This week in social media news, Facebook adds extra Page verification, nixes Friend List feeds and bans the sharing of blueprints for 3D-printed guns.
Also, LinkedIn explains how it addresses potentially harmful activity and Facebook hosts a panel on the intersection between technology and free speech. Facebook Messenger introduces AR games, Twitter explains its ever-changing rules and YouTube could soon be the second largest website. Pinterest takes promoted video width “to the max,” Facebook holds its own in the US as a mobile browser and LinkedIn makes it easier to highlight a professional journey; Facebook has also been busy testing its dating feature, connecting small businesses and enforcing its community guidelines while YouTube Premium announces its first Spanish-speaking slate of programming.
Friend List Feeds Retired From Facebook
Facebook users can no longer view a custom News Feed based on their Friends Lists.
Why it matters: Facebook is steering users back to its main News Feed, putting them at the mercy of the site’s algorithm. The company has been focused on prioritizing friends and family over brands in the Feed, making the retirement of Friend List Feeds—which highlight only the desired updates—a bit ironic.
Details: Effective August 9, Facebook has retired the ability to sort one’s News Feed by specific Friend Lists. Facebook said the purpose of this change is to “focus on improving [the] main News Feed.” Users can still create, edit and share Friends Lists as normal.
In Light Of Attacks, Facebook Page Managers Are Being Scrutinized
Two-factor authorization and confirming a primary country location will now be required of anyone who manages a Facebook Page, the company announced on Friday.
Why it matters: Facebook recently uncovered a coordinated attempt to influence US politics through the creation of fake accounts and Pages. Scrutinizing Page managers helps the site prevent future behavior targeted at US audiences.
Details: Facebook has introduced new rules related to its Pages and those authorized to manage them. Page Managers that require additional verification will not be allowed to post on their Pages until they complete the process. “Enforcement will follow shortly this month,” said Facebook, although details were not provided. In addition to the new verification process, users can view a Page’s history, such as when it merges with another Page. The company hopes that by making this information public, users will be able to determine when activity doesn’t seem right.
LinkedIn Joins The ‘Safe Community’ Discussion
Paul Rockwell, LinkedIn’s head of trust and safety, posted an article on Thursday that explains how the site handles spam, harassment and other unwelcome content.
Why it matters: Facebook is taking most of the heat lately, but LinkedIn admits that it has been targeted with suspicious activity, as well (although on a much smaller scale). Admitting this, as well as outlining how the situation is being handled allows LinkedIn to maintain its integrity with users—getting ahead of any controversy that may erupt later.
Details: LinkedIn reminded its users on Thursday about how to report content that “makes them uncomfortable.” The networking site assured its users that reports are taken seriously. Rockwell’s article outlines recent action taken by his team to combat suspicious or unacceptable behavior, such as removing fake accounts. Like Facebook, fake accounts were created to connect with political organizations, presumably to influence them and their activities. Rockwell said there was no evidence of fake news or malicious ads being spread, but his team doesn’t “take their existence lightly.”
Facebook Hosts Panel On Free Expression
A Facebook Live panel is being held on Thursday at 2 p.m. PST to discuss where technology and free speech intersect and the challenges thereof.
Why it matters: By welcoming conversation around the topic of free speech, Facebook is attempting to show that it is not biased or censoring content based solely on differing viewpoints.
Details: Facebook’s “Hard Questions” series continues with a panel to discuss where and when technology giants like Facebook can or should censor content. The panel will be moderated by Andrew McLaughlin, co-founder of Higher Ground Labs. Panelists include Monika Bickert, Facebook’s vice president of global policy management, Malkia Cyril, executive director of The Center for Media Justice, Daniella Greenbaum, a former reporter at Business Insider and Geoffrey King, a journalist, attorney and lecturer at UC Berkeley.
AR Games Debut For Facebook Messenger
Facebook has introduced the first of several planned multiplayer AR games for video chat on Messenger.
Why it matters: Facebook Messenger hosted over 17 billion video chats last year, making it an obvious testing ground for the company’s ongoing push for augmented reality. The new video chat AR games also place Facebook at an advantage over Snapchat. For one, Facebook’s version is designed for split-screen multiplayer unlike those on Snappables released earlier this year. In addition, monetization used for Instant Games has already laid the groundwork for how Facebook could monetize this new interactive feature.
Details: Beginning Wednesday, Facebook Messenger users can challenge friends and family to “Don’t Smile” and “Asteroids Attack.” In “Don’t Smile,” users see who can hold a serious face the longest. Those who crack a smile are exposed with an AR filter that exaggerates the grin for all to see. In “Asteroids Attack,” video chat participants navigate a spaceship through a barrage of asteroids. Facebook said it is planning to roll out more games in the coming weeks and months, including a kitten match game and a virtual beach ball that can be bounced back and forth between callers.
Twitter Says Its Rules Are A ‘Living Document’
In a blog post, Twitter explained how its rules are constantly changing and why the site doesn’t always enforce them the way users expect.
Why it’s important: In light every other major social media outlet banning Infowars, the timing is right for Twitter to address how violating content is identified and enforced. As Twitter faces pressure to join the purge, the company is standing by its admittedly vague and ever-changing policies. Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey said they have been “terrible” at explaining rules in the past, but refused to “succumb to outside pressure” in regard to Jones and Infowars for fear of becoming the politically-biased site it has often been accused of.
Details: Twitter provided users with a recap of its “living document” that governs behavior on the platform. This including different kinds of prohibited behavior added over the years, like unwanted sexual advances and threats to expose or hack someone. While the company pledged to continually adapt and improve, it warned: “Given the scale of Twitter, we will not always get it right.”
YouTube Could Become Third-Largest US Website
A new study shows that growth on YouTube could propel it past Facebook to become the second largest website in the US.
Why it matters: Should predictions become reality, Google is poised to dominate the US in terms of website traffic—bolstering its position as the world’s top ad seller.
Details: While Facebook traffic is on the decline, YouTube traffic is rising, according to a study by market research firm SimilarWeb. For the past several years, the top US sites have been Google, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo and Amazon, in that order. As CNBC reports, however, Facebook’s decreasing user base could allow YouTube to slip into the number two spot. In addition, Amazon is on a course to overtake Yahoo for website traffic.
Promoted Videos Go Maximum Width On Pinterest
Pinterest is now offering promoted videos at “max. width,” four times larger than a standard video option.
Why it matters: Testing of the wider format resulted in higher purchase intent and brand awareness, Pinterest announced. For example, UK retailer John Lewis saw a 20 percent increase in awareness and a 33 percent increase in purchase intent in a campaign promoting their new nursery collection.
Details: Advertisers on Pinterest now have two video sizes to choose from—standard and max. width. Standard videos are the same size as a regular Pin and fit seamlessly into a user’s feed. Max. width, on the other hand, is four times larger and spans the width of both columns. The new format has been in testing but is now available for all advertisers on Pinterest.
Facebook Finds Success As A Mobile Browser
A recent study on mobile browser usage found that Facebook holds 7.6 percent of market share in the US and over 10 percent in many states. Considering the ubiquity of Chrome and Safari, that’s a sizable chunk.
Why it matters: Facebook has become a primary source of internet consumption for many people, which adds pressure on the company to take responsibility for the content it spreads. In addition, Google faces increasing competition and acquisition costs as it pays to be the default browser on new mobile phones.
Details: Analytics provider Mixpanel conducted a study of mobile behavior across 20,000 of its users in the first half of 2018. While Safari and Chrome are the most oft-used browsers, Facebook has grown to be the third most popular in the US. In Washington, for example, Facebook holds 13.74 percent of browser market share.
LinkedIn Revamps ‘Experience’ Layout To Highlight Growth
Consecutive work experience on LinkedIn profiles will now automatically group under the same employer.
Why it matters: For professionals that work their way through the ranks, a LinkedIn profile begins to fill with separate sections for each job position. This new layout makes it easier to get a sense of a user’s professional journey and experience.
Details: With the new Experience layout, LinkedIn users can list every position held while at a company in a bullet list, highlighting their professional growth and varying experience in a streamlined format. According to LinkedIn, creating a better way to highlight past experiences and show career movement across each role has been one of the site’s top requests.
Facebook Tests Dating App On Employees
Facebook’s new dating feature is undergoing an internal test, according to source code located within the app.
Why it matters: Announced during its F8 conference, Facebook’s dating feature would allow users to privately build separate dating profiles using first names only. These profiles would be hidden from regular friends and news feeds. Internal testing doesn’t guarantee that the feature will ever go live, but it does show that Facebook is still on board with the idea.
Details: An internal test of Facebook’s dating feature is being conducted with the company’s employees, according to internal source code found by independent app researcher Jane Manchun Wong. The test version tells employees, “The purpose for this dogfooding (slang for testing one’s own products) is to test the end-to-end product experience for bugs and confusing UI. This is not meant for dating your coworkers.”
Facebook confirmed the test with The Verge but would not provide additional comment.
Spanish-Language Slate Coming To YouTube Premium
YouTube Premium is developing an unknown number of Spanish-speaking titles, the company announced.
Why it matters: With availability in 16 regions including Mexico and Spain, YouTube Premium is taking advantage of popular Spanish-speaking performers on its platform. Latin pop star Maluma, for example, has five videos on YouTube that have garnered over one billion views.
Details: Although details are scarce, YouTube has confirmed the development of Spanish language movies and series for its Premium platform. Actor Gael García Bernal, singer Maluma and comedian Sofia Niño de Rivera are all attached to these projects.
“Latin America is a region filled with creative storytellers with unique voices, and we’re looking forward to working with them to bring their innovative brand of programming to YouTube fans around the world,” said Susanne Daniels, global head of original content at YouTube in a statement.
Facebook Removes Alex Jones Pages
Infowars host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones faced additional punishment from Facebook this week that resulted in four Pages being removed from the site.
Why it matters: The fact that Facebook felt the need to write a blog post about this move is notable. The company has taken a softer approach in the past by deprioritizing offenders in news feeds rather than removing pages altogether, but this move indicates a clear line in the sand. Prior to his exit, Facebook’s chief security officer urged the company to “pick sides when there are clear moral or humanitarian issues.”
Details: On Monday, Facebook confirmed the removal of four Pages belonging to Infowars and Alex Jones, citing repeated violations of its guidelines. Specifically, Facebook found the content to glorify violence and use dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants. Jones was recently suspended from Facebook for violating the site’s policies in regard to hate speech and Jones has already been banned from livestreaming on YouTube for 90 days.
Updates Catered To Small Businesses Roll Out On Facebook
Facebook has made updates to its site designed to help small businesses that extend to recommendations, mobile Pages, job tools, events and a Local section for users to browse.
Why it matters: As the world’s second-largest ad seller, Facebook needs to appeal to businesses big and small. Together with prioritizing local news, making it easier to interact with local happenings helps Facebook’s mission to create more meaningful interactions, as evidenced by prioritizing back in March.
Details: Local business Facebook Pages have been updated with features that allow users to make reservations, book appointments and other features that help facilitate a purchase. On mobile, Stories give businesses an opportunity to engage users with behind-the-scenes, product spotlights and specials, etc. Recommendations are now displayed in a more prominent position on Pages and users can purchase tickets from Events pages. Facebook has also expanded its job application tool globally and added a “Local” section for users to browse businesses and events in their area.
Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, August 10. 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.