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Twitter Adds #Fleets and #Spaces to Platform, Countering Instagram’s Recent Changes

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(Image via 9to5Mac.com)
(Image via 9to5Mac.com)

After months of worldwide testing, Twitter has launched its new “Fleets” feature that was first announced earlier this year. Any Twitter user who uses the mobile app can now utilize the familiar disappearing messaging feature. Much like its other Stories-like counterparts, it will sit above the user’s main timeline.

What We Know:

  • The popular social media company is hopeful that the introduction of Fleets will help “reduce the pressure” of tweeting and allow its users to express more casual thoughts and feelings without the nagging concern of having many retweets and likes. The company says both Android and IOS devices will start having access starting Tuesday, November 17th, and will continue to roll out in the coming days.

Design director Joshua Harris stated in a blog post “Through our tests in Brazil, Italy, India, and South Korea, we learned Fleets helped people feel more comfortable joining the conversation — we saw people with Fleets talk more on Twitter.”

  • Fleets are essentially a “Stories” clone that’s already been seen in Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. Disappearing 24 hours after they’re created, Fleets will allow anyone to share text, posts responses to tweets, post videos, and overlay various other features. The move lights the way for future stickers and live broadcasting features.
  • Fleets’ apparent aim is to give Twitter users more digestible ways of consuming content. This year has proven to strain social media networks who are overwhelmingly flooded with ideas, opinions, and chatter. Fleets should theoretically help organize that content better. Though the feature is nothing new in the social media realm, it has the potential to change how we communicate online.
  • Of course, when adding a feature, new or not, there will be those that try to push the boundaries on what is posted on these Fleets. This will prompt the company to begin diving into some new moderation challenges, which will deal with inevitable topics of increasing harassment, the spread of false information, and other explicit content that may appear on Fleets.

  • The early days of Fleets will be crucial when determining if the new feature is something Twitter users want and will be used in any considerable way. Although Stories have taken over many of our favorite apps since Snapchat, who unintentionally redefined the social media game a few years ago, it’s changed how many influencers and brands are marketing themselves. Bigger companies have benefitted from this boom, but as it’s been observed with other Stories clones such as Facebook, YouTube, and even LinkedIn, Fleets may also die off.
  • Along with Fleets, Twitter also announced “Spaces,” virtual rooms where people can engage in real-time and have audio conversations, much like the startup that appeared earlier this year called Clubhouse.

Many avid users question whether the features are essential for this particular platform. Still, most agree that the less stressful nature of just putting one’s thoughts out there without popularity pressure could mean a healthier communication environment. This is especially true during times where political figures use the platform to spout factual and non-factual remarks alike.

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Javier Garay is a Media & News SVCS Intern at UnmutedCo. He is enrolled in the University of North Georgia seeking a Bachelors of Science (B.S) in Film/Digital Media with a concentration in Media Studies. He is a contributor and editor for Black News Alerts (BNA), a BNA and BossFM social media contributor, and is lead of the BNA Daily Podcast Team.

Coronavirus

Couple Who Tested Positive for Covid-19 Are Arrested after Boarding Flight

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Courtesy of Star-Advertiser

A couple in Hawaii face reckless endangerment charges after entering a flight with their 4-year-old son, although they had tested positive for Covid-19, officials state.

What We Know:

  • A spokesperson for Kauai police stated Wednesday, the couple, Wesley Moribe and Courtney Peterson, knew they had tested positive as they boarded a United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Lihue. San Francisco International Airport officials had told them to isolate and not to travel, yet they did not listen and boarded the flight.
  • When Moribe and Peterson arrived at Lihue Airport, police accompanied them to an isolation room for additional processing and investigation.

  • Moribe, 41, and Peterson, 46, Wailua residents, were arrested on second-degree reckless endangerment charges. A family member took their son home, and Child Protective Services was notified.

“They knowingly boarded a flight aware of their positive COVID-19 test results, placing the passengers of the flight in danger of death,” Coco Zickos, the Public Information Officer at Kaua‘i Police Department said in a statement.

  • A spokesman for the Hawaii Covid-19 Joint Information Center said Wednesday that the state Health Department is informed when someone tests positive and that the couple was aware of their diagnosis before entering the San Francisco flight.

  • The airline’s website states, “Following CDC guidelines, you will not be able to travel on United for at least ten days after the date you tested positive and only after you have two successive negative COVID-19 results that were administered at least 24 hours apart.”
  • Moribe and Peterson are banned from any United flights, and an investigation has been initiated, a spokesperson for the airline said.

The couple was arrested and charged with reckless endangering in the second degree before being transported to Lihue Headquarters and booked. The couple posted bail, which was set at $1,000. The couple could face up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine if sentenced.

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Entertainment

Getty Images and GLAAD Team Up for New Transgender Photo Guidelines

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Getty Images and GLAAD have teamed up in an effort to improve transgender representation in the community.

What We Know:

  • New guidelines were released Wednesday by Getty Images and GLAAD. Getty Images is one of the world’s largest stock photo agencies, while GLAAD is a national LGBTQ advocacy organization. These guidelines will help photographers around the world capture the transgender community more accurately as well as give them more media representation.
  • The guidelines were put into place in hopes of giving the transgender community representation. Increased photography of transgender individuals will help normalize these individuals.
  • In an interview with NBC News, GLAAD’s director of transgender representation, Nick Adams, commented on the collaboration. “Stock images tell a story without words,” Adams commented, “When those images don’t reflect the full diversity that exists within the transgender community, then our story isn’t being told in an authentic way.”
  • There has been a demand for transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming people in Getty Images stock. According to Campaign Live, “keyword searches on Getty Images for “transgender” increased 129% year-over-year, searches for “nonbinary” increased 334%. “In the past, trans images in stock photography have included many tropes and cliches or even replaced actual transgender people with impersonal symbols like flags,” Adams said. The demand for these images motivated Getty Images to collab with GLAAD.
  • The guidelines give models the control over how they are referred to in captions. This will allow for no assumptions to be made of their gender identity. Photographers have also been given guidelines to make transgender subjects comfortable and empowered while on set.
  • Simply shooting the individuals is not the goal. The photography will not perpetuate harmful stereotypes of the trans community as well as create tokens of the individuals. Guy Merrill, global head of art at Getty Images and Stock, talked of the importance of the images, “We are not looking for our contributors to go out and just shoot some portraits of transgender persons. That is not the point at all,” Merrill said. “It’s that level of nuance that brings in that authenticity in terms of people you choose. It is all those small moments that really kind of authentically tell that broader story.”

While Getty Images will not be able to force any company to use their new stock imagery of trans and nonbinary individuals, it will expose companies to the imagery as well as give them more options to include the individuals.

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Coronavirus

Oscars 2021 ‘Will Happen’ in Person, Academy Says

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The annual Oscar’s award ceremony is expected to happen in person this year. 

What We Know: 

  • A representative from the Academy and ABC told Variety“The Oscars in-person telecast will happen”. 
  • The Oscars have been pushed back two months to April 25th, 2021. The Academy is hopeful that theaters will reopen in the spring allowing more films to compete for awards. 
  • In the event theaters stay closed, the Oscars are steady in their efforts to remain live. Questions have risen on how many people will be allowed in the Los Angeles Dolby Theatre where the show has traditionally taken place; the theatre seats 3,400. 
  • As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the film industry was hit hard. Movie theaters closed and film and TV production stopped. Because of the unusual circumstances, the Academy extended the eligilbity timeline from December 31st to February 28th. Additionally, films that premiered on streaming platforms will also qualify for submission. 
  • In-person attendance may stir controversy among some of the attendees. Some attendees may not be able to or agree to in-person attendance due to the virus’ dangers. Especially considering older nominees who are more at risk for the virus.

As award season approaches, the events must decide whether to stay virtual, hold the event in person, or create a hybrid. Award season starts with the Golden Globes in February. The show will air live hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. The Critic Choice awards and the SAG awards are set to air in March. Whether they will be digital or live is unknown. 

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