2020 has been one hell of a ride. There are a few more months for the year to end, and we have already seen quite a few epic moments that are sure going to find some important place in history books later.
With most of the world going under lick downs and social distancing, people have had more screen time than ever, bringing them closer to social media and digital services. There has been a growing privacy concern, and cyber laws, which have found even more significance as more and more people are finding social media not just a convenience but a major part of their life and culture.
So, when something goes viral and blows up hard on social media, it is a big deal. While whatever goes on the internet kind of always stays, here are some biggest social media affairs of 2020 you might find interesting to look back on.
The Chinese social media platform that enables people to share short video content has come under a lot of scrutiny this year. TikTok was all set towards rapid growth, with an average of 745% increase in signups since the pandemic hit. The app was wildly popular among pre-teens and influencers.
But the severity of the pandemic, the fact that it first broke out in China along with the growing tensions between the US and Chinese governments, led to the ban of the app.
The Indian government, too, had earlier banned the app along with 60 other Chinese apps out of security concerns.
A CNN report attributed the ban to the Chinese app being able to gather location and private data of its users, which can be an alarming security concern for users. TikTok was given 45 days to complete the sale of the app to Microsoft or any other US company.
So, users might not have to worry much if Microsoft indeed buys out TikTok in the US, you can continue to use it.
Fake news has been a big issue with social media platforms where fact-checking can be a complicated process. While in the past social media companies had a lackluster response to fake news, this year, they really did come through into implementing better regulations and policies to curb the spread of misinformation.
Twitter suspended nearly 70 million accounts during May and June.
But another major player, Facebook, has been quite reluctant to enforce strict rack check-in policies. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, came under a lot of criticism in his decision to outsource fact-checking to third-party partners.
His stance on fake news even led to certain Facebook employees demonstrating virtual walkouts since June, though, Facebook has agreed to take up some stricter measures to flag content based on their newsworthiness.
Stricter content monitoring means that anyone posting content on Facebook or any social media needs to be more careful about the authenticity of their content.
Twitter Was Hacked
Twitter has somewhat evolved from a simple pastime micro-blogging site to a full-on media platform where many politicians, entertainment figures, and celebrities express their opinions. It has become a personal notice board, and people take it quite seriously.
Twitter tweets can gather reactions ranging from word wars, launching allegations to gathering support for political movements. But all of these can hold well only as long as you are really sure about the authenticity of a tweet.
When high profile accounts were hacked, Twitter came tumbling down as users were now shocked to know the difference between a genuine post and a hacker’s play.
Twitter accounts of famous personas like Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Joe Biden were hacked, and there were a series of fake tweets made from these accounts by hackers.
Twitter had to settle the hackers around $120,000 in payment to get the accounts released.
The incident is a strong reminder for all of us to set really good strong passwords and to never fall for a social media post without proper investigation.
Facebook Took a Hit in Advertisements
While Twitter was busy enforcing strict security and fake news suspensions, Facebook had its hand full with several major sponsors canceling their advertisements. The reasons cited were Facebook’s rather passive approach to curbing fake news, misinformation, and political posts. Back in June, Facebook was still adamant about taking down politically charged posts and thus irked major brands like chipotle, Coca Cola, and NorthFace, which pulled out of Facebook ad spend.
The advertisements market was already experiencing loss of revenue as many small time shops and businesses had to cut down ad spends due to the covid19 situation. Facebook did eventually take some action regarding political posts and misinformation. The boycott lasted for about a month, after which some brands started using ads again.
There were quite a few social media marketing disasters that could have been avoided with a little bit of research and maybe common sense. Here is a rundown of some of the popular marketing scandals that companies ought to learn from in 2020.
Several brands and celebs received flak for their poor taste in social media posts and insensitivity. Let us list down some of those.
IHOPs April Fools Rebranding went bad when their joke of turning from pancakes to burgers fell flat and received a lot of criticism.
Popular Comedienne Ellen Degeneres has had quite a bad year. Ellen’s lockdown jokes were considered insensitive, and the popular figure just couldn’t catch a break with many of her former staff coming out and reporting her mean and rude behavior on social media.
Adidas learned the hard way that phrasing words matter when you are running social media campaigns. They posted a rather insensitive ‘Congrats, you have survived the Boston Marathon’ on their Twitter handle that led to a lot of criticism as it was an unsettling reminder of the infamous 2013 Boston massacre.
Cinnamon Banks tried to cash on the recent death of famous star Carrie Fisher by posting an ad with their cinnamon buns as her iconic hairstyle from Star Wars. The post was not in good taste and was highly condemned by Star Wars fans.
Twitter Banned Trump Briefly
It is not an everyday sight when the President of one of the world’s superpower countries gets banned on social media. Donald Trump, the President of the United States, had his account temporarily banned from Twitter on account of his posts that were spreading misinformation on the Covid19 pandemic.
The tweet stated that children were immune to the disease, which is indeed a very serious implication that contradicts the actual spread and nature of the disease. Children are not immune to the virus, and there is no conclusive proof to state otherwise.
Earlier, Facebook removed a similar post by Trump. His Twitter account remained suspended until the problematic tweet was deleted. This move ought to bring back some legitimacy to the microblogging site, which was rather bogged down by similar factually incorrect tweets from common man and celebrities alike. So, remember always to double-check and make sure whatever you post is factual and sensible. If the President can be banned from a platform, so can you.
The Central Park Incident
Just a few weeks before the protests for police brutality were to happen, a video went viral on social media platforms with a white lady falsely threatening a Black Man with a police call. The incident was captured in Central Park by Christian Cooper, a back birdwatcher.
When he approached Amy Cooper, a white woman walking her dog and asked her to put the dog on a leash, the lady took offense and placed a call to 911, accusing Christian Cooper of being a threat. The video went viral, and soon Amy Cooper was charged with filing a false police report, was fired from her job, had her dog taken away by a rescue, and she received a lot of criticism from social media users for her racist behavior.
This incident once again went on to demonstrate the power of social media and what it can do for a person’s reputation and bring about social changes.
So, these were some of the social media scandals that we have witnessed so far in 2020. Can you think of more of them? Let us know in the comments.