Engaged Reading Digest: image verification, cops on TikTok — and why celebs are using a social platform you've never heard of

It's easy to get sucked into the idea that social media is mainly a promotional tool. Today's digest is a reminder that it's much more than that — for good and ill

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

A great selection of links for you today. I've got a lot on my plate, so let's dive straight in, without my normal rambling:

What's up with WhatsApp

This is potentially good news, especially in parts of the world where WhatsApp is responsible for most of the viral misinformation. If Facebook goes ahead with this, it will, essentailly, build very basic fact-checking tools into the app. It won't solve the problem, but every little counts.

WhatsApp to introduce new feature for images
A new feature will enable users to scrutinise origin of the pictures in order to curb the menace of fake news.

Come for the WhatsApp info, stay for the stats on Dark Social:

What’s up with WhatsApp? Notes for publishers about social messenging
Accordingly to last year’s Reuters report, over half of us now use WhatsApp on a weekly basis. 16% use it for news too. So, what do publishers need to know?

Celebrities are starting to build their own, private fan communities

Fed up with being held hostage by platform algorithyms, celebs are using a mobile-centric direct community tool to build engagement instead:

The appeal, as Washington hinted at, is control. After a decade of being at the mercy of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat—which own the data, the algorithm, and ultimately that direct line of communication to the audience—stars finally aren’t willing to suffer having these apps restrict access to their fans.
Why your favorite celebs are ditching Twitter for an app you’ve never heard of
For two decades, we’ve been told that stars are just like us. Now celebrities are taking back their power. Will the internet ever be the same?

Basic image verification primer

This is a really handy basic primer on image verification. Well worth sending round your newsroom now.

How to use your phone to spot fake images surrounding the U.S.-Iran conflict
The International Fact-Checking Network developed a step-by-step guide to teach citizens how to verify images using their mobiles


It turns out that Goodreads has become a haven for trolls, harassers and review bombing:

Goodreads is currently experiencing one of the book review site’s largest-ever harassment campaigns as trolls spoof the identities of numerous authors in a coordinated attack against author Patrick S. Tomlinson. The spoofed accounts use the names and photos of Tomlinson’s fellow authors to post negative and attack reviews on the Goodreads pages for his books.

The site lacks basic verification and account safety features most others have. I suspect that the main app and website have been neglected, while Amazon works on integrating Goodreads with the Kindle. Have you noticed how integrated it is with the iOS Kindle app now?

Lax Security and Moderation at Goodreads Allows Trolls to Spoof People, Harass Authors | Jason Sanford on Patreon
Patreon is a membership platform that makes it easy for artists and creators to get paid. Join over 100,000 creators earning salaries from over 2 million monthly patrons.

Obligatory TikTok Content

This is another piece that's feeding into the longer TikTok post I'm working on. (Look for it in you inboxes tomorrow, with a bit of luck). We sometimes forget that some social channels are much better at building trust than promoting stories.

Why Cops Are Swarming TikTok
Police are flocking to TikTok in hopes to go viral and change the public’s perception of law enforcement.

Back to Blogs

One of the endless stream of Nieman Lab prediction articles (really, does any working journalism have time to read them all?), but this one resonates with me:

A return to blogs (finally? sort of?)
“Such spaces are escape hatches from the horse-race election cycle: People are looking for those escape hatches, and they’re looking to create them too.”

Of course, some of us ever left…

Job alert

This looks like an excellent job for somebody:

We’re hiring: Apply to be our new global health editor
We are looking for a top-calibre editor to co-lead an exciting new three-year Global Health project

If you have any ideas on stuff I should be including — especially your own work — drop me a line, or leave a comment. Thanks!

engaged reading digestsocial media verificationfact-checkingwhatsappTikTokdark socialcommunity management

Adam Tinworth Twitter

Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.