I normally try to avoid talking too much about the politically charged side of social media. Especially since things tend to be more on an international or US level and therefore, arguably, less relevant to the UK based small business owners who we work with.
But this week there have been some shenanigans going on that really are worth taking note of! Mostly because they've raised questions on what might be coming next from a social perspective.
Twitter got hacked BIG TIME!
Did you see it? On Wednesday 15th July 2020 some of the biggest profiles on Twitter started to tweet how, if you purchased Cryptocurrency, you'd be rewarded. We're talking accounts like Jeff Bezos and Apple! How and why did it happen? An employee was tricked into giving the hackers access to internal systems. It's been reported over $113,000 of BitCoin were purchased as part of the attack.
The hack was identified and resolved within a short space of time – but it's still being covered and there are still screenshots of the tweets flying around despite the tweets having been deleted.
The hackers were able to access the Twitter accounts and change email addresses before removing 2FA from the accounts. These accounts were secure, but cyber crime is now at a level that means we're not just trying to defend ourselves against a password being hacked. It's so much deeper than that!
A very good friend of ours, Francis West, posted on LinkedIn explaining how the attack happened – please watch this (click on the image below). If Twitter can fall foul then so can many of us!
TikTok Banned in India – is the US next?
Yes – we all think TikTok is for kids. But, if you wind back two or three years we also all said the same thing about Instagram! Whatever your thoughts and feelings on TikTok, I urge you to take a look at the format of this content and consider how you can use it within your business.
A few weeks ago I joined a live stream with Spencer Lodge, where I was asked what I thought about TikTok. To summarise, I suggested that we should keep a close eye on it because we'll find ourselves in a situation where it is either acquired by Facebook or the social media giant re-engineers the platform. At that time I don't think I'd heard anything about Reels, the Facebook equivalent. Fast forward to today and Reels has been mentioned in the social media news I consume on a daily basis!
TikTok is owned by a company in China and there are a mass of privacy concerns around the platform that lead back to the Chinese government being able to glean information on other countries via the App. I don't want to delve into that here; if you're interested I'll let you do your own research! However, it's important you have that information for what I'm going to explain next…
Because of those privacy concerns, India banned over 50 Chinese apps including TikTok at the beginning of July. There is an India-based alternative to the platform called Chingari, and within a day of the ban, Chingari boasted over 1 million downloads. Articles published a week after the TkTok ban report downloads of Chingari reaching 10 Million. Following this, Facebook acted quickly and accelerated their work on Reels, before releasing it in India.
This week, the US is now considering a ban on TikTok. There's been much speculation on whether this would be possible or not, and if it goes ahead whether the trend of banning the app would be followed in other Western countries including the UK. I can't comment on that, but again, Facebook has seized the opportunity and has announced the release of Reels in the US in August 2020. Once that happens, I really don't think it will be long before we see it in the App store here either.
When and/or whether Reels is released here in the UK, I'm sure we'll see the familiar pattern of movement in usership and demographics. The kids jump on to the new shiny platform and the adults/parents follow in order to keep tabs on them. The marketers see the shift that's about to happen and essentially get there before the adults do, and (if they embrace the platform) become early adopters. This is the stage in the lifetime of a social media channel when organic reach is at it's best – right before it starts to monetise via the introduction of adverts!
When we consider the Facebook Family of Apps, we know that cross-posting and easy integrations are prioritised, so it makes even more sense today than it did a few weeks ago that we'll see more and more TikTok-like features appearing in Facebook and Instagram.
I implore you to look beyond the dance challenges and practical joke videos on TikTok and consider how you can use the platform to create content that will allow you to stand out from the crowd. The TikTok format is coming to our feeds and we need to be ready for it!