It has been anything but a slow news week for social media. Both Facebook and Twitter are experimenting with user experience. Others – Reddit, Twitch and Imgur – are now officially research partners.
Confusing fiction with fact
Some Facebookers are apparently having a tough time differentiating real news from parodies. In particular, they have been flummoxed by articles from parody news site The Onion appearing in their newsfeed. Among the satirical articles that have duped people are ‘Congress Takes Group of School Children Hostage’ and ‘Conspiracy Theorist Convinces Neil Armstrong Moon Landing Was Faked’. Facebook has addressed this concern by testing a ‘satire’ tag inserted in front of links to parody articles in the related articles section of the newsfeed. That should hopefully make the intention of articles crystal clear.
Favorites turning into retweets
Twitter is at it again. The microblogging site is testing what at this point appears to be people’s patience by turning favorites into retweets. Users are now seeing tweets favorited by others in their timeline, and they’re not exactly happy with it. Another rather unnecessary component of the experiment is putting off users. They are now getting notifications when people follow someone new. Reports indicate that users have already taken to twitter to complain about the latest experiment.
The Digital Ecologies Research Partnership (DERP) is an initiative by social media and community websites, including Reddit, Twitch, Imgur, StackExchange and FARK to make public social data files accessible to academic researchers. The goal is to make it easier for researchers seeking to investigate the social dynamics of the web get data beyond the biggest sites like FB and Twitter, and help them conduct cross-platform analyses without restrictions. Researchers must submit their proposal with a research outline to access the community’s data.