Clubhouse, a new social media platform created during the coronavirus blockade, provided users with the opportunity to connect with users through intimate voice conversations with virtual strangers, even while at home.
However, as the platform continues to grow, the same model that allows users to connect physically apart raises concerns about how apps handle the spread of false information.
Unlike traditional social media platforms, where user footprints are more permanent, Clubhouse chat room conversations are not recorded by the app, making it “essentially impossible” to identify false information or the spread of harassment. Emerson Brooking, the Digital Forensics Institute of the Atlantic Resident Senior Fellow Council, told Hill.
“Your words don’t last as long as you do with your Twitter account, which makes you feel more relaxed. That means the app is working as intended, but of course it also poses certain risks. It means, “added Brooking.
According to Brooking, the clubhouse model can feel that users tend to speak freely, not necessarily considering whether they are sharing accurate information or the consequences of disseminating false information. ..
Clubhouse is designed to allow users to enter and exit chat rooms focused on a wide range of topics. Listeners can virtually choose to participate by raising their hands, and moderators allow them to become speakers in the room.
Moderators, or users starting a clubhouse room, can also add or remove other speakers to guide the conversation.
The clubhouse has provided a platform for people to host informal panels in a wide range of areas, but traditional meetings and events have been canceled due to a pandemic.
However, the informal nature of the app has already led to reports of false information spreads, including the spread of false claims about coronaviruses and coronavirus vaccines. Sub-report Early this month. Even if Twitter and Facebook promise to crack down on content, such false claims continue to plague traditional social media platforms.
“This may be an ideal gathering place for members of the vaccine hesitarian community, as it gives people the opportunity to convene a sympathetic clubhouse that talks about and enhances vaccine repellent. That’s a big concern for now, and they can control the course of conversation, so they may not hear other voices, “Brocking said.
The rules for clubhouse users prohibit the spread of “false information or spam” and the abuse and harassment. Also, Clubhouses typically do not record sessions, but platform guidelines state that there is a temporary audio recording to support incident investigations. When users report an incident in real time, the platform is prompted to keep a temporary record.
However, if a user reports an incident after the room is closed, the platform will not be able to access the room audio to support the investigation, according to the guidelines.
As your app continues to grow, you may also encounter incorrect information issues.
The platform was first released by a small number of users in March of last year, when global lockdown began. Although still in the invitation-only stage, according to data from app analytics firm Sensor Tower, Clubhouse’s popularity has grown rapidly, with more than 10 million installs worldwide as of Friday.
A Clubhouse spokeswoman hasn’t responded to comments to see how many active users are using the platform so far, but in a blog post on January 24, Clubhouse said it was about 200 that week. Estimated to have 10,000 users.
Since then, the number of installations has skyrocketed. In the three weeks from January 25th to February 14th, Clubhouse confirmed about 6 million installations worldwide, up 400% from three weeks ago, based on sensor tower data.
If you’ve downloaded the app and haven’t been invited yet, enter the information and receive an invitation to join through an interconnect you’re already a member of, or you’ll be notified when the app is publicly available. can do.
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Jennifer Grigiel, an assistant professor of communications at Syracuse University, said: “I think it’s a new” it “place when you don’t have a place.
“Many of the first people to start this were influential people. Even they were stuck at home during this pandemic,” Grigiel added.
According to experts, clubhouses may have one leg in terms of mitigating the spread of false information about the virus compared to traditional social media counterparts.
Unlike almost every other platform, including Twitter and Facebook, there is no “blog” feature that allows users to share each other’s posts. This is often a way for posts with incorrect information to reach a wide audience.
“If there’s anything that really stands out, it’s a diminished viral ability built into the platform itself,” said Aram Sinnreich, a professor of communication at American University.
Some raise concerns that false information may spread more freely as the conversation disappears when the chat room ends, but Shinreich downplayed that concern. Users who tend to have a large audience will be wary of conversations being archived or monitored from external sources, he said.
“Public figures, celebrities, propaganda and disinformation professional spreaders, political organizations, anyone in the business of becoming an influencer, anyone doing such a job, the limits of security. You will notice that we have the ability to monitor and archive in the clubhouse and will act accordingly, “said Shinreich.
“And those who don’t know it and can express themselves more freely than Facebook or Twitter are ignorant people who have limited ability to include others because they don’t understand social media,” he said. Added.
But if more people join the platform and it’s open to the public, experts warn that changes in the user base could change the culture of the app and further increase the risk of disseminating false information. did.
“If clubhouse goes on Facebook’s path, there’s a future for demographics aged 65 and over to start joining the platform all at once,” Brooking said, and Facebook was launched as a college-only site. Said that. student.
“And instead of being a place for Silicon Valley elites to have very tech-oriented conversations, it’s basically going to be the future of talk radio,” he added. “And if we go that way, the risk of false information will be much more pronounced.”
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