This week in social media news, kids spend almost as much time on TikTok as they do on YouTube during lockdowns, Twitter tests a new prompt to prevent users from retweeting articles they haven’t read, the EU calls on tech giants to produce monthly reports detailing their COVID misinformation practices, Twitter confirms it’s testing a new verification system and more.
TikTok Viewership Among Kids Equals Nearly That Of YouTube
Kids spend an average of 85 minutes per day watching YouTube videos compared with 80 minutes per day spent on TikTok, according to Qustodio’s first study on children’s digital habits, which surveyed 60,000 families with kids aged 4 to 15 years old in the US, the UK and Spain, from February 2019 to April 2020.
Why it matters: The data shows how quickly TikTok has risen to the top among young viewers, indicating a threat to YouTube’s reign. The trend will likely continue as Qustodio found that TikTok drove growth of social app use by 100 percent in 2019 and 200 percent in 2020.
The details: Children are now watching twice as many YouTube videos per day as they did four years ago, with kids in the US spending an average of 100 minute a day on YouTube as a result of COVID lockdowns.
Between May 2019 and February 2020, kids’ average viewership on TikTok grew 116 percent in the US to 82 minutes; 97 percent in the UK to 69 minutes; and 150 percent in Spain to 60 minutes.
During lockdowns, kids are spending an average of 95 minutes a day on TikTok, just two minutes less than time spent on YouTube, 97 minutes.
Among kids, Roblox is the most popular video game app, played by 54 percent of kids in the US and 51 percent of kids in the UK.
Educational apps have become household names too, with 65 percent of kids in Spain using Google Classroom.
Qustodio will publish these insights on an annual basis.
Twitter Tests New Prompt Asking Users If They Want To Read An Article Before Retweeting It
Twitter, citing the powerful but sometimes dangerous effect of retweeting articles, is testing a prompt on Android that would ask users if they want to open an article first before retweeting it in hopes that they’ll read it before retweeting it.
Why it matters: The prompt in testing comes as Twitter attempts to slow the spread of misinformation, which first started by labeling Trump’s inaccurate and/or violent tweets.
The details: As per Twitter product chief officer Kayvon Beykpour: “It’s easy for links/articles to go viral on Twitter. This can be powerful but sometimes dangerous, especially if people haven’t read the content they’re spreading. This feature (on Android for now) encourages people to read a linked article prior to Retweeting it.”
If a user tries retweeting an article they haven’t opened, a prompt would appear that notes “Headlines don’t tell the full story. Want to read this before Retweeting?” Then users can choose from three options: read, retweet or retweet with comment.
EU Requests Tech Giants Publish Monthly Reports On How They Combat Fake COVID News
The EU, worried that misinformation about COVID-19 on social media platforms could prolong the effects of the crisis, has launched a program calling on Google, Facebook and Twitter to produce reports on how they’re preventing the spread of misinformation about COVID.
Why it matters: The fight against misinformation is especially important now as scientists rush to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, which could be met with resistance from the anti-vaccine community.
The details: Google, Facebook and Twitter all told The Verge they support the EU’s efforts and have accelerated efforts to slow the spread of misinformation; Google and Facebook said they’ll release new monthly reports and Twitter, though unsure how it’ll present this information, will for now regularly update its COVID-19 blog.
Twitter Testing New, Transparent Verification System
Twitter is reviving its public submission form for verifications with the addition of a new “Request Verification” option, which reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong first spotted before Twitter confirmed the feature.
Why it matters: Twitter’s verification system came under fire in 2017 when users learned the platform gave a blue checkmark to Jason Kessler, the creator of a fatal white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Twitter thereafter removed the public submission form for verifications, though in 2018 it announced shifted efforts to verify political candidates. Most recently, Twitter verified the accounts of health experts who were tweeting factual COVID-19 information.
The details: Twitter told TechCrunch that its improved in-app verification system will include public documents showing what qualifies a Twitter user to be verified. This marks the first time the app will provide transparency on its rules around verification.
Facebook Adds An Insights Update To Comments
Facebook is working on a new feature that provides users with comment engagement stats, as noticed by social media expert Matt Navarra.
Why it matters: Revealing a user’s comment performance could incentivize people to comment more, which would result in an increase in activity for Facebook.
The details: Navarra’s screenshots show Facebook’s comment insights would be viewable as an update under “See more insights.” There Facebook would show a percentage figure related to how many more reactions and impressions your posts received when you’ve added a comment. Comments that generate more engagement would yield this note from Facebook: “When you comment on posts, people tend to connect with you more deeply.”
TikTok To Open Transparency Center In Washington D.C.
In a company post, TikTok chief information security officer Roland Cloutier laid out the app’s plan to strengthen its data privacy practices including the opening of a transparency center in Washington D.C. and a bi-yearly transparency report.
Why it matters: TikTok’s move to enhance its security infrastructure follows the opening of its first transparency center in Los Angeles in March.
The details: TikTok says it’s also working on a centralized global security function outside of the US which it will deploy across all the markets it serves. In Washington D.C., TikTok plans to hire 100 security, data and privacy protection experts by the end of 2020.
TikTok’s goal with the transparency centers is to “give lawmakers and experts the opportunity to look under the hood of TikTok.”
Cloutier also notes that TikTok has been working with firms to ensure its compliance with globally recognized security standards.
Zoom Reports A 169 Percent Surge In Q1 Revenue
According to its first-quarter results, Zoom’s revenue surged 169 percent year-over-year to $328.2 million in Q1.
Why it matters: Zoom has become the go-to video calling service to stay connected during coronavirus, leading the company to raise its revenue forecast for 2020 to nearly $1.8 billion, or a doubling of prior projections of nearly $915 million.
The details: Zoom’s strong Q1 performance includes a 354 percent increase year-over-year to 265,400 businesses with over 10 employees that use Zoom and a 90 percent increase year-over-year to 769 customers contributing over $100,000 in trailing 12 months revenue.
On a call with analysts, CFO Kelly Steckelberg said Zoom plans to increase its internal capacity and rely less on outside services in order to cut costs.
Instagram Tests Content Recommendation Listings, Suggested And Older
Instagram is testing a new format in the main feed that would split post recommendations into two sections, one marked as “Suggested” and the other as “Older.”
Why it matters: Splitting the feed into two sections could help brands who use Instagram’s selling capabilities reach more people via suggested posts.
The details: The split content recommendation listings would appear after a user has scrolled through all the new posts in their feed and gotten the “You’re All Caught Up” notice. Then they’d have a chance to scroll suggested posts or scroll older posts they’ve already viewed.
Twitter Reaches Record-Breaking Weekly Installs Amid Black Lives Matter Protests
Twitter exceeded its record for weekly installs, according to data from Apptopia and Sensor Tower.
Why it matters: In the past week Black Lives Matter protesters heavily used Twitter to share footage from demonstrations and share messages in support of racial justice, likely leading to Twitter’s milestone.
The details: Apptopia reports that on June 3, Twitter saw 677,000 worldwide downloads and 140,000 installs in the US alone. Sensor Tower, on the other hand, says Twitter experienced over a million installs on June 1—the most single-day installs since the firm started analyzing app store data—and around 1 million installs on June 2.
Alexis Ohanian Leaves Reddit Board In Support Of Racial Justice
In a post on his website, founder and former CEO of Reddit Alexis Ohanian announced his resignation from Reddit’s board, calling on the company to fill his position with a black board member.
Why it matters: Reddit is not without its own history of inaction against racism. Not only did it once continue hosting subcommunities like The_Donald and blackpeoplehate before banning them or removing them from search, it also faced backlash when over a dozen employees quit after interim CEO Ellen Pao stepped down in 2015 due to issues over race.
The details: As per Ohanian: “I believe resignation can actually be an act of leadership from people in power right now. To everyone fighting to fix our broken nation: do not stop.”
Current Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said the company would honor Ohanian’s request to replace him with a black board member.
In addition to leaving the board, Ohanian says he will be using future gains from his Reddit stock to donate $1 million to Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp.
Facebook Publishes Group Admin Tips On Navigating Conversations Around Race
Facebook has published a comprehensive list of starting tips for group admins who may be unsure of how to manage important discussions around racial justice.
Why it matters: Facebook’s guidance comes at a time when the company’s CEO faces backlash for taking a hands-off approach to President Trump’s controversial posts about the current Black Lives Matter movement and protesters.
The details: Facebook recommends that group admins educate themselves and their team on issues before engaging with conversations with members. Other ways that admins can approach conversations on race include: diversifying their team by enlisting advocates to host live training with your group; acknowledging current events via an announcement to your community and outlining how your community will engage moving forward; deciding whether or not to institute post approval to review incoming posts, setting up keyword alerts and turning off comments; and listening to member feedback to address burnout.