Donald Trump is kicked off social media platforms
Following riots in the Capitol, the US President was permanently suspended from Twitter “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” Other channels have responded similarly, with Reddit banning the subreddit group “r/Donald Trump,” Twitch and Snapchat disabling Trump's channel, Shopify taking down two online stores affiliated with the President and Facebook and Instagram banning Trump from posting on his account for at least the next two weeks. YouTube is accelerating its enforcement of election misinformation and voter fraud claims against Trump, whilst TikTok is redirecting hashtags like #stormthecapitol and #patriotparty to its community guidelines. Discord has banned server The Donald and Pinterest has been limiting hashtags related to pro-Trump topics. With less than two weeks left of his presidency, Trump’s social media voice has effectively been silenced.
Closer to home, there's been considerable backlash from Coalition MPs who've accused the social media giants of the dangerous censorship of conservatives. Acting prime minister Michael McCormack has repeatedly compared the deadly insurrection of the US Capitol to the Black Lives Matter protests. His colleagues, federal Liberal backbenchers Craig Kelly and George Christensen, have also railed against the same social platforms, calling the move a "cultural purge in full swing" on the same platforms where they happen to be among the most influential Australian MPs.
Meanwhile, Australia's Competition and Consumer Commission wants new rules to determine when social media networks can close accounts. ACCC chairman Rod Sims said, "How much we can leave it up to the digital platforms … is one of the defining questions we have to face. We definitely need the government to get to grips with this; we can’t just leave it with the digital platforms."
TikTok releases its first AR filter
To celebrate a new year, TikTok released its first AR effect that uses the iPhone 12 Pro’s LiDAR sensor for an enhanced confetti effect that realistically settles on people or objects. Bridging the digital and physical worlds, the first instalment in these effects suggests they'll only become more complex and innovative, adding another feature to TikTok’s bag of tricks. The new filter follows in the footsteps of Snapchat - major players when it comes to AR filters, having already added support for Apple’s LiDAR sensor back in October. Augmented reality filters are looking set to become a staple for social media channels that want to stay ahead of the game.
Facebook pages are being redesigned
Likes are a thing of the past with Facebook’s Pages redesign, instead laying focus on Followers as a more direct measurement of how many people a Page is currently reaching. Other updates will consist of a new look-and-feel, updated navigation and the introduction of a News Feed. A new Q&A format allows Pages to better interact and engage with fans, a handy tool for businesses that want to answer common questions in a fun way that allows their following to get to know them better. This is somewhat influenced by a similar format seen on Instagram, where creators take questions from fans and answer them in Stories. These updates demonstrate how Facebook is making its platform better for brands and businesses, adding tools and insights that can help users identify areas of growth and engagement.
Parler removed from Apple and Google's App Store
Following Trump’s ban from Twitter, conservative social media platform Parler took the top spot on Apple’s app store. The network, which mimics Twitter's functionality, saw a 281% increase in downloads. However, Parler’s time at the top was short lived, with both Google and Apple delisting the platform after it failed to adequately moderate content on its app. The channel was one of the apps used to organise last Wednesday’s insurrection in Washington D.C. and is known to be an unmoderated hotbed of misinformation and hate speech. In an email to Parler, Apple’s App Review Board told the app’s developers that “Parler has not upheld its commitment to moderate and remove harmful or dangerous content encouraging violence and illegal activity.”
David Bowie lands on TikTok
To celebrate what would have been his 74th birthday (and in time for the fifth anniversary of his death), TikTok has made David Bowie's music catalogue available to fans across the platform. His TikTok channel @DavidBowie features iconic videos from his life and work across over five decades of innovation and reinvention. To mark his passing, the app has launched #TheStarman challenge, encouraging the TikTok community to recreate his iconic looks across the years.
TikTok hosts encore performance of the Ratatouille musical
Some people spent 2020 making bread, others came together on TikTok to create a musical based on the 2007 Disney/Pixar animation, Ratatouille. Composers, fans, set designers, costumers and choreographers created musical numbers for the fictional show, which has since been produced by Seaview Productions in association with TikTok. The first show debuted online on New Year's Day and raised more than $1 million for The Actors Fund. Following its success, an encore performance was held on Sunday evening, with the New York Times calling it a "silly, multilayered delight."
Twitch will change the face of PogChamp every 24 hours
Twitch’s global hype emote had a temporary hiatus last week, after the person on which it was based – Ryan “Gootecks” Gutierrez – posted tweets encouraging more mob violence after the riot at the Capitol. Twitch has since announced that it will cycle through different versions of the emote every 24 hours. It's a clever move from the platform to create a buzz whilst distancing themselves from unsavoury characters.
You know what? In the spirit of figuring out 2021 together, let’s just roll with it for now!
Get ready for a new PogChamp every 24 hours, starting today. https://t.co/R16EyASsFx
— Twitch (@Twitch) January 8, 2021
The Tuesday Tune-Up features additional reporting by Hannah Currey.