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Welcome back to another week of A Smorgasbord of Social Media. We have some interesting news coming out of the social world that we’re excited to break down for you. Let’s dive right in.


New Regulations On Facebook Regarding Guns Sales

Facebook and Instagram’s core beliefs have always revolved around helping people connectfacebook-gun-sales1 and communicate. In this large realm of connectivity, things like posting about a couch you have for sale has it’s own space. Even though the transaction doesn’t take place online, Facebook still solicits the transaction, and this is where tech giants run into some ethical issues. Specifically, we’re referring to private sales of firearms. This week, with the help of New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman (and other organizations), Facebook has taken a stand against using their social media platform for firearm sales. While these new platform changes will still make it possible for users to solicit the sale of private firearms, they will get a legal notice and the post will not be shown to anyone under the age of 18. Instagram will also provide “in-app education” to those searching for firearms on its platform. The company also included that they will not allow posts promoting the sales of regulated items that may be used to evade the law. Lastly, the blog ends by encouraging users to report anything that may violate these policies.

Twitter Predicts HIV Outbreaks

It feels as though we are finding new uses for Twitter on a weekly basis. Last week weTwitter_HIV_2 discussed how researchers are developing a lie detector for Twitter, and this week we are back with an even more groundbreaking study! UCLA researchers discovered that Twitter and other real-time social media can track HIV outbreaks and drug behavior that could potentially prevent future cases. Researchers collected more than 550 million tweets, plotted them on a map, and then ran tests to determine if that was where outbreaks of HIV had been reported. The study suggests a link between the data on geographical distribution of HIV cases and the use of tweets with phrases that indicate drug use or potentially risky behaviors. It should be noted, however, that the study uses HIV data from 2009. As a result, this research can only successfully predict future behaviors or outbreaks if they frequently update the data.

Facebook Officially Announces Roll Out Of Redesign

After the original announcement made last March, Facebook finally released its long awaited update. The redesign was initially tested on a small number of users but, Facebook scrapped the layout citing that engagement and user interaction was not what they had expected. In December, Facebook announced they would be pushing back the already late redesign, so it is exciting to see what changes they have made.  Most of the changes are very minimal and may go unnoticed. The ideas proposed last March are mostly gone, except for the probably the most noticeable change – larger images. Photos are the most engaged with status on the platform, so with that being said, it’s long overdue. Facebook has begun rolling out the update and will continue its release in the coming weeks.

Viral Video Of The Week – Back To The Future: HUVr Boards

This video got everyone in the office hovering with excitement. People filled withhuvr nostalgia as they experienced one of their favorite movies come to life. It starts with an intro from Christopher Lloyd who played Dr. Emmet Brown in the landmark film. He explains that while the technology was not really possible back when the movie was made, the time has finally come! The video even includes famous icons demonstrating how to use the boards. This video was uploaded March 3, 2014 and already has nearly 10 million views. Unfortunately, the brilliant minds over at HUVr are not really at HUVr. They’re actually the funny guys from Funny or Die. Unfortunately, it was one big, huge, hoax that went viral faster than anyone expected. Christopher Lloyd makes up for it in his apology video with a special surprise for those who were hoaxed!

Thanks for catching up with a Smorgasbord of Social Media, a round up of all things social. Check back next week for a fresh batch of updates.


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