NBC News: Dark money and PAC’s coordinated ‘reopen’ push are behind doctors’ viral hydroxychloroquine video. “A dozen doctors delivered speeches in front of the U.S. Capitol on Monday to a small crowd, claiming without evidence that the coronavirus could be cured and that widely accepted efforts to slow its spread were unnecessary and dangerous. It was the latest video to go viral from apparent experts, quietly backed by dark money political organizations, evangelizing treatments for or opinions about the coronavirus that most doctors, public health officials and epidemiologists have roundly decried as dangerous misinformation.”
PSFK: The Pandemic Inside the Pandemic: Leveraging Social Media to Fight Disinformation. “Misinformation is commonplace in today’s digital- and social-first media landscape. Here’s how consumers and creators alike are putting existing platforms to new uses to creatively halt the spread.”
National Geographic: Fake animal news abounds on social media as coronavirus upends life. “People are compelled to share posts that make them emotional. When we’re feeling stressed, joyous animal footage can be an irresistible salve. The spread of social phenomena is so powerful, 2016 research shows, that it can follow same models that trace the contagion of epidemics.”
Ars Technica: ’90s nostalgia: Dancing Baby does the cha-cha once more in new HD rendering. “Internet denizens of a certain age will recall with fondness the 3D animated Dancing Baby (aka “Baby Cha-Cha” and “the Oogachacka Baby”) that went viral in 1996. Sure, the rendering was crude by today’s standards and—it must be said—a little creepy, but in many ways, the Dancing Baby was a proto-meme. Now, almost 25 years after it was first created, an enterprising college student has re-rendered the original model and animation in a suitable HD format for modern displays.” When that baby first came out, my mother tried to email the video of him from her corporate network to my little lame desktop computer. Gave it — the computer, not the baby — a severe case of indigestion.
New York Times: What Happens When You Get Famous Off One Song?. “Last summer, a teenager named Tom Austin decided on a whim to record a rap song. He’d never made music before. But even as he was writing down lyrics — picking out references from an iPhone note of random stuff he’d been keeping — he was strangely sure of himself.”
The Guardian: Viral social media moments that deserve the Hollywood treatment. “The breakout hit at this year’s Sundance festival was Zola (pictured, above), a comic thriller about a stripper who travels to Florida for a weekend of sex and violence. Zola earned rave reviews from attendees, but the most interesting thing about it is that it was based on a Twitter thread.”
First Monday: Fear and loathing on Facebook? Tracking the rise of populism and platformization in viral political Facebook posts. “Adopting a longitudinal ‘demand’ perspective to the study of online political campaigning, the present study details developments in supporter engagement on party Facebook Pages during three Swedish elections — 2010, 2014 and 2018. Specifically, the work presented here uncovers the roles of populism and platformization as ways of constructing political messages.”
USA Today: Doctor’s pro-vaccine TikTok went viral. Then came hate and threats from around the world . “Nicole Baldwin, a pediatrician working in suburban Cincinnati, posted a TikTok video encouraging vaccination on Twitter Saturday evening. It took less than 24 hours for the video to go viral on both TikTok, a video sharing app, and Twitter – and just another 48 hours before Baldwin was facing backlash from hundreds of thousands of people associated with the anti-vaccine movement.”
New York Post: Why I quit Twitter — and you should, too. “That’s the thing about Twitter; the (I still can’t quite believe this) 50 tweets a day don’t really matter. It’s the 3,401st tweet, the one that goes viral, that comes to define you — and its virality is usually not something that makes you proud.”
BBC: The secrets of ‘food porn’ viral videos. “I’ve just watched a fresh turkey being covered in fragments of cheese-flavoured crisps and then stuffed with what looks like three kilos of cheddar. The video has more than four million views on YouTube. Call it a stunt, call it a travesty, whatever you make of it this is food – but not as you know it.” Unless you’ve ever been to a State Fair in America. And I have seen the video mentioned in the lede — well, I saw the Kalen Reacts video, and I agree with every exclamation of horror Kalen uttered.
CNN: A Facebook rumor about white vans is spreading fear across America . “Terrifying rumors initially propelled by Facebook’s algorithms have sparked fears that men driving white vans are kidnapping women all across the United States for sex trafficking and to sell their body parts. While there is no evidence to suggest this is happening, much less on a national, coordinated scale, a series of viral Facebook (FB) posts created a domino effect that led to the mayor of a major American city issuing a warning based on the unsubstantiated claims.”
ScienceBlog: Trending Maps Reveal What Makes Viral Content Catch On. “When you think about content going viral, maps don’t typically come to mind, but ‘The Eclipse: Smothered and Covered,’ a map with the 2017 eclipse path of totality overlaid with the best Waffle House locations for viewing, did just that. The map was created by University of Georgia assistant professor of geography Jerry Shannon. After being retweeted by Waffle House, Shannon’s map quickly went viral. Almost 200,000 people viewed the tweet, and several news outlets picked it up.”
Poynter: An examination of a viral YouTube video reveals a cautionary tale for the news media. “I’m obsessed with the plight of the YouTube content creator. Anyone who works with audiences or analytics in any form and in any industry should be. Consider this: Millions of people create work for YouTube every day. Their output is probably the largest on the internet. And many of them are incredibly entrepreneurial, tracking changes in consumer tastes and algorithm biases and responding to them in real time. For anyone who produces work that is published online, YouTube is a petri dish that we can use to study our own work.”
New York Intelligencer: Five Signs a Viral Story Is Fake. “The benefit to stories like these popping up so frequently is that they become easier to spot. Once you know the formula, it’s hard to read past a tweet or two before checking out, knowing full well what you’re reading is just fiction. And not particularly nuanced fiction at that. Here’s a checklist for what you should be keeping an eye out for.”
EurekAlert: The hidden secrets of creating a viral YouTube ad. “The research team tested five hypotheses about what drives sharing of video ads across social media, using two independent field studies that analyzed 11 measures of emotion and over 60 ad characteristics. The study included 109 brands that were among the top 100 US advertisers in 2012 as well as additional brands that were historically active on YouTube.”