Facebook launched a new Pinterest-like app named Hobbi this week, presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg’s campaign taps into memelords which motivated Instagram to change its advertising rules and more.

Facebook’s NPE Team Launches Hobbi App

Social Media Today reports that the latest app from the NPE, or the New Product Experimentation team at Facebook will allow users to collect images of hobbies and interests while sorting them into boards.

Why it matters: If Facebook puts resources behind launching Hobbi and expanding it, it could be a challenger to Pinterest. TechCrunch notes, however, that the current iteration is fairly niche and lacks a social sharing component.

The details: Facebook’s latest apps from its product incubator capitalize on rising trends with a “relatively unique angle,” as reported by Social Media Today.

Michael Bloomberg’s Campaign Paid Meme Creators For Internet Relevance So Instagram Is Adjusting Its Political Ad Rules

Bloomberg’s meme campaign, conducted with Fyre-festival marketing alums FuckJerry, led to some ambiguity about whether the 2020 candidate was really sponsoring memes.

Why it matters: Firstly, the importance of this news comes down to a distinction between what Instagram sees as branded content and advertising. 

From TechCrunch’s reporting: The difference is due to the fact that with branded content, “Facebook doesn’t receive any payment and it can’t be targeted. If marketers or political campaigns pay to boost the reach of sponsored content, it’s then subject to Instagram’s ad policies and goes in its Ad Library for seven years.”

Contextually, this change also matters since it comes two days after the FTC voted to review influencer marketing guidelines.

The details: According to TechCrunch, Instagram is “now asking all sponsorships, including the Bloomberg memes retroactively, to be disclosed with a label using [the Branded Content] tool. That would add a ‘Paid Partnership with Bloomberg 2020’ warning to posts and Stories that the campaign paid meme pages and other influencers to post. This rule change is starting in the US today.”

FTC To Determine Whether To Penalize Undisclosed Paid Influencer Posts

The Federal Trade Commission voted 5-0 to approve a Federal Register notice that seeks public comment on whether to revise its Endorsement Guides for advertising. 

Why it matters: The current Endorsement Guides require that social media marketing posts created between an endorser and a seller must be clearly labeled as “ad,” “sponsored content” or “paid partnership.” Weak enforcement, however, has led to gray areas around which influencer posts are organic or sponsored. Making businesses liable for civil penalties and for damages could help reduce incentivized and fake reviews.

The details: Commissioner Rohit Chopra’s statement says, “But when companies launder advertising by paying someone for a seemingly authentic endorsement or review, this is illegal payola. If these companies are also pressuring influencers to post in ways that disguise that their review or endorsement is paid advertising, those advertisers especially need to be held accountable.” Chopra suggests the FTC focus its efforts on larger platforms like Instagram and YouTube and on advertisers that earn huge profits from undisclosed influencer marketing.

YouTube Tests Donation Feature That Applies To Creators’ Videos, Not Just Live Streams

In an attempt to expand monetization opportunities for creators, YouTube is testing a feature called “viewer applause,” which lets users buy a clapping animation that appears over the creator’s video they’re choosing to support.  

Why it matters: Twitch streamers earn a lot of their revenue from donations, and it seems YouTube is borrowing what works for the gaming platform to benefit its own creators.

The details: Viewer applause is in beta testing for now, but Google notes it’s not a one-time function—users can spend $2 on a clap, $500 per day or $2,000 per week on super chats, super stickers and viewer applause combined. YouTube will take 30 percent of donations made through viewer applause, just as it does with super chat. The applause feature will apply to creators’ videos, not just live streams.

Snapchat Tests Another New User-Friendly Redesign

Snapchat’s major new redesign would separate the app from three to five sections and include a black navigation bar at the foot of the screen.

Why it matters: Snapchat’s previous major redesign wasn’t a hit and made many users ditch the app. Another more user-friendly design could be Snapchat’s way of appealing to a broader audience, which would be its ticket to maximizing revenue potential. 

The details: The redesign would give each of Snapchat’s sections more dedicated space and make it easier for new users to navigate the app. An unfriendly user design, some suggested, was one way for Snapchat to keep older users out of the app to maintain its hold with Gen Z. But in order to grow past 218 million daily active users (DAU), it’ll have to keep old and new users alike happy.

WhatsApp Reports 2 Billion Users

Up from 1.5 billion users two years ago, WhatsApp is now the second app from Facebook to reach the two-billion-users mark.

Why it matters: Though WhatsApp has yet to make a substantial contribution to Facebook’s bottom line. Still, its growth is impressive given it gained popularity without any marketing in developing countries like India.

The details: Despite, and perhaps because of, being ad-free and free for users, WhatsApp has become the most popular messaging app just after Facebook, which has 2.5 billion users.

YouTube Reveals Most-Viewed Super Bowl Ads

The Google-owned platform rounded up the top five overall and most-viewed big game ads on its AdBlitz channel.

Why it matters: Amazon’s Alexa-focused spot starring Ellen Degeneres was the only brand to exceed 60 million views. The popularity of the video reflects the rising usage of voice-controlled smart speaker shopping.

The details: Amazon’s “What did we do before Alexa” spot earned the top spot, followed by Jeep’s Groundhog Day spot featuring Bill Murray, Hyundai’s spot highlighting the Sonata’s newest features, Genesis’ GV80 ad featuring John Legend and Chrissy Teigen and T-Mobile’s ad showing Anthony Anderson test the network’s 5G capabilities.

Facebook Launches Fact-Checking Initiative With Reuters

Reuters aims to identify misinformation on social media together with Facebook’s third party fact-checking program.

Why it matters: Facebook has been slow to direct deep-fake content to fact-checkers. Though the platform has said it’s preventing the spread of misinformation by using downranking, the process doesn’t account for the views it receives before fact-checkers are able to moderate it. 

The details: According to the announcement, Reuters will “now assess the authenticity of user-generated photos, videos, headlines and other content on social media.” The initiative will be in effect ahead of the US election and beyond, verifying for Facebook’s US audience in English and Spanish and publishing findings on a specially created blog. Reuters recently partnered with Facebook’s journalism project to create an online course that helps newsrooms worldwide identify and reject deep-fake content, available in four languages including English, French, Spanish and Arabic.

Snapchat Launches Mental Health Resources Feature “Here For You

In honor of Safer Internet Day, Snapchat is launching a new feature that will give proactive in-app support to users experiencing a mental health or emotional crisis. 

Why it matters: Given Gen Z accounts for most of Snapchat’s user base, a resource that informs users on anxiety, suicide and depression could be helpful in keeping the app a safe place.

The details: The feature, launching in the coming months, will include links to expert-led resources on mental health wellness for users experiencing mental and emotional crises and anyone curious about learning more about these issues. Snapchat said it will also launch creative tools and lenses that promote safety and privacy including new filters and its first-ever “Snappable” quiz.

Instagram Reportedly Developing Monetization Tools For IGTV

Reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong found that Instagram is testing a monetization program for IGTV influencers.

Why it matters: The lack of a monetization program is one of the main reasons creators have been reluctant to create IGTV content. Once in place, the program could inspire influencers on YouTube and Facebook to shift their content creation efforts to IGTV.

The details: With the program, Instagram says “You can earn money by running short ads on your IGTV videos. When you monetize on IGTV, you agree to follow the Partner Program Monetization Policies.” 

Instagram Rolls Out New Feature Showing Interaction Level With Who You Follow

According to a tweet from Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri, as of today, you can see which Instagram accounts show up in your feed the most and who you interact with the least.

Why it matters: Improving the user experience in this way could lead to a boost in ad views for Instagram, because fewer posts that don’t resonate with a user means they spend more time scrolling, which results in more ad impressions.

The details: Instagram added two new categories to the “Following” section of users’ profiles. There you can manage a list that shows who you least interacted with and a list that shows which accounts have shown up the most in your feed. A spokesperson told TechCrunch, “. . .we want to make it easier to manage the accounts you follow on Instagram so that they best represent your current connections and interests.”

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