Starbucks’ big investment in digital tech, Facebook’s historic FTC settlement, Pinterest’s new prompts for user wellbeing, the #ColorMeMermaid movement and more: get ready to dive into another edition of The Weekly Download!
Starbucks Invests in Brightloom to Speed Up Mobile Orders & Payments
Good news: getting your morning coffee is about to get even more convenient!
This week Starbucks announced it’s taking a stake in digital technology company Brightloom in order to speed up mobile ordering and payment options at stores globally.
Brightloom will allow the company to improve customer convenience, making the technology available for mobile ordering, payment, loyalty perks and delivery-order management.
Brightloom and Starbucks will also sell access to the platform to other restaurants trying to adopt digital programs, as digital ordering and delivery programs become increasingly vital for restaurants trying to draw more customers amid intensifying competition.
While both companies claim the stake was “significant,” no firm figures have been disclosed.
Pinterest Adds Well-Being Activities for Users
Wednesday marked International Self-Care Day, and Pinterest celebrated by adding a new feature for users to help them focus on their wellbeing.
Now users who search for terms that indicate they may be struggling, like “stress quotes” and “work anxiety”, will see well-being activities they can partake in directly via the Pinterest application.
Pinner interaction with recommended activities will not be connected to the app in any way, ensuring user anonymity. Users who search for self-harm-related terms will be directed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which they can reach in two taps.
Each of the guided activities are aimed at helping people improve their moods, and were created with the help of emotional health experts. The update will be rolled out to iOS and Android users over the coming weeks.
Facebook Reaches a Formal Settlement with the FTC
Mark Zuckerberg announced Wednesday that Facebook has reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission about privacy, agreeing to pay a historic $5-billion fine following the Cambridge Analytica data mining scandal. Even more important, says Zuckerberg, following the investigation the company will be making changes to how it builds products and operates.
As part of the FTC’s settlement with Facebook, Zuckerberg will also have to personally certify his company’s compliance with its privacy programs. False certifications could lead to civil or criminal penalties for Zuckerberg. The FTC says the settlement terms are meant to “change Facebook’s entire privacy culture to decrease the likelihood of continued violations.”
Zuckerberg says Facebook is committed to adopting change that will “go beyond anything required under US law today” with respect to user privacy. While it seems to be a step in the right direction, many expressed outrage at the “lenient” settlement handed down by the FTC, hoping Zuckerberg would face personal consequences and the company would be mandated to adopt meaningful changes to the company’s structure or business model.
Graphic Murder Images Call Attention to how Social Media Companies Police Extreme Content
After graphic images of Bianca’s body were shared on channels like Instagram and Twitter, many users attempted to report the content on the respective platforms to no avail. It was alleged that reporting attempts were being rejected on Instagram because the extreme content did not violate the platform’s terms.
Instagram didn’t comment on how long the original graphic posts on the suspect’s story had been allowed to stay up, but screenshots suggest they were publicly available for over 20 hours.
While sites like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have human moderators to police such content, they also rely heavily on artificial technology and user reports to flag and remove disturbing content. With active Instagram users at one billion per month, it can be challenging to stay on top of such posts. Critics call for harsher penalties against social giants around failures to adequately police graphic content — many argue that until monetary repercussions are involved, content will only be monitored and removed haphazardly.
Bianca’s followers have launched an “online spamming war” called #PinkForBianca against those trying to further exploit the teen’s death for likes and shares. They’ve committed to uploading tens of thousands of pastel-coloured images and tagging Bianca in hopes of drowning out any graphic tagged images that have been reshared.
#ColorMeMermaid Campaign Celebrates Girls of Colour
There was some seriously disappointing racist backlash online when actress and singer Halle Bailey was cast as Ariel in Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid.” Supporters like Donald Glover and Jodi Benson (cartoon Ariel’s voice actor) spoke out in support of the uber-talented Bailey, and digital initiatives to celebrate the casting choice have already gone viral.
Along with the already existing #MyAriel movement, blogger Courtney Quinn hopes that the #ColorMeMermaid project will help people see how important the story of The Little Mermaid has been for children of all backgrounds, regardless of skin colour. The uploads so far are seriously inspiring.