Friday Five: Mind the social media race gap

Zone
3 min readMay 19, 2023

Zone’s Mark Sylvester handpicks and shares the five best news stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

1. Mind the social media race gap

Social media may be at the cutting edge of our digital culture, but it appears that it’s still lagging when it comes to race equality. An investigation by DIGIDAY has revealed many black content creators feel unsupported by some of the major platforms.

Issues around suppressed content, restricted access to important tools, and a lack of diversity in leadership are some of the main factors. Platforms seem to have upped their commitment to race equality recently, but what more can be done to ensure black creators get the help, and credit, they deserve?

2. Fighting climate change tech first

While climate change may be an environmental timebomb, it is also a serious social issue worldwide. The planet is increasingly at the mercy of freak bouts of weather, from destructive floods to devastating droughts. And often, the worst affected are those in developing countries, who are also the most socially vulnerable and least responsible for contributing to the issue.

However, tech can provide a light at the end of the tunnel, and how AI, Blockchain and Web3 can join the good fight will be at the heart of next month’s TNW Conference in Amsterdam.

3. Take the bot-docs with a dose of caution

We’ve all been Googling our health symptoms for years. But our self-diagnosis is now going up a level with tech companies rolling out large language AI models that many are visiting before a doctor. Now the World Health Organisation (WHO} has warned that we should be cautious when using AI as a first-stop health check.

The WHO believes the existing models lack the necessary data on diversity to ensure accurate diagnoses, while most of us don’t have the training to properly understand the results. While AI’s potential benefits to healthcare could be enormous, it’s a case of proceeding with caution.

4. Private chats get a Whatsapp lock

Handing your phone to anyone or having strangers see your messages can be a strangely heart-thumping experience. It doesn’t matter if there’s nothing nefarious to see — your chats are personal.

This is why WhatsApp has introduced its new Chat Lock feature, allowing you to put any chats or groups behind an extra level of security, which will be password or thumbprint protected. Additional features for Chat Lock are on the way, and it’s a reminder that in this day and age of data proliferation, privacy is at the top of many agendas.

5. The new disrupters on the digital block

Amazon and Alibaba have been pushing the boundaries of retail for the last decade. But now, a host of new players are jumping on the disruption bandwagon. A perfect storm of an ever-expanding internet, near-saturation mobile phone ownership and the online-boosting pandemic means the world has never been more digital.

Healthcare, charity, and education are among the sectors adding to the E-commerce revolution that could be worth $9 trillion by 2026. It’s not a case of whether organisations in non-retail areas turn to online, but how they use the tools available.

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Zone

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