With most of us stuck at home on the sofa in 2020, it was a boom time for social media. Some people used it to connect with friends, family and coworkers during the long, forced seclusion. Many others saw it as a safe haven, a place to turn to for entertainment and diversion—giving rise to a new generation of young celebrities, who climbed to fame as TikTok demanded more and more of our screen time.
Here are our picks for the people, companies and trends that defined social media in the last year.
Best Product: Cameo
What do Floyd Mayweather, Tiger King star Carole Baskin and YouTuber LA Beast have in common? They’re all for hire on Cameo, the web-based business that allows you to commission videos from celebrities—perhaps to wish someone a happy birthday or to congratulate them on a promotion. Over the last 12 months, users bought 1.2 million Cameos, triple the amount commissioned in all of the company’s prior four-year history, while the average price of a video rose 60%, to $80. For customers, Cameos are an opportunity to send a personalized gift without leaving home. For celebrities, they’re a new revenue stream, an opportunity to stave off their own lockdown boredom and a chance to stay relevant with fans—especially since well-made Cameos often go viral on social media. “My mom loves Kenny G more than any artist, and he made her a birthday Cameo,” says company cofounder Steven Galanis. When Mama Galanis received the video, she posted it on Facebook. “It’s the most engaged post she’s ever had,” Steven Galanis says.
Most Intriguing Newcomer: Clubhouse
Shortly after bars, professional clubs and conference centers went dark, Clubhouse launched in April. The invite-only, audio-based social network seemed to offer a dream version of a cocktail party: hop between different group conversations in which anyone could participate while the guest list stayed ultra-exclusive. To accomplish the latter, Clubhouse at first limited its user base to celebrities (Oprah, Chris Rock, Ashton Kutcher) and the corporate elite (Jeffrey Katzenberg, Mark Cuban, Marc Andreessen). Its overnight popularity sparked a bidding war among VC firms ready to finance it, and it snagged a $100 million valuation in an Andreessen Horowitz-led round in May. Clubhouse remains invite only—and dogged by criticism that it should do more to moderate its users and heed complaints about racist and sexist comments made on its app.
Disruptive Innovator: TikTok
Yeah, this one’s not really much of a competition. The video social network has ballooned from 55 million users worldwide in 2018 to 690 million this year. As a result, the app has become the center of internet culture, where video-based memes featuring snippets of songs, physical stunts and choreographed dances are endlessly remixed. TikTok’s short clips are often shot casually in a living room or bedroom, far different from Instagram’s glossy, curated photos and YouTube’s much-lengthier videos. “It’s really lowered the bar for creation,” further fueling TikTok’s popularity, explains Brianne Kimmel, a venture capitalist focused on consumer tech and social media. There’s no greater sign of profound disruption than the race to copy it: In the past year, Instagram rolled out its short-form Reels videos, and Snap is paying $1 million a day to encourage its users to publish content to a public feed similar to the one TikTok has.
Outstanding Firm: Discord
“You’re going to make mistakes,” Discord cofounder Jason Citron admitted in a Forbes interview in June. “As long as it doesn’t kill you, you learn from it.” He and cofounder Stan Vishnevskiy certainly seem to have learned from theirs. Their chat app was once most famous as the tool used by white supremacists to plan the deadly 2017 Charlottesville protests. It’s since become a widely popular voice- and video-chat platform used by everyone from students and teachers contending with remote learning to Black Lives Matter protesters. In June, Discord raised $100 million in funding that placed a $3.5 billion price tag on the firm. With its popularity continuing to climb in lockdown, the company raised another $100 million in December that roughly doubled its valuation in a year.
Annus Horribilis: President Trump
In 2020, President Trump declared war on social media. He probably would’ve had better luck maneuvering elephants over the Alps.
Most prominently, the president tried—unsuccessfully—to get Chinese-owned TikTok to sell itself to a U.S. company in a matter of weeks. And then there was his equally unsuccessful campaign to get Congress to repeal Section 230, the key federal legislation offering broad legal protection to social media firms and other internet companies. While there is significant bipartisan support for altering the law, most lawmakers disagree with Trump’s sledgehammer approach, and as with many things, President-elect Biden seems more likely to accomplish meaningful reform. “With a more clear and coherent approach from the executive branch, I think it will give more space for the consensus in Congress to grow,” says Graham Brookie, director of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab.
Forbes Forecast: Some of the TikTokers will grow up
They may be newly famous online, but many TikTok stars need a dose of reality. “Influencers think pretty short term,” says Tiffany Zhong, 24, publisher of a widely read annual report on social media trends and cofounder of Zebra IQ, an app that helps influencers build their online fanbases. “A lot of them need to learn to think longer term.” The savviest TikTokers will begin to focus less on fee-based brand deals than on equity stakes—either in businesses they start themselves or in established brands—following the same route to riches that older, traditional stars have blazed for them.
Some TikTokers are already thinking along these lines. In December, Charli D’Amelio, 16, signed on as both a public face of and an investor in fintech startup Step. And fellow star Josh Richards, 18, has made similar deals—in companies like LendTable, another fintech startup—plus embraced a new role as a full-fledged venture partner at Boston-based Remus Capital. The gig at Remus “was a way for me to get a lot of experience in the world of venture funds. And as a Gen Z myself, it allows them to get a lot of insight into what the next generation wants,” Richards says. “I just want to be able to learn and take in as much as I can—before I start my own fund.”
And drumroll, please …
The Forbes Person Of The Year In Social Media: Charli D’Amelio
No one better personifies the explosion of TikTok than Charli. Eighteen months ago, she was an anonymous Connecticut teenager. Today, she’s the most-followed person on TikTok, recently surpassing 100 million followers, a threshold few celebrities have crossed on any app. “Charli hitting 100 million—it’s insane,” says Jacob Pace, a fellow influencer who runs a popular TikTok channel, @FlightHouse, featuring interviews and music videos with top celebs like Charli. Her following is a pretty telling sign that “TikTok got a lot more attention this year and got a lot more mainstream,” Pace says. Those fans can’t get enough of Charli’s dance moves—or her chronicles of life with her family and fellow TikTok star sister Dixie. She’s appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, documented Paris Fashion Week as an official Prada guest and struck several lucrative corporate sponsorships with brands such as Morphe cosmetics, Sabra hummus and Hollister clothing. Next up: a Kardashian-esque reality show on Hulu due out next year about the D’Amelio clan.
We handed out these 2020 Forbes Social Media Awards after spending way too much time on TikTok and Twitter—and after some important consultations with venture capitalist Brianne Kimmel, founder of Work Life Ventures; Tiffany Zhong, a former Under 30 honoree and cofounder of Zebra IQ, an app that influencers use to build out their online fanbases; and Jacob Pace, the founder of FlightHouse, which runs both a popular TikTok account and a digital marketing consultancy.
Blocked from social media, extremists discuss turning to radios to plan attacks, FCC warns – CTV News
The U.S. government is warning that groups could rely on radio equipment as an alternative to social media to plan future criminal activities.
In a stark warning Sunday, the Federal Communications Commission’s enforcement bureau said people coordinating or conducting criminal activity over radio waves are breaking the law.
“The Bureau has become aware of discussions on social media platforms suggesting that certain radio services regulated by the Commission may be an alternative to social media platforms for groups to communicate and coordinate future activities,” the FCC said in its warning Sunday. “Individuals using radios in the Amateur or Personal Radio Services in this manner may be subject to severe penalties, including significant fines, seizure of the offending equipment, and, in some cases, criminal prosecution.”
The FCC licenses certain signals for people to broadcast over radio waves. Those messages are generally protected by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. But the FCC reminded radio licensees and operators that it is prohibited to transmit “communications intended to facilitate a criminal act.” People are also not allowed to encode their messages to obscure their meaning from law enforcement.
The laws governing airwaves apply to amateurs broadcasting with personal ham radios, which can reach long distances. But they also apply to people using Citizens Band (CB) radios commonly used for communication between truckers — or even walkie-talkies.
In the wake of the January 6 Capitol riots, Facebook, Twitter and other mainstream social networks have become more vigilant about policing people who use their platforms to plan or incite attacks. They have booted off several high-profile radicals and thousands of groups and users who the platforms say engage in harmful conspiracy theories and other violence or hate speech.
Similarly, Amazon, Apple and Google effectively took Parler off the internet. Parler, the alternative social network popular with conservatives, had been surging in popularity in recent months. But the platform failed to rein in hate-filled, violent speech, Big Tech companies allege. Amazon, Apple and Google said that unmoderated speech could lead to another violent attack.
In response, Parler sued Amazon last week, alleging an antitrust violation, breach of contract and interference with the company’s business relationships with users. The complaint calls Amazon Web Services’ decision a “death blow” to Parler.
“Without AWS, Parler is finished as it has no way to get online,” the complaint said. “And a delay of granting this TRO by even one day could also sound Parler’s death knell as President Trump and others move on to other platforms.”
Amazon said that Parler’s lawsuit has “no merit.”
Chinese and Malaysian Media and Think Tanks Discuss Sci-Tech Cooperation to Empower the Future – Canada NewsWire
BEIJING, Jan. 18, 2021 /CNW/ — A report from Science and Technology Daily | IUSTC:
Sponsored by China International Publishing Group, Malaysia-China Friendship Association and Science and Technology Daily, and organized by China Report Press, the “Technology Empowering the Future: China-Malaysia Think Tank and Media Cooperation Forum” was held on January 15, 2021.
Representatives from Chinese and Malaysian media, think tanks and sci-tech enterprises conducted in-depth discussions on “Empowering the Future through Technology—New Prospects for Digital Cooperation between Think Media in the 5G Era”.
Chen Shi, the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of CIPG and President of China Report Press, indicated that the “fourth industrial revolution” represented by 5G and other digital technologies had provided a new approach to resolving and responding to global development issues and challenges. Currently, sci-tech cooperation has been an international trend. In face of complicated and changeable forms of international communication, the digital collaboration between Chinese and Malaysian think tanks and media possesses broad prospects. Both parties should actively integrate into the global innovation network and promote scientific and technological development through open cooperation.
“Technology, which is the theme of our deliberation today, is another emerging sector of our bilateral cooperation and this includes the cooperation on 5G…Our two countries have extended cooperation, support and assistance to each other to mitigate the effects of this pandemic,” said Dato’ Abdul Majid Ahmad Khan, President of Malaysia-China Friendship Association. He expressed that under the influence of the epidemic, Malaysia is accelerating emerging technologies in the industry and advancing its national digital strategy. “It is said that digital transformation is like a machine with data as its fuel and 5G as its digital fabric…5G will change the landscape of media and entertainment in the next decade.” In his view, China’s experience in the application of advanced new technologies such as short video, live streaming sales, online games, and other forms of entertainment tactics have yielded great results during the crisis. These experiences have also made important reference value to Malaysia. He expected the media and think tanks of China and Malaysia to strengthen digital cooperation in the 5G era.
Fang Hanting, Vice President of Science and Technology Daily, expressed his views on the forum. He claimed that it is of great significance for China and Malaysia to discuss the prospects of smart media digital cooperation in the 5G era. 5G is an epoch-making information transmission and connection technology, which has affected the development of the entire media industry, especially the intellectualized media industry. In the era of intellectualized media, 5G technology will accelerate the data-driven, intelligent connection and think tank of media, promote the construction of scene-oriented immersion, pan-centralization and ecological construction of media, provide a powerful supporting force for the innovation and development of the media industry, and enhance the reconstruction of everything as a medium in many aspects. China and Malaysia should seize the opportunity and jointly explore new prospects for think tank media cooperation.
During the forum discussion, representatives from several media and enterprises conducted discussions on three topics: “Application of Digital Technology in the Field of International Communication“, “Media Development Trends in the 5G Era” and “Media Think Tanks Promoting China-Malaysia Technical Cooperation”.
After discussion, it is widely thought that digital technologies such as 5G are reconstructing the industrial structure of science and Technology and leading media industry changes. Media, think tanks, and technology enterprises of China and Malaysia should seize opportunities for cooperation, strengthen cooperation and exchanges, promote the construction of digital information platforms and the cooperation of digital information, and enhance media integration to expand media influences, thus bringing practical collaboration between the two countries.
SOURCE Science and Technology Daily | IUSTC
Sunday January 17th 2021 Media Release – Brandon Police Service – Brandon Police Service
Media Release for January 17th
Theft of Vehicle
Police received a report that a vehicle that had been left running was stolen from the 200 block of 10th Street at approximately 7:00PM January 16th. Police located the vehicle on Victoria Avenue a short time later. When police attempted to stop the vehicle it fled and a short pursuit was initiated. The vehicle ended up in the ditch on Hwy 1 west off Brandon and while police were attempting to make an arrest, the vehicle intentionally collided with a police vehicle and fled eastbound on Hwy 1. The stolen vehicle was later recovered by the RCMP abandoned in a field in the area of Minnedosa. No Police Officers were injured during this incident.
Theft of Vehicle
A vehicle was reported stolen from a driveway in the south part of the city. The Ford truck had been left with the keys inside the vehicle and unlocked. The vehicle was recovered with the assistance of an App the owner had installed that located the vehicle in the 000block of 26th Street.
A 43-year-old Brandon Male has been charged for assaulting a member of Brandon Fire and Emergency Services. First responders were treating the male who was reported to be having breathing difficulties when he became disruptive and began intentionally coughing on BFES members and proclaiming that he was COVID positive. Police took the male to hospital for treatment of his medical issues. He has been released from police custody to appear in court March 1st 2021.
Anyone with information on any unsolved crime is asked to call Brandon Crime Stoppers at 204-727-(TIPS) 8477, www.brandoncrimestoppers.com or by texting BCSTIP and your message to CRIMES (274637). Crime Stoppers pays up to $2000.00 cash for information that leads to the solution of a crime.
CRIME STOPPERS 204-727-TIPS
RELEASE AUTHORIZED BY:
Sgt. B. Verhelst #106
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