Social Media Digest: McFail, Snickers Own Goal & More

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January 27th, 2012

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Rio Snickers

Welcome to the latest edition of the Social Media Digest. In case you’ve missed it, here’s what’s making news in the social realm this week:

1. McFail – McDonald’s suffered a Twitter blunder this week in a drive for positive user-generated word of mouth using a hashtag #McDstories, whichwas soon hijacked with the horror stories of disillusioned customers. One tweep commented “My brother finding a fake finger nail in his fries. #McDStories.” Some used the hashtag to simply mock the ‘Golden Arches:’ “#McDStories More than half a year since last McTerrible McFattening McMeal. I don’t McMiss the McFood McOne McBit.” In a bid to salvage the foiled initiative, McDonald’s promoted a more generic hashtag #LittleThings, however the twittersphere has so far used the tag for anything but Mcpraise.

2. Own Goal – Snicker’s launched their Twitter account a mere two weeks ago and have already found themselves mired in controversy.  It all began after footballer Rio Ferdinand tweeted “You’renot you when you’re hungry @snickersUk#hungry#spon” with a picture of himself posing with a Snicker’s chocolate bar. The tweets have provoked criticism from all directions, including one user who replied with “Do you really need the money that badly?” and another added: “I’m not on here to be advertised at”. Ian Botham, Amir Khan, Cher Lloyd and Katie Price have alsotweeted similar sentiments and promotional pictures. An Office of Fair Trading spokesman said: “Online advertising and mnot you when you’re hungry @snickersUk#hungry#spon” with a picture of himself posing with a Snicker’s chocolate bar. The tweets have provoked criticism from all directions, including one user who replied with “Do you really need the money that badly?” and another added: “I’m not on here to be advertised at”. Ian Botham, AmirKhan, Cher Lloyd and Katie Price have alsotweeted similar sentiments and promotional pictures. An Office of Fair Trading spokesman said: “Online advertising and marketing practices that do not disclose they include paid for promotions are deceptive under trading laws.”

3. Search No Evil – Facebook, Twitter & MySpace have formed analliance against Google byengineering a software add-on for browsers which counteracts the effect of Google’s alteration of its search results to favour its own Google+ social network with a piece of code named after the giant’s first unofficial strapline “Don’t be evil,” resonating Google’s philosophy that ‘you can make money without being evil.’ Twitter claims Google+ artificially inflates its natural position by pushing its own results, rather than the best ones. However Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt insisted that Facebook and Twitter did not allow sufficient access to their sites for Google to be able to integrate results from them intoits search and that Google+ was not being unfairly favoured. The “Don’t be evil” code can found at “Focus on the user.”

New Picture (38)4. Social Capitalism – A study by Delloite has found that Facebook adds an estimated €15.3 billion value to the European economy, as well as supporting 35,200 UK jobs and contributing £2.2bn to the British onomy each year. At the DLD conference in Munich on Tuesday, Facebook COO Cheryl Sandburg noted the emergence of a £467m per annum ‘app economy,’ as many companies have centred their business models on building applications and games to capitalize on the millions of UK Facebookers. Delloite also estimates that the development of Facebook apps generates 7,500 jobs in the UK. Deloitte’s report also claims that lovers of the social monolith contribute £550 million to technology sales, which supports 8,800 jobs. Considering the adverse economic growth in the UK last quarter, this will undoubtedly increase the influence of the Facebook lobby.

5. Megaupset – One of the world’s leading sharing sites Megaupload has been shutdown this week due to a verdict of the US Grand Jury, which found the site owner Kim Dotcom guilty of copyright piracy equating to $500 million of lost revenue. The flamboyant Kim Dotcom has been charged with global criminal conspiracy to pirate illegal and lost a bid for bail yesterday, with the judge ruling he was a significant flight risk. He is appealing that decision ahead of attempts by American authorities to extradite him. Just days of the SOPA blackout controversy, Dotcom’s sentence illustrates the fine line between ‘sharing’ and internet piracy.

6. LA Fiasco – The gym group LA Fitness faced the wrath of the Twitterati yesterday when a couple from Essex complained about being locked into a 2-year contract despite falling pregnant and her husband being made redundant. Originally reported in The Guardian, the scandalous behaviour of the gym prompted a storm of criticism and began trending on Twitter with angry tweets directed at LA Fitness’s account on Wednesday. The group was forced to delete its own earlier tweet claiming  “We do not comment on individual cases,” and then began commenting quite a lot on this particular case, including an announcement that it would be waiving all outstanding fees charged to the couple – a testament to the transition of power that social media has brought about.

7. Twit or Miss? – Twitter announced that it will censor tweets in individual countries in a blog post yesterday. The new filtering technology coincides with the micro-blogging site’s ambitious agenda of expanding its user-base from 100 million to 1 billion. Reaching that goal will require expanding into more countries, which will mean Twitter will be more likely to have to comply to laws contrary to free-expression. Twitter will post a ‘censorship notice‘ whenever a tweet is removed, similar to what Google has been doing for years. If Twitter defies a law in a country where it has employees, those people could be arrested, this is why Twitter is unlikely to try to enter China, where its service is currently block. Although it’s worth thinking about whether the Arab Spring could have been as successful if regional censorship had been implemented prior to the protests movements.

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