taking regular breaks.
4. Google’s new game is not a pizza cake
Seeing as this has been a rather bleak My Five so far, let’s take a break to look at a Google Doodle from earlier in the week.
’Celebrating Pizza’ is a game that challenges you to slice and dice pizza in a set number of moves, while making sure the portions and toppings are dished out according to your pizza party guest preferences.
I am absolutely AWFUL at games like this, because not only am I terrible at maths, I also lack the cognitive skills needed to visualise how things will end up looking unless I sit there staring at it for hours (I have fallen on my head a lot, in my defence).
Give it a go yourself here: https://www.google.com/doodles/celebrating-pizza
5. One rule for them…
This week, the news has been dominated by scandal after scandal coming out of Tory HQ. So much so in fact, that I have truly struggled to find anything positive or fun to include in #5 on the list. So I’m afraid we are going to end on a rather sombre note.
To slightly lighten the mood, social media users have been sharing memes relating to the Tory lockdown parties that definitely did not happen, but if they did, guidelines were followed, except it was still illegal, so they didn’t happen, but someone had to resign anyway.
However, it’s important to note that while we all get mad about staffers having Christmas parties last year during lockdown (and getting away with it as the Met Police can’t be arsed to investigate) while ordinary people obeyed the rules, that we shouldn’t lose sight of bills currently being forced through parliament that should alarm every citizen of the UK. See here and here for details.
And on that dreary note, Happy Friday, I guess?