This week in social media news, YouTube plans to release “Shorts” by the end of the year, Facebook Business announces a number of updates to support small businesses and released a desktop version of its Messenger app to simplify video chat.

YouTube Plans “Shorts” To Combat Rise Of TikTok

Google-owned YouTube is planning to release an in-app feature that will position the company to use their library of licensed music to rival TikTok.

Why it matters: “Shorts” is the first real attempt by YouTube to confront the rising usage of China-based app TikTok.

The details: Sources close to the matter have indicated that ‘Feeds’ will be released within the year and will allow users to create and add short-form videos to an in-app feed.

Facebook Business Announces Additional Business Support

In a press release published today, Facebook announced a number of new platform features to provide support for businesses reckoning with COVID-19.

Why it matters: The impact of COVID-19 on small businesses has been profound; these platform enhancements offer those businesses new ways to survive and thrive in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The details: Facebook announced updates to their Small Business Grants program, an option for businesses to release digital gift cards, fundraising capabilities as well as the option to denote temporary service changes.

Facebook Launches Messenger Desktop App To Simplify Video Chat

Per a company announcement, Facebook launched a desktop version of its Messenger app for MacOS and Windows so that users can more easily video chat.

Why it matters: With people hunkered down during coronavirus, Facebook saw more than a 100 percent increase in people using their desktop browser for video and audio calling on Messenger.

The details: Facebook Messenger for desktop includes unlimited and free group video calls, chat sync across mobile and desktop and features users are already familiar with such as dark mode and GIFs.

Facebook Prototypes Auto Status Feature For Messenger

According to TechCrunch, Facebook is prototyping an auto status feature that would use your location, battery life and accelerometer details to show a select group of friends what you’re up to.

Why it matters: An auto status feature reminiscent of AOL’s Away Message could help users coordinate online and offline meet ups easier.

The details: Instead of sharing a user’s exact coordinates, Facebook’s auto status Messenger feature would add an emoji over your profile picture to indicate your activity. In October, Facebook launched auto status to Instagram’s Threads app.

Snapchat Releases Snapchat App Stories

Snapchat App Stories launches today and allows Snappers to share their content to other apps, according to reporting from TechCrunch.

Why it matters: As TechCrunch notes, “Snapchat hopes to retain some grip on Stories and dissuade more copycats by letting developers bake the original version into their apps rather than building a bootleg attempt from scratch.”

The details: Users shooting with the Snapchat camera will receive a new option to share it to their Story within other apps integrated with Snap Kit. Developers can now sign up here to add Stories to their apps.

TikTok Launches Daily Live Programming Featuring Celebrities And Creators

Per a company announcement, TikTok launched #HappyAtHome: LIVE!, a week of nightly programming that runs each evening at 5 p.m. PDT through Friday to help entertain users during the coronavirus lockdown.

Why it matters: With social distancing in full effect, social platforms are looking for fresh ways to keep users engaged.

The details: TikTok’s live experiences include Motivation Monday where celebrities like Tyra Banks and Arnold Schwarzenegger host dance classes and cooking tips; Kick Back Tuesday features creator-hosted game nights and makeup tutorials; Show & Tell Wednesday will highlight magic tricks from Zach King; EduTok Thursday will involve conversations with the likes of Dr. Phil and Bill Nye; Sound Check Friday will include top artists performing live concerts. A #HappyAtHome LIVE! banner appears on TikTok’s Discover page or users can search it in the app.

Twitch Raises $2.7 Million For Coronavirus Relief Efforts

In a 12-hour fundraising broadcast held on Saturday, March 28, Twitch raised $2,766,857.12 for the Solidarity Response Fun for the World Health Organization.

Why it matters: Twitch joins the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in raising money or establishing financial programs for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The details: The #TwitchStreamAid saw gaming influencers and music artists such as Dakotaz and John Legend come together to perform live sets and game tournaments. 

Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, April 3. 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