This week in social media news, Facebook adds 3D photos, stays busy deleting accounts, lets users delete embarrassing messages and creates massive Group sessions while Instagram tests a tap-to-advance feature.
Also, Twitter’s character count stops being biased with emojis and Moments will be retired from the mobile app. Snapchat debuts a slate of original shows, Facebook checks in on your co-workers during an emergency, LinkedIn helps diverse hiring and the music industry isn’t happy with YouTube. Instagram sicks AI on bullies, Facebook controls a majority of US social video ad spend, LinkedIn just bought an employee survey company and Snapchat struggles to keep up with Instagram before it’s too late. Facebook unveils its Portal calling devices, Google Plus gives up after a data breach, Twitter tightens its rules ahead of US elections, YouTube TV adds more DVR access and Facebook trains its AI to turn food photos into recipes.
Facebook Messenger Tests ‘Unsend Message’ For Those ‘Why Did I Say That’ Moments
Evidence of an “unsend message” option has been spotted on Facebook Messenger, offering temporary relief for impulsive chat messages you regret.
Why it matters: Saying something you don’t mean, chatting when you’re drunk or sending a message to the wrong person may be a thing of the past if Facebook implements a feature that deletes unwanted messages. The feature may help ease tension in conversations and among users, since no one is perfect.
Details: Developer Jane Manchun Wong spotted a new feature in Facebook Messenger on Friday, posting a screenshot to illustrate a typical use case—messages that sound desperate. According to Wong, Facebook Messenger users will only be allowed to unsend their messages after a certain amount of times.
Instagram Tests Ability To Tap Instead Of Scroll Through Posts
Scrolling through Instagram Stories may become a thing of the past, allowing users to tap through messages and give their thumbs a break.
Why it matters: Tap to advance started, unsurprisingly, on Snapchat so the new feature would be yet another one “borrowed” by Instagram if it becomes official. At the moment, Instagram users have to scroll and maneuver posts in the Explore tab. Reducing the motion needed to advance may encourage faster a high volume of views.
Details: As spotted on Twitter and confirmed by TechCrunch, Instagram is testing the ability to tap through posts in Explore, thus saving time. The spokesperson denied any official plans to make tapping permanent, however.
Facebook Adds 3D Photos For Mobile Viewing
Photos that respond to smartphone movement have rolled out for Facebook and VR, along with tips for creating 3D images yourself.
Why it matters: Duel-lens smartphones have become popular for their Portrait mode—blurring the background while keeping an object or person in focus. Facebook is creating a new use for technology that many of its users already own. The hope is that interactive photos will help Facebook users “feel even closer to the people, places and things you share on Facebook and relive your memories in a way that feels more real.”
Details: Facebook has begun rolling out 3D images that can be viewed in News Feed or through a web browser on Oculus Go or Oculus Rift. The ability to view these images is available to all users and the ability to create them will roll out in the coming weeks.
Facebook Groups Sub-chats Now Support Up To 250 Members
Group moderators on Facebook can now engage more users at the same time—up to 250 in chat and 50 via audio or video.
Why it matters: Facebook claims to have over 1.4 billion active users in Groups, so allowing them to gather en mass for online discussions would keep them coming back.
Details: Facebook Group admins can engage up to 250 members at a time through specific sub-chats. Users can opt in to receive notifications (or not) and choose to receive them only if they are mentioned specifically. In addition, audio and video calls can now support up to 50 members at a time.
Facebook Removes More Accounts Linked To ‘Inauthentic’ Behavior
Why it matters: Facebook continues to fight an uphill battle against bad actors, especially in light of the latest data breach and looming US elections. Informing the public about any progress they make will help reassure users that the company cares.
Details: In a blog post on Thursday, Facebook announced the removal of 559 Pages and 251 accounts that have consistently broken rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior. Specifically, many of these offenders were using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names to post massive amounts of content across a network of Groups and Pages, driving traffic to websites. This behavior, Facebook explained, isn’t always politically motivated but can also fuel ad farms—websites designed specifically to generate income.
Twitter Fixes Character Count Issue With Emojis
Until now, certain emojis on Twitter counted as more than one character but the issue has been corrected.
Why it matters: Twitter will now count all emojis equally, including those that can be adjusted for skin color and gender.
Details: Due to the way emojis are encoded, certain images were counted higher against Twitter’s 280 character limit. Developers within the company have now fixed this problem. “This update marks significant progress for our service, and everyone can now benefit from the additional room to express themselves with more characters (or more emojis 😉),” wrote Andy Piper, Twitter’s global lead developer advocate on the company’s developer forums.
Twitter Moments Will Be Removed From Mobile App
Citing a lack of use, mobile Twitter users will no longer be able to create Moments after October 23.
Why it matters: Moments allow users to save a series of tweets related to a topic or use them to tell a story. The fact that users aren’t interested in using the feature on mobile means that the platform may be better suited to quick interactions. Nonetheless, Twitter is removing the feature so it can focus on other features users will use.
Details: Effective October 23, Twitter is retiring the ability to create Moments out of tweets on iOS and Android devices. While many users agreed with the decision, others argued that Moments allowed artists to curate their posts into one location to share. Moments will still be available through desktop.
On October 23, we’re removing the ability to create Moments on the Twitter for iOS or Android apps. When features aren't used as often, we’ll remove them, so we can focus on building other products you’ll love.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) October 9, 2018
Snap Originals Debuts With New Slate Of Programming
Snapchat users can now watch exclusive shows through the app’s Discovery tab, with new episodes released daily.
Why it matters: Snapchat is struggling as a public company and needs to make itself competitive not only with its young users but with advertisers as well. Offering exclusive video content could help the app compete with Instagram’s new IGTV.
Details: Snap Originals debuted on Wednesday with a slate of exclusive programming that includes Co-Ed, a new comedy from the Duplass Brothers, Class of Lies, a mystery thriller from one of the minds behind Riverdale, and Endless Summer, a docuseries following rising stars in Laguna Beach. Each show comes with a Show Portal, allowing users to swipe up to “step inside” a scene. Snap Originals will also come with Lenses and Filters so users can talk about the shows through their own feed.
Facebook Adds ‘Safety Check’ To Workplace
An enterprise version of Safety Check has been added to Facebook Workplace, designed to allow co-workers to check in during times of emergency.
Why it matters: Facebook said there are 30,000 companies currently using Workplace including Vodafone, GSK, Telefonica, and Chevron who announced joining on Wednesday. During times of disaster, designated safety officers would be able to send push notifications to team members that have been potentially impacted. The tool may prove useful to identify team members who are missing or in need of assistance.
Details: After a successful beta test and internal use at Facebook, a specially designed version of Safety Check has been added to Workplace. Potentially affected employees are located, then notified via a Workplace Chat, push notifications and email. The process continues until all employees have been contacted and accounted for.
LinkedIn Uses AI To Encourage Gender Diverse Hiring Practices
Recruiters will now be shown an equal view of diverse job candidates through LinkedIn’s Talent Insight product.
Why it matters: Diversity in the workplace has been a hot topic, especially in the marketing industry. This new tool would allow recruiters to view an equal view of qualified male and female candidates so they don’t miss out on potential talent.
Details: LinkedIn is making an effort to encourage diverse hires through its recruiting tools, the company announced on Wednesday.
“Say I search for an accountant, and there are 100,000 accountants in the city I’m looking at,” said John Jersin, VP of Product Management for LinkedIn Talent Solutions. “If the gender breakdown is 40-60, then what Representative Results will do is that no matter what happens in our AI, the top few pages will have that same 40-60 gender breakdown.”
In addition to displaying a more even breakdown of male vs. female candidates, LinkedIn will track and report how listings are performing in terms of gender.
YouTube’s Expansive Music Library Has The Industry Concerned
An annual study by The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) found that 35 percent of respondents don’t subscribe to a paid music service because they can find what they want for free on YouTube.
Why it matters: As the music industry adapts to a digital age, YouTube has not been IFPI’s favorite company because of its low royalties paid each year. Nearly half of all time spent listening to on-demand music is on YouTube, the study found. While YouTube’s global head of music, Lyor Cohen tries to repair the company’s relationship with the music industry, Facebook has made several licensing deals that add music elements to user posts.
Details: According to IFPI’s Music Consumer Insight Report 2018 watching music videos on YouTube accounts for almost half of all on-demand music streaming. While this gives YouTube bragging rights, the company has made it less attractive for its own users to pay for a subscription. Thirty-eight percent of consumers admitted to pirating music through “stream ripping,” the act of downloading music from a video online.
Instagram Releases AI, Positive Filters To Combat Bullying
Newly appointed head of Instagram Adam Mosseri expressed his commitment to keeping Instagram a safe place with the launch of a bully-detecting AI and a camera effect to spread positivity. The initiative is part of National Bullying Prevention Month but will continue as part of the site’s everyday practices.
Why it matters: Instagram has proven to be a very wise investment for Facebook, to say the least. It continues to capture young users, even as Facebook loses ground with Gen Z. Keeping the site safe and happy will help Instagram continue to foster its growing community, and therefore attract valuable ad dollars. Pew Research recently reported that 59 percent of US teens have experienced some form of bullying online. Mosseri said that most users who experience bullying don’t report it, so Instagram’s AI will do the work for them.
Details: Instagram is now using an AI to detect bullying in photos and video, Mosseri announced on Tuesday. The company will use machine learning to help identify captions, photos and videos that violate anti-bullying policies, then direct them to a human team for review. In addition, a new Kindness Filter has been added to Instagram’s camera effects, in partnership with user Maddie Ziegler. The effect adds hearts to a selfie or kind messages to a rear camera image, then encourages users to tag friends that they support.
Facebook Captures Majority Of Social Video Ad Spend In The US, Quarter Of All Video
New forecasts by eMarketer place Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram at number one for video ad spend on social networks in the US.
Why it matters: With its new Watch video platform, Facebook continues to push ad sales and dominate the market for video ad dollars. While Twitter and Snapchat also pivot to video, Facebook and Instagram have a strong lead that will be hard to surpass in the coming years.
Details: Facebook, including Instagram, controls nearly 87 percent of social video ad spend in the US, according to eMarketer data released on Tuesday. Facebook will capture nearly one-quarter (24.5 percent) of all video ad spending in the US this year, at $6.81 billion (including Instagram). Both Twitter and Snapchat attribute a little more than half of their ad revenues to video but have a long way to go before they surpass Facebook in terms of revenue.
LinkedIn Acquires Glint, An Employee Survey Company
LinkedIn, which is owned by Microsoft, announced its intent to purchase Glint for an undisclosed sum on Tuesday.
Why it matters: The purchase of Glint would grant LinkedIn access to employment statistics that it could use to design tools and products. “Our insights into people success, along with LinkedIn’s insights into the broader workforce, will be a powerful combination that can help customers attract, develop, and retain the best talent,” wrote Glint CEO and founder Jim Barnett.
Details: LinkedIn has acquired Glint, a company that specializes in employee surveys designed to inform companies about topics like pay, culture and morale. Glint’s clients include Waymo, Dish Network and United Airlines. Although no official statement was made about the purchase price, insiders told CNBC that the deal could have been upwards of $500 million.
Snapchat Hopes To Be Profitable By 2019, Analysts Not So Sure
While Instagram brags about its growing numbers, Snapchat is having a much harder time of it now that the company went public. CEO Evan Spiegel told his employees that he wants the company to be profitable in 2019, but the clock is ticking.
Why it matters: Snap, Inc. went public riding high on its big ambitions but the company has increasingly been dwarfed by Instagram’s user base and usage. In an effort to compete, Snap rushed an app redesign that caused a major backlash, resulting in a drop in users. Will Snap be around long enough for the company to turn a profit?
Details: In an internal memo to employees, Snap, Inc. Spiegel criticized the “rushed” app redesign and said that in the company’s excitement to innovate, they lost the core of what made Snapchat’s communication so fast. Despite Snap’s hopes to become profitable in 2019, analyst Michael Nathanson warned investors that the company is running out of money, leading to a drop in stock prices on Tuesday.
Facebook Launches Video Calling Device, But Will Users Trust It?
Portal, Facebook’s AI-powered video and voice calling device was officially announced, along with a carefully worded statement about privacy and security.
Why it matters: Facebook Portal is being launched as consumer privacy concerns hit an all-time high. The company faces multiple lawsuits and just admitted that 50 million accounts have been compromised. Although Portal comes with a long list of promises about user safety, it may not be enough to convince consumers to shell out $100 for another potential mishap.
Details: Facebook Portal and Portal+ are video chat devices that use Alexa voice commands. The zero UI devices feature a camera that follows users around so they can walk around the room while speaking with the option of AR effects to make video chats more interactive. Both devices come with a camera cover and Facebook promises not to track everything that users do, claiming that all calls are encrypted.
Google+ To Shut Down In Light Of Security Concerns
Google will sunset its social network for consumers, the company announced Monday, not long after The Wall Street Journal reported a massive data breach. Citing low usage and API security concerns, Google+ will exist only for businesses starting next year.
Why it matters: Google says that 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds and that the APIs are challenging to control and maintain. Rather than improve its security measures or redesign the site, Google has decided to let it go. You would think that a tech giant like Google would find API development no less challenging than anything else they work on, but with such low engagement, there isn’t much point in salvaging the platform.
Details: On Monday morning, The Wall Street Journal published a piece stating that Google exposed half a million users’ private data this spring and deliberately withheld the information for fear of bad press. Not long after the story broke, Google announced that it will wind down Google+ for consumers over the next 10 months. In the meantime, users can will be given information on how to migrate and access their data. The business version of Google+ will remain.
Twitter Clarifies Policies To Discourage Bad Actors Ahead Of US Mid-Term Elections
Twitter rules have been updated to provide clearer guidance on violations such as fake accounts, attributed activity and distribution of hacked materials. This comes quickly after last week’s report on Twitter’s fake news ecosystem.
Why it matters: Twitter doesn’t want to be party to the spread of misinformation or abuse, as it was during the 2016 US Presidential election. While clarifying rules won’t stop bad actors, it will help the company explain why certain accounts will be suspended or punished for violating the rules. Twitter has kept itself busy fighting misinformation on its platform, especially when it comes to outside political interference. The company says it removed approximately 50 accounts misrepresenting themselves as members of various state Republican parties.
Details: In a blog post, Twitter announced that it has updated three critical areas of its election integrity efforts—policies, enforcement and product features. The site is partnering closely with the RNC, DNC and state election institutions to improve how it handles misinformation and abuse. Twitter has already removed hundreds of accounts found to intentionally mislead its users.
YouTube TV Offers Instant DVR Access Through Network Partnerships
A new deal with AMC, Disney, FOX, NBC and Turner will grant YouTube TV subscribers instant access to episodes on demand, making the service more attractive to cord-cutters.
Why it matters: YouTube TV users have, until now, been unable to access DVR content on-demand, which defeats the purpose of offering an unlimited cloud-backed DVR. These new partnerships will help make the service more competitive, especially as AMC viewers gear up to watch Andrew Lincoln’s last episodes on The Walking Dead that began this weekend.
Details: YouTube TV is trying to compete by offering live TV and original content. However, one complaint has been the VOD function, in that not everything can be viewed while it’s still new. These new partnerships will allow users to stay up-to-date with Fall Premieres.
Facebook Teaches AI To Convert Photos Into Recipes
Researchers at Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) group have developed a piece of AI software that can analyze a photo of food and generate a recipe for it.
Why it matters: Considering how many people take pictures of food these days—especially on Instagram—developing a use for all those photos makes sense. Facebook says it isn’t planning a public recipe-generating AI tool at the moment, but the experiment was designed to teach machines how to understand the world.
Details: As reported by Forbes, researchers at Facebook’s Montreal lab have taught AI to generate a recipe based on a picture of food such as banana bread.
“Everyone is always taking pictures of their meals these days,” said Joelle Pineau, head of FAIR’s Montreal lab, in an interview. “Sometimes there are ingredients you can see but there’s also ingredients you can’t always see, like sugar and salt and things like that. So they train it [the AI] with pairs of images and recipes. But then when they test it they just give the image and it generates a recipe.”
Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, October 12. Have a news tip? We’re looking for changes to and news surrounding social media platforms as they relate to marketing. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.