Weekly Buzz: Canadians Urged to Boycott Facebook and Instagram

Welcome back to the Weekly Buzz! September is upon us, and there’s no shortage of digital marketing news to catch you up on this week.

On today’s agenda: Canadian advocacy group urges blackout in response to Meta’s online news block, Prime Minister condemns Meta for blocking news during wildfire emergency, Threads makes it way to the web, and a glitch at X affects old images and hyperlinks.

Let’s dive in!

Advocacy group urges Canadians to stage Facebook and Instagram blackout in protest of news content block

Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, an advocacy group, rallied Canadians to boycott Facebook and Instagram this week to respond to the platforms’ recent ban on Canadian news content

The group urged social media users to refrain from posting on these Meta-owned platforms on August 23rd and 24th.

The catalyst for this protest was Canada’s passing of the Online News Act in June, which mandated that tech giants compensate news publishers for sharing their content. Consequently, Meta suspended news sharing on their platforms, leaving Canadians without access to news content.

The group challenges Meta’s assumption that Canadians will continue using their platforms despite disregarding Canadian laws and news media.

“It might feel like an eternity in social media time, but Meta will feel it even more. After all, our presence on their platforms is their most prized possession. So, let’s strike them where it hurts,” the group wrote on its website.

The advocacy group also urged elected officials to participate by going “dark” on their platforms. 

Trudeau condemns Meta for blocking local news amid wildfires

And speaking of elected officials, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently criticized Meta for its decision to obstruct local news access on its platforms during the ongoing devastating Canadian wildfires. 

Trudeau accused Meta of prioritizing profits over public safety and local journalism. He highlighted the crucial need for up-to-date local information in emergencies, expressing concern that Facebook’s ban hampers Canadians’ ability to receive vital updates through the platforms. 

Yet Meta remains unmoved, asserting that government sites and emergency sources are exempt from the ban.

“People in Canada are able to use Facebook and Instagram to connect to their communities and access reputable information, including content from official government agencies, emergency services and non-governmental organizations,” said Meta spokesperson David Troya-Alvarez.

So, will this alter the Canadian government’s position on C-18? 

Despite the pressure, Trudeau indicated his government’s commitment to valuing local journalism and maintaining the Online News Act.

Meta unveils Threads app for the web

Meta has finally revealed its Threads web app, allowing users to post, engage with content, and access their feeds online. The web version, available since Thursday, mirrors the mobile app’s layout, though with a few variations. 

While the web interface lacks certain functionalities in the mobile app, such as profile editing and sending posts to Instagram DMs, the Threads team assures users that improvements will be swift. Despite the missing features, the introduction of even basic functionality through the web version is welcomed by users seeking a more desktop-friendly experience. 

Threads, initially launched in July with impressive user acquisition, aims to regain user interest with this enhanced web version.

The app burst onto the scene with an impressive 100 million sign-ups in its inaugural week, outpacing ChatGPT as the fastest-growing app ever. However, user activity waned swiftly due to the lack of a desktop experience. Recognizing user demands, Threads has been incrementally incorporating new features, such as customizable alt-text and tagging capabilities. 

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently expressed optimism about the platform’s growth trajectory and journey toward becoming a vibrant long-term app.

X glitch affects images and links tied to old Tweets

X, A.K.A. Twitter, faced a technical glitch this week that hampered the display of images and converted hyperlinks in older tweets. The issue surfaced when users noticed images and links attached to tweets before December 2014 were broken. 

The glitch impacted prominent tweets, such as Ellen DeGeneres’ famous Oscars selfie from 2014, which briefly lost its image.

Although speculation arose about a possible cost-cutting motive, the glitch was likely an error or bug, with restored images hinting at a technical malfunction. The issue underscores several challenges arising since X’s rebranding and restructuring.

Friday Fun

Blake Lively AND Paul Hollywood?

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Line drawn peony from Spodek & Co Digital marketing site