Conflicting messages, TikTok bans and Meta faces the music

This week, the team discusses the commercialising of International Women’s Day and contentious social media moves.

Leading up to International Women’s Day, we saw a number of pieces in the media discussing competing and confusing themes of the day. The first, ‘Cracking the Code: Innovation for a gender equal future’, was created by UN Women Australia while the other, vaguer, message of ‘Embrace Equity’ came from a corporate entity that owns the domain. With women still fighting for equality on a number of fronts, the dissemination of divergent messaging for commercial gain is the last thing we need.   

In the world of social media, the Cambridge Analytica scandal continues — five years since the incident — with Australia’s High Court refusing to hear a challenge from Facebook. Australia’s privacy watchdog is seeking to prosecute Facebook for providing unlawful access to the personal data of almost 90 million Facebook users worldwide. While only 53 people logged into the online personality quiz deployed by Cambridge Analytica in Australia, the data of 300,000 other citizens was exposed.

Meanwhile, Tik Tok bans on government devices continue to roll out across the United States, Europe and Australia, due to concerns about data security and espionage. With some Australian experts arguing that the ban should extend to other social media apps, we’re wondering how the work of government MarComms teams will be impacted.

TikTok continues to move forward with user engagement strategies, with the launch of a reset feature which gives users the power to take charge of the content they are served. 

For younger users, however, the app is implementing one-hour time limits. Account holders under the age of 13 will require a parental password to use the app for more than 60 minutes per day, while those aged 13 to 17 can enter their own passcode. While the move to limit children’s screen time is positive, the potentially detrimental effects of social media on youth audiences require a more complex and multifaceted solution. 

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