Adele Stays on Top for Second Week in a Row

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Adele is one of those artists that has stood the test of time. Her music is loved by many if not all who listen, and she has managed to stay in good graces of the public avoiding any scandals for the entirety of her career. Adele’s new album “30” has been No. 1 on the charts for the second week in a row. She’s managed to have the biggest opening of any album released this year. She was also able to stay in front of artist Taylor Swift following her own version of her album “Red”. Despite the fact that downloads and streams are booming, Adele was still not able to top a million albums sold within the first week. There has not been an album to reach this accolade since 2017, proving how truly difficult it is to accomplish. One of the reasons it has become increasingly difficult is because of streaming.

Adele remains at the top with the equivalent of 288,000 sales in the United States, according to MRC Data, Billboard’s tracking arm. That number, which includes 81 million streams and 225,000 copies sold as complete packages, is down 66 percent from its opening last week. But with no major new releases it was enough for Adele to maintain the lead handily.

Instagram Develops New Safety Tools Following Backlash

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Since internal reports were leaked about the damage Instagram has on the mental health of young adults, developers have been working tirelessly on developing software to combat the issue. On Tuesday, the platform announced a new feature entitled “Take A Break”. The feature will be advertised and encourage users to set reminders in order to limit scrolling time. With this announcement came another tool which will be the first of its kind for the Facebook owned company. This feature will be parent friendly and allow guardians to set limits on their children’s scrolling time and what they have access to viewing. Hopefully, these new features help to lessen the negative effects of the app that have only recently come to light.

Tik Toks Seamless Algorithm

It’s no secret that Tik Tok has blown up over the past two years, but what is it that makes the platform so popular? Many similar short form video apps have failed to take off, but Tik Toks algorithm is what makes it so hard to stop scrolling. An internal company document proves that the platform is the most successful video app in the world. Much of Tik Toks success can also be attributed to its user friendliness. People have consistently acknowledged that Tik Tok seemingly reads your mind when it comes to preferences. The algorithm accounts for things like time spent watching a video, likes, comments and so much more that other platforms overlook. An extremely simplified algorithm looks something like this Plike X Vlike + Pcomment X Vcomment + Eplaytime X Vplaytime + Pplay X Vplay. Tik Toks parent company, ByteDance, has been under fire for possibly leaking sensitive data from the platform. The Trump administration claimed that the data could be used as a threat against Americans. Chief Executive of Tik Tok attempted to mollify the outrage by storing data within the US. Many people argue that the site could not pose more or less threat than any other platform. While there are varying opinions about the security issues it may bring, one things for certain, and it’s that Americans can’t get enough.

“Freaking out about surveillance or censorship by TikTok is a distraction from the fact that these issues are so much bigger than any specific company or its Chinese ownership,” said Samm Sacks, a cybersecurity policy fellow at the research organization New America. “Even if TikTok were American-owned, there is no law or regulation that prevents Beijing from buying its data on the open data broker market.”

The New Role of Social Media in Publishing

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Social media has encroached into nearly every sector of our lives, and publishing is no exception. Scoring a book deal may be easier for people with large followings on social media platforms. With this in mind, just because an individual has a large following on social media, doesn’t mean their book will fly off the shelves. In order for a book to sell, there needs to be a ‘perfect storm’ of sorts. Because many of the metrics to measure success can’t be quantified, publishers are turning to social media to try and make more informed guesses about what will hit. Follower counts can affect things like advances for the author, but they don’t solidify a good book. A person could have followers from a plethora of reasons. Someone may have followers because they were in office ten years ago or someone could have a following of million with low engagement and reach. History shoes that celebrity book deals often don’t perform as well as they’re initially projected. BookTok, or the ‘book side of Tik Tok’ has grabbed the attention of publishers in recent months. Creators who post book reviews and ideas to their vast followings have scored book deals in the last year from reputable publishing houses. The general consensus seems to be, although we can say definitely that social following means high book sales, it certainly helps.

Take Justin Timberlake. His book “Hindsight” was acquired for over $1 million, but when it came out in 2018, Mr. Timberlake had bruised vocal cords and was unable to promote it as planned. The 53 million Instagram followers he had at the time weren’t able to make up for it. “Hindsight” has sold about 100,000 printed copies since its publication three years ago, according to BookScan, not nearly the number his publisher was hoping for.

Hulu Pulls Travis Scott Documentary After Backlash

Hulu - Astroworld Concert From Hell
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The streaming wars have resulted in many platforms going to great lengths for new and original content. Documentaries have been on the rise since the inception of COVID-19, and Hulu was quick to turn around a documentary titled Astroworld: Concert from Hell. On Wednesday, the documentary was released and swiftly taken down after backlash on social media. The documentary was 50 minutes long and featured videos from the concert and testimonies from attendees. Hulu has since released a statement saying that the 50 minute video was not a Hulu documentary and misinterpreted by the public. Many people do not believe that statement. The overall public response has been that it was in poor taste to release this documentary when people are still mourning loved ones. Many have also criticized how high the production value could be, given that it was ready so quickly after the incident.

“This was an investigative local news special from ABC13/KTRK-TV in Houston that originally aired on November 20th. This was not a Hulu documentary and has since been removed to avoid confusion.”

American Journalists Return to China

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American journalists have been banned from China and vice versa since early 2020. President Biden and President Xi Jinping met this week to overturn the ban and make traveling and reporting between the two countries more accessible for reporters. It was determined that three publications will be able to have journalists in China. These organizations are The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

In the past, Chinese journalists were able to apply for a yearlong visa in the US, but in the last year, the visa time was cut down to 90 days. What isn’t clear in this agreement, is if the reporters who were stationed there prior to the ban and asked to leave will be able to return. This seems to be a step in the right direction when it comes to mollifying the tensions between China And US, especially since the inception of COVID-19. China has different rules about media and its limitations and has been making effort to keep American reporters from writing about the government poorly for years. It is no secret that recent administrations have butted heads with China over other economic issues in the past, but this agreement is progress or foreign media.

“We will continue to work toward expanding access and improving conditions for U.S. and other foreign media, and we will continue to advocate for media freedom as a reflection of our democratic values,”

The Importance of Social Media When Job Hunting

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Social media has undoubtedly become an important part of day to day life. Despite the fact that almost all of Gen Z uses social media, only about a third of them use it when looking for a job after graduation. A resume and cover letter are impersonal and leave the employer wondering who the candidate really is.  Social media is a way to set yourself apart from the competition and give yourself a sort of edge by having quality personal branding. This doesn’t just mean LinkedIn, but other video-based platforms such as YouTube and Instagram. These interfaces can be sparkplugs for careers and help reach people that may have never been otherwise accessible.

Many of us use these platforms for entertainment purposes, but others, such as Kahlil Greene, took this opportunity to try and educate a broad range of people. Greene was a Yale student at the time who used his TikTok account to educate people on Black culture. Unlike other social media platforms, TikTok gives the user the ability to go ‘viral’ overnight. In only a few weeks, he had a following of more than 500,000 people. He will now be working in consulting for a job in public education, a job opportunity that came as a result of his TikTok success.

“I think that’s the thing that people don’t realize, that social media is everywhere, and it’s congruent with every lifestyle you want,” says Greene.

According to research, half of employer’s report that they are less likely to choose a candidate who can’t be found online. Instead of exchanging business cards people are exchanging follow requests, so what you choose to put on your personal account is important. Staying connected with people in your field and using tools on these platforms to highlight accomplishments is a great way to build your personal brand.

What’s Next For People Magazine?

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People Magazine was a success within 18 months of its inception. Despite the fact that many people wrote it off as an illegitimate gossip column, it has only grown in popularity. They were one of the first publications to cover celebrities in America and have expanded on that idea ever since.

The popular publication has undergone multiple ownership changes over the years. People’s publisher, a company called Meredith, is in the process of being acquired by digital media company Dotdash for 2.7 billion dollars. The result of this merger will be a new media powerhouse. Unifying these two companies seems to be a no brainer to many, as each has what the other lacks. Meredith has great magazine content and readership and Dotdash has the ability to make it widely available in a digital space.

Many people may be familiar with Dotdash, they are a sub division of the company that runs applications like Tinder. After this acquisition, they will have more than 50 publications. Some examples of these are Better Home & Gardens, Real Simple, and Southern Living. Dotdash CEO Neil Vogel claims that this new merger will result in a major challenge from a digital advertising perspective to big names like Facebook and Google.

 Although Vogel seems to think the two companies can unite harmoniously, many wonder if the same readers interested in Dotdash’s usual thought provoking content will be as fascinated by the tabloid style writing in People. This, coupled with the fact that Dotdash is not familiar with the level of print circulation that is required to keep People afloat, has lead many to raise an eyebrow.

The Increasing Popularity of ‘Ghost Guns’ in America

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The Second Amendment has become a widely discussed topic over the last few years. This issue has left the country divided and unsure how to get the problem under control. One thing is for certain and it’s that gun related violence has been on the rise. This article discusses the growing popularity of a new type of gun, often referred to as a ghost gun.

The result of this new loophole is more fatalities amongst those who may have been unaware of its legitimacy in the first place. 12-year-old Max Mendoza fell of San Diego fell victim to this, accidentally shooting himself in his bedroom with a ghost gun his 15-year-old friend brought to him. Law enforcement in the area have reported that in the last 18 months, ghost guns have been found at well over 25% of crime scenes and have disproportionately affected young people. In addition, most of the people purchasing these guns were otherwise banned from owning a firearm. In the month of October alone, they had recovered nearly 400 ghost guns.

Ghost guns — untraceable firearms without serial numbers, assembled from components bought online — are increasingly becoming the lethal weapon of easy access for those legally barred from buying or owning guns around the country. The criminal underground has long relied on stolen weapons with sanded-off serial numbers, but ghost guns represent a digital-age upgrade, and they are especially prevalent in coastal blue states with strict firearm laws

This begs the question: Why the sudden popularity of these weapons? The reasoning for this is that they are far easier to acquire. This is a result of the fact that they are sold by piece, so they can’t be classified as guns and regulated. A new proposal from the Biden administration would require these pieces to have serial numbers and be treated as regular guns that have to be picked up at a federally licensed gun shop.


Facebook and Facial Recognition

Source: The New York Times

Facebook has been making headlines all October long in lieu of leaked reports from former employee, Frances Haugen. On November 2nd, Facebook’s parent company, newly coined ‘meta’, announced that it would be terminating their decade old facial recognition software and all the data that came with it. Facebook may be cutting their losses with this elimination, as the technology has sparked many conversations about privacy concerns.

Vice President of Artificial Intelligence at Meta, Jerome Peseti, attributed the change to “many concerns about the place of facial recognition software in society because every new technology brings with it potential for both benefit and concern and we want to find the right balance.”

The introduction of this technology came in 2010 and satiated people’s obsession with time saving features. The application could automatically identify friends and family in photos using facial geometrics and link all the photos to their personal account. “Facebook now has built one of the largest repositories of digital photos in the world, partly thanks to this software.” Questions have come up in recent months, wondering what exactly Facebook is doing with all this information.

A decade later, and many are more concerned about their privacy being infringed upon then they are about saving time. Similar technologies have been recently misused in countries like China to control minorities. In the United States, the government employs this technology to help with policing, but many wonder if this feature is seamless enough to avoid problems such as mistaken arrests.  The algorithm used to make this feature possible is called DeepFace and has yet to be sold to any third parties. Despite all of this, Meta has not promised they won’t use this software in future products.