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Published on

August 4, 2023


Social Media, This Week in Social, TWIS

This week, social media was confused by a viral video of a bear from Hangzhou Zoo. Meta released a new AI audio-generation feature. And Toby shows us the future tech we will soon have in our hand. Keep reading to find out more.

Trending Stories

Can you ‘Bear’live it?

In the social world, it can be hard to tell fact from fiction. This week, Hangzhou Zoo in eastern China is a prime example of this dilemma. In a viral video, one of their Sun bears named Angela had social media in confusion. Her upright posture was deemed impossible with such slender legs alongside what appeared to be some baggy skin around the hips being likened to a poorly fitting bear suit.

20,000 visitors a day have visited the Zoo since #MaybeBearGate broke on social, with people likely wanting to suss it out for themselves. The Zoo insists Angela is NOT a human and has had backup from Paradise Wildlife Park in the UK. As ever, the power of social cuts both ways. The appetite for a scandal can lead to #Beargate outweighing Zookeepers who are perhaps ‘Beary’ familiar with Sun bears versus a dodgy bear costume. On the plus side, the Zoo has seen an influx in visitors, and further interest is being shown in a frankly adorable creature.  

The Tortoise Beats the Hare 

Somalia made headlines after 20-year-old Nasra Abukar Ali took more than 20 seconds to complete the 100m Women’s qualifying race at the World University Games in China. The public was shocked to see a seemingly untrained sprinter participate in the race. It sparked fierce backlash and prompted Somalia’s sports minister to apologise publicly. The chairwoman of the national track and field federation was quickly suspended. 

Even though she completed the race in the last position, Nasra defiantly crossed the finish line with a skip. Despite being thrown in at the deep end, she is an example of keeping your head up and constantly working to the best of your abilities. Congratulations, Nasra. 

China introduces smartphone limit on children 

Four years ago, restrictions to gaming were introduced to the second-largest economy, China. The country has proposed new laws meaning children would only be allowed to use their phones for a maximum of two hours a day. Proposed by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), this rule also bans children from accessing the internet on mobile devices between the hours of 10pm and 6am.  

This new policy has had help from the app stores to introduce a new function called ‘minor mode’, which helps enable these limits. The proposed rules state that while children aged between 16 and 18 will be allowed 2 hours of screen time a day, those under 8 will only be allowed 8 minutes daily. This rule is currently open to feedback from the public and isn’t set in stone. But since the Chinese technology shares have fallen since the regulatory limit, will we see this law put in place? 


Toby’s Tiny Tales

Welcome back to Toby’s Tiny Tales. Toby Fairhead, a RISE Academy graduate now Senior Account Executive in our UK team, has three new recommendations of what you should stream, watch, and read this weekend:


Zero-waste products on wheels

Zero-waste stores are fantastic, but it’s annoying to carry your large containers to the shop every time. Discover the solution over in London in the UK.


The future of tech – 14mins

Technology continues to advance in many ways. Join former Apple designer and Humane cofounder Imran Chaudhri as he shows you his company’s next steps in the future.


Is AI a help or a hindrance? – 28mins

AI shaped many new paths in society, but it is actually helping? Learn more through BBC’s latest listen.


Platform Updates

Could Meta’s new AI Audio-generator compose the next big hit?  

AudioCraft is Meta’s newest generative AI project which allows users to make music based on text prompts. This works like an image generator, where users can input a prompt like “Mellow hip-hop, vinyl scratching, deep bass” to generate that sound.  

Recent AI-generated songs by Drake and The Weeknd have caused some concern, some citing the danger of AI to creativity in the music industry. Meta says that they see this tool as a source of inspiration for musicians and sound designers, helping them “quickly brainstorm and iterate on their compositions in new ways”. It is going to be released as open-source code, which will allow people to test new approaches and improve the model. 

Snapchat shells out: how the app is rewarding it’s AR creators 

Filters on Snapchat have been popular since the dawn of the app. Now, Snapchat’s creators have recognised that its audience isn’t just looking to use its AR lens function for fun. A huge proportion of its users are lens designers too. Creators could receive payments of up to £5,600 per month if their creations receive high levels of engagement across key markets in India, Mexico and the United States. 

It’s unclear so far how Snapchat will benefit from this arrangement. It wouldn’t be surprising if this is a litmus test for the generation of creative ideas. TikTok’s Creative Challenge feature, for example, saw creators help brands in creating promotional material. We’ll monitor this story to see how it develops. 

New Instagram feature protects User’s DMs

Instagram, owned by Meta, is taking user protection to the next level with a new feature announcement. The update aims to shield users from unwanted images and videos in direct messages. Those who don’t follow an individual will now face two new restrictions: they can only send one message, and DM invites will be limited to text messages. They can exchange images, videos, or voice notes only after the person accepts the DM request.

Instagram also plans to add the “Hidden Words” feature that hides DM requests containing offensive language or emojis. These initiatives collectively strive to create a safer and more secure environment for all Instagram users. Meta’s Head of Women’s Safety, Cindy Southworth, emphasises the importance of empowering users to feel confident and in control of their inboxes.



That’s This Week in Social all wrapped up! If you can’t wait for Fridays to hear the latest news in marketing and social, you can sign up to our fortnightly newsletter, REFUEL, here 🚀

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