Category Archives: Social Media/Networking

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation and Visualizing Impact, 2016 is a project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Visualizing Impact. It was founded in 2012 by Ramzi Jaber and Jillian C. York, both of whom had begun to notice posts disappearing from their friends’ Facebook pages. seeks to encourage social media companies to operate with greater transparency and accountability toward their users as they make decisions that regulate speech. We’re collecting reports from users in an effort to shine a light on what content is taken down, why companies make certain decisions about content, and how content takedowns are affecting communities of users around the world.
Unfriending Censorship: Insights from four months of crowdsourced data on social media censorship
Source: Jessica Anderson, Matthew Stender, Sarah Myers West, and Jillian C. York,, March 2016

From the summary:
The report draws on data gathered directly from users between November 2015 and March 2016.

We asked users to send us reports when they had their content or accounts taken down on six social media platforms: Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. We have aggregated and analyzed the collected data across geography, platform, content type, and issue areas to highlight trends in social media censorship. All the information presented here is anonymized, with the exception of case study examples we obtained with prior approval by the user.

Here are some of the highlights:
– This report covers 161 submissions from 26 countries, regarding content in eleven languages.
– Facebook was the most frequently reported platform, and account suspensions were the most reported content type.
– Nudity and false identity were the most frequent reasons given to users for the removal of their content.
– Appeals seem to present a particular challenge. A majority of users (53%) did not appeal the takedown of their content, 50% of whom said they didn’t know how and 41.9% of whom said they didn’t expect a response. In only four cases was content restored, while in 50 the user didn’t get a response.
– We received widespread reports that flagging is being used for censorship: 61.6% believed this was the cause of the content takedown.

Beyond the hashtags: #Ferguson, #Blacklivesmatter, and the online struggle for offline justice

Source: Deen Freelon, Charlton D. McIlwain, and Meredith D. Clark, Center for Media & Social Impact, February 2016

From the summary:
IN 2014, A DEDICATED ACTIVIST MOVEMENT—Black Lives Matter (BLM)—ignited an urgent national conversation about police killings of unarmed Black citizens. Online tools have been anecdotally credited as critical in this effort, but researchers are only beginning to evaluate this claim. This research report examines the movement’s uses of online media in 2014 and 2015. To do so, we analyze three types of data: 40.8 million tweets, over 100,000 web links, and 40 interviews of BLM activists and allies. Most of the report is devoted to detailing our findings, which include:
» Although the #Blacklivesmatter hashtag was created in July 2013, it was rarely used through the summer of 2014 and did not come to signify a movement until the months after the Ferguson protests.
» Social media posts by activists were essential in initially spreading Michael Brown’s story nationally.
» Protesters and their supporters were generally able to circulate their own narratives without relying on mainstream news outlets.
» There are six major communities that consistently discussed police brutality on Twitter in 2014 and 2015: Black Lives Matter, Anonymous/Bipartisan Report, Black Entertainers, Conservatives, Mainstream News, and Young Black Twitter.
» The vast majority of the communities we observed supported justice for the victims and decisively denounced police brutality.
» Black youth discussed police brutality frequently, but in ways that differed substantially from how activists discussed it.
» Evidence that activists succeeded in educating casual observers came in two main forms: expressions of awe and disbelief at the violent police reactions to the Ferguson protests, and conservative admissions of police brutality in the Eric Garner and Walter Scott cases.
» The primary goals of social media use among our interviewees were education, amplification of marginalized voices, and structural police reform.

In our concluding section, we reflect on the practical importance and implications of our findings. We hope this report contributes to the specific conversation about how Black Lives Matter and related movements have used online tools as well as to broader conversations about the general capacity of such tools to facilitate social and political change.

Do They Find You on Facebook? Facebook Profile Picture and Hiring Chances

Source: Stijn Baert, Institute for the Study of Labor, Discussion Paper Series, IZA DP No. 9584, December 2015

From the blog post:
What many have already suspected has now been scientifically proven: Employers are screening job candidates through Facebook. In fact, your Facebook profile picture affects your callback chances about as strongly as the picture on your resume. This is the finding of a new IZA discussion paper by Stijn Baert (Ghent University).

Employers have very limited information when they make their first selection of applicants for their vacancies. A CV and short motivation letter may provide little insight into the personality of the candidates. In contrast, nowadays, the internet offers a lot of information to further refine a first impression. One potential source of information is the social networking website Facebook.

The research team from Ghent University examined on a scientific basis whether employers actually use Facebook during a first screening. They sent fictitious application letters in response to genuine vacancies. Entering the names of these fictitious job candidates in the Facebook search bar or in Google led exclusively to one of four fictitious Facebook profiles controlled by the research team. Only the Facebook profile picture was publicly visible. The four photos used varied in terms of physical attractiveness and apparent personality traits….

Using social media content for screening in recruitment and selection: pros and cons

Source: Debora Jeske, Kenneth S Shultz, Work Employment & Society, Published online before print November 20, 2015
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The article considers the arguments that have been made in defence of social media screening as well as issues that arise and may effectively erode the reliability and utility of such data for employers. First, the authors consider existing legal frameworks and guidelines that are present in the UK and the USA, as well as the subsequent ethical concerns that arise when employers access and use social networking content for employment purposes. Second, several arguments in favour of the use of social networking content are made, each of which is considered from several angles, including concerns about impression management, bias and discrimination, data protection and security. Ultimately, the current state of knowledge does not provide a definite answer as to whether information from social networks is helpful in recruitment and selection.

Words Mean Everything: The National Labor Relations Act and Employer Social Media Policies

Source: Jon D. Bible, Labor Law Journal, Vol. 66 no. 3, Fall 2015
(subscription required)

…To protect their brand, employers have long regulated what employees can say and do and courts have largely given them free rein to do so. Like most employees, moreover, these two worked at-will and thus could be fired for any reason not based on a protected class or in violation of an exception to the at-will doctrine. What the owners overlooked was the fact that the National Labor Relations Act [NLRA or Act] applies to non-union employers like Triple Play; in this respect, they had a lot of company, for many employers are unaware of this. Since it got involved in this area a few years ago, moreover, the National Labor Relations Board [NLRB or Board] has aggressively enforced the right of employees to use social media to discuss, and try to change, their working conditions. Had they known all of this, the owners might have considered whether the Facebook colloquy in which the two employees engaged was protected by the Act, so that discharging them was illegal….

Organizing Low-Wage Workers and Low-Income Communities–Digital Tools & Tactics

Source: Social Movement Technologies, 2014

From the summary:
The top 9 digital tools & tactics that unions and other organizing groups are using to combine online and offline organizing in low-income/low-wage communities. Online isn’t just a communications tool, it can also be a way to further your organizing campaigns.

Developing online worker centered strategies utilizing online tools is an opportunity to connect with low-wage workers and communities. However it’s important to ensure your strategy works in coordination with your offline organizing. A number of unions and community organizations have worked to develop thoughtful approaches using online tools.
This webinar recording provides:
– specifics on how to identify the online tools those you are organizing use so you can reach them
– text messaging strategies to reach workers and residents in low-income communities
– Facebook strategies that go beyond posting to your page or promoting your posts
– examples of online strategies that can reach similar goals as offline but with far fewer resources
– suggestions for how to ID workers and residents online

We will share specific experiences from ongoing campaigns such as Walmart and fast food. A document with all the notes and links from slides is also provided.
Top 14 digital tools
Source: Social Movement Technologies, 2013

Notes & links
Is your labor or community organizing campaign using today’s most powerful tools to win? Whether you are a complete digital novice, or advanced, make sure you aren’t missing out on key digital tools and tactics, hear what other organizers are doing to win, and learn how to do it with limited time and money. …. This is part of a series of digital organizing webinars—developed by organizers for organizers, especially focused on meeting the needs of unions and small social change groups, many without the resources to hire full-time digital organizing staff. The webinar covers a range of key tools and tactics, including for example, how to quickly identify your most social media-influential members and what to do with them, how to identify your targets’ soft social media spots and build your strategy around them, and exciting ways to use twitter and free and low-cost texting to expand visibility and pressure targets. Movement examples are used throughout.

Labor Law Issues: Employer Social Media Policies; Disciplining Employees for Social Media Postings

Source: Ariana R. Levinson, University of Louisville – Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, University of Louisville School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series No. 2015-17, June 8, 2015

From the abstract:
This chapter addresses the increasingly important issue of how the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA or Act) applies to postings by employees on social media. It argues that in large part the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) has correctly applied the age-old concept of protected concerted activity to new technological meeting places. The legal concepts at issue are founded in long-standing precedent. This chapter buttresses the claim that Board regulation of social media policies is consistent with past-practice and precedent by analogy to Board precedent governing employer policies on solicitation and distribution and on the wearing of insignia, which are similar to the social media policies currently being regulated. Despite differences in the use of an electronic meeting place from that of the water cooler, slight changes to the current doctrine, such as a clear explanation of when employees’ activity is for mutual aid and protection, would place the Board on even sounder footing.

The Digital CultureSHIFT: From Scale to Power – How the Internet is Shaping Social Change, and Social Change is Shaping the Internet

Source: Center for Media Justice, and Data & Society, August 2015

From the summary:

As activism for police accountability, fair wages, just immigration, and more takes center stage — social justice movements of the 21st century are using technology to achieve greater scale and reach wider audiences. But are these digital strategies building power for long-term social change, or helping maintain the status quo?

A new report from the Center for Media Justice says the answer depends on the strategy — and offers new approaches and recommendations, from a diverse cross-section of leaders, for building effective social movements in an age of big data and digital technology.

Key Takeaways:
The strategies and approaches in the Digital CultureSHIFT report provide a path forward for addressing the way social movements integrate new approaches , or remain stuck in a cycle that limits our effectiveness.

What We Learned:
• 100% of those interviewed said that digital strategies and platforms provide a voice when mainstream media ignores issues.
• The vast majority of leaders interviewed widely use digital platforms to catalyze action, but say over-reliance on these tools can limit relationship-building.
• The Internet is helping to shift national organizations from centralized to decentralized, from geographically specific to geographically diverse, and from hierarchical leadership to multi-level leadership.
• Targeted surveillance is a top concern — but the vast majority of leaders of color interviewed felt that advocacy for digital privacy did not include their voices or their visions for change.

Employers Ban Personal Webmail to Protect Against Cyber Attacks

Source: Maureen Minehan, Employment Alert, Vol. 32 no. 16, August 7, 2015
(subscription required)

Mayer Brown. Latham & Watkins, and WilmerHale. What do these three law firms have in common? They have all recently restricted employee access to Web-based personal e-mail on their systems. As reported by Above The Law, a Web site that shares news and opinions on the legal industry, the trio are just the latest employers to tell employees they can no longer access their Gmail, Yahoo!, Hotmail, and other Web-based e-mail accounts from company computers. …. Employees inadvertently expose their employers to security attacks when they click on infected links or files sent to them through e-mail from unverified sources, despite warnings about the dangers. ….