Social Web Update 04.03.19

This post is by Boyd Neil from Boyd Neil

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A weekly annotated curation of significant social web platform developments from the previous week, with links and carping marginalia as needed . . . Posted every Monday morning or thereabouts.  


Not only has upstart video app TikTok reached the one billion download mark, but it is also using video tutorials “to help inform users about online safety, TikTok’s  various privacy settings and other controls they can use within its app, and more. . . . The safety series, called ‘You’re in Control,’ will star TikTok users and will make use of popular memes, in-app editing tricks and other effects, just like other TikTok videos do.” On the other hand, TikTok was the subject of $5.7 million settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission “to settle accusations that it was in violation of COPPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires that apps and websites get parental approval for under 13 years old.” Children under 13 years old will no longer e able to upload videos, leave comments, build a profile, or send messages, and all video previously uploaded by children under 13 years old will be deleted. On the flip side, The Verge’s Julia Alexander further reports that TikTok has introduced a comment-control feature: “A custom comment filter is now available to all users, letting people decide what type of comments they don’t want to see on their videos, including words or phrases that may be upsetting. They can also choose to only allow approved people to leave comments.


Continuing the trend towards increased privacy on social platforms, and not to be outdone by TikTok (see above), Facebook has been talking about a privacy feature called ‘Clear History’, “that will let you wipe information the social network collects about you from third-party apps and websites.” The update? The release has been postponed until later this year.


Crediting researcher Jane Manchun Wong, TNW’s Cara Curtis is reporting that Twitter is testing a ‘replies moderation’ tool, a feature that “allows users to hide replies under their tweets, while providing an option to show the hidden replies to other users.” A debate about encouraging bias and disinformation subsequently ensued :)


YouTube has decided not to allow comments on videos featuring children. The move comes “following a controversy over predatory comments being posted on videos of children.” A few channels may still be able to feature comments, but they will require closely watched moderation and evidence what YouTube refers to as “a low risk of predatory behavior”.