This week in social media news, hashtags turn 11 and Twitter’s esports partnership dreams come true.
Also, Facebook is all about that transparency, inviting publishers to scrutinize ads and banning a popular app. On the brighter side, Facebook has made it easier to create video ads on the platform. Pandora listeners share music on Snapchat, LinkedIn helps job seekers, Facebook could be testing voice controls and has deleted more bad actors from its platforms. Instagram sees if it can keep users scrolling, Facebook tries to make MRIs less of a pain and GIPHY creates its own version of Stories. Meanwhile, Snapchat users get a peek at the new Android design, Twitter vows to promote conversational health and LinkedIn invites economic research.
Twitter Celebrates 11 Years Of Hashtags
Just over a decade ago, Twitter started the trend of adding a hash/pound sign in front of a phrase so that users could sort tweets by topic.
Why it matters: Twitter says that over 125 million hashtags are shared on its platform each day. The hashtag has helped gain worldwide awareness for everything from social causes to brand campaigns and has spread to other platforms as a universal way to share ideas.
Details: Users on Twitter can celebrate the 11th anniversary of the hashtag with—what else—a hashtag. Using #HashtagDay in a tweet will add the emoji of a hashtag inside a blue heart. The site is also asking users to share which hashtag has made the most impact on them this year.
Overwatch League Partners With Twitter For All-Star Weekend
Blizzard’s Overwatch League has signed a multi-year with Twitter that includes a weekly show, match highlights and on-demand video.
Why it matters: Overwatch League attracts the kind of viewership Twitter is looking for when it pursues video partnerships. The Overwatch League Grand Finals in July, for example, averaged over 861,000 views per minute. This partnership would allow Twitter to reach a wide audience of 18-34 consumers, which extends to brands that want to time advertising around events.
Details: Twitter will show highlights of the Overwatch League All-Star Weekend tournament this weekend, and continue its partnership with the 2019 season. The partnership includes a live weekly show and match highlights.
“From the inception of the Overwatch League, the community on Twitter has always been one of our most passionate and engaged,” said Daniel Cherry, vice president and chief marketing officer for Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues. “That’s why we are particularly excited to announce this collaboration, beginning with the Overwatch League’s All Star-Weekend.”
Facebook Creates New Video Editing Tools For Advertisers
Advertisers on Facebook can now access a suite of editing tools to create mobile video campaigns.
Why it matters: Facebook claims that mobile-first creative has a 27 percent higher likelihood of driving brand lift video ads that are not optimized for mobile. As brands find it harder to gain traction in Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm, a video may prove beneficial for standing out in a saturated Facebook ad marketplace.
Details: Facebook has introduced a number of video tools for advertisers on its platform, including the ability to edit, crop and create video ads from templates or existing photos.
Ad Archive API Lets Journalists Scrutinize Marketing On Facebook
Facebook is accepting applications for journalists and researchers to access a new Ad Archive API. This tool would allow users to view detailed information about an ad in order to better understand its origins.
Why it matters: Facebook is gearing up for mid-term elections with all the transparency it can muster.
Details: A new Ad Archive API will be tested with publishers, educators and academics in the US before being offered to other users. The API offers ad creative, start and end date, and performance data, including total spend and impressions for ads. It also shows the demographics of people reached, including age, gender and location.
Facebook Bans myPersonality App For Data Abuse
Psychometric app myPersonality has been banned from Facebook after an investigation found misuse of user data.
Why it matters: Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook is taking a second look at the hundreds of apps it allowed to access user data. The social media giant has updated its policies regarding data usage and security which has resulted in numerous app suspensions and investigations.
Details: myPersonality, a Facebook app introduced in 2007, refused to comply with an audit of its security practices and thus was banned from the platform. In ablog post, Facebook said “it’s clear” that the app shared user information with only limited protections in place. Facebook is now notifying roughly 4 million people who chose to share their Facebook information with myPersonality.
Pandora Premium Gets Snapchat Integration
Special album cards can now be shared on Snapchat by Pandora Premium users.
Why it matters: Albums or playlists shared on Snapchat redirect users back to Pandora, offering a new trackable source of traffic and incentive for users to upgrade to Premium. Snapchat, meanwhile, gains a new method of engagement for a user base that has dropped in recent months.
Details: Beginning August 22, Pandora Premium users can share a song, album or playlist with their Snapchat followers directly from the Pandora app. Snapchat users in the US who tap on the music card will gain access to Pandora’s entire music library. Listeners can already share Pandora content via Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Twitter, so Snapchat integration rounds out the list for engagement.
Voice Control Code Found Inside Facebook App
A dictation feature has been located inside the code for Facebook and Messenger, indicating that the company hasn’t given up on zero UI.
Why it matters: Facebook put its smart speaker plans on hold amid privacy scandals this year, but finding code inside the app may show that the company plans to continue its voice-controlled ambitions. As the third most popular entry point into the internet, Facebook stands to gain tremendous market share with a smart speaker . . . so long as users trust the company enough to use it.
Details: As reported by TechCrunch, App investigator Jane Manchung Wong discovered code within the Facebook and Messenger mobile apps that allows users to dictate text to a voice assistant called “Aloha.” Speaking while in a message thread will transcribe a user’s voice into text. In addition, the code describes the feature as having connections with external Wi-Fi or Bluetooth devices.
Facebook Removes Over 5,000 Ad Targeting Categories
Amid accusations (and lawsuits) over ad targeting discrimination, Facebook has announced the removal of over 5,000 targeting options.
Why it matters: Previously, marketers on Facebook could exclude certain groups such as race or religion from seeing an ad, but that extended to housing and other industries that prohibit discrimination.
Details: Facebook has announced plans to remove over 5,000 targeting options for advertisers, including ethnicity and religious beliefs. To help curb any discrimination, Facebook will also roll out certification programs for all advertisers, beginning in the US. Advertisers will be required to complete this certification in order to continue advertising on Facebook.
LinkedIn Upgrades Job Search Features
Job hunters on LinkedIn now have access to a dashboard that consolidates search results, in addition to new features to help make decisions.
Why it matters: Building a reputation for matching businesses with job hunters allows LinkedIn to attract more users, as well as solicit paid features.
Details: New features have been added to LinkedIn Job Search that include notifications when a company posts an opening, salary comparisons and the ability to work remotely. The updated interface also eliminates the need to open multiple job posts and allows users to search by more parameters like telecommute.
Facebook Removes More Accounts For ‘Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior’
The fight against fake news and outside political interference rages on as Facebook removed multiple Pages and accounts designed for this purpose.
Why it matters: It’s important for Facebook to be transparent about its efforts to curb foreign interference ahead of the mid-term elections, as the company fights to regain its reputation after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Letting users know what they are up against—and when they are successful—will help ease concerns about Facebook’s spread of misinformation.
Details: Facebook has announced the removal of “multiple” Pages, groups and accounts for coordinated inauthentic behavior on Facebook and Instagram. These accounts were found to originate in either Russia or Iran, although Facebook has not found a link between the campaigns. Facebook explained that they often find it necessary to sit back and watch this behavior before removing it.
“There is always a tension between taking down these bad actors quickly and improving our defenses over the long term,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy wrote. “If we remove them too early, it’s harder to understand their playbook and the extent of their network. It also limits our ability to coordinate with law enforcement, who often have investigations of their own.”
Instagram Tests Recommended Posts
Beginning Tuesday, Instagram is testing recommended posts that will appear once a user has caught up on their news feed.
Why it matters: Instagram recently implemented the “all caught up” feature to prevent endless scrolling and promote digital wellbeing among its users. Recommended posts are less prone to endless scrolling and users are given the choice as to whether they want to see them.
Details: When a user has caught up on Instagram posts from accounts they follow, two choices will now appear—view past posts or scroll to view recommendations. Instagram says they will refine the product based on user feedback.
Facebook Collaborates To Speed Up MRI Scans
Facebook and NYU School of Medicine’s Department of Radiology have announced a research project dubbed fastMRI that uses AI to make the process up to 10 times faster.
Why it matters: In its quest for world data domination, Facebook has amassed an arsenal of advanced technologies. Using this tech to help others would paint Facebook in a more favorable light as the company faces worldwide scrutiny, lawsuits and bad press. MRIs currently take up to an hour, which is difficult for young children, those who are claustrophobic and patients who experience pain when lying down. Speeding up the process would not only ease this tedious process but free up the machine for more patients.
Details: Facebook has announced a partnership with the NYU School of Medicine’s Department of Radiology to improve the MRI process. MRI scanners work by gathering raw numerical data in a series of sequential views and turning the data into cross-sectional images. AI would be able to gather and display these images with less data, thus speeding up the process.
GIPHY Adds Animated ‘Stories’ To Its Webpage
Popular GIF database site GIPHY took a cue from social media networks by adding Stories to its homepage.
Why it matters: GIPHY may not be a social network unto itself, but the site is integrated with multiple platforms including Twitter and Facebook. These curated Stories have obvious implications for social media, should the company make it available to users.
Details: GIPHY has updated its website to feature Stories, a series of animated GIFs with subtitles curated by the site’s editorial staff. GIPHY Stories are displayed as a slide show that users can swipe through vertically on mobile devices and viewed horizontally on desktop. GIPHY’s first Stories include “The Bachelorette Finale in GIFs” and “The best GIFs for your summer out of office email.”
Snapchat Redesign Is Faster, According To Android Testers
Android users with root access can try out Snapchat Alpha, a new experience being created from the ground up.
Why it matters: Snapchat’s users have dropped this year following a controversial redesign. In the company’s Q2 earnings call, CEO Evan Spiegel said that re-engaging Android users will be a “higher focus” for the company moving forward. One of the users’ biggest complaints was how slow the new app was, so early tests are promising.
Details: Early testers of Snapchat’s new Android design say that it runs “smoother,” and shows improvement in terms of speeds. The app is far from being polished, however, and lacks several features like being able to send chats.
LinkedIn Invites Economic Researchers To Mine Data
LinkedIn is attempting to digitally graph the global economy and is inviting researchers to join the team.
Why it matters: In the short term, data mining raises questions about the safety of user information, although LinkedIn says it has privacy restriction in place. In the long term, LinkedIn wants to positively impact the global workforce by better understanding the economy. According to LinkedIn, its existing graph has been leveraged by organizations such as the World Economic Forum, the World Bank, state/local governments, and nonprofits to help identify macroeconomic trends and opportunities.
Details: LinkedIn says that its economic graph allows the company to connect users with job opportunities on a massive scale. The company is inviting economic researchers to help out, but proposals must be approved. In addition, data will not be available for download to prevent abuse.
Jack Dorsey Says They Are Ready To ‘Question Everything’ About How Twitter Works
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey continued his media tour this week with an interview on CNN, during which he reiterated the company’s willingness to change drastically.
Why it matters: Dorsey expressed his displeasure at how Twitter has become a hub for abuse and an echo chamber for ideas when it was originally designed to spawn conversation and discovery. Twitter takes a risk giving the site an overhaul but could benefit in the long term if it proves to discourage abuse.
Details: In an interview with CNN, Dorsey was reluctant to commit to a timeline for changes and seemed to ask more questions than offer answers. He did, however, admit that Twitter’s design encourages users to follow certain behaviors in regard to likes and follows.
“We are aware of some of the silos and how we’re isolating people by only giving them crude tools to follow accounts. We need to broaden our thinking and get more back to an interest-based network,” he said.
Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, August 24. Have a news tip? We’re looking for changes to and news surrounding social media platforms as they relate to marketing. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.