When politics hijacks a pizzeria

You may have seen the story last week where 260-pound Scott Van Duzer, purveyor of pizza at Big Apple Pizza in Fort Pierce, Florida, lifted President Obama off his feet in a moment of excitement.

What you may not know is that Van Duzer’s pizzeria was besieged by negative reviews on Yelp and fake food orders intended to make him ‘pay’ for his support.

That makes the second incident this week where social media was in the spotlight for our national election. The first was the tweet from the U.S. Embassy in Egypt attempting to calm the waters as the protests grew outside, later used to claim the U.S. apologized for the incident.

The good news? Yelp helped Van Duzer to delete the 4,500 or so reviews, in support or criticizing his bear hug, as they weren’t in the spirit or policy of Yelp. He’ll be OK. The Embassy thing is still playing out.

Regardless of your politics, this is a clear message that social media is very quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with. The voices and the platform need to be responsible, do the right thing, and avoid social media being a force to manipulate.

A few questions for those responsible for social platforms and their content:

  • Can you detect manipulation as it happens…to see the problem as it emerges?
  • Do you have a way to make sure that only the right messages get out?
  • Are clear policies in place to ensure users at least know the rules?
  • Do the platforms you use have a process to manage this when it happens?

Social media, like anything in the public eye, needs to have ground rules and oversight to make sure its effects aren’t unfairly negative. We’re still learning how to mange this new world.

At least sometimes, social media can entertain, too. Here’s Jimmy Fallon singing, “Romney and Bain” (Fire and Rain by James Taylor).

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Categories: Social / Collaboration

Author:Chris Taylor

Reimagining the way work is done through big data, analytics, and event processing. There's no end to what we can change and improve. I wear myself out...

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