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Social Media Buzz Weekly: Roundup of Social Media Updates

Welcome to Social Media Buzz Weekly, your weekly bulletin of the latest social media updates. With the social media landscape evolving with each passing day, it can be challenging to keep a tab on the rapid developments. Well, not anymore, as we have taken it upon ourselves to keep you abreast of every happening in the social media space.

So, without any further ado, let’s look at some of the most significant developments from the last week in the world of social media.

1. Meta, TikTok Report Jump In Malaysia Govt Requests to Remove Content In 2023

Data released by Meta and TikTok shows that the platforms restricted several social media posts and accounts in Malaysia in the first 6 months of 2023 amid a jump in government requests to remove content. Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who came to power in November 2022 on a reformist platform, has often been accused and criticized for backpedaling on the promises that his administration had made to safeguard freedom of speech.

2. X Shares New Data on its Efforts to Combat CSAM in the App

Amid ongoing concerns about the X’s revised content moderation approach, which has seen more offensive and harmful posts remain active in the app, the company is now seeking to clarify its efforts on one key area, which Elon Musk himself had made a priority. X’s latest update focuses on its efforts to stamp out child sexual abuse material (CSAM), which it claims to have significantly reduced through improved processes over the last 18 months. Third-party reports contradict this, but in raw numbers, X is seemingly doing a lot more to detect and address CSAM.

Third-party insights suggest that CSAM has become more widely accessible in the app under X’s new rules and processes. Back in February, The New York Times conducted a study to uncover the rate of accessibility of CSAM in the app. It found that content was easy to find.

3. Social Media Companies Made $11-Billion In U.S. Ad Revenue From Minors, Harvard Study Finds

Social media companies collectively made over US$11 billion in US advertising revenue from minors last year, according to a study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health published on Wednesday.

The researchers say the findings show a need for government regulation of social media since the companies that stand to make money from children who use their platforms have failed to meaningfully self-regulate. They note such regulations, as well as greater transparency from tech companies, could help alleviate harm to youth mental health and curtail potentially harmful advertising practices that target children and adolescents.

4. WhatsApp Web May Get a New Sidebar, Revamped Dark Mode And Option to Create Usernames

Earlier this year in October, WhatsApp was reportedly testing a new username feature that will make sharing phone numbers a thing of the past. However, the functionality was limited to a handful of users and was only available on the mobile version of the app.

Now, a recent report by WABetaInfo suggests the developers are working to extend the functionality to the web client as well. Similar to the desktop version, users will be able to modify their username anytime they want to. Currently, WhatsApp web shows the ‘Communities’, ‘Status’, ‘Channels’ and ‘New Chat’ buttons at the top left of the window, but the new sidebar will shift it to the left of the browser window so users can easily switch between various tabs.

5. Trade Group Sues Utah Over Strict New Limits On App Use For Minors

A trade group associated with Meta, TikTok, and X is fighting back against a Utah law forcing minors to obtain parental consent and abide by a strict curfew in order to access social media. Though lawmakers in Utah and many other states believe regulations like these are necessary to protect young users from online harms, a new lawsuit filed by NetChoice argues the laws go too far and violate First Amendment rights to free expression. 

Utah officially passed its Social Media Regulation Act back in March. The law, which is set to take effect March 1, 2024, is actually a combination of a pair of bills, SB152 and HB311. Combined, the bills prohibit minors from opening a new social media account without first receiving written parental consent. It also restricts minors from accessing social media between 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m., unless they receive permission from their parent or guardian. Tech platforms would be required to verify the age of their users. Failure to do so could result in a $2,500 fine per violation. 

Wrapping Up

And that was a wrap of this week’s Social Media Buzz. We’ll be back next week with more news and updates for you from the social media world. Till then, stay tuned!

If you want to read more on the latest developments taking place in the social media space, take a look at ClickInsights’ Social Media Buzz, wherein we bring to you monthly reports on everything going on in social media, ranging from platform updates to policy changes that influence the way we market.

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