Posts tagged with "Facebook"

Trump supporters flee to MeWe, Gab, and Rumble after Parler goes offline

January 13, 2021

Now that the account of @realDonaldTrump has been banned from Twitter—and both Apple and Google have dropped Parler from their app stores—supporters are flocking to the social media sites MeWe, Gab, and Rumble, Fortune reports.

Gab, a service that claims to champion free speech, said it added 600,000 new users over the weekend. Meanwhile, MeWe, a similar service, said it has added 400,000 users every day since Saturday and now has more than 14 million members.

The gains follow Sunday’s shut down of conservative social network Parler, which went offline after Amazon web hosting service dumped Parler as a customer because of violent posts and threats in wake of the Capitol riot. Shortly beforehand, both Apple and Google had banned Parler from their app stores.

Adding to the increased interest in alternative social media sites are bans by Twitter and Facebook on President Trump and other high-profile conservative personalities..

On Monday, Fortune notes, Facebook went to the additional step of removing content containing the phrase “stop the steal” in hopes of preventing future violence. The phrase is a popular rallying call of Trump supporters who falsely believe there was widespread fraud in the presidential election.

“It’s almost like the perfect storm,” MeWe CEO Mark Weinstein told the news outlet, adding, “The melting pot of people coming to MeWe are coming from all directions.”

Weinstein hammered home the point that his goal is to be “more vigilant” in moderating content on his service, and that he does not want to be an “anything goes” app—a thinly veiled swipe at Parler’s lax approach.

He said that MeWe has just shy of 100 content moderators who review posts on its service, and that they actually adhere to “strict” terms of service that includes the possibility that they’ll alert authorities about any concerning posts. But on Monday, several QAnon and “patriot” private groups could be found, one of which called Patriots Unleashed asked users if they were “armed and ready” before allowing them to join.

Weinstein acknowledged that some of MeWe’s user growth has been due to Parler shutting down. But he added that the app was growing prior to the election and riots. As a result, he said MeWe’s users have a wide array of political views, and are not just Trumpists.

“Those other guys, they’re opinion chambers,” he said about Parler and Gab. “We’re a social network.”

The rise of alternative social media services began late last year after Facebook and Twitter began labeling and removing more posts on their services for election misinformation. Conservatives considered the crackdown to be evidence of bias against them and President Trump.

For example, Rumble, a little-known YouTube rival, suddenly soared in popularity. Over the weekend, users downloaded its app 162,000 times— a nearly 10-fold gain from last weekend, Fortune says.

But Mark Shmulik, analyst at investment bank AB Bernstein, said he doesn’t expect the latest rise in popularity of MeWe and Gab to be long-lasting. “It’s a fad,” he said. “There will be a little niche, but it won’t disrupt what we’re seeing on Twitter.”

Shmulik said Twitter and Facebook, though growing slower, are far larger and also attract a more diverse set of users with a diverse set of thoughts. That’s what makes big social media companies more engaging than the upstarts, he added, which he described as the “equivalent to Trump rallies.”

“You can continue that, but at some point you have to reach the masses,” Shmulik said.

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

T-Riffic: Texas family aces pregnancy announcement with T-Rex themed photo

January 7, 2021

Nicole Berkley, of Aubrey, Texas, has loved dinosaurs since she was a child. And when she learned she was pregnant with her fifth child, the expectant mom wanted to stray from the usual “cute, generic” baby announcements, People magazine reports.

With that, one word came to Berkley’s mind: dinosaurs!

“My family, we’re all pretty big Jurassic World fans … We wanted to do something that was fun and fit with our personalities. So, I came up with the idea to do dinosaur costumes with our pregnancy announcement.”

Excited, Berkley ordered four child-size T-rex costumes on Amazon and two for adults. Although her family loves dinosaurs, Berkley says they took a bit of convincing before agreeing to participate in the unique shoot.

“I wanted it to be funny and so true to our personalities,” Berkley, age 28, told People. “But everybody in my family thought I was crazy — my husband included. “They were like, ‘We’re gonna get in costumes? It’s not Halloween.’ My kids thought I was nuts.”

Still, Berkley’s husband, 26-year-old Daniel, and their four children were “troopers.” she says. The family met with Susan Garrett (of Susan Garrett Photography) on September 21 and headed to Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano on a rainy Texas day; where they put on the costumes and posed with a sonogram of the new baby.

“People walking by were stopping and taking pictures and videos of us. It was a spectacle,” Berkley recalls. “The kids braved it and it was phenomenal. It was amazing and it turned out to be one of the funnest sessions ever. We had so much fun in these costumes.”

In the photos, the Berkleys are shown in their orange T-rex costumes, with the children’s faces poking out of the middle. Berkley and Daniel held the sonogram on a toy dinosaur egg.

She says it was fun watching her kids — Myleigh, 10, Montana, 6, Lane, 5, and 4-year-old Hannah — run around in the costumes.

Berkley recalls laughing at the photos with her family as soon as Garrett sent the finished product. The expecting mother couldn’t help but to share the photos on Facebook. The post quickly amassed hundreds of “likes” and shares.

“I was getting a lot of comments and a lot of shares from people I didn’t know so I, kind of, had an idea it was going a bit viral locally,” she explained to People. “But I never expected for it to become a national thing! I’m a little overwhelmed with how much positive feedback I’ve gotten.”

Research contact: @people

What a hoot! Tiny owl is rescued from boughs of Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in NYC

November 20, 2020

A tiny owl has become New York City’s Christmas miracle: The northern saw-whet owl—one of the smallest in North America—had stowed away in the boughs of a 75-foot Norway spruce that was trucked 170 miles from the upstate town of Oneonta to New York City to become this year’s Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, The New York Daily News reports.

He was found when the tree was unwrapped—and promptly captured the hearts of both the workers and pandemic-worn New Yorkers who were on the scene. But they immediately knew he should be brought back home. This was not a city bird.

That’s when  the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties, New York, was called into action. “Yesterday morning, I received a phone call from someone who asked if we take in owls for rehabilitation,” wrote the rehab center’s Director and Founder Ellen Kalish on Facebook Tuesday, November 16.

“I replied, ‘yes we do.’ There was silence for a moment and then she said ‘OK, I’ll call back when my husband comes home, he’s got the baby owl in a box tucked in for the long ride,’” she wrote.

The female caller’s husband worked for the company that transported the world-famous tree to Manhattan, and realized the feathered fowl had carpooled to the city from the tree’s home in Oneonta.

Kalish and the woman met up about half an hour south of the rehab facility to transfer the bird. After a few days of feast and drink at the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center, the owl—now aptly named “Rockefeller,” according to the Daily News’ report—will be released to the wintery wild.

“So far so good, his eyes are bright and seems relatively in good condition with all he’s been through. Once he checks in with the vet and gets a clean bill of health, he’ll be released to continue on his wild and wonderful journey,” Kalish wrote.

Research contact: @NYDailyNews

Photo finish: 33% of us are guilty of doing this to our exes, research shows

November 19, 2020

It’s human nature to want to rid yourself of any reminders of your ex after he or she is out of the picture. The thought of seeing you and your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend smiling in a picture together is often too much to bear. So, you take their photos down from your wall, donate the old sweatshirt they left in your drawer—and if you’re like many people, you delete any evidence of them from your social media profiles, as well, Best Life reports.

Dating app Plenty of Fish has just released its annual list of dating trends—and points out that this phenomenon is fairly common among daters, with more than one-third of people copping to it. In fact, there’s a word for it: sanitizing, which Plenty of Fish describes as “the act of wiping your social media of all photographic evidence of a past relationship.”

There are many reasons you may feel compelled to delete all traces of your ex from social media—and the following may be among them:

  • It helps you avoid those “Where’s your better half?” questions. If you want to avoid getting asked where your partner is all the time, deleting him or her from your social media can be a good way to send the message to others that you two are no longer together.
  • After a breakup, you enter a new chapter of your life, and with that shift, you may want to reinvent yourself a bit. Relationship expert and matchmaker Rori Sassoon tells Best Life that people are eager to “redo, restart, and reinvent themselves” after a relationship ends. “Once you break up, it’s not about the relationship anymore; it’s about you and your next chapter in life, which doesn’t include that other person.”
  • It’s cathartic. If you were in a toxic or abusive relationship, you’ll likely want to remove anything that will remind you of that experience. Indeed, deleting these images could even be therapeutic. Pressing ‘delete  on photo after photo, many of which are associated with painful memories, can feel cathartic and help you move on.
  • It helps you gain closure. Catching a glimpse of your ex every time you open an app could make it harder for you to move forward. Removing those photos allows you a symbolic fresh start. “Closure is an important part of the healing process to allow the person to move on,” marriage counselor Wyatt Fisher tells Best Life. “Part of what helps with closure is removing everything that reminds you of your ex, including all pictures of him or her on social media.”
  • It signals that you’re single and ready to mingle. If your Instagram is inundated with photos of you and your ex, it may impede on your ability to get back out there when you’re ready. Some people sanitize to make it clear on their profile that they’re single.

Research contact: @bestlife

Rocking the pandemic: Texas nature path becomes a wonderland of tiny stone paintings

November  18, 2020

Chris Penny figures that his mail carrier must have spectacular biceps by now. Most every day for the past seven months, when the carrier arrives at Penny’s home in Grapevine, Texas, he unloads a few heavy bins and hauls them, one by one, up the driveway to Penny’s front porch.

The boxes are filled with packages containing painted rocks—most of them intricate works of art, handmade and mailed from people all over the country, The Washington Post reports.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, people have been sending them to Penny so that he and his family can place them along the Parr Park Rock Art Traila mile-long public walking path that has become a wonderland of more than 4,000 art rocks.

“These aren’t just any rocks;

Above, a wagon loaded with new rocks to be displayed along the rock trail. (Photo source Chris Penny)

they’re works of art,” said Penny, 44. “The other day, I had 11 big boxes to unpack in my living room. It’s incredible to see that people from all over are now painting rocks to turn my community into a trail of happiness.”

The rocks—painted to resemble everything from the Beatles to Mickey Mouse to a face mask—started arriving at Penny’s house ever since he bought a bunch on eBay after noticing a dozen painted rocks scattered along a nature trail in Parr Park. Penny said he knew right away that he wanted to flood the trail with them and make it a destination.

Penny learned that the colorful rocks he’d stumbled upon were painted by Ron Olsen and his three grown children in March, after Olsen returned from a trip to Iceland and discovered that Grapevine, a city of around 46,000 people, had practically become a ghost town due to the nationwide coronavirus shutdown.

Olsen said he wanted to do something for the community, so he gathered his family together on March 28 to paint a few rocks—including one covered with blue bonnet flowers and another decorated with balloons—and scatter them along his favorite trail in Parr Park.

Soon, he and Penny decided to join forces to transform the trail into an artsy attraction for anyone in Grapevine and beyond who wanted to escape the stress of COVID-19 for a while.

“We wanted to make it a getaway for people and give parents something safe to do outdoors with their children,” Olsen, 62, who works in Grapevine as a photographer and RV dealer, told the Post.

“Anyone can paint a rock,” he said. “And if you put hundreds and hundreds of them together, it really adds up to something amazing.”

Penny, who runs the nonprofit Broken Crayon, focused on helping women and children living in poverty in the United States and Ghana, said the project has provided his family with something fun and positive to do close to home during the pandemic.

In the early days in March, after he’d painted several dozen rocks with his daughters and bought dozens more online, Penny posted on Facebook, asking anyone who would like to contribute to the project to mail him their rocks and he’d pay for the shipping.

“I thought that a few people might want to pitch in, but I was stunned when I went to get my mail one day and found tons of rocks on the porch,” he said. “Pretty soon, we were the talk of the post office.”

For Lissa Critz, who visits the park regularly with her two children, told the post that the rock trail has provided some much-needed diversion from home schooling in Grapevine.

“It’s become like a game when we go to the park to locate all of the new rocks,” said Critz, 41. “The rocks are so well done and so much time and care has been put into the project. We love it.”

There are sections devoted to wildlife, teachers, health-care heroes, firefighters, Disney princesses, patriotism, movie stars, video games and travel, said Olsen, who visits the trail several days a week to photograph all of the new rocks and post them on the park’s Facebook page.

“Of course, we have a rock ‘n’ roll hall of fame, and we also have a dog park,” said Olsen, adding that they have cat rocks but they haven’t yet made a “cat park.”

“I guess we’d better get busy on that,” he added.

 

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Facebook joke about putting an Elf on the Shelf into quarantine goes viral: ‘Brilliant’

November 13, 2020

Parenting during the pandemic is no easy feat, so many adults are adopting an hilarious idea for checking one time-consuming chore off their holiday to-do lists: They are sending the Elf on the Shelf into quarantine.

The popular Christmas toy—which parents secretly rotate around the house in the days before December 25—comes with a book instructing little ones to be on their best behavior during the Christmas season, as the elf is “watching” to report back to Santa Claus.

According to a report by Fox News, although youngsters seem to love the tradition, parents say that shifting the elf around every day eventually becomes a hassle—inspiring a practical hack to make life easier and maintain the Christmas magic this year.

“ELF ON THE SHELF will need to quarantine for 14 days after his trip from the North Pole!” Facebook user Hilary Soria recently joked, sharing a photo the elf doll wearing a face mask in a snow globe-like mason jar. The toy was armed to fight COVID-19 with miniature bottles of hand sanitizer and Lysol.

“This should help you mamas!!” Soria said, and others seemed to agree: The post has been celebrated with over 373,000 shares and 12,000 comments.

“Definitely using this one,” one said of the advice.

“I’m very tempted to do this” another echoed.

“Brilliant, I thought maybe he wouldn’t be allowed to leave the North Pole this year,” one teased.

Elf on the Shelf co-founder Chanda Bell told Fox Business last year that over 13 million “Elf on the Shelf” products had been sold to date, tapping a target market of “true believers” who are anywhere from age 2 to 11 years old.

Research contact: @FoxNews

 

‘Tressing’ for success: 2020 Kids Mullet Championships winner crowned

November 11, 2020

With business in the front and party in the back, the results of this election are something we can all agree on. The Kids Mullet Championships has crowned an inaugural winner, announcing that an eight-year-old boy from Texas has the most marvelous mane among the pint-sized competitors, Fox News reports.

Jax recently first prize among babies and boys (ranging in age from one to 14) for his classic “Curly Mullet” tresses, the USA Mullet Championships noted. The contest went viral in September—with over 20,000 votes and 50,000 social media reactions across Facebook and Instagram.

With his victory, the young Texan won a $500 cash prize and gift card package to businesses in Fenton, Michigan, where the contest is headquartered. Second-place winner Noah, 12, from Illinois, and third-place winner Jude, 7, from Colorado, each will receive smaller bundles of cash and some swag, too.

Kevin Begola, president of the USA Mullet Championships, speculated that Texas voters went wild for the third grader’s toothy grin—pushing him to first place on the podium.

“Jax is the man! He is a little guy that has 100% accepted the mullet lifestyle and was rocking the hairstyle well before we did this contest,” Begola told Fox News on Tuesday. “His smile and missing teeth might have put him over the edge.”

Although he’s cool with his overnight fame, Jax endearingly can’t sign autographs “because he doesn’t know cursive yet,” the organizer added.

The USA Mullet Championships began with an adult competition earlier this year, and the kids edition followed soon after. According to Begola, “This contest was just what 2020 needed! It was fun and brought back a lot of memories for people who lived through the ’80s,” he explained. “Life has been pretty hectic around the world for most people this year and the mullet lifestyle really makes people smile.

“When many states shut down, it only meant that haircuts were not happening and we figured it would be a great time to compete for the best mullets in all the land!”

Research contact: @FoxNews

And this little piggy is photogenic

September 21, 2020

A newborn piglet “hogged the camera” recently—and the resulting photos are being greeted with oohs and aahhs all over social media.

Oklahoma-based photographer Cashlie White, who typically takes photos of families, newborns and weddings, photographed the piglet—who is named Dynamite and is just a wee bit over two weeks old.

“I usually don’t do pictures of pigs,” White told ABC-TV’s Good Morning America, noting this was her first pig photoshoot.

The 34-year-old photographer and mom of two said she got the idea to do a newborn piglet photoshoot after seeing a photo of Dynamite shared by her friend, Connie Hamilton. Hamilton breeds pigs like Dynamite for competitions.

White said taking photos of the piglet was just like taking photos of a newborn baby.

“She got a bath before the shoot and I used all of my newborn ‘shoosh-ing’ and swaddling tricks, just like a reg

Photo source: Cashlie Joy Photography

ular newborn session and she went to sleep in my arms!” White wrote on Facebook. “We kept her warm and the room quiet and she was OUT and in Hog Heaven! After the shoot she woke up and was on the run back to momma!”

“With any newborn session, I have a small little space heater … kind of just keep them warm and cozy. And that’s what I did with the pig,” White said.

White shared the photos on the Cashlie Joy Photography Facebook page and said she didn’t expect to receive such a positive reaction.

White said she hopes to keep spreading smiles with more photos of baby animals soon.

Research contact: @GMA

The meaning behind the #FilterDrop campaign you’re seeing on Instagram

September 9, 2020

While “authenticity” is highly valued these days, you wouldn’t know it by looking at social media: Just as many women wouldn’t leave the house without some form of makeup, many Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter users wouldn’t post a selfie without a filter.

In the age of image-altering apps like Facetune and seemingly flawless influencers, many would likely admit to being filter-dependent. In fact, according to a survey results posted by Bustle, fully one-third (33%) of girls and young women will not post selfies online without using a filter. 

The findings, published by the UK-based charity Girlguiding, highlighted that two out of five of the young women (40%) surveyed “feel upset” that they can’t look like the way they do online.

Between influencer culture and social media ads and posts, more than half of the girls said they have seen ads that have made them “feel pressured to look different”—and this figure is higher for girls who identify as LGBTQ.

The findings also revealed girls from Black, Asian, and minority backgrounds are “more likely” than their white peers not to use social media “because of fear of criticism of their bodies.”

As part of their 2020 survey, which spoke to more than 2,000 young women aged 11-21, Bustle reports that Girlguiding is calling out the apps, filters, and online adverts that “knock girls’ confidence.”

In reaction, a new #FilterDrop campaign has emerged online—but what is it and how is it helping?

UK-based model and make-up artist Sasha Louise Pallari launched the #FilterDrop campaign after noticing influencers “advertising a makeup brand with a beautifying filter on.” Taking to Instagram, the 28-year-old claims “false advertising” in this way is contributing to low self-esteem.

“I so strongly wish you would realize the vast scale of damage the constant use of filters are,” she wrote in the caption. “Flawless, poreless, scarless, wrinkle-less skin does not exist and it’s only because of the overuse of these [filters] we believe it does.”

In a video posted to her Instagram page, the model showcased how drastically different filters can make you look. In the clip, she’s seen heavily filtered and with her “normal skin.”

And, following the response to her filter-free images, Pallari has since devoted her Instagram page to normalizing skin blemishes on the app, as well as exposing the deceptive nature of filters.

She writes in another post: “Please think about what using filters all the time is doing to our already damaged society. A LOT of money is made from us not feeling good enough. So let this be a reminder that your pores, wrinkles and the texture on your skin are beautiful, yet still the least interesting things about you.”

The model also questioned the lasting damage filters could have on children who may base their self-worth on “how beautiful they are” and “the filter they need in order to even be beautiful.”

It’s a legitimate concern.

People seem to be watching. The #FilterDrop campaign page on Instagram now shows hundreds of photos of people ditching the filter and sharing what they really look like. Here’s hoping for a more unfiltered reality.

Research contact: @bustle

Facebook, Twitter move to suppress Trump posts about trying to vote twice

September 7, 2020

Facebook and Twitter have moved to limit President Donald Trump’s posts encouraging Americans to vote in person, as well as by mail—saying that his messaging violates their policies, Fox Business reports.

Facebook said it would remove videos of Trump’s remarks, if the users who post them do not provide context; or if they appear to support the message. A spokesperson told Politico that the video “violates our policies prohibiting voter fraud” and that the content will be taken down “unless it is shared to correct the record.”

Voting twice constitutes a felony in every state nationwide. In the video, Fox Business reported, Trump said that voting both way would not be a problem, if there are proper safeguards in place to prevent fraud. He claimed that if the system is working properly and a person’s mail-in vote had been processed already, poll workers would be aware of this when a voter tried to cast a ballot in person.

“And if their system is as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote,” Trump said. “If it isn’t tabulated, they will be able to vote.”

Trump reiterated the message Thursday, September 3 in a Twitter thread, but Twitter added a  “public interest notice” on two of the tweets, limiting how widely they could be shared.

Twitter users may “quote tweet” the messages, but may not not “like,” “reply,” or “retweet” them, the company said.

“To protect people on Twitter, we err on the side of limiting the circulation of Tweets which advise people to take actions which could be illegal in the context of voting or result in the invalidation of their votes,” Twitter wrote.

“Per our policies, this Tweet will remain on the service given its relevance to ongoing public conversation,” the company said. “Engagements with the Tweet will be limited.”

Also Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a slate of new policies to fight voter misinformation–including cutting off new political ads a week before Election Day and limiting forwarding on Facebook’s Messenger app.

Advertisers still will be able to run political ads in the week before the election, but Facebook will not green-light new political or issue ads in the week leading up to Election Day.

Research contact: @FoxBusiness