This week in social media news: the NFL signs a content and advertising deal with Reddit, Telegram launches “Scheduled Messages,” Twitter is testing new tabs for lists and bookmarks, as well as a new “Topics” shortcut. Meanwhile, a study finds social media users struggle to recognize ads from influencers. 

Earlier this week, YouTube launched a dedicated Fashion channel, Facebook introduced Facebook Dating and announced investments into European publishers while suffering another major database leak, and YouTube agreed to pay $170 million fine for alleged violations of children’s privacy. 

NFL Adds Reddit As A Marketing Channel 

The Wall Street Journal reports that the National Football League partnered with Reddit Inc. to host a series of “Ask Me Anything” discussions on the platform as part of a broader content and advertising deal. 

Why it matters: The league is working hard to increase its appeal among millennials and Gen Zers. Earlier this week, the NFL also announced a multi-year partnership with TikTok in a bid to open doors to this audience. 

Per The WSJ, 2018 Comscore data cited by Reddit suggests that 17 percent of Reddit users don’t use Facebook, 28 percent don’t use Twitter, 33 percent don’t use Instagram and 43 percent don’t use Snapchat. 

The details: Within a popular Reddit format abbreviated as AMAs, current and former NFL players, league executives, team personnel, famous fans and others associated with the league will take questions from Reddit users, The WSJ reports. 

As a part of the initiative, the NFL will also create digital video series featuring the guests, to be distributed on Reddit and on the NFL’s social media channels, as well as and cable TV’s NFL Network. 

Telegram Rolls Out “Schedule Messages” Feature 

Telegram announced in a blog post the addition of a new “Scheduled Messages” feature to the platform’s menu. 

Why it matters: The new feature should make it easier and more convenient for busy marketers to plan out and draft messages in advance. 

The details: Per Telegram, scheduling also works in “Saved Messages” chat and turns planned posts into reminders. Whenever a scheduled message or reminder is sent, a user gets a special notification marked with a calendar symbol.

It is important to note that the social media company also revamped “Custom Cloud” themes, “Redesigned Message” options and “Animated Emoji” bucket, and updated Privacy Settings. 

“If you set Who Can See My Phone Number to ‘Nobody,’ a new option will appear below, allowing you to control your visibility for those who already have it. Setting Who Can Find Me By My Number to ‘My Contacts’ will ensure that random users who add your number as a contact are unable to match your profile to that number. If, like the majority of our users, you rely on uploading phone contacts to identify friends and family members on the app, this setting won’t get in your way,” Telegram explained in a blog post. 

Study: Social Media Users Struggle To Identify Ads Posted By Influencers 

According to the data collected by Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), social media users have a hard time identifying ads posted by influencers, even when they are labeled accordingly. 

Why it matters: It is illegal to hide the fact that a social media post has been paid for, and the findings show that clear labeling is more crucial than ever. ASA spent 18 months reviewing public understanding around social media ads and has concluded that more clarity is needed. ASA chief executive Guy Parker said: “The research tells us that all of us can find it hard to identify when an influencer is advertising, so it’s crucial that ads are labeled clearly. Our message to influencers and brands couldn’t be clearer: be upfront with followers.”

The details: Here are the main takeaways: 

  • Consumers are likely to have difficulty in differentiating advertising content that is presented in a similar style to the editorial content in which it sits. This presents a particular challenge to influencer advertising which, by its nature, looks like the influencer’s normal posts.
  • Labels that are clearly visible and well understood do raise the likelihood of people positively identifying the material as advertising. However, a significant percentage of participants in our public opinion research were not able to identify influencer advertising posts as “definitely an ad” even where the ASA’s current position on labeling is followed. These low levels of recognition were also found in the wider academic literature.
  • The findings demonstrate that the ASA’s current approach of requiring a suitably prominent reference to #ad (or similar) is necessary as a minimum. However, the findings also present questions about what other factors might assist people in identifying content as advertising which will require further consideration.

The complete report can be accessed here

Twitter Spotted Testing New Tabs For Lists And Bookmarks And New “Topics” Shortcut

Social media expert Matt Navarra caught two new Twitter tabs in testing–one to link straight through to tweet bookmarks, and another for easier lists view. 

Why it matters: Helping new users to find more relevant tweet content on the platform has been an ongoing challenge for Twitter and the company is serious about improving content visibility within the app.

The details: Navarra discovered two new tabs added onto the end of the display. According to the social media expert, Twitter’s testing out a quick link to list creation within the Lists tab, and a new “Topics” sidebar, which if rolled out, will provide a way to connect users through to more tweet content. 

YouTube Launches A Dedicated Channel For Fashion Fans 

YouTube perfectly timed the launch of its new, dedicated channel, which it calls “a single destination for style content on YouTube” before Fashion Week New York 2019 opens on September 6.

Why it matters: YouTube is home for beauty and style video tutorials and the new channel will provide an outlet for fashion and cosmetic brands to advertise to interested audiences.

Derek Blasberg, director of YouTube Fashion and Beauty, saw the platform’s desire for more fashion and beauty with the number of Fashion and Beauty channels on YouTube growing six times the size over the past few years, generating billions of views in the last year alone.

The details: According to Blasberg, the new channel will feature “original content from the biggest names in the industry, as well as the popular content that users have come to expect from the world of YouTube.” 

On the new channel, the fashion fans can expect to find style content from their favorite YouTube creators, news about industry collaborations, livestreams of the latest collections straight from the runway and new channels from the industry professionals, publishers and brands. ‘Being Naomi,’ Naomi Campbell’s new channel that covers everything from her preflight routine to her emotional return to the Valentino runway and more is just one example of what is highlighted on the platform.

“Our goal is to make a diverse and inclusive place, filled with the latest fashion and beauty trends, content and more. We’ll be working over the coming months to bring more international voices to the page and to localize for global markets,” said Blasberg.

Facebook Rolls Out “Facebook Dating” 

Facebook introduced “Facebook Dating” in the US, offering users the ability to integrate their Instagram posts directly into their Facebook Dating profile and providing the ability to add Instagram followers to their “Secret Crush” lists, in addition to Facebook friends. 

Why it matters: Marketers need to know that at the moment, “Facebook Dating” is free and contains no ads or in-app purchases. “We didn’t want to include anything around swiping or games,” product manager, Nathan Sharp, told The Verge, “Facebook Dating is about conversations.” 

The details: From now on, Facebook users who are 18 years of age or older and have the most recent version of the app, can opt into “Facebook Dating” and create a Dating profile, which is separate from their main profile. Potential dates are suggested based on the users’ preferences, interests and other things they do on Facebook. Besides the US, “Facebook Dating” is currently available in a limited number of countries. It is slated roll out in Europe by early 2020.

Facebook Is Investing In Video Content From European Publishers

Facebook announced its video partnerships with publishers in France, Germany and Sweden, aiming to create new shows for Facebook Watch.

Why it matters: According to the social media giant, the goal is to “allow publishers to experiment with new formats, engage new audiences, and build sustainable revenue streams on our dedicated video platform.”

In a blog post announcing the collaborations, Facebook stressed again that publishers will work closely with Facebook team to understand which stories, topics and formats are liked the most by audiences, but keep full editorial control of the shows. 

The details: According to Facebook, Germany is creating eight shows for “Facebook Watch,” while France is creating three shows and Sweden is creating one. 

Facebook Suffers Another Major Database Leak 

TechCrunch reports that hundreds of millions of phone numbers linked to Facebook accounts have been recently found online. 

Why it matters: The leak exposed millions of users’ phone numbers and put them at risk of spam calls and SIM-swapping attacks. Moreover, with someone else’s phone number, the password on any internet account associated with that number could have been force-reset by an attacker.

The details: There were more than 419 million records over several databases on users across geographies on the exposed server contained, including 133 million records on U.S.-based Facebook users, 18 million records of users in the U.K., and another with more than 50 million records on users in Vietnam.

YouTube Publishes An Update On Data Protection After Being Fined For Collecting Kids’ Data

YouTube shared a new update alongside the news today that the company has agreed to pay a $170 million fine based on its collection and targeting activities of children.

Why it matters: The settlement was based on allegations by the FTC that YouTube had violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by collecting user information from children for its behavioral advertising initiatives. This high profile settlement shows the FTC is clamping down on tech companies for misusing data from children, which is now easier to access than ever before.

For brands, this means that advertising to children on the platform will be similar to that of traditional TV.

The details: In a blog post about the settlement, the company announced that there now will be machine learning algorithms built specifically to identify children’s content on YouTube. In four months, data collected from all children’s content will be seen as though it were coming from a child viewer.

“This means that we will limit data collection and use on videos made for kids only to what is needed to support the operation of the service. We will also stop serving personalized ads on this content entirely, and some features will no longer be available on this type of content, like comments and notifications,” the company explained in a blog post

Spotify Rolls Out Instagram AR Lens To Promote A Rap Album Release 

According to Campaign, Spotify revealed its first branded AR lens on Instagram to promote a new Headie One album. This borrows from Snap’s ad playbook.

Why it matters: With the branded AR lens, Spotify is making use of a new ad format on Instagram’s platform that is a test use case for Snap-like lenses on Instagram.

The details: With the new AR lens, users can overlay artwork from the album “Music x Road” on sharable selfies. 

Per Campaign, Spotify’s AR campaign relies on Facebook’s Spark AR Studio, which the social network expanded to Instagram last month in a beta test and which enables marketers create AR camera effects for Instagram filters.

Facebook Is Rolling Out Updated Desktop Layout

Facebook is starting to roll out its new desktop experience that leans more into its Groups product. Facebook of late has been running TV spots that highlight Facebook Groups as an important feature of the platform. It is unclear at this point how Facebook is planning to monetize Groups.

Why it matters: The new layout seems to make it more convenient to navigate to the vital elements on the platform from desktop, with tabs displayed along the top of the screen in a more constricted view. 

The details: As previously explained by the social media giant, “This redesign makes it easy for people to go from public spaces to more private ones, like Groups. There are tens of millions of active groups on Facebook, and when people find the right one, it often becomes the most meaningful part of how they use Facebook. That’s why we’re introducing new tools that will make it easier for you to discover and engage with groups of people who share your interests.”

Several users are already seeing the new format and soon, it will be available to all Facebook users. 

Facebook’s New Test Is Showcasing Stories From Pages In A New, In-Feed Panel

Social media expert, Matt Navarra, spotted Facebook testing Stories from Pages.

Why it matters: It’s clear that the social media giant believes that Stories are the future of social media sharing and with this particular test, Facebook might create an opportunity for more brand exposure. 

The details: The top of feed placement of Facebook Stories already offers a lot of potential for brands, making their presence more visible to users, but a specific listing of “Page Stories” could further enhance the effect. 

NFL And TikTok Announce Multi-Year Partnership 

The National Football League (NFL) and TikTok started a multi-year partnership to bring the NFL content to TikTok’s users. 

Why it matters: The NFL is rolling out its official TikTok account, bringing NFL content, such as uniquely packaged highlights, sideline moments and behind-the-scenes footage to NFL fans globally. 

The details: The NFL and TikTok will launch a series of NFL-themed hashtag challenges, providing an opportunity for TikTok users to share their passion for favorite NFL teams and players on the platform. The NFL and TikTok will also be partnering on creative marketing opportunities for brand activations around NFL content on TikTok. 

“Partnering with TikTok is a natural extension of our media strategy. The platform reaches a fast-growing global audience of NFL fans and future fans. The NFL programming and hashtag challenges are a perfect way to kick off the NFL’s 100th season–with fun, new content that will entertain fans and invites them to celebrate and experience their NFL fandom in a way that’s authentic to the unique experience of TikTok,”  said Blake Stuchin, vice president, digital media business development for the NFL. 

Study: Instagram Might Be The Next Big News Distribution Platform 

Per a Common Sense Media survey, Instagram has a great potential of becoming an important news distribution channel for younger audiences. Among all teens surveyed, 50 percent said they get their news from YouTub, but Instagram remains the most popular social platform overall for young people, with 84 percent of US teens using the platform at least once a month. 

Why it matters: Based on the study results, news organizations have an opportunity to reach new, younger audiences by launching native content on social channels, especially Instagram.

The details: According to the study, 64 percent of teens surveyed said that “seeing pictures and video showing what happened” gives them the best understanding of major news events, while just 36 percent said they’d prefer to read or hear facts about what happened, which makes the photo and video sharing platform a perfect outlet for news discovery. 

The Caption Or First Comment? Study Finds Where Instagram Hashtags Should Go

A recent study from Social Insider of nearly 650,000 Instagram posts has finally resolved the debate of whether hashtags should be placed in the caption or the first comment. 

Why it matters: The study found that 93.8 percent of brands are more successful when placing hashtags in the caption instead of the first comment. 

The details: Also, the data from the study revealed how hashtag placement affects small and medium-size Instagram pages’ reach per post. Here are the results:  

  • Profiles with under 5,000 followers: 36.85  percent average reach rate per post with hashtags in the caption 
  • Profiles with 5,000-10,000 followers: 20.98  percent average reach rate per post with hashtags in the caption 
  • Profiles with 10,000-50,000 followers: 21.47  percent average reach rate per post with hashtags in the caption 
  • Profiles with 50,000-100,000 followers: 21.43  percent average reach rate per post with hashtags in the caption

Facebook To Hide Total Like Counts On Posts

Reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong spotted Facebook toying with hiding the total like count to posts.

Why it matters: The company is seemingly expanding its efforts to focus more on user wellbeing and quality content while shifting away from pure popularity. 

The details: As part of the test, which is similar to hiding likes on Instagram, viewers won’t see the full count of likes (the content creator will see this, however). The list of people who liked or reacted to the post will still be accessible to everyone. 

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, September 6th. 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