This week in social media news, GIFs slide into your Instagram DM and Facebook is close to unveiling zero UI devices while distancing itself from political candidates.

Also, Instagram makes hashtag lists disappear and Facebook hopes to inspire romance in Columbia.Twitter puts things in order and YouTube lets more creators offer monthly subscriptions. Also, YouTube gives up on its gaming app, Instagram goes shopping, Pinterest links to influencers, Facebook gives cash for bugs and LinkedIn highlights the power of community. Meanwhile, YouTube is a hit on TV, Twitter pushes livestreams, Snapchat partners with media companies and Facebook pursues human rights.

GIFs Added To Instagram Direct Messages

GIPHY has been integrated into Instagram Direct, allowing users to send animated GIFs in a private conversation.

Why it matters: GIFs have become a phenomenon on social media, with integrations now on Twitter and Facebook. Animated GIFs keep the conversation going and the longer users spend in the app, the better for Instagram and its advertisers.

Details: Instagram users can now select GIFs while in direct messages. Trending animations from GIPHY will be displayed or users can search by keyword to find the perfect expression.

Facebook To Unveil ‘Portal’ Video Chat Device

Portal will be a device with a video display that allows users to conduct video chat, ask Alexa questions and more.

Why it matters: Facebook is trying to get into the zeroUI market by integrating Alexa into its new devices. With all the privacy concerns around its company, however, it’s uncertain whether consumers will be willing to shell out hundreds of dollars to let Facebook watch them at home.

Details: According to Cheddar, Facebook will unveil two Portal devices next week. The devices will come in two versions that cost $400 and $300, respectively. The AI camera can apparently track users as they move around a room, but will come with a privacy shutter.

Facebook No Longer Dispatching Help To Politicians

Facebook announced that it will now use an online portal to help political candidates instead of sending employees in person.

Why it matters: Facebook is trying to distance itself from any involvement in the 2016 US Presidential election results. Brad Parscale, who was Trump’s online ads chief in 2016, last year called onsite “embeds” from Facebook crucial to the candidate’s victory.

Details: In 2016, Facebook, Google and Twitter sent employees to help political candidates understand and use their platforms. This year, Facebook is taking a more hands-off approach.

Instagram Test Would Clean Up Hashtags

Instagram is testing a way of hiding hashtags and restricting visibility to certain locations.

Why it matters: Hashtags are a driving force for discovery on Instagram and users type a long list of them in captions to be found in searches. Unfortunately, dozens of hashtags aren’t pleasing to the eye, so hiding them would offer the best of both worlds. Geofencing, i.e. the ability to select which regions can see your post, would be helpful for brands offering promotions that are limited to a certain country.

Details: Users have spotted a test that allows Instagram users to select hashtags without showing them in the final post. The concept was illustrated on Twitter by developer Jane Manchun Wong on Wednesday. Wong also pointed out the ability to select which countries can view her post.

Facebook Tests Dating Feature In Columbia

Columbian Facebook users can now test Facebook’s new dating feature that was announced in May.

Why it matters: Facebook began testing the feature with its employees this summer, so testing with outside users is a good sign that it all went well. The company says that over 200 million people list themselves as single on the platform.

Details: As reported by Refinery29, Facebook has rolled out a test of its dating feature to users in Columbia, although no plans have been announced for testing or rollout in other regions.

Twitter Returns Option To View Posts In Order

For those who miss the days when tweets were listed in chronological order, those days have returned.

Why it matters: Twitter has changed a lot since its first days, adapting to and arguably shaping the way people share ideas on the website. The algorithm intends to show the tweets users might be interested in more, but users have been left with no way to read all tweets in order without visiting a user’s profile page directly. Twitter admitted that its recommendations “don’t always get it right,” and pledged to work on creating a better balance.

Details: Twitter users can now view tweets in reverse chronological order that is untouched by the site’s algorithm. This view can be obtained by unchecking “show the best tweets first” in settings. Also, the site will roll out a test that toggles between chronological and recommended tweets.

YouTube Expands Subscriptions To Smaller Creator Channels

Creators on YouTube with 500,000 subscribers or more can now offer $5 subscriptions to their fans.

Why it matters: Updates to its advertising policy let YouTube better control whether brand ads appeared on or next to content deemed offensive. The blanket reaction, however, left many non-offensive channels unmonetized and creators stripped of income. YouTube may be trying to entice more channels to monetize and/or earn enough subscribers to offer subscriptions.

Details: YouTube has extended its $5/mo. subscription option to creators with at least 500,000 subscribers—previously available only to those with one million or more.

YouTube Abandons Gaming App, Debuts New Hub

YouTube Gaming will be put to rest and a new gaming hub has been created as part of the main YouTube experience.

Why it matters: YouTube tried to cater to the rising game video content (GVC) market with a dedicated app, but found that most users consumed this content on the main site instead.

Details: YouTube Gaming launched as a separate mobile app in 2015, providing fans with a dedicated portal to content on YouTube. Unfortunately for all the work that YouTube put into it, most users just consumed this content as part of the main experience. The app will be sunsetted in favor of a dedicated hub on YouTube, which can be found on the left margin of the site. The new hub will let users browse videos by game and subscribe to a game’s page rather than individual creators. Users can also discover “rising stars” in the world of video game livestreams.

Instagram Expands Shopping In Stories, Adds Dedicated Channel

Instagram users can now shop directly from brand Stories in the app, as well as browse shoppable posts in the Explore tab.

Why it matters: According to Instagram, one-third of its most popular Stories are posted by brands. Discovery is a powerful tool for inspiration that leads to purchases (just look at Pinterest), creating new opportunities for brands on the platform to reach Stories’ 400 million daily viewers.

Details: Instagram began testing Shopping in Stories this spring and is now rolling out the feature to businesses in 46 countries. Users that view Stories posted by a brand can tap on a product to learn more and visit a landing page to make a purchase. In addition, the Explore tab now has a dedicated channel for shopping posts that users can browse and shop at their leisure.

Pinterest Opens Marketing API To Third-Party Influencer Platforms

Influencer marketing platforms can now access Pinterest’s API to better collaborate on the platform.

Why it matters: This access allows brands to connect with influencers and vice versa to collaborate on Pinterest campaigns. The API will offer helpful statistics like views, impressions and click-through rates.

Details: Pinterest has now opened its marketing API to third-party influencer marketing platforms, beginning with AspireIQ, HYPR,, IZEA, Klear, Mavrck, and OpenInfluence.

Facebook Offers Cash Rewards To Identify Third-Party Vulnerabilities

Facebook has expanded its bug bounty program to include third-party app and websites, offering to pay at least $500 to anyone that identifies misuse of access tokens.

Why it matters: The social media giant realizes it can’t fix all its problems on its own and relies on eagle-eyed tech enthusiasts to identify potential problems. Extending the reward program to third-party user logins will allow Facebook to better manage how its data is being used.

Details: Facebook will pay handsomely for the discovery of token vulnerabilities, beginning at $500 and increasing depending on the severity of the issue. Upon verification, Facebook said it would happily work with the app developer to correct the issue.

LinkedIn Video Series Highlights Power Of Community

#Inittogether is a series of videos in which LinkedIn users share how connecting with others on the site has furthered their career goals.

Why it matters: LinkedIn is establishing its brand message as a place for nurturing professional ambition, whether it be through classes, groups or adding different ways to communicate on the platform.

Details: In a series of videos, LinkedIn tells the stories of professionals that use the site to make their professional lives better by connecting with other users. Users are invited to use the hashtag #inittogether and share their own stories to keep the conversation going.

YouTube Experiencing Highest Growth On TV Screens

While a majority of YouTube viewing takes place on mobile devices, TV viewing is becoming more popular, especially in Europe.

Why it matters: YouTube is known primarily for mobile and PC, so the brand wants advertisers to know that casting to or streaming from a TV. Despite offering a more “lean back” viewing experience, the company assured broadcasters that it a partner, not a competitor.

Details: Speaking at IBC over the weekend, YouTube chief product officer Neal Mohan revealed that 180 million hours of YouTube is viewed daily on TVs worldwide. Watching YouTube on TV has grown 45 percent YoY in Europe.

“Living room hardware has finally caught up with the demands of consumers,” said Mohan. “There is a creative renaissance in content led by TV.”

Twitter Promotes Livestreams With App Update

A new update for iOS and Android displays livestreams and broadcasts at the top of the Twitter app Home screen.

Why it matters: Livestreaming video has become a major selling point for Twitter, both to advertisers and investors. Moving them to a prominent place on the app increases visibility and by extension, views.

Details: Twitter is rolling out an update for its mobile app that will display broadcasts at the top of the Home screen once a followed account goes live.

‘Curated Our Stories’ Lets Snapchat Partners Mix, Monetize User Content

Snapchat has partnered with 25 publishers that will be able to curate public user posts into collections around themes, events. etc.

Why it matters: According to Variety, over 75 million people watched Our Stories content on Snapchat last month. Unlike the original Our Stories platform, these curated collections will be monetized.

Details: Curated Our Stories is an extension of the Our Stories idea, in that third-parties and create posts out of user content. This time around, however, Snapchat will include advertisements and share revenue with the publishers. Partners include Brut, CNN, Cosmopolitan, Daily Mail, Daquan, The Dodo, Harper’s Bazaar, iHeartMedia, The Infatuation, Jukin Media, LADbible, Love Stories TV, Mic, NBC News and “Today” show, NBC Sports, New York Post, NowThis, Overtime, Refinery29, Telemundo, The Tab, Viacom, Vice Media, Wave.TV and Whalar.

Facebook Seeks Human Rights Policy Director

Facebook is now hiring for a new position that would address human rights abuses, including by both state and non-state actors, among other duties.

Why it matters: Facebook is recognizing its global impact on society and hopes that someone qualified will help them enforce policies while policing themselves.

Details: A job posting on Facebook seeks a Director of Human Rights—someone willing to represent the company with politicians, governments, users, advertisers and anyone else with concerns about Facebook’s relationship to human rights.

“As the reach and impact of the Facebook family of companies continues to grow, so does the responsibility we have to respect the individual and human rights of the members of our diverse global community,” writes Facebook.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, September 21. 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