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Digital Digest – 9th July

Adem Ay on Unsplash

In this week’s Digital Digest, we take a deep dive into the Twitter activity surrounding England’s victory over Denmark on Wednesday night and explore the UK’s new Covid-19 vaccine campaign.

We then take a look at big tech, as social media giants threaten to quit Hong Kong over new data laws, Twitter is stripped of liability protections in India, and Chinese tech company efforts to get around Apple’s privacy policies hit a brick wall.

Deep Dive

England vs Denmark

On Wednesday, with England just one win away from their second major tournament final, Trafalgar’s Data team took a closer look at how fans reacted to the game on Twitter. We wanted to understand how the ebb and flow of the game impacted the overall sentiment of conversations on Twitter.

To start, we analysed 150k English language tweets, during and immediately following the game. The team logged tweets containing at least one of the following hashtags: #ThreeLions, #EURO2020, #Euros2021, #ENG or #DEN. They then used a sentiment intensity algorithm to read, and note the tone of, the language used.

When the data was visualised (as shown above), we were pleasantly surprised – despite all the pessimism one would expect to find, English fans, and the general tone of the conversation throughout the match, remained positive and upbeat.

On the graph, the red reflects the amount of negative tweets, whilst the blue represents positive tweets. As is evident, for most of the game itself, positive tweets outweigh negative ones.

Even after Denmark scored a remarkable early free kick, the number of English supporters praising the technical skill of Denmark’s goalscorer, Damsgaard, marginally outweighed those criticising England’s goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford.

We then looked to see if fans were pre-empting and sharing substitution recommendations. As shown above, as the second half kicked off, English fans started to show their nerves. Ten minutes before Gareth Southgate replaced Saka with Grealish, fans were already calling for the Aston Villa star to make an appearance – once he did, fans overwhelmingly approved of the decision.

Unsurprisingly, given the controversy surrounding Harry Kane’s match-winning penalty, the reaction on Twitter was split, with a notable minority of English-speaking Twitter users reacting angrily to what they perceived as an injustice against Denmark.

The majority of tweets following the game remained positive, with English supporters ecstatic to now be just one game away from becoming European champions for the first time in their history on Sunday.

Closer To Home

Celebrities back Government’s new Covid-19 vaccine campaign

A string of celebrities have backed the latest Government effort to urge people over the age of 18 to get their Covid jab.

In a short film, David Walliams, Jim Broadbent, Russel Tovey, Nicola Roberts and Asa Butterfield all come together to encourage people to receive their COVID-19 vaccines.

Set to the tune of “The Rhythm Of Life” from the 1966 musical Sweet Charity, the ad was unveiled ahead of the NHS’s 73rd birthday last Sunday.

Pret a Manger brings Noddy Holder to celebrate Christmas in July

After office workers missed out on seasonal meal deals in December, Pret A Manger brought back their famous Christmas Lunch sandwich for customers to enjoy in July.

For a limited time only, those of us who were stuck working from home last year can now tuck into Pret’s festive feast six months earlier than usual. As part of the launch, Pret teamed up with Slade frontman Noddy Holder, who starred in a promotional video and gave out free sarnies to customers in the 182 Wardour Street Store.

IT’S CHRIIIIIISSSTMAAAS (in July) 🎄⛱️🎅🕶️ No one should ever miss our iconic Christmas sandwich so we’re bringing it back for one month only And what better way to celebrate than with the original Christmas icon, Noddy Holder 🎤🎶🥪 Order here: — Pret (@Pret) July 6, 2021

Not everyone was pleased, however, with some angry social media users threatening to boycott the sandwich chain, calling Christmas in July a “fresh hell”. Nevertheless, the stunt managed to persuade some of the Trafalgar team to commute into Central London to tuck into their office favourite.

Big Tech

Facebook, Google and Twitter threaten to quit Hong Kong over new data laws

Facebook, Google and Twitter have all reportedly threatened to withdraw from Hong Kong if authorities push ahead with planned changes to the laws around sharing private information online.

The Hong Kong government is considering new rules that could make platforms liable for the malicious sharing of individuals’ information — a practice known as doxing. The potential punishments include fines up to HK$1m, equivalent to about £93,000, and up to five years’ imprisonment.

The dispute highlights escalating tensions between major US companies and Hong Kong as Beijing continues to tighten its grip on the city-state.

Twitter stripped of immunity for user content in India following clashes with government

India has officially stripped Twitter of its liability protections over user-uploaded content as the government cracks down on the social media platform.

In a similar fashion to social media regulation in most democracies, India had previously given the platform immunity for any defamatory or hostile messages posted by its users.

Unfortunately, as India battled with COVID-19, Twitter became the go-to platform for criticism of the Indian government, from disaffected and angry citizens.

How’d you like them Apples?

Efforts by Chinese tech companies to get round Apple’s privacy policies have failed, in what is widely being seen as a victory for the U.S. Tech Giant.

According to the FT “Baidu, Tencent and TikTok parent ByteDance had worked with two Beijing-affiliated groups to create a new way of tracking iPhones for advertising, called CAID, that would let them identify users even if they refused to let apps use Apple’s official ID, called IDFA”

But after a global outcry, CAID did not gain any traction and the whole project has now been scrapped. It’s a win for Apple but, more importantly, for their customers and their privacy.

Also In The News

  1. SMEs selling on Amazon recorded over £3.5bn in export sales last year, with the e-commerce giant revealing small businesses sales had created 175,000 jobs across the UK.

  2. Amazon is however in the bad books of one small business owner, who was served with a legal notice after referencing “prime day” on a sign outside his fishmongers.

  3. Former president Donald Trump is suing Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as their respective chief executives, in lawsuits alleging “unlawful censorship” of Americans.

  4. Wise has made a strong stock market debut with a valuation of £8.75bn, making it the largest-ever listing of a UK tech company and buoying London’s hopes of attracting more technology companies looking to float.

  5. TikTok has announced it will invite users to submit video resumes to participating companies, encouraging applicants to show off their skills in a creative way while tagging the content with the hashtag #TikTokResumes 

Worth a read:

  1. Financial Times: Lenin’s rope may help tame the dominance of Big Tech

  2. The Drum: Masks may be the new Brexit, but they don’t have to create the same turmoil for brands

  3. The Atlantic: You Really Need to Quit Twitter


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