This week in social media news, eMarketer reports TikTok will reach 52.2 US followers by 2021 and LinkedIn has announced it’s working on a stories feature for all users and college students, respectively.

TikTok To Surpass 50 Million Users In US By 2021

eMarketer reports that TikTok will reach 52.2 million users by 2021.

Why it matters: TikTok’s user penetration is the lowest among social networks but it’s one of the few whose penetration is actually growing. Though its growth has been explosive, big players like Instagram are coming for TikTok: Instagram introduced a Boomerang looping-effect that mimics a similar feature on TikTok. However, experts warn that growth cold slow given competition from other platforms and the questions it faces on censorship and data privacy. 

The details: This year TikTok’s US audience will grow 21.9 percent to 45.4 million people and that figure will reach 52.2 million by 2021. This follows TikTok’s 97.5 percent growth in 2019, when it went from 18.8 million users in 2018 to 37.2 million users in 2019. This year 21.6 percent of US social network users will use TikTok at least once.

LinkedIn Testing Instagram-Like Stories Feature

The company said in a blog post that it’s internally testing LinkedIn Stories, to be released in the coming months, as well as “Student Voices,” stories for university students to share their campus experiences.

Why it matters: Launching stories is part of LinkedIn’s continuous attempt to appeal to GenZ and millennials. Reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong recently found 10 new Instagram- and Facebook-like features LinkedIn is prototyping like GIF comments, location sharing and reaction buttons.

The details: The student-focused stories feature lets users post videos to their “Campus Playlist.” The videos disappear from the playlist after a week, but stay permanently visible in the “Recent Activity” section of their profile. Given that stories were originally meant for users to post impromptu moments that disappear after 24 hours, many students may resist adopting the tool in fear that recruiters will use the material to inform hiring decisions.

Facebook Launches Creator Studio Mobile App 

The Creator Studio app is an extension of Facebook’s insights dashboard, which launched globally in August 2018 and helps publishers and influencers manage their content and track performance.

Why it matters: The app lets users analyze page and post-level insights and distribution metrics to inform their strategies. It also allows them to toggle between multiple pages, which could be helpful for creators who have a large following and brands that manage multiple creator pages.

The details: Now brands and creators have access to the Creator Studio on their mobile phones, allowing them to track engagement insights, edit video titles and descriptions, message followers and manage multiple pages on Facebook. The Creator Studio app is available on iOS and Android.

TikTok Holds First Summit For Black Creators

TikTok’s #MakeBlackHistory Summit brought celebrity speakers and 100 black creators together in Los Angeles for a two-day community building experience that included an intimate concert and kickoff dinner.

Why it matters: Following its explosive growth among the influencer and brand world, TikTok is now looking to call on the power of celebrity and experiential events.

The details: TikTok’s celebration of Black History Month included keynote speaker Tyra Banks and an interview between Tracee Elliss Ross and TikTok creator Drea Okeke, @dreaknowsbest. Ross, who shared details about how she branded herself, filmed her first TikTok while at the summit. Viral TikTok artist Doja Cat also performed. 

Facebook Acquires Virtual Reality Games Developer Sanzaru Games

Facebook has acquired veteran game developer Sanzaru Games, an independently operated studio known for creating virtual reality (VR) game experience.

Why it matters: Facebook has been buying up big players in VR —the Sanzaru Games acquisition comes after Facebook acquired VR game developer Beat Games in November 2019. 

The details: Sanzaru Games was the first developer to partner with Oculus in 2016, and since then has developed four games for Oculus including one of its most popular games, Asgard’s Wrath. Now the developer will continue to help Facebook create more VR game content out of its current offices in the US and Canada with support from Facebook and the Oculus Studios team. 

Twitter Rolls Out Hide Replies To Developers

Twitter is making Hide Replies available to its community of developers today, according to TechCrunch.

Why it matters: “With Hide Replies now available as a new API endpoint, developers can create tools that automatically hide disruptive tweets based on factors important to their customers.”

The details: Twitter unveiled the Hide Replies feature to users last November in a bid to reduce the impact of disruptive, toxic conversations on the platform. The unveiling was slightly controversial, as some believed it could lead to the silencing of criticism on the platform. 

For developers, participation in Twitter Developer Labs is free, but you’ll be required to sign up using an approved developer account.

Vimeo Launches ‘Vimeo Create’ To Help Marketers Create Video Content

Vimeo released a new video-editing platform for creating templatized video content, according to an official blog post from the video platform yesterday.

Why it matters: Vimeo’s new platform lets marketers efficiently collaborate on creative video content while leveraging creation tools to help reduce production time on those resources.

The details: Vimeo Create, released earlier this year in closed beta form, is now open to anyone who wants access to the open beta. The tool features brand customization options, “smart technology” for AI editing and integrated video marketing tools. 

Vimeo’s press release touts the platform as a way to “radically simplify the process of video creation and unlock powerful capabilities to make and distribute high-impact social videos in minutes.”

The Hill Finds Twitter Slow To Provide Verification Status For Primary Candidates

According to The Hill, about 90 primary candidates in five states holding congressional and gubernatorial primaries on Super Tuesday have not received the verified “blue check,” in their profile.

Why it matters: Back in December, Twitter declared it would help level the playing field between little-known challengers and established incumbents by providing verification status (the blue checkmark in profiles) to all candidates who qualify for primaries in 2020. The verification process ultimately helps lesser-known candidates gain more visibility and credibility. 

The details: As of today, The Hill found that in the 130 House, Senate and gubernatorial primaries scheduled for March 3 (Super Tuesday), 89 candidates who have a Twitter account and appear on ballots remain unverified. “The process we implemented is rigorous in order to ensure that we accurately identify and verify candidates’ legitimate Twitter accounts,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill.

Twitter Is Testing Labels To Identify Misinformation 

According to NBC News, a leaked demo shows that Twitter is testing brightly colored labels underneath politicians’ and public figures’ posts that contain lies or misinformation.  

Why it matters: Since the 2020 election season began, Twitter has taken steps to combat deep fakes and misinformation. Last month, it rolled out a policy to remove tweets that include deceptive or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm.

The details: A spokesperson told NBC News that the leaked demo is one possible iteration of its new anti-misinformation policy. Twitter is also experimenting with a community-based points system. As shown in the leaked demo, users are asked whether a tweet is “likely” or “unlikely” to be “harmfully misleading.” Then they’re asked on a sliding scale of 1-100 how many community members would answer the same.

Facebook Releases New Data On Facebook Messaging Trends For Travel Businesses

Facebook’s research finds that consumers are increasingly turning to messaging to communicate with travel businesses.

Why it matters: Facebook messaging for business is key for brands looking to ramp up their customer service experiences as consumers demand faster, real-time interaction with businesses. The proof is in the data: Over 40 million firms globally are active on Facebook Messenger and Click-to-Messenger ads are one of the platform’s fastest-growing formats.

The details: In its report, Facebook emphasizes messaging as a tool that enables personalized communication at scale, noting that 64 percent of people would prefer to message rather than call a business. With the help of a bot messenger to help personify its brand, Canadian airline WestJet saw a 24 percent lift in positive sentiment among travelers. Additionally, Airline KLM recently used WhatsApp to deliver real-time booking confirmation, flight status updates and gate assignment to travelers. Despite the benefits of messaging for businesses, Facebook says a Spectrm study of 242 leading brands found that 45 percent didn’t respond within five days when messaged via their Facebook pages. 

Instagram Tests Feature That Would Allow Android Users To Remove Followers Directly From Their Profile

Reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong spotted the feature in the backend of the Instagram app on an Android device.

Why it matters: The feature is already available to iOS users and adding it to Android users indicates that having the ability to remove followers gives users a better, safer experience on Instagram.

The details: Android users who want to remove a follower must find the user’s account from their own follower list whereas an iOS user can simply go to the person’s account who they want to remove and do so via the drop-down menu. That feature will potentially soon be available to Android users.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, February 28. 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