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social media

A cell phone with the apps Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pulled up
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A new Netflix documentary has social media users rethinking the platforms they frequent. The Social Dilemma revealed some disturbing truths about tech companies and big data. In addition, the Federal Elections Commission recently published an op-ed for Wired magazine suggesting the integrity of the 2020 election is in the hands of Facebook and Twitter. With misinformation and disinformation running rampant on those platforms, the op-ed paints a bleak picture.

Mitigating misinformation

A screen showing the logos of different social media platforms.
Pixabay

Today on Stateside, Michigan’s 8th congressional district is one of the state’s most competitive races this year. We check in on how the changing district has shaped the political calculus for the candidates there. Speaking of elections, we take a look at how our social media feeds impact our political views and why that’s a problem. Plus, the story of a Black suffragette from Niles, Michigan who used art and activism to push for racial and gender equality.

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Today on Stateside, less driving statewide during the COVID-19 pandemic means insurance companies need to distribute refunds. We find out about what this means for drivers, as well as how they’ll be affected by upcoming changes to the state’s no-fault law. Also, a look at how the history of LGBTQ Pride and the Black Lives Matter movement intersect. Plus, social media’s relationship to social change.

someone with a computer pulled up on facebook and a phone in their hand
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As the cases of COVID-19 continue to climb, public health officials are calling for "social distancing" to slow the spread of the virus. Schools are being shut down, large events cancelled, and an increasing number of organizations are asking employees to work remotely.

As people are spending more time alone, social media can be a place to gather, connect, and share information. But as stress runs high and half-truths circulates, do these platforms carry their own kind of risk?

photo of a lookout at Pyramid Point
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

There has been an increase in visitation at National Parks across the country. People are flocking to big name parks such as Yosemite in California, and the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan is also experiencing a significant jump in visitation. 

Be it social media, lower gas prices, or being voted the most beautiful place in America by Good Morning America in 2012, Sleeping Bear officials expect to see 1.7 million visitors this summer, which would surpass the 1,643,599 who visited in 2018. 

Facebook app
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Earlier this month, Facebook announced a change to its algorithm that impacts the visibility of media outlets within your News Feed. Facebook regularly tinkers with this algorithm, but this round of changes puts the emphasis on featuring updates from your friends and family members before those of news sites.

 

How do we sort out fact from fiction on social media? Do we really want to? It seems that people are quickly and happily sharing things online that are pure fiction without question and without a critical thought.

 

Stateside host Cynthia Canty found herself asking these questions recently when something came up on her Facebook feed. Some friends shared a story describing an airplane flight crew "taking a knee," walking off the plane, and stranding the New Orleans Saints: the flight crew's "protest" of players kneeling during the National Anthem.

 

Somebody would share the story, and then his friends would pile on, saying, “Yeah, that'll show them what America is about.”

cop car
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A Detroit man is facing a terrorism charge for making threats against police officers on social media.

Nheru Gowan Littleton, 40, made a series of threats against police officers on Facebook in July, according to Detroit Police. They included statements like “All lives can’t matter until Black Lives matter!!!! Kill all white cops!!!”

That amounts to a “terroristic threat” under Michigan law, according to state Attorney General Bill Schuette, who is bringing the charges.

Photo of a cell phone with online comment section.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

You may have read the recent news that NPR decided to discontinue online comments at NPR.org. Editors at NPR reasoned there are better ways to connect with people than what these sections at the bottom of news articles provide.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new Michigan State University study suggests, if you spent time this past weekend with a beer in your hand, it may be because of something you saw on social media.

MSU researchers say when participants in a study of social media’s influence were exposed to ads touting beer, as opposed to those selling bottled water, they were more inclined to consider drinking alcohol.

They studied the behavior of 121 test subjects. They were divided into two groups. Group one was exposed to beer ads on Facebook. Group two saw ads for bottled water.

flickr user Glen Schaillie / HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

Emails recently released by Gov. Rick Snyder's office indicated that Michigan State Police were aware that a Copper City man made a potentially threatening Facebook post against Snyder over the Flint water crisis. 

The Flint Journal reports that a state police senior intelligence analyst alerted commanders about the post. The man who wrote the post was on probation after being involved in a 12-hour armed standoff with police.

There was an effort to charge the man with violating his probation, but a judge ultimately decided not to move ahead with the violation. 

Grand Rapids Public Schools get new social media policy

May 3, 2016
English 101 / Flickr Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Grand Rapids School Board unanimously adopted yesterday a new policy to regulate employees’ use of social media.

The policy holds employees accountable for posting inappropriate content on social media and includes a list of examples.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint area business leaders are turning to social media as a way to counter negative publicity about the city’s drinking water crisis.

The Flint/Genesee Chamber of Commerce has launched a #ChooseFlint campaign, where it encourages people to share images of Flint on Facebook and other social media.

Heather Kale is with the Chamber. She hopes #ChooseFlint will persuade people to visit Flint.

On Thursday, Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith took to Twitter with Reveal to answer your questions about the Flint water crisis. 

If you missed the Q&A with Smith, who produced the documentary Not Safe to Drink, catch up here: 

Twitter user @khakibluesocks

Earlier this week we asked you to send us selfies that show how you're feeling about this year's elections.

This week on Stateside, we're talking election feelings.

NPR's National Political Correspondent Mara Liasson gave us this look into why voters have such strong emotions this year, on everything from terrorism, to jobs, to elitism.  

Now we want to hear from you:

How are you feeling about this year's election? 

Screen Shot / House TV

During last night's State of the State, Governor Rick Snyder apologized to the residents of Flint, saying "I'm sorry, and I will fix it."

He traced a timeline of the government's failings, and promised to release his emails related to the handling of the crisis. He also asked the Legislature to approve $28 million in a supplemental budget for aid to Flint.

The top 10 Michigan stories you read this year

Dec 28, 2015

Ready to count down the seconds on New Year's Eve? You've still got a couple of days, so kill some time counting down the biggest stories of 2015. 

Here are the Top 10 most-read stories on our website this year:

Maria Elena/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A dusty old Facebook hoax that was debunked years ago has flared up again being passed from friend to friend like a bad cold.

It's the "Facebook privacy status" hoax – the one that reads "As of September 29, 2015, I do not give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information, or posts, both past and future" ... and so on and so forth.

Cliff Lampe, associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Information joined us to talk about why so many people are falling for this again.

Doug Coombe

Carson Brown wants to make people think critically about what he calls the American landscape, and he’s not talking about mountains and vistas. He’s talking about the American landscape of consumerism.

“I want people to look around the space of a big box store and ask, ‘Is this space necessary? Do I need all these things? Is this a healthy way of living my life?’”

Emojipedia / http://emojipedia.org/unicode-9.0/

The recent announcement that new emojis are coming to a keyboard near you in 2016 caught our attention. The emoji powers that be (and yes, that exists!) are now deciding which new ones will make it onto our keyboards next year.

Flickr user Wonderlane / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

When it comes to getting credit and being deemed a good risk for a loan, the choices made by lenders can be hard to understand. Many potential borrowers who earn a paycheck and pay their bills but don't have a credit history can be seen as untrustworthy.

Now, we're seeing some lenders look to social media and Internet use to determine whether someone can afford to borrow.

Senior citizens may be way more tech savvy than you think.
flickr user Jason Howie / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

It's happened to the best of us: you shot off an email while you were hot under the collar, or you fired off an angry Facebook post or a tweet.

Then, remorse set in.

Is there anything you can do to take it back? Or will your unfortunate emails, tweets and posts somehow live forever?

According to Michigan Radio’s social media producer Kimberly Springer, it's complicated.

Screenshot from Venmo.com

Venmo is a payment application with a social media aspect built-in. Users can easily transfer money to others who use the app, and anyone who is Facebook friends with them can see what the transaction is for.

But the app is attached to users’ bank account, debit card or credit card, and its safety has been continually questioned.

Two of Stateside's interns brought up the application's popularity at the daily production meeting, and host Zoe Clark was taken aback. Why would people want to see what others are doing with their money?

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

A new bill in the state House would require schools to adopt policies on social media interactions between students and school employees.

Supporters of House Bill 4791 say social media can be a great tool for teachers to communicate with students.

Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the F8 keynote in 2008
flickr user Brian Solis / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

It’s been almost a decade since Facebook was opened to the general public.

Many initially saw it as a ripoff of then-powerhouse social networking platform MySpace, but since then it’s grown to take the top spot as ruler of the social media kingdom.

Some will argue, for better or for worse, that Facebook is now a permanent piece of our cultural landscape.

Just a few years ago, we had never even heard the word "selfie".

These days, our social media feeds are filled with them. And that's sparked conversations and questions: Are they ridiculous? Are they little more than a deep dive into narcissism? Are they important ways to record our lives?

SEO / flickr

More and more, consumers are realizing that social media is a much better way to get a company’s attention than getting lost in a voice mail jungle when you call some 1-800-phone line.

Michigan Radio’s social media producer Kimberly Springer joined us to talk about what companies and consumers are learning about using social media.

Flickr user Scott Beale / Flickr

Crowdfunding. The word itself wasn't even known less than a decade ago. But crowdfunding has become a powerful way to raise money.

EquityNet tells us that more than $20 billion in funding transactions will happen around the world this year. That is a 100% increase from $10 billion last year.

Flickr user Adam Fagen / Flickr

Since it was launched in 2013, the anonymous application Yik Yak has spread across college campuses. Messages are sorted by geographic location and only posts within a mile and a half radius appear.

So it's perfect for saying what you want, about whom you want without anyone knowing it's you, and that is posing problems and challenges for schools around the country.

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