This week in social media news, Facebook takes in-person questions from London residents and YouTube Kids adds a new experience for older users.
Also, Instagram attracts massive TV engagement and fights the opioid crisis, LinkedIn offers classes on airplanes and YouTube ads go vertical. Facebook teaches its AI some new tricks and prepares advertisers for the holidays, while Europe votes on a law that could impact business models based on user-generated content. Meanwhile, Facebook tackles brand safety and revamps Canvas, LinkedIn redesigns Groups and Instagram plays with video tagging. Pinterest hits a milestone, Mark Zuckerberg explains himself, Twitter revamps desktop view and YouTube brings a new show to India.
London Pop-Up Lets Facebook Users Understand Data
A pop-up in London this weekend will invite users to come down and ask questions about how their data is being used by Facebook.
Why it matters: Facebook has had to answer for its data usage policies by answering questions from the media and government, but the conversation with users has largely been one-sided. The social media giant is giving local users the chance to have a dialogue about the situation and better understand things like privacy policies and how data is used.
Details: Facebook is hosting a pop-up at 3-4 Carnaby Street in London from 12:00 p.m. Friday, September 14 to 6:00 p.m. Sunday, September 16. The event is free and open to the public.
“Whether that’s how your data is being used, how to use Facebook’s privacy tools and controls or how to make the most of things like Groups and Stories. Now more than ever, we understand the importance of helping people build a Facebook experience that’s right for them,” Facebook said.
YouTube Kids Launches New Controls, Experience For Pre-Teens
Parents have been given new controls in YouTube Kids, allowing them to hand-select what content their children can access, as well as approve content designed for those 8-12.
Why it matters: There’s a significant difference between a 5-year-old and a 12-year-old in terms of what they enjoy online, and no two children are alike. Giving parents more options allows them to cater a YouTube experience for their individual child.
Details: YouTube is giving pre-teens a new experience that includes more music and gaming videos. Parents can select “Younger” or “Older” to grant access to the default content or this new line-up designed for more mature eyes. The “Older” experience is available in the US, with plans to expand globally. Meanwhile, the additional parental controls can prevent children from searching and restrict access to whichever channels or content Mom or Dad has pre-approved.
Instagram Hosts Fewer TV Posts, But Most Of The Engagement
Nielsen found that TV marketers gained the most social engagement on Instagram and with video/image posts.
Why it matters: TV marketers have to compete with other digital entertainment, and social media is an effective way to keep viewers engaged. Knowing what gets viewers most excited (or at least responding) on each platform will help marketers formulate a plan around key moments—premieres, finales, story twists, etc.
Details: Nielsen measured owned social content (posted by official accounts) across three weeks leading up to the fall TV season. On Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, TV marketers posted 142,000 pieces of content and earned 154 million engagements. Surprisingly, Instagram accounted for just eight percent of these social media posts but attracted 70 percent of the engagement.
LinkedIn Now Offers Training In-Transit Through Delta, Others
LinkedIn Learning courses offer training and insights for professionals in-transit that include thousands of interviews and courses, accessible through partnering transportation companies.
Why it matters: LinkedIn wants to build a reputation for nurturing professionals, and offering training on-the-go could be an effective way of accomplishing this. In addition to helping professionals learn new skills, LinkedIn has the potential to sell advertisements or sponsored content for brand exposure outside of the app.
Details: LinkedIn Learning courses are now available through in-flight entertainment on Delta Airlines, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Turkish Airlines, select Alaska Airlines flights and with Eurostar rail service.
Instagram Tries To Help With Opioid Addiction
A new pop-up will appear when Instagram users search terms and hashtags related to opioids, offering resources for addiction recovery and education.
Why it matters: According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 115 people die each day from an opioid overdose in the US. The opioid crisis in America has spawned multiple lawsuits and a hard look at the pharmaceutical industry. Instagram has the opportunity to reach its millions of users with resources and help, even if they are privately searching the app.
Details: Instagram has rolled out a new pop-up message that will appear if users search for opioid-related terms. Users will be able to obtain support resources and advice for family and friends of substance abusers.
YouTube Adds Vertical Video Ad Format
Advertisers on YouTube can now create messages designed for the vertical video format.
Why it matters: With the rise of IGTV and other vertical video formats, YouTube is adapting to make sure it appeals to young audiences.
Details: During the Dmxco conference, YouTube announced a new vertical video ad format that works the same as horizontal ones. Hyundai is one of the first brands to test it out.
Facebook’s ‘Rosetta’ AI Searches Memes For Violating Policies
Rosetta, Facebook’s artificial intelligence platform, has been taught to analyze, translate and flag memes that may be in violation of the site’s policies.
Why it matters: Memes express everything from humor to social commentary, but since they are made up of embedded text on an image, they are harder to spot through machine learning. With Rosetta reviewing over a billion public images per day, Facebook is getting some much-needed assistance on the moderation front.
Details: In a blog post, Facebook’s engineers detailed the process in which it taught Rosetta to analyze images with text on them. In addition to policy enforcement, Facebook says that Rosetta is making image searches more relevant and can improve screen reading for the visually impaired.
European Parliament Approves New Copyright Law
Members of Parliament in France have approved a European Union law that requires tech giants to automatically filter copyrighted content or obtain licenses for news and other content.
Why it matters: Social media business models are based almost entirely by user-generated content, placing tech giants like Facebook and Google in a difficult (and potentially expensive) position. Under the new law, these companies would be required to pay for any copyrighted material posted on its site or implement a way to block the content automatically. Critics point out that fair use images, such as memes, would be unfairly removed and result in censorship. A final version of the law is still under negotiation.
Details: A law that would help musicians and other professionals seek compensation for their work may force sites like Facebook and Google to re-think their business models in Europe. The law, approved pending a final version, has tech giants and their associations understandably concerned.
“[EU lawmakers] decided to support the filtering of the internet to the benefit of big businesses in the music and publishing industries despite huge public outcry,” said Siada El Ramly, director general of Edima, an internet platform association that includes Facebook and Google. “We hope that governments of the EU will hear their citizens’ concerns in the next stage of negotiations.”
Holiday Ad Templates Now Available On Facebook
It’s not even Halloween, but businesses are already planning holiday content on social media.
Why it matters: Adding holiday-themed overlays to advertisements help brands stand out on the platform and attract consumers as they plan their holiday spending.
Details: In a Tuesday blog post, Facebook reminded brands about advertising features to help their campaigns stand out, including dynamic ads with image overlays, holiday templates and ads that feature a collection of goods.
Facebook Rolls Out Brand Safety Tools
Marketers on Facebook can now exclude certain publishers, apps and content categories from delivery.
Why it matters: In this time of political turmoil (especially as the US mid-term elections loom closer), brands do not want to display ads next to content they find offensive. As Facebook pushes more video content, the company is trying to avoid the brand safety pitfalls experienced by YouTube.
Details: Facebook announced new controls across Facebook in-stream videos, Instant Articles and Audience Network to give all advertisers more choices. Marketers can gain access to a list of publishers that monetize their content, for example, and that list has been extended to include Instant Articles and in-stream videos. Undesired publishers can be added to a block list to avoid association. Publisher delivery reports allow marketers to view where their ads have been shown once a campaign has been launched.
Instagram Tests Ability To Tag Friends In Video
Instagram is testing a feature that would allow users to tag others in a video, similar to how you can in a photo.
Why it matters: If the feature becomes standard, influencers may be able to tag brands in videos such as unboxings and product reviews. In addition, tagging one another in videos may encourage more sharing and engagement on the platform.
Details: As confirmed by TechCrunch, Instagram is testing the ability to tag users in a video. The test is available only on mobile devices at the moment, and visible to voluntary test participants. A button at the bottom of a video will display a list of users tagged in the post. Instagram declined to provide additional details.
LinkedIn Unveils New Groups Experience
On Monday, LinkedIn launched a new version of Groups that includes access through the mobile app, engagement notifications and multimedia sharing.
Why it matters: LinkedIn is nurturing professional communities and encouraging more engagement on the platform—making it more attractive to potential advertisers.
Details: The new LinkedIn Groups experience includes new features like the ability to edit comments and posts, as well as share multiple photos. Group members will receive notifications whenever someone comments with a post and access Group activity from a mobile device. New features will be added in the near future that includes recommended Groups, access to Group conversations from the LinkedIn feed and a navigation panel for easy access.
Facebook ‘Canvas’ Is Now ‘Instant Experience’
Two years after the launch of Canvas, Facebook has added new capabilities and reintroduced the serve as “Instant Experience.”
Why it matters: The new features make it easier for mobile advertisers to create and launch campaigns and drive purchases.
Details: Canvas has been reborn as Instant Experience, complete with new templates and Facebook Pixel integration. Templates include Storefront, Lookback, Customer Acquisition, Storytelling and Forms.
Pinterest Hits 250 Million Monthly Users
In a blog post, Pinterest announced that it has reached 250 million MAU.
Why it matters: Pinterest’s unique visual format taps into consumers’ desire for inspiration and discovery over hard sales pushes. The site is especially popular outside of the US, with half of its user base and 80 percent of new sign-ups hailing from elsewhere in the world. Pinterest translates this affinity into business opportunities, saying that 78 percent of its users find brand content to be useful.
Details: Pinterest has announced the milestone of 250 million MAU on its platform. In addition, the site reported over 175 billion Pins, an increase of 75 percent over last year.
Mark Zuckerberg Begins Series Of Explanatory ‘Notes’
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that he will publish a series of notes that outline what he’s doing to make the site better.
Why it matters: Zuckerberg is taking personal responsibility for the issues surrounding Facebook. In a series of notes to the public, he hopes to explain how they are fixing problems with the site, as well as the challenges thereof. Embracing an attitude of transparency could help Facebook garner favor during this time of constant scrutiny.
Details: In a Facebook post, Mark Zuckerberg said he will start publishing a series of letters he calls “notes.” Beginning with election interference, Zuckerberg will address the issues his company is facing, while outlining the steps they are taking to solve problems. He warns that the process of fixing these problems could take years but expects to “end the year on a better trajectory” than when Facebook entered it.
Twitter Tests New Desktop Interface
A new desktop interface would allow Twitter users to access mobile features.
Why it matters: Bringing Bookmarks and Explore tabs to the desktop would encourage interactions normally reserved for the mobile app.
Details: In a Twitter post, the company announced that it is testing a new desktop interface that includes mobile features like Bookmarks and Explore. Users with access to the test reported faster load times, as well.
YouTube Launches Original Programming In India
YouTube Originals has launched in India with the debut of a new show called AR Rahman’s ARRived.
Why it matters: YouTube claims to be the biggest digital video platform in India with 245 million unique users per month, putting the brand in a unique position against streaming giants like Netflix.
“With our growing reach and highly engaged audience, brands have an incredible opportunity to engage with the audience,” YouTube India head of Entertainment Satya Raghavan told the Press Trust of India. “Our goal is to further boost the ecosystem and supercharge the growth.”
Details: YouTube has invested in original streaming content for the Indian region, beginning with AR Rahman’s ARRived in the coming weeks. YouTube tested the market by piloting two cricket-based talk shows.
Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, September 14. 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.