Up Front: Facebook the propaganda engine

The publicity machine for Steven Levy's new book on Facebook has been sprinkling extracts all over the web in recent weeks. This, however, will be of interest to many:

How Facebook’s News Feed Became A Political Propaganda Machine
In his new book, journalist Steven Levy unpacks how Facebook’s news feed influenced a presidential election in the Philippines.

Facebook: The Inside Story is out now, and I'll be posting my thoughts once I have time to read it. It is World Book Day on Thursday, as those of you who are parents of primary school age children will be horribly aware…

Coronavirus impact…

Sad news for the engaged journalism community, as the annual migration to Italy is cancelled. I actually had my ducks in a row to attend this year – so of course this happens. Of course.

Cancellation of the 2020 International Journalism Festival
We announce the cancellation of the 2020 International Journalism Festival due to the public health risks caused by COVID-19. We know that this decision will cause inconvenience for many and have negative financial consequences for some but we believe it would be irresponsible to act in any other w…

More from the moderation hellholes

This, in common with many of the exposés of life as a content moderator, is not an easy read. Don't do it when tired, or feeling down.

The underlying question remains unanswered: how do we stop these sharing platforms amplifying the worst aspects of humanity?

Life as a Facebook moderator: ‘People are awful. This is what my job has taught me’
Chris Gray, one of former employees suing tech giant, gives talk about gruelling work

The Newspaper Strikes Back

The Bristol Post made the decision to name and shame aggressive commentators who made threats and other abusive comments after Greta Thunberg's appearance in the city. This has received almost unanimous praise, but I am less confident that they did exactly the right thing. I'll dive deeper into that in a members-only post later this week.

The abuse and threats made to Greta Thunberg by people from Bristol
By grown men, many who appear to have children of their own

Platform updates

Some updates from the platform vendors.

Not quite sure where Facebook is going with this app. Right now, it's a more user friendly front end on the Page Insights.  Worth sticking on your phone, though, to see if they add the content creation features that the name implies.

Introducing Creator Studio App from Facebook
Introducing the Creator Studio app by Facebook, a new mobile app dedicated to helping creators and publishers manage their content, track performance, and connect meaningfully with their audiences on Facebook

The combination of LinkedIn and Stories is guaranteed to bring out the snark in the Twitter bubble, and so it was. However, this is worth watching. LinkedIn has been a surprisingly effective place for a growing number of businesses, and Stories remain a great way of engaging Millennials and Zoomers. The cost of experimentation is low, so…

LinkedIn is testing Snapchat-like stories because that’s the world we live in now
LinkedIn is testing adding stories to its app (just like Instagram and Snapchat), in an effort to offer more “casual” business conversations.

This is going to be handy for both live event coverage, and as a way of driving traffic to older stories, but appending to well-shared older Tweets. Plenty of opportunity for creative experimentation here, too.

How to use Twitter’s new ‘Continue Thread’ feature
Threads is a British television drama produced by the BBC in 1984. Written by Barry Hines and directed by Mick Jackson, it is a documentary-style account of a nuclear war and its effects on the city of Sheffield in northern England. Filmed in late 1983 and early 1984, the primary plot centres on two…

Tools

Some new digital tools to add to your toolbox.

This one was new to me, but I saw it recommended in a few places. Looks like a quick and easy way of generating text-based social videos.

‎Hype Text - Type Animated Text
Hype Text makes your videos and photos stand out by adding well-designed animated text layout. You can use Hype Text to: - Add beautiful captions for your videos, fast and easy. - Make your story stand out by adding awesome animated text. - Attract more views by turning photos to animated text…

I linked to this when it was in Beta, but Vimeo's social video creation app has a lot of promise. Attendees on my Social Video Course were unenthused - but a group of my students at City were extremely excited by its potential. It's certainly easier than mastering Premiere Pro…

Make and share high-impact social videos from anywhere with Vimeo Create - Vimeo Blog
It’s here: a suite of tools to make and share high-impact social videos — no matter your budget.

Anything you think I should be featuring? Drop me a line.