Playground Buzz – The Most Intriguing Social Media News of the Week

By Affinitive

Happy Friday! The office has been abuzz with end of the month activities and sushi lunches. When not discussing Super Bowl pools, we’ve been following Chad Ochocinco’s live tweeting of the State of the Union Address and his concerns over Speaker John Boehner’s state of happiness, admiring Instagram tabs on Facebook, and mulling over Gizmodo’s stringent compliance measures concerning comments.

We’re logging off for the weekend with these in mind:

FBI to be Sued Over Megaupload
In another twist of the pending case against Megaupload and its CEOs, Pirate Parties – led by Pirates of  Catalonia  - are suing the FBI for the “huge personal, economic and image damages to a vast number of people.” Last week, we noted in our writeup that private Megaupload users who used the file sharing service to store original, private content were negatively effected since they’ve lost all their private files – some of which they rely on to make a living. Pirate’s official petition charges that

The FBI has caused incalculable damage, far in excess of the losses claimed by the content lobbies, in a fruitless attempt to prevent access to the media content hosted on Megaupload, some of which they claim to have been infringing copyright under US law. However, as much of the unlawful content will still be available via other services on the web, this action not only shows us the futility of these measures but also serves as a reminder that these files are not necessarily, nor have been shown to be, illegal in any country, including the US.

In contrast, by closing the service they have impeded the access to millions of archives of both private individuals and organisations, potentially causing huge personal, economic and image damages to a vast number of people. In addition, the Pirate Party understands they may have violated Articles 197 and 198 of the Spanish Penal Code by misappropiating personal data.

You can read the rest of the petition here. Any U.S users who sign their petition will have their signatures automatically forwarded to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

FBI Plans to Monitor Social Media
In a rather Orwellian turn of events, the FBI has quietly released details of plans that will basically monitor the global output from sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, suggesting that the FBI believes that it will  be able to use this information to better respond to crises and even predict them. The information was gleaned from a document that published January 19th, as the Bureau started putting out feelers for companies who’d want to partner with the FBI in building such a system, asking them to reply by February 10th.

None For The Money – Movie Theaters Balking At Katherine Heigl Movie Groupon Deal

If you’ve happened to catch a commercial for the newest Katherine Heigl movie One For The Money, surely you noticed that glaring “Buy $6 tickets on Groupon” voiceover at the end of the trailer. In a first, the daily deals site has partnered with a studio to offer discount tickets to a brand new movie – and some movie house owners are up in arms. While the core Groupon audience and Katherine Heigl’s fanbase seem to be one in the same, it remains to be seen whether this is a genius marketing move – or a desperate act by a movie studio stuck with a bad movie and an increasingly unpopular star.

#notlovingit – McDonalds Hashtag goes Awry from Fries
Part of the perils (and thrills?) of launching a new campaign is that consumers will either take it or leave it. McDonalds’ launched two hashtag campaigns – #McDStories and #meetthefarmers – both intended to highlight the chain’s commitment to fresh produce and meats. Instead of heartwarming stories about everyone’s favorite combo, the #McDStories campaign spiraled into a smorgasbord of compliance issues and snide tweets. Within two hours of launch, McDonalds decided to cut its losses and yanked the hashtag, launching in its stead, #littlethings.

One Policy to Rule Them All
By now, you must have all received an email from Google stating that as of March 1st, there will be one rule to bind them. This announcement comes weeks after Google rolled out “Search Plus Your World” which has already drawn some heavy criticism regarding search results and their weighted algorithms. While on the surface, Google argues that this will streamline a person’s web experience, there are still some gray areas to look over and read. We liked Gizmodo’s breakdown of policy changes, so read up!

Twitter to Censor Material, Depending on Country
Twitter announced in a blog post that with the rise of its platform amongst different countries, it will now start tailoring and censoring what content can and cannot be published. They explained it best here:

As we continue to grow internationally, we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression. Some differ so much from our ideas that we will not be able to exist there. Others are similar but, for historical or cultural reasons, restrict certain types of content, such as France or Germany, which ban pro-Nazi content.

Until now, the only way we could take account of those countries’ limits was to remove content globally. Starting today, we give ourselves the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country — while keeping it available in the rest of the world. We have also built in a way to communicate transparently to users when content is withheld, and why.

Jailbreaking Can Lead to Jail Time
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is out and about trying to alert people that a certain copyright protection law that allows people to root and jailbreak their smartphones is set to expire soon. The current clemency law is an exception to the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). When this protection expires, anyone with a jailbroken device is set to be piled under legal issues, rather than just a void on your warranty. EFF is urging netizens to leave comments  and sign a petition, all directed at the Copyright Office.

It’s Finally Here (?) Timeline is Mandatory
Facebook has announced that the remaining users who have not made the switch to Timeline will be prompted to do so within the next few weeks, making the feature now compulsory and site-wide. Traditionalists will still get a seven day grace period to figure out how their new Facebook works, but we figured we’d link you to a few Timeline handy guides.

Facebook Causes is just Causes
When introduced in early 2007, Facebook Causes seemed like a more socially aware app that helped friends link and share do-gooder deeds that people should get behind. While still popular and reliant on Facebook , the social awareness app has now moved to a new home at simply Causes.com with new features and changes still in the works. The site is set to fully launch mid-March.

Did we miss anything? Let us know and join in on the conversation here!