Facebook Hosts London Pop-Up To Answer Data Questions

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 editorial@alistdaily.com.

Instagram Adds New Superzoom Effects; Periscope Offers Audio Streams

This week in social media news, Instagram Stories are ready to become memes with new Superzoom effects and Periscope allows podcasts on the go.

Also, Instagram helps parents start a dialogue with their kids and LinkedIn names the top 50 US start-ups on its site. Facebook braces for election time and its users take a break, Snap releases new shades, Instagram develops a shopping app and Twitter finds a bug. Meanwhile, Twitter plays with conversational features and YouTube rolls out picture-in-picture video and adds charity donation.

Instagram Adds ‘Superzoom’ Effects To Stories

New effects on Instagram let users quickly zoom into a person or object, then overlay an effect for dramatic or comedic impact.

Why it matters: Instagram’s new Superzoom effects are reminiscent of what you’d find on Vine, offering the potential to make Instagram Stories go viral (most likely captured as a GIF, since Stories disappear.) These new effects encourage creativity at a time when Instagram is trying to establish itself as a source for entertainment.

Details: Instagram is now offering several effects called Superzoom that add dramatic or comedic animated effects to Stories. The effect focuses on a person or object, then quickly zooms in, adding an effect such as camera flashes, flames, a big red X to indicate something is wrong and a heart-filled fog with cheesy music. You can see examples of these effects, as posted by Twitter user Matt Nevarra:


Periscope Adds Audio-Only Stream Option

Twitter-owned Periscope now allows users to broadcast without video.

Why it matters: In addition to creating opportunities for podcasters on the site, allowing users to post audio may also make the feature more accessible to those without native-language keyboards.

Details: For its annual #HackWeek, Periscope created an update that allows users to broadcast with only their voice. In a blog post by Periscope staff engineer Richard Plom, he explained that some users would stream with the camera covered because they didn’t feel comfortable broadcasting themselves or their surroundings. Periscope’s team decided to challenge themselves with a quick turnaround for this update and were able to successfully launch in four days.


Instagram Releases ‘A Parent’s Guide’

A microsite has been unveiled on Instagram, offering parents an overview of the site as well as options and topics to help start important conversations their children.

Why it matters: A number of studies suggest that social media browsing can lead to anxiety and depression among users, especially on a site like Instagram that is used to present a picture-perfect version of one’s life. Instagram is offering tools to help parents understand the site/app and talk to their children about it.

Details: Instagram has released “A Parent’s Guide” that includes an overview, privacy options, glossary of terms and list of potential questions that parents can use to start a conversation. These questions include topics like bullying and how “likes” and “comments” make a child feel about Instagram posts. In addition, Instagram offers six accounts the company calls #RoleModels, suggesting that following inspirational accounts makes the experience more uplifting.


LinkedIn Lists Its 50 Top US Start-Ups 

On Thursday, LinkedIn published an article promoting “young companies reaching that escape velocity.”

Why it matters: LinkedIn is a place for professionals to build a career, so highlighting entrepreneurs is designed to inspire and encourage its users.

Details: LinkedIn created a list of US start-ups based on LinkedIn engagement, including jobseeker interest and employee growth. The top five are Lyft, Halo Top Creamery, Coinbase, Noodle.ai and Bird. The entire list and can be viewed here.


Facebook Building ‘War Room’ For Mid-Term Elections

The social media giant is building a physical “War Room” to manage activity related to the US Mid-term Elections and is “laser-focused on getting it right,” according to Facebook’s head of civic engagement, Samidh Chakrabarti.

Why it matters: After the revelation that Facebook had become a vehicle for foreign election interference, the company has a lot to prove—especially after, on Wednesday, Sheryl Sandberg told Congress they were “too slow” to react.

Details: In an interview with NBC News, Chakrabarti indicated that Facebook is tackling foreign interference head-on and has made some progress in the area. In addition to identifying and blocking such activity, Chakrabarti said they have detected, blocked or removed over a billion fake accounts in the last six months alone and have added over 10,000 people to Facebook’s security team.

“We have to be ready for anything,” he said, “that’s why we’ve been building this war room, a physical war room . . . so, as we discover problems that may come up in the hours leading up to the election, we can take quick and decisive action.”


Snapchat Reveals New Spectacles Styles, Curation Tools

Snap has unveiled two new styles for its POV camera Spectacles, each made to look more like traditional sunglasses. A new feature will be added later this fall to publish captured footage.

Why it matters: Snap is pushing its Spectacles with the new style, tools and by allowing them to be sold on Amazon. More footage means more posts and engagement on Snapchat, making it more attractive to advertisers.

Details: On Wednesday, Snap revealed Nico and Veronica, two new styles of Spectacles camera glasses. The water-resistant glasses capture up to 70 videos or hundreds of photos on a single charge, then wirelessly transfer them to a user’s phone. A new feature will be added to Snapchat later this fall that automatically curates Spectacles Snaps into a single Highlight Story for easy sharing.


Instagram Is Developing A Stand-alone Shopping App

A new app is reportedly in development at Instagram designed for ecommerce.

Why it matters: If the reports are true and the app comes to market, Instagram would be in a unique position to sell products to its millions of users.

Details: According to The Verge, sources familiar with the matter say Instagram is developing a stand-alone app designed for browsing and shopping. The app may be called “IG Shopping,” although Instagram declined to comment.


Twitter Bug Pushes ‘Liked’ Posts By Mistake

Twitter has acknowledged a bug that inserts posts into a user’s timeline, claiming that a followed account liked it even though they might not have.

Why it matters: With Twitter backpedaling against claims of political censorship, the bug could be interpreted as a kind of “fake news” on the timeline—claiming someone you follow liked a post from a politician or regarding a hot-button issue, for example.

Details: Twitter users may have noticed that the site will tell them about posts one of their friends or followed accounts interacted with. A deeper look, however, found that some of this activity never actually happened. A spokesperson for the company confirmed that the issue is affecting several accounts but Twitter is working to fix it.


FCC Chairman Expresses Concerns About Today’s Tech Giants

In a blog post, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai suggested that tech giants like Google and Facebook could be held to the same transparency standards as those operating broadband networks.

Why it matters: In an age where tech giants track our every move and control what content we see, Pai is concerned that consumers have little to no insight on how these decisions are made.

Details: Ahead of Wednesday’s hearing with Facebook and Twitter, Pai shared his concerns on a Medium blog post that focused on transparency, expression and privacy. Although he says he does not want to control these companies like a utility provider, “It’s time to have a full and open conversation about the realities of today’s Internet economy.”


Study Finds Americans Taking A Break From Facebook

Pew Research has released new findings that suggest Americans are taking a new look at their relationship with Facebook.

Why it matters: Consumers are becoming more aware of the impact that social media has on their daily lives and mental wellbeing. Some consumers are disenfranchised with the social media giant while others remain unphased by revelations of data collection or misuse.

Details: A study released by Pew Research asserts that 44 percent of US consumers aged 18 to 29 say they have deleted the Facebook app from their phone in the past year. Just over half of all respondents said they have adjusted their privacy settings and 42 percent have taken a break for several weeks or more.


Twitter Tests ‘Conversational’ New Features

Twitter has been playing with a number of features lately, including threaded replies and seeing who’s online.

Why it matters: Aside from a few key changes like extra characters, Twitter hasn’t altered its original form all that much since its inception. CEO Jack Dorsey has recently stated that he is rethinking the site’s core features in order to foster healthier conversations.

Details: On August 31, Twitter’s director of product management Sara Haider posted screenshots of new features she has been testing. Among them are color-coded reply threads. Jack Dorsey retweeted the post, adding that they are also playing with online status indicators.


YouTube Rolls Out New Miniplayer To Desktop Users

Some desktop users have observed the ability to let a video play while they continue to browse YouTube.

Why it matters: The video miniplayer is already in use on YouTube mobile applications, making the desktop site more like a mobile experience. Allowing users to multitask on the site may encourage them to view more, as they will already be searching for a new video before the previous one has ended.

Details: According to Beebom, YouTube has begun rolling out its desktop miniplayer, first spotted in testing earlier this year. Although not accessible to all users yet, the feature mimics functionality on YouTube’s mobile app.


YouTube Allows Non-Profit Donations With ‘Giving’ Suite

YouTube Giving is a new suite of features that allows streamers to host fundraisers on the site.

Why it matters: Charity live streams are common among the gaming community. Offering a way to more easily collect donations allows YouTube to compete with Twitch, where many of these streams take place.

Details: YouTube has released a suite of features called YouTube Giving. The suite, currently in beta testing, allows online creators to host fundraisers, donation matching and Superchat For Good, a version of promoted chat comments that raises funds for charity instead of the streamer. To show off and test the new features, YouTube has partnered with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for a series of fundraising gaming videos in support of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.


Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, September 7. 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 editorial@alistdaily.com.

Twitter Celebrates #HashtagDay, Signs Deal With Overwatch League

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 editorial@alistdaily.com.

YouTube Red Gets Its First Theatrical Release; Twitter Cracks Down On API

This week in social media news, YouTube Red makes its theatrical debut, Twitter explains its API changes and LinkedIn woos sales teams with new features.

Also, Pinterest gives an inside look into its recommendation AI, Twitter considers big changes, Crimson Hexagon is off the hook, Tweetbot loses key features and LinkedIn updates Groups. Facebook advertisers are turning images into video, Instagram addresses widespread attacks and Twitter finally suspends Alex Jones.

YouTube Red Competes With OTT Giants By Going To The Movies

YouTube’s indie film Viper Room is headed to theaters this fall, making it YouTube’s first foray outside the app and qualifying the company for film awards.

Why it matters: Film is thriving on OTT both in terms of viewership and acclaim. This year, Netflix was nominated for eight Academy Awards and a whopping 112 Emmy nods. In order for YouTub Red to be taken seriously as a source for quality entertainment worthy of a subscription fee, it needs to become an award contender alongside competitors Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.

Details: Thanks to a partnership with distributor Roadside Attractions, Viper Room will be released in theaters October 26. The indie film, which stars Susan Sarandon, was acquired by YouTube Red back in March and its theatrical release is timed perfectly to qualify for the upcoming awards season.


Twitter Tightens The Reigns On Its API

Twitter is taking a more “focused approach” to improving its app and controlling its user data, as evidenced by cutting off certain features to third-party apps.

Why it matters: As Twitter woos advertisers, it needs to control how users interact with its platform. While Twitter will still allow certain apps access to its API, some features have been discontinued so that users can only get the full experience through official apps.

Details: In a blog post on Friday, Twitter explained why it has cut off certain features from third-party apps like Tweetbot (see below). The company has removed support for Twitter for Apple Watch and Twitter for Mac, replaced its previous Twitter for Windows app with the Progressive Web App and removed support for some outdated developer tools. Twitter reminded users that the official site and apps were always the exclusive source for tools like Periscope and polls.

“We know some of you don’t like this more focused approach,” wrote Rob Johnson, Twitter’s senior director of data enterprise solutions, adding that the company is still invested in its developer ecosystem.


LinkedIn Supports Sales Team With New Features

In an effort to “win the hearts and minds of the entire sales organization,” LinkedIn has added new functionality to its Sales Navigator tool.

Why it matters: LinkedIn is courting revenue by offering its Premium members more tools to succeed. The revamped Sales Navigator feature is designed to help businesses grow on its platform by acquiring new clients and expanding existing client relationships.

Details: LinkedIn has added new tools to its Sales Navigator feature including Office 365 integration, mobile lead pages, new search options, SNAP partners and tools to oversee the deal pipeline. The features add on to LinkedIn’s existing Premium Insights that the site began offering in 2016.


Pinterest Explains Its Recommendation Framework

A Pinterest engineer shared details about PinSage, an advanced recommendation framework being used for ad recommendations on the site.

Why it matters: Image search is becoming a popular method of discovery and technology companies recognize this. Google recently updated its image search display, Apple is developing image search and Amazon has secretly been working with Snapchat for a visual search feature as well. As a visual platform, it’s important for advertisers to understand how Pinterest technology aids in search results.

Details: Pinterest Labs developed a new graph convolutional neural network called PinSage, one of the engineers explained in a blog post on Wednesday. To put it in layman’s terms, PinSage analyzes more information than a standard deep-learning method, making its recommendations more accurate and helpful. PinSage has been used for ad recommendations beginning in February and for shopping recommendations in June, according to Venture Beat.


Jack Dorsey ‘Rethinking’ Core Parts Of Twitter

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that he is experimenting with features that would promote alternative viewpoints in Twitter’s timeline. The idea would be to address misinformation and reduce “echo chambers” on the platform.

Why it matters: Twitter, as with other social networks, has been accused of censorship and stifling voices counter to their own personal viewpoints. As global users consume news content from social media, companies like Twitter are considering the responsibility of their impact on ideas. If Twitter offers multiple viewpoints, it invites conversation and exploration of new ideas.

Details: In an interview with The Washington Post, Dorsey expressed concerns about Twitter’s core features that aid the spread of misinformation. In addition to displaying alternate viewpoints in the news feed, Dorsey said he is considering a redesign of like buttons, follower counts and labeling bots.


LinkedIn Updates Group Feature To Promote Engagement

Several changes are rolling out to LinkedIn Groups this month, including access from the homepage and simplifying management.

Why it matters: Making LinkedIn Groups easier to interact with and manage from mobile devices would allow the site to increase engagement on the platform.

Details: Based on user feedback, LinkedIn will soon add the ability to manage groups in both iOS and Android apps and simplify the number of admin roles down to owner and manager. In addition, users will be able to access their Groups more easily from the home page and receive notifications about Group activity.


Tweetbot Loses Features Ahead of Twitter API Changes

Tweetbot has lost several key features due to Twitter’s API changes, including push notifications and timeline streaming on WiFi.

Why it matters: Twitter’s API changes are an effort to better control data accessed by third-party apps. The changes are forcing users to use the official app if they want the full experience, however, which is leaving some developers frustrated.

Details: Tweetbot’s timeline will refresh every one to two minutes instead of in real-time and likes, retweets, follows and quotes have been disabled. In addition, any push notifications for mentions and direct messages are also delayed. Activity and Stats tabs have been removed, and Tweetbot has disabled its Apple Watch app as a result of the Twitter API cutoff.

“Because Twitter has chosen not to provide alternatives to these interfaces,” Tweetbot told its users, “we have been forced to disable or degrade certain features. We are sorry about this, but unfortunately, this is totally out of our control.”


Crimson Hexagon Reinstated After Facebook Investigation

Data firm Crimson Hexagon has been allowed back on Facebook after an investigation found it did not use data for government surveillance purposes.

Why it matters: Facebook suspended the data firm in July after a Wall Street Journal piece drew attention to potentially suspicious clients, including Government agencies and a Russian non-profit. After it was learned how Cambridge Analytica used Facebook data, the company isn’t taking any chances.

Details: Facebook has reinstated Crimson Hexagon onto its platform after several weeks of investigation, the company announced on Thursday.

“To our knowledge, no government customer has used the Crimson Hexagon platform for surveillance of any individual or group,” the company said in a blog post.


Facebook Marketers Can Now Turn Still Images Into Video Ads

New Create to Convert tools have been introduced that allow advertisers on Facebook to animate still images.

Why it matters: Video direct-response ads have become a popular strategy on Facebook, increasing 3.8 times across the company’s platforms over the last year. Cutting through the noise of Facebook feeds could be made easier by creating eye-catching animations. Adding these tools allows Facebook’s advertisers to create low-cost animations and (hopefully) achieve higher ROI.

Details: Facebook introduced new tools on Wednesday that add motion to still images, such as animating a brand logo or creating moving elements to an image. So far, tests of the format with Shopback have achieved 5.5 times higher conversion rate while lowering cost per registration by 5.7 times.


Some Instagram Users Locked Out

Several Instagram users have reported issues accessing their accounts this week due to what appears to be a coordinated hacking effort by scammers. Instagram has issued a blog post providing steps to unlock user accounts that have been impacted.

Why it matters: Instagram has not acknowledged (and may not know) the source of these attacks, but it has become a big enough problem that the company has created an official post about it. One clue can be found in the guidelines put forth by Instagram—”suspicious third-party apps.” Instagram suggests revoking any access to such applications but does not define how users can determine which ones are suspicious.

Details: Following what appears to be a coordinated effort to take over Instagram accounts, the company has issued guidelines on how to regain access. Among the usual suggestions like changing passwords and email addresses, Instagram strongly advises that users revoke access to any suspicious third-party apps. This story is still developing.


Alex Jones Receives One-Week Suspension From Twitter

Infowars host and right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been suspended from Twitter for a period of one week.

Why it matters: Just last week, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey refused to cave to pressure from other social media sites and left-leaning users to ban Alex Jones or Infowars, fearing that the social network will become “constructed by personal views” that can swing in any direction. After being punished or removed altogether by Facebook, YouTube, Apple and others, Alex Jones has continued behavior that violates Twitter guidelines. The move to suspend him shows that Twitter is enforcing its rules for a reason and not banning him out of peer pressure.

Details: Alex Jones has been suspended from Twitter for violating the site’s guidelines—specifically, targeted harassment. In a Periscope livestream, the Infowars host, now fueled by what he perceives as censorship, told viewers, “now is time to act on the enemy” ahead of a “false flag” attack. Jones’ conspiracy theory and right-wing political podcasts have already been removed from Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Twitter has been slow to jump on the “ban” wagon, citing concerns over political bias.


Facebook’s Acqui-hire Points To More Interactive Video

Tech startup Vidpresso has officially joined Facebook, giving the social media giant access to its staff and interactive video tools.

Why it matters: As Facebook places more emphasis on its video efforts, Vidpresso’s tools will allow it to compete with interactive communities like Twitch and attract more high-profile creators.

Details: Vidpresso has joined Facebook effective August 13, signaling a more interactive future for video on the social network. The small tech startup offers interactive video tools like polls, comments and elements from different social networks on one screen. Facebook did not buy the company itself, but rather hired its staff and purchased the technology. For now, Vidpresso will continue to provide its tools to clients like BuzzFeed, Turner Sports and Nasdaq.


Twitter Lite Now Available In Over 45 Countries

A streamlined version of Twitter has been added to the Google Play store in 22 additional countries, bringing the app to over 45 countries worldwide. In addition, push notifications have been added so that users can stay informed and threaded tweets give users the entire story.

Why it matters: Social giants are finding new ways to reach underserved locations that don’t have access to smartphones or reliable data. Facebook released its own Lite APK in the US and 7 other countries in March. Twitter’s availability in more countries puts it at an advantage over Facebook for the time being.

Details: Twitter Lite, a pared-down version of its app, has been added to the Google Play Store in Argentina, Belarus, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Morocco, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Romania, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Yemen, and Zimbabwe. This brings the total of available countries over 45.


Facebook Makes It Easier For Kids To Add Friends

Children using Facebook Messenger Kids can now initiate friend requests, a process normally left up to parents. The feature is opt-in and parents still need to finalize approvals.

Why it matters: Teenagers are using Facebook less, so it would be wise for the site to entice consumers before they turn 13. The new process allows children to initiate friend requests on their own and doesn’t require parents to oversee the entire process (just the finalization). Facebook is making it easier for parents to take a hands-off approach, no longer requiring that parents be friends with their children and now giving friend requests over to the young users themselves.

Details: A new feature has been added to Facebook Messenger Kids, allowing children to begin the friend request process on their own. When parents opt-in, the app will generate a random four-word passphrase that children can share with others. The parent must still approve all friends before they become official.


Facebook Signs Exclusive Rights To Stream La Liga Soccer Games In India

Facebook has signed an exclusive deal to offer free streaming of La Liga soccer games in India and its subcontinents.

Why it matters: La Liga has two of the largest soccer followings on Facebook, offering the social network a built-in following of avid fans.

Details: Spanish soccer league La Liga has signed its first social media deal—a three-year exclusive contract with Facebook beginning with the 2018/19 season. The partnership will include free game streaming across the La Liga Facebook Page as well as individual team Pages throughout India and its subcontinents.


Snapchat Adds Native Ecommerce To AR Lens 

Nicki Minaj’s shoppable AR Lens on Snapchat could mean the feature will open up to creators, as well as native shopping features app-wide.

Why it matters: Often imitated, Snapchat is taking steps to ensure that its signature AR Lenses offer value to brands and its creators. Roughly seven million Snapchat users employ AR Lenses each day, according to the brand, making it prime real estate for brand interaction. Sponsored Lenses have been used for everything from film promotion to makeup, but until now, shopping within the Lens was only available to brands. In addition, users would be directed to an outside website. Opening the shopping feature to creators—and keeping buyers in the app—will allow Snapchat to foster its own ecosystem.

Details: Nicki Minaj is promoting her new album “Queen” on Snapchat with a sponsored AR Lens. Users can try on a bejeweled mask, then tap “add to bag” to purchase a Queen necklace from the artist. Assuming this is a partnership with Minaj and not a brand, the promotion marks the first time shopping through the AR Lens has been opened to creators. Even if the Lens is sponsored by a brand, i.e. Republic Records, it’s a pretty big deal to integrate native ecommerce directly into the Lens.


Facebook Page Engagement Continues Downward Trend

A new study found that engagement with Facebook Pages had declined by over 50 percent in the last 18 months.

Why it matters: Increased competition and Facebook’s algorithm changes are making it more difficult for brands to organically stand out from the crowd. While business Pages are posting more often, overall engagement is on a steep decline. Pages that posted more than 10 times per day experienced the biggest engagement drop-off, while those who posted less than once a day experienced more engagement overall. BuzzSumo found that the optimal video length on Facebook is anywhere between 30-120 seconds.

Details: A joint study by Buffer Social and BuzzSumo examined more than 43 million posts from the top 20,000 brands on Facebook and compared engagement to 2017. The top 20,000 Facebook pages published an average of 135 posts per month during the second quarter, amounting to just over four per day. Buffer observed a 24 percent increase in posts per day compared to the first quarter of 2017.


Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, August 17. 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 editorial@alistdaily.com.

Friend List Feeds Retired From Facebook; Twitter Says Its Rules Are A ‘Living Document’

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 editorial@alistdaily.com.

Twitter Cut Off From Facebook Updates; YouTube Quietly Launches Stories

This week in social media news, Twitter users can no longer fill Facebook feeds simultaneously and YouTube gets in on the Stories craze.

In other news, WhatsApp is ready to make money, YouTube Music pledges regular updates and game developers get more options on Facebook. Snapchat’s new Lenses like the sound of your voice, Facebook protects your data, Instagram cares about your mental health and YouTube is testing a quick navigation feature. In addition, Japan is a place of strength for Twitter and Facebook removes a large ring of manipulators. Twitter cracks down on video trolls, Instagram tests a way to promote IGTV, YouTube goes dark and Snapchat renews its sports partnerships.

Twitter Among Apps Cut Off From Automatic Facebook Posts

Facebook has depreciated its Publish actions permissions from its API, a feature that allowed other apps to automatically publish posts to Facebook as the logged-in user.

Why it matters: Facebook is still encouraging users to share content from other apps through its Share dialogues. The move was designed to protect unsavory apps from accessing Facebook user information but also forces more interaction directly with the platform. Marketers that relied on the automated Publish feature will now have an extra step in their social media strategy.

Details: Facebook’s Publish actions permissions depreciation is expected to impact roughly 60,000 apps, the company announced. Twitter users quickly learned that they were among those affected. Facebook posts will have to be updated manually, although Twitter reminded users that they can also share tweets via SMS, direct message or email.


YouTube Introduces Its Own Stories Feature

Certain YouTube channels are now able to produce Stories in the style of Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook.

Why it matters: Instagram boasts 400 million daily active users on its Stories feature, compared to Snapchat’s 191 million. YouTube stands to gain from this popular format, especially since its users are, by nature, more experienced in video production and entertainment. If the feature proves successful, Google will undoubtedly begin selling ad space.

Details: YouTube has begun the rollout of Stories that appear at the top of its app. At the moment, it is limited to certain channels only, such as electronics enthusiast Avdan. Channel logos are given a red ring to indicate that a Story has been posted, just like on Instagram.


WhatsApp Launches Business API

WhatsApp is now offering paid interactions between businesses and consumers, as well as access to ads on Facebook.

Why it matters: In its Q2 earnings call, Sheryl Sandberg said they were “very focused” on WhatsApp, adding that 3 million people were testing business solutions. It’s not entirely surprising that Facebook would release its business API only a week after this statement was made. Facebook may be the number two ad seller in the world, but it’s running out of real estate. Adding monetization to WhatsApp will allow the company to pursue revenue growth while connecting solutions with other platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

Details: Facebook released its WhatsApp Business API on Wednesday, offering solutions to brands that include calls to action and custom notifications. The API will allow businesses to send customized, non-promotional notifications such as shipping confirmations and appointment reminders, which will be charged at a fixed rate once the message has been delivered. Businesses can respond to questions and comments for free within 24 hours, encouraging quick turnaround and better customer service.


YouTube Music Will Be Updated Every Two Weeks

Google has updated YouTube Music and will continue to do so about every two weeks, adding features or tweaks to keep the service competitive.

Why it matters: YouTube Music launched in May, but lacked many of the same basic features users can find on competing services like sorting in alphabetical order. Regular updates will allow the service to be fluid, adding or improving features while the service is still in its infancy.

Details: YouTube Music has begun rolling out updates, including the ability for Android users to download songs to an SD card. Elias Roman, a product manager for YouTube Music told Engadget that the company plans to continue these regular updates every two weeks. The app recently removed its “Shared History” feature that combines YouTube and YouTube music, for example. In an update scheduled sometime in the next few weeks, YouTube Music will allow users to specify whether they want to stream or download songs in low, medium or high quality settings.


Facebook Gaming Extends Ad Solutions

Three new ad solutions—playable ads, retention optimization and a minimum return on ad spend (ROAS) bidding have been added to Facebook Gaming effective August 2.

Why it matters: The three new ad solutions allow developers to optimize campaigns to reach paying users or increase retention by allowing them to try a game before installing. In a saturated game marketplace, targeting the most valuable users upfront will offer higher return on investment.

Details: Mobile game developers can now access three new tools on Facebook designed to reach the most valuable players. Playable ads give Facebook users a way to test the game directly from their News Feeds and can download the app if they like it, offering better intent. Retention optimization allows developers to target users more likely to re-engage based on previous behaviors. Lastly, a minimum benchmark has been added to ROAS bidding to ensure that advertisers meet specific requirements.


New Snapchat Lenses Respond To Voice Commands

Snapchat has introduced new augmented reality Lenses that animate based on what the user says.

Why it matters: Snapchat has to keep finding new ways to remain competitive, especially as Instagram finds success with augmented reality. While the voice-activated Lenses are still in their early stages, the new feature is a sign that Snapchat continues to invest in the same technology that made it famous.

Details: New Lenses have been spotted on Snapchat that the prompt the user to say words like “ok” and “cool.” Saying the right word will cause the Lens to animate, such as a cat’s paw giving a thumbs up or adding jazz music in response to the word “love.”


Facebook Cuts Off API For Thousands Of Apps

Making good on its August 1 deadline, Facebook cut off API for any apps that were not submitted for detailed review and verification.

Why it matters: Back in May, Facebook told developers that it will scrutinize which business gain access to its API by introducing a more detailed verification process. Withholding its API from those who did not comply shows that the company is serious about rethinking its previous methods in favor of protecting user information.

Details: Facebook announced that it has revoked API access to “thousands” of apps that did not submit a new application, pursuant to the new requirement effective August 1. This new procedure includes verification of business identity, supplemental contracts and agreement that restricts the use of data for the sole purpose of servicing the individual customer.


Time Management Tools Added To Facebook And Instagram

Facebook and Instagram have simultaneously added tools that allow users to track and manage their time spent on social media.

Why it matters: In December, Facebook addressed concerns—and studies—that too much social media use can damage one’s mental health. While Facebook acknowledged “passive” use as potentially hazardous, the company insisted that actively participating can be “beneficial.” These tools will not only allow users to be more aware of their time on the platforms but give Facebook plausible deniability if a user chooses to scroll their mental health away regardless of warnings.

Details: On Wednesday, Facebook and Instagram announced new time management tools available in Settings that include an activity dashboard, a daily reminder and a new way to limit notifications. The company said it developed these tools based on “collaboration and inspiration from leading mental health experts and organizations,” as well as academics, internal extensive research and feedback from the Facebook/Instagram community.

“We want the time people spend on Instagram and Facebook to be intentional, positive and inspiring,” Ameet Ranadive, product management director at Instagram and David Ginsberg, director of research at Facebook said in a blog post. “Our hope is that these tools give people more control over the time they spend on our platforms and also foster conversations between parents and teens about the online habits that are right for them.”


YouTube Tests Swipe Feature On Android Devices

YouTube appears to be testing swipe video navigation that would allow users to swipe back and forth between content.

Why it matters: Swiping through content is a common feature on social media apps, which makes it a viable option for YouTube. The site considers a video view to be anything 30 seconds or longer, so quickly skipping content wouldn’t impact viewership metrics. Also, it may give YouTube a way to insert ads much like Instagram does while viewing Stories.

Details: Google+ user Joe Kelly discovered the ability to swipe through videos on the YouTube app home screen and posted a video of the feature to see if anyone else had seen it. The swipe navigation feature appears to be available only on certain devices, indicating a test.


Nearly 64 Percent Of Japan Uses Twitter

EMarketer has increased its estimates of Twitter penetration in Japan, naming it one of the social network’s strongest demographics.

Why it matters: Twitter resonated with Japanese users following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami as an alternative method of communication when telephones were not available. In addition, the Japanese language includes many one-symbol words, allowing users to create longer messages, even before the 280-character expansion.

Details: EMarketer now estimates that 63.3 percent of Japanese citizens use Twitter at least once per month from any device, compared to Facebook and Instagram at 39.9 percent and 38.1 percent, respectively. The research firm expects Instagram to surpass Facebook by the end of 2019, with nearly 42 percent of social network users in Japan using the platform at least once a month.


Facebook Discovers Fake Accounts Coordinating Washington Protests

Facebook announced the removal of 32 Pages and accounts from Facebook and Instagram once it was discovered they were involved in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” designed to instigate US protests.

Why it matters: Facebook wants the public to know that it is successful in detecting and putting a stop to coordinated efforts, as well as the hurdles they face in doing so. The company said it is investing heavily in “more people and better technology” to prevent bad actors misusing Facebook, as well as working much more closely with law enforcement and other tech companies. While the company hasn’t determined who is behind the scheme, the masterminds went to much greater lengths to obscure their true identities than the Russian-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) has in the past.

Details: A coordinated effort by unknown parties created at least 32 accounts on Facebook and Instagram as well as Facebook Pages and spent $11,000 on advertising to promote them. The groups organized 30 events going back to May 2017 and were behind protests planned in Washington next week. Some of the activity is consistent with patterns observed from Russian groups during the 2016 election, but with enough differences that Facebook is unsure of the culprits. Law enforcement and Congress have been informed of Facebook’s discovery.


Twitter Will Punish Repeat Offenders On Live Video Chat

Beginning August 10, Twitter will review and suspend accounts for repeatedly sending video chat messages that violate site guidelines.

Why it matters: Twitter has long been criticized for allowing abusive behavior on its platform in the name of free speech. Taking a more aggressive stance against offenders may help ease concerns from users, investors and most of all, advertisers as the company continues to push video as a revenue source.

Details: In a blog post on Friday, Twitter said it will continue its commitment to fostering safe conversation on its platform by “launching more aggressive enforcement of the guidelines” related to chats sent during live broadcasts. Periscope and Twitter users can already report and vote on video chat messages to determine if they are spam, abusive or otherwise unwelcome. According to existing Periscope guidelines for video chat, repeat offenders may be suspended from the broadcast or even on future videos for bad behavior. Twitter did not outline any new procedures, which indicates that the company “went easy” on some offenders in the past.


Instagram Tests IGTV Carousel Inside Flagship App

A new IGTV video carousel has been spotted by a few Instagram users, displaying select long-form videos directly in the news feed.

Why it matters: IGTV launched a month ago with its own dedicated app. To encourage widespread viewership and attract creators, Instagram is tapping into its existing user base to garner attention.

Details: Instagram is testing a video carousel inside its news feed, the company confirmed last week. “We’re always testing new and different ways to surface interesting content for people on Instagram,” a spokesperson told TechCrunch. The feature displays videos underneath Stories, encouraging users to browse IGTV videos. Another user noted the ability to add IGTV videos to Stories.


YouTube ‘Dark Mode’ Rolls Out On Android Devices

Google has begun a rollout of a YouTube “dark mode” for Android devices, several months after the feature went live for iOS users.

Why it matters: Dark mode changes the appearance of an app’s interface to black, reducing eye strain and saving battery life. The feature may allow Android users to browse the app longer, especially at night.

Details: Dark mode became available to iOS users in March and the feature has begun a rollout to Android devices, although it’s not clear when it will be available to all users. The feature is also available for web browsers.


Snapchat Ramps Up Sports Content With New Partnerships

Snapchat has extended a partnership with the NFL and penned a new one with NBC Sports Group.

Why it matters: Snapchat is placing faith in its Discover partners to draw users to the platform and keep them there. The disappearing-message app faces tremendous pressure to compete against Instagram which continues to outperform Snapchat despite copying its features. The NFL claims that its content earned 52 million unique views during the 2017-18 season.

Details: The NFL has renewed its partnership with Snapchat, Deadline Hollywood reported Monday. Snapchat will continue to produce “Our Stories,” which combine NFL-produced segments with media captured by the fans. During football season, a Publisher Story will be released every day the move to once per week during off-season.

NBC Sports Group has also partnered with Snapchat for a new weekly original Show called Premier League: Extra Time. The show will debut exclusively on Snapchat’s Discover page at the start of the 2018-19 Premier League season.


Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, August 3. 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 editorial@alistdaily.com.

Snapchat Launches First ‘Snappable’ AR Lens In UK With Three’s ‘Puggerfly’ Mascot

Snapchat announced on Friday a first of its kind partnership with UK-based mobile network Three. The two are leveraging the timing of the World Cup by launching the social platform’s first Snappable augmented reality Lens featuring Three’s now famous Puggerfly mascot (a virtual pug dog with butterfly wings)

Snappables are a new type of interactive Lens that for playing and sharing augmented reality games with friends. These experiences are controlled using touch, motion and facial expressions.

Three is the first brand to use the new Snappable format, which enables users to play as Puggerfly in an AR game of football. By tilting their heads left or right, users can dodge incoming Puggerflies while the Lens keeps score, and Snapchat users can then invite their friends to beat their high score.

Puggerfly made its first appearance in Three’s “Go Binge with Snapchat” campaign, and it has already become a trendsetter by being at the center of several firsts on Snapchat. According to a press release, it was the first AR pet to be featured on the platform, running in different Lenses during a week-long period in April, where users could raise a Puggerfly from a puppy to adulthood. Additionally, the virtual pet is the first Lens to “go to sleep,” and it was the first gamified Snapchat Lens that offered real-world rewards through Three’s mobile network.

Snapchat first announced Snappables in April, and they offer developers a means of creating gaming experiences on the platform. At the time, Snapchat said that it intended to release a new Snappable each week. Previous attempts to bring games onto Snapchat include last year’s Zynga Poker promotion, where users could play a hand of poker using facial expressions.

There are currently over 12 million daily Snapchat users in the UK, with the platform reaching over 25 percent of all smartphone users in the country. Users spend an average of three minutes playing with AR experiences and sharing over 250 million Snaps using Lenses each day. Snapchat reported that over 1 trillion photos were taken globally with the Snapchat camera in 2017, which comes out to about three billion Snaps a day.

“Since the start of our partnership with Snapchat we have focused on creating innovation and true integration across our campaign, end-to-end,” said Three’s director of brand and communications Kat Ward-Smith in a statement.

David Norris, Snapchat’s creative lead in the UK, added “We know how important big cultural moments are on Snapchat, and it is so exciting to bring Puggerfly back to the camera during the first weekend of the World Cup. We’ve already enabled Snapchatters to play with their Puggerfly as it learned to walk, dance and fly; so, what a great way to continue the story by creating the pitch invading Puggerfly to launch the UK’s first Snappable.”

Social Media News: YouTube On TV, Snapchat Woes And A First For Twitter

This week in social media, YouTube aims for TV viewers, Twitter touts live video, Snapchat defends its redesign and Facebook joins the dating game.

YouTube On The Boob Tube

With over 150 million hours of watch time per day, TV screens are now YouTube’s fastest-growing segment, the company reported on Sunday. To help advertisers reach and tailor campaigns to this demographic, YouTube will add a TV category to AdWords and DoubleClick Bid Manager in the coming months.

In the meantime, a new AdWords segment called “light TV viewers” has been added for brands who want help reaching cord cutters.

Twitter: New Kid At NewFronts

Hot off the heels of a profitable first quarter, Twitter hosted its very first NewFronts presentation on Monday, which focused heavily on live video.

The social network showed up ready to unveil 30 new content and renewal deals, including NBCUniversal, ESPN and Viacom.

Twitter’s biggest selling point for marketers was transparency about where ads appear on the site. During the company’s NewFronts presentation, Matthew Derella, Twitter global vice president of revenue and content partnerships, told marketers that they could say goodbye to unsafe brand environments and “hello to you being in control of where your video aligns . . . we say hello to a higher measure of transparency, we say hello to new premium inventory and a break from the same old choices.”

Snapchat: Sorry, Not Sorry

Backlash over Snapchat’s app redesign contributed to lower than expected daily active users (DAU) count in March, but the company stands behind the move . . . or does it?

During its first-quarter earnings call on Tuesday, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel told investors that they will continue to optimize the app redesign, especially for Android users.

“We are already starting to see early signs of stabilization among our iOS users as people get used to the changes,” Spiegel said.

Despite Snap’s apparent lack of concern, the company is quietly testing a design that undoes some of February’s controversial changes. The design would reportedly reunite Snapchat Stories from friends and celebrities—the biggest complaint from users.

Facebook’s Status: It’s Complicated

Facebook’s annual F8 developer’s conference tried its best to instill hope during a time of controversy and privacy concerns. Mark Zuckerberg poked fun at himself for his congressional testimony but otherwise assured developers that the site will continue to evolve, albeit with a new attitude of accountability.

Among the biggest announcements at F8 was an upcoming dating profile feature. The new opt-in dating feature only suggests other Facebook users who are not already friends. The tool will allow users to build separate dating profiles that use first names only, which will be hidden from regular friends and news feeds.

Other notable reveals include the ability for users to clear their Facebook tracking history, WhatsApp video calls, live commentary on Facebook videos and the launch of Oculus Go—the latter of which was gifted to attendees Oprah-style.

Social Media News: Playable Ads, AR Shopping And Paying For Privacy

In case you missed the social media headlines this month, here are the most important things marketers should know.

Snapchat: Shopping With Selfies

Face swap? How about face shop? Brands on Snapchat can now sponsor a photo lens that allows users to buy products or learn more without leaving the app.

Adidas, Clairol, King and STX Entertainment are the first to use the new Shoppable AR feature, which was announced on Wednesday.

Instagram: Focus On Friends

Facebook’s Instagram announced another Snapchat-like feature this week—a special image that when scanned, allows someone to follow a specific account. Dubbed “Nametags,” the feature is similar to Snapchat’s QR codes.

Meanwhile, portrait mode in Instagram Stories just received a new mode called “Focus.” Snapping a photo in the new mode will keep the subject in focus, while slightly blurring the background. The new feature is available on iOS at launch, and rolling out to select Android devices beginning Wednesday.

Users can mention other accounts with the new “@mention” sticker, which works the same as tagging someone in the caption. While advertised for friends, the implications for influencer marketing are obvious.

Facebook: Play, Pay And Privacy

Facebook is testing a new “playable ad” format that would allow users to try a game before they install. Developer Miniclip was one of the developers who tested the ad in beta. Facebook will provide more details about playable ads during its annual F8 event May 1.

Would you pay for Facebook? During his testimony before the US Senate, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that users are not able to opt out of being targeted for ads, saying, “that would be a paid product.” He also said that there would always be a version of Facebook that is free—causing many to speculate as to whether the social network will adopt a tiered level of membership in the future.

As the GDPR deadline looms closer, Facebook has updated its terms of service but it’s clear what the company wants users to move along. When asked to accept or decline Facebook’s new terms of service, users will see a big blue button marked “I accept,” while “See your options,” including the ability to decline the terms is smaller and less conspicuous.

Snapchat Gives Influencers More Stats And Marketers Free Ads

Snapchat is finally giving additional analytic support to its most popular users, giving an “Insights” feature to its Official Stories creator community.

Currently, the company will give its verified creators information on total and unique views, completion rates, time watched and audience demographics, interests and geographic data, which these influencers will be able to use to obtain brand sponsorships on their own.

“We have historically neglected the creator community on Snapchat that creates and distributes public Stories for the broader Snapchat audience,” Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel said during the company’s Q3 earnings call in 2017. “Developing this ecosystem will allow artists to transition more easily from communicating with friends to creating Stories for a broader audience, monetizing their Stories and potentially using our professional tools to create premium content.”

As its platform stands now, Snapchat offers no official options for these verified influencers to partner with brands on its platform, either through sponsored or joint posts, meaning that the company will not see any direct revenue from empowered influencers.

The influencer tools are just one more effort by the social media company to take a loss-leader approach to consumer and marketer audience building. On Tuesday, Snapchat offered advertisers who had purchased video ads from its competitors free ad credits on its platform.

With the price of Facebook ads soaring year over year, the “ghost” is ready to swoop in with a tempting offer for those who have never tried Snap Ads. Mobile or social marketers who can provide proof of vertical ads purchased in the past three months can apply to receive credits to use toward their first Snapchat campaign. The credits would be worth “several hundreds of dollars with no minimum spending requirements,” a source told Recode.

The company has made considerable changes to attract marketers in recent months, including tools for app developers and new tracking features. Snapchat also announced Lens Studio in December—a tool that allows brands to design and distribute their own AR activations. Advertising revenue for Snapchat grew 38 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017. Meanwhile, price per impression fell 25 percent over the third quarter.

The timing of Snap’s current credit offer may be fortuitous. EMarketer just revealed that teenagers are losing interest in Facebook—a demographic traditionally attracted to Snapchat.

“Brands should know that there’s a highly unduplicated, extremely engaged young audience on Snap that is 13-to-34 years old,” Marni Schapiro, director of sales at Snap told AListDaily in a recent interview. People under the age of 25 use Snapchat for 40 minutes on average every day. You won’t find these users in the places you used to find them.”

Teenage users of Snapchat were less than thrilled with the app’s recent overhaul, however. Distaste for the new app design has resulted in an online petition to revert back to its old design. The plea to Snapchat has earned over 650,000 signatures to date.

Snap’s move to woo marketers away from its biggest competitors isn’t the only way to qualify for free advertising. A program called Snap Accelerate already gives special deals to startups that want to advertise on Snapchat, as well.

Snapchat was famous for vertical video messages and augmented reality filters until Instagram introduced Stories and AR. That’s not to say Snap hasn’t borrowed its fair share of features, but as a publicly-traded company, the disappearing-message app is feeling even more pressure to produce results.

While its user base is growing, Snapchat trails far behind its biggest competitor Instagram. The two social networks are expected to reach 86.5 million and 104.7 million users respectively in 2018.