This week wraps up with the news about Telegram moving forward with its cryptocurrency initiative, Instagram testing syndicating IGTV videos to Facebook, TikTok working on a way for advertisers to target users in other apps and YouTube announcing the elimination of exact follower count.

Telegram To Roll Out Cryptocurrency By End Of October

The New York Times reports that Telegram might launch “Gram,” its own cryptocurrency, in the next couple of months. 

Why it matters: With its own coins, Telegram will allow in-app money transactions, adding more value to the platform and its users by creating its own closed ecosystem. 

The details: According to legal documents reviewed by The New York Times, October 31 is the deadline for the launch. The coins will be stored in a Gram digital wallet, which will be offered to all 200+ million Telegram users worldwide.

TikTok Rolls Out A Native Audience Network For Advertisers 

TikTok had reportedly rolled out a native audience network for advertisers who are trying to reach the video sharing app’s nearly 260 million collective users in China and Japan. 

Why it matters: The move will provide an opportunity for advertisers to target users in other apps. 

The details: Per AdWeek, full-page video ads and video ads that appear in most free-to-play games are now available for media buyers to choose from. 

Two media buyers confirmed to AdWeek that the network’s test run in the East Asian market could be a signal of things to come in the U.S.

YouTube To Stop Displaying Exact Follower Counts In September

YouTube confirmed in a tweet that the company will change the way it displays how many people are following an account. 

Why it matters: The initiative is YouTube’s attempt to take the pressure off creators and shift the focus from popularity to quality content. 

The details: Only accounts with more than 1,000 followers will have their subscriber count abbreviated. However, the change will also apply to the YouTube Data API Service, used by platforms like Social Blade, which tracks follower counts across YouTube, Twitch, Instagram and Twitter. In the recent update YouTube explained, “While we know not everyone will agree with this update, we hope it’s a positive step for the community, both those viewing and creating content.”

Instagram Will Let Creators Syndicate IGTV Videos To Facebook

Instagram was spotted developing a feature that would allow users to post their IGTV content to both Instagram as a preview and to Facebook and Watch. Reverse engineering pro, Jane Wong, also found that the videos could be part of an ongoing, episodic series. 

Why it matters: Since IGTV hasn’t yet proved to be very popular, the move might encourage more video creators to use it by boosting their videos’ distribution to also include Facebook. 

The details: In addition, IGTV will auto-populate Instagram handles and tags on IGTV titles and descriptions, and support the ability to upload longer video from mobile. Also, IGTV increased the minimum threshold to upload on mobile to one minute and is allowing mobile uploads up to 15 minutes.

Facebook Rolls Out Messenger Lead Generation Globally

Facebook announced the global rollout of lead generation in Messenger, allowing businesses to configure an “automated question experience” with the intent of simplifying the customer acquisition flow between click-to-Messenger ads and Messenger itself.

Why it matters: Facebook’s announcement includes a key statistic relevant to marketers: 61 percent of people surveyed across the US, UK, Brazil and India agree that messaging is the easiest way to contact a business. The press release also includes cursory statistics on acquisition from RIFT Tax, a UK-based financial services company.

“RIFT Tax used lead generation in Messenger to increase its customer base of Armed Forces members—increasing qualified leads by 42 percent. By following up with leads in Messenger, [they were] able to respond in less than 10 minutes and achieved an 18 percent higher lead resolve rate versus phone.”

The details: With the option to automate initial questions with customers, businesses can follow up with leads faster and create custom questions to prioritize leads based on intent and “qualifying signals you learn in conversation,” according to Facebook’s one sheet on the new feature.

Facebook’s Hidden Messenger Screen Sharing Option

Social Media Today reports the finding of an unreleased Messenger option that effectively lets you share the screen of your mobile device instead of utilizing your device’s camera.

Why it matters: Allowing screen sharing within Messenger creates new opportunities for sharing different types of content.

But as Andrew Hutchinson notes in Social Media Today’s coverage of the newly discovered option, the potential for communal, in-screen walkthroughs and video/photo sharing extends to the potential for exploiting the feature, including the sharing of potentially pirated or sensitive material.

The details: Discovered by the “notorious” Jane Manchun Wong, who describes the unreleased feature as “like Watch together […] beyond contents available on Facebook,” the Messenger option allows users to switch to a screen share of their mobile devices, allowing in-app experiences and more.

Read Wong’s full blog entry detailing her findings here.

Facebook Rolls Out Updates To Political Ads

Facebook is getting ready for the US 2020 election by adding more updates to its policies for advertisements about social issues, elections and politics.

The updates include strengthening the authorization process for US advertisers, showing people more information about each advertiser and updating the list of social issues in the US to better reflect the public discourse on and off Facebook, the company says. 

Why it matters: As explained by Facebook, “People should know who is trying to influence their vote and advertisers shouldn’t be able to cover up who is paying for ads. That’s why over the past few years, we’ve made important changes to help ensure more transparency and authenticity in ads about social issues, elections or politics.”

The details: From now on, besides providing their US street address, phone number, business email and a business website matching the email, advertisers must also provide tax-registered organization identification number; a government website domain that matches an email ending in .gov or .mil and Federal Election Commission (FEC) identification number. 

Facebook is Testing a New Listing of Post Reactions 

Also, this week Facebook was spotted toying with a new way to highlight Reactions to posts. 

Why it matters: The ability to highlight reactions to posts on Facebook can help boost engagement and response to the posts. 

The details: With the new format, Notifications listing would display a small portion of the post, with respective reactions overlaid. 

YouTube’s CEO On Why “Controversial Or Even Offensive” Videos Still Live On The Platform 

In her quarterly letter to creators, YouTube CEO, Susan Wojcicki, explains why YouTube must leave up some videos that are “controversial or even offensive.” 

Why it matters: The problem of policing and eliminating the spread of troubling videos has been a long-time struggle for YouTube, so it is crucial that the company’s CEO addresses it head-on and provide a clear statement on where the company stands. 

The details: Wojcicki wrote, “Problematic content represents a fraction of one percent of the content on YouTube and we’re constantly working to reduce this even further. This very small amount has a hugely outsized impact, both in the potential harm for our users, as well as the loss of faith in the open model that has enabled the rise of your creative community. One assumption we’ve heard is that we hesitate to take action on problematic content because it benefits our business. This is simply not true—in fact, the cost of not taking sufficient action over the long term results in lack of trust from our users, advertisers, and you, our creators. We want to earn that trust.” 

Facebook Is Developing A New Messaging App For Instagram 

The Verge reported that Facebook is working on developing a new messaging app for instant, intimate sharing between users on Instagram. 

Why it matters: Considering that a lot of communication is now happening in instant messengers, the app might help marketers spark conversations about products and encourage Instagram users to share the buzz with their close friends on the platform. 

The details: The app, called “Threads,” is a companion app to Instagram. It invites users to automatically share their location, speed and battery life with friends, with an option for sharing more typical text, photo and video messages using Instagram’s creative tools. 

Per The Verge, if a user opts in to automatic sharing, Threads will regularly update that user’s status, providing a real-time view of information about the user’s location, speed and more. At the moment, however, real-time location is not yet displayed in Threads. There is also an option to manually update status, with statuses appearing in the main feed along with messages. 

YouTube Is Labeling Videos Uploaded By State 

YouTube rolled out “State-Funded” label in Hong Kong for videos uploaded by publishers that receive funding from the government or public. 

Why it matters: Per YouTube, “This information panel providing publisher context is meant to give you additional information to help you better understand the sources of news content that you watch on YouTube. Inclusion of the information panel providing publisher context is based on information about the news publisher made available by Wikipedia and other independent third-party sources. It is not a comment by YouTube on the publisher’s or video’s editorial direction, or on a government’s editorial influence.”

The details: The labels display statements about how the publisher is funded along with links to a Wikipedia entry about the publisher. 

The feature is already in use in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, India, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland and now, in Hong Kong. 

Note: the panels will not be displayed in YouTube search results, nor will they affect the video’s features or eligibility for monetization.

Twitter Is Testing A New, Larger Image Carousel Ad Format 

Twitter started testing a new carousel ad format back in March, and this week, the social media company is expanding the initiative. 

Why it matters: The initiative aims to give advertisers the capacity to add multiple, larger images to their collections.

The details: Twitter confirmed the test expansion to Social Media Today, saying, “We are constantly experimenting with new creative capabilities to deliver the best experience for people on Twitter while delivering value for marketers.” 

The new ad format launch date is yet to be revealed. 

Snapchat Rolls Out New Tools For Developers

Snapchat is reportedly launching a new tool for developers that will enable them to create filters that can change hair color and try on curated makeup in AR.  

Why it matters: The tools will make AR-filters easier for beginners and open more creative opportunities for marketers. 

The details: Starting on Tuesday, a wide range of new templates and features on Snapchat’s desktop app, Lens Studio, becomes available. 

Also, as part of the new initiative, Snap is adding new “Landmarkers,” including:

  • Arc de Triomphe – Paris, France
  • Astronomical Clock – Prague, Czech Republic
  • Brandenburg Gate – Berlin, Germany
  • El Castillo – Chichen Itza, Mexico
  • Galata Tower – Istanbul, Turkey
  • Gateway of India – Mumbai, India
  • Leaning Tower of Pisa – Pisa, Italy
  • Natural History Museum – London, UK
  • Neues Rathaus – Munich, Germany
  • Qasr Al-Farid – Mada’in Saleh, Saudi Arabia
  • Great Sphinx of Giza – Giza, Egypt
  • Statue of Liberty – New York, US 
  • Taj Mahal – Agra, India
  • Tower Bridge – London, UK

Study: Social Commerce Sees Highest Adoption Among Retail Technologies

A new study by Bizrate Insights found that social commerce was named the most popular new retail technology among U.S. internet users, leaving behind visual search, AR, VR and voice commerce. 

Why it matters: The growing popularity of social shopping can be explained by the fact that social media platforms, such as Facebook, Pinterest and Snap invest a lot of resources into boosting direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales on their platforms with digital transactions. 

The details: According to the study, 34 percent of U.S. adults said they had made a purchase through social media, which is up from 29 percent last year. Another 27 percent said they were interested in social shopping. 

Andrew Lipsman, principal analyst at eMarketer, explained, “The reality is that social commerce took a full decade to catch its stride, and new technologies like visual search, AR and VR are still very early in their adoption curve. As these visual enhancements get introduced into social media environments, they will eventually find useful applications for shopping—but will take some time before becoming mainstream.”

Facebook Wins Appeal Against Data-Collection Ban In Germany 

The Wall Street Journal reported that the social media giant won the case against Germany’s Federal Cartel Office’s order that would prohibit the company from collecting data across Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp without user consent. 

Why it matters: While the successful blocking of the antitrust edict is a major win for Facebook, it’s also a major loss for data-privacy regulations in Europe. 

In a statement for TechCrunch, FCO president Andreas Mundt said: “Data and data handling are decisive factors for competition in the digital economy. The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf has today responded differently than the Bundeskartellamt to key legal issues. These legal issues are highly significant for the future state of competition in the digital economy. We are convinced that we can act in this area based on the existing antitrust law. For this reason, we are going to appeal on points of law to the Federal Court of Justice to clarify these issues.” 

The details: The FCO is given a month to appeal the decision. A spokeswoman confirmed to TechCrunch that the appeal will be filed. 

YouTube Refuses To Negotiate With YouTubers Union

According to The Verge, today YouTube announced that the company won’t cooperate with the YouTubers Union–an organization formed last year to support creators. 

Why it matters: The YouTubers Union is calling for monetization for smaller channels; the right to speak with a real person in case a channel is being suspended on the platform; more transparent moderation decisions and more transparent rules around content moderation; ending demonetization and the suspension of Google Preferred. The details: A YouTube spokesperson said in an emailed statement to The Verge: “We explained to the union in great detail what YouTube is doing in terms of transparency and support for YouTubers. But we have also made clear that we are not going to negotiate their demands.”

Facebook Rolls Out More Badges For Pages And Page Interactions 

Facebook’s group badges, launched back in November 2018, have been updated with new options. 

Why it matters: The main idea behind the initiative is to celebrate the most active Page contributors, boosting engagement in Pages through social recognition. 

The details: The complete set of badges now includes: “Admin,” “Moderator,” “Rising Star,” “New Member,” “Visual Storyteller,” “Conversation Starter” and “Founding Member.” Additionally, badges were added into Page interactions, with an option to highlight the most engaged group members. The social media giant also made it possible for users to have two badges at the same time. And the new “Anniversary Follower” and “Milestone Follower” badges allow Facebook group admins to track and celebrate certain milestones reached by a community. 

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, August 30th. 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