This week in social media news, Twitch debuts a rights-cleared music tool for creators, Pinterest builds on its efforts to promote a less stereotypical Halloween, LinkedIn says its global program helped 10 million people gain new skills, Twitter removes 130 Iran-linked accounts, Facebook launches new functionality that enables Instagram and Messenger users to communicate across apps without having to download a new app and more.

Twitch Debuts Rights-Cleared Music Tool, Soundtrack By Twitch

Twitch is rolling out an early version of a new tool called Soundtrack by Twitch, which lets creators add licensed music within their streams, the company said in a blog announcement. The rights-cleared music catalog aims to address creator complaints about their archives being muted.

Why it matters: Up until now, the only music Twitch creators could legally play was music they owned or music that was licensed to them. Otherwise Twitch’s audio recognition system would flag the audio.

The details: Among Soundtrack by Twitch’s 32 label and distribution partners are SoundCloud, Insomniac, Westwood Recordings, Empire, Sound Stripe and United Masters, to name a few.

Twitch says its music staff, select streamers and industry partners curate Soundtrack playlists and stations.

The new music catalog is compatible with OBS Studio v26.0 or later on PC, Twitch Studio, and soon, Streamlabs OBS.

Pinterest Takes Steps To Inspire A ‘Less Stereotypical’ Halloween

Pinterest is looking to build on a policy it implemented in 2016 that bans advertising of culturally inappropriate costumes by limiting recommendations of such costumes and publishing a Halloween guide that provides inspiration on costumes that are culturally appropriate.

Why it matters: Pinterest’s efforts to inspire a less stereotypical Halloween is part of its larger plan to be “a platform for positivity.” Following its ban on ads featuring culturally insensitive costumes in 2016, Pinterest launched a health misinformation policy blocking anti-vaccination content in 2017; stopped running political ads in 2018; debuted a compassionate search for people seeking mental health support in 2019; and launched authoritative search results for COVID-19 this year.

The details: Building on its policy that lets users report culturally insensitive content directly from pins, Pinterest will provide expert-curated information on pins for certain searches like “Day of the Dead costumes.” It will limit recommendations for costumers that appropriate cultures. In addition, Pinterest is publishing the Pinterest Halloween guide, which will share tips on how to have a “thoughtful and respectful” Halloween.

LinkedIn Reports Its Program Helped 10 Million Learn New Skills In 2020

LinkedIn’s global initiative that launched in June to help unemployed users acquire new digital skills has reached over 10 million learners worldwide, LinkedIn chief executive officer Ryan Roslansky said in an update.

Why it matters: Since the pandemic, LinkedIn has ramped up its efforts to help those who got laid off find a new job. Using data from its LinkedIn Economic Graph, the company was able to analyze in-demand skills, emerging jobs and global hiring patterns. As a result, it identified the most in-demand 10 jobs today and made LinkedIn Learning Paths aligned with those jobs available to everyone for free.

The details: LinkedIn says interest in developing skills for software developer, customer service and data analysts roles have been in the highest demand. Other top learning paths included developing skills on resilience, confronting bias and recovering from a layoff.

Building on its ongoing work to help people find jobs, LinkedIn also launched a free five-week skills training program running in several states called gener8tor Upskilling, which helps unemployed and under-employed people acquire skills and credentials to get them back to work.

Twitter Removed 130 Iran-Linked Accounts That Tried Disrupting The Conversation During The Presidential Debate

Based on intel provided by the FBI, Twitter removed 130 accounts linked to Iran that attempted to disrupt the public conversation during the first presidential debate, the company tweeted from the @TwitterSafety account.

Why it matters: Twitter shared screenshots of the tweets from the now removed accounts. One post reads, “proud boys stand down!” Proud Boys are a far-right extremist group that President Trump briefly addressed at one point during the debate.

The details: The posts “had very low engagement and did not make an impact on the public conversation.” As standard, Twitter will publish the accounts and their content in full once it completes its investigation.

Facebook Announces Integration Of Messenger Into Instagram

Facebook is launching new functionality that will enable Instagram and Messenger users to communicate across apps. It’s also adding 10 features from Messenger to the Instagram inbox experience.

Why it matters: The updates are part of the company’s vision for a “privacy-focused” social networking experience, as Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg outlined in March last year. Zuckerberg says that private messaging, ephemeral stories and small groups “are by far the fastest-growing areas of online communication.”

The details: As per Facebook, the primary change is that Messenger users can reach Instagram users without needing to download a new app, and vice versa.

Messages and calls you receive using Instagram will remain in your Instagram app, plus you can control where you receive messages and calls—in your chats, in your message requests or not at all.

Facebook is also introducing Messenger-inspired features to the Instagram inbox, such as custom emoji reactions, selfie stickers, animated messaging effects and chat colors.

In addition, users can now use ‘Vanish Mode’ to make seen messages disappear when they close the chat; decide who can message them directly and who can’t message them at all; report full conversations in addition to single messages on Instagram; use the Watch Together feature to watch videos with friends on IGTV during a call; and share content with up to five friends or groups.

Lastly, as part of the new update, users can control whether message requests go to their Chats list, their Message Requests folder, or whether they receive them at all.

Facebook is rolling out the new features in a few countries and will expand globally soon.

Pinterest Launches Ads Adjacent To Visual Search Results

Timed to the holiday shopping season, Pinterest is adding more places for retailers in the US and UK, two of its top markets, to promote pins and showcase ads, including on Pinterest Lens, the shop tab in search and shopping on Pins—three of its most highly trafficked and visible places to shop, according to the company.

Why it matters: In 2019, searches related to holiday surged as early as June and July on Pinterest. This year, Pinterest says holiday searches on Pinterest in April 2020 increased 77 percent higher than April 2019, a trend that included a threefold increase in searches for “Christmas gift ideas.”

The details: In addition to being able to run ads adjacent to Pinterest’s visual search results, Pinterest Verified Merchants and Shopify retailers in the US can see new conversion insights, such as data on performance of paid and organic content on their site visits and checkouts, top converting Pins and activity funnel.

Pinterest is also expanding its personalized shopping feature, which launched in the US last year, to UK pinners. This will allow users to shop through Pinterest’s Lens camera visual search.

Federal Judge’s Preliminary Injunction Lets TikTok Dodge US Ban On New Downloads

On Sunday, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction against an executive order President Trump issued to ban TikTok from US app stores, The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: TikTok’s reprieve comes after the government’s month-plus-long efforts to ban the app over its ties to China and reportedly unsafe management of American users’ data. The preliminary injunction, however, doesn’t cover a broader set of restrictions set to take effect on November 12, the judge, Carl Nichols of United States District Court for the District of Columbia, said in his order.

The details: As per The Times: “Lawyers for the app told Judge Nichols in a hearing on Sunday morning that forcing online stores to remove the app weeks before an election — and at a time of increased isolation because of the pandemic — would impinge on the rights of potential new users to share their views.”

TikTok recently announced an agreement with Oracle and Walmart that would involve the two companies investing 20 percent in a new company, TikTok Global. As part of the deal, Oracle would transfer all American TikTok data to its Generation 2 Cloud data centers. But TikTok must first gain approval from Beijing officials, who in August added data-processing technologies, such as TikTok’s algorithm, to its list of restricted exports.

Snapchat Pitches High-Frequency “Platform Burst” Media Buy

Snapchat is pitching advertisers a media buy called “Platform Burst” that would ensure their campaigns reach at least 40 percent of their target audience 15 times over three or five days, Digiday reports.

Why it matters: A burst of ads over a short but concentrated period of time could help offset the fact that Snapchat ads are easily skippable and less likely to be viewed.

The details: Agency executives who are considering Snapchat’s high-reach ad campaigns say the platform has pitched early iterations of Platform Burst campaigns at around $127,000, according to Digiday.

Snapchat has tested the campaign format in the Middle East and across verticals such as tech, telco and entertainment.

TikTok Sponsors NASCAR Driver, TikTok Creator Ryan Vargas

As part of its Latinx Heritage Month programming, TikTok has announced it’s the official sponsor of 20-year-old NASCAR driver and TikTok creator, Ryan Vargas, who’s set to race in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Why it matters: The cancelation of live sports has presented social media platforms an opportunity to reach fans via interactive experiences. TikTok’s sponsorship of Vargas will include “several co-marketing opportunities” between TikTok and NASCAR, and is the short-form video app’s way of showing up to “support a young creator from an underrepresented community.”

The details: Vargas will race in a custom TikTok suit, Dia De Los Muertos helmet—a tribute to his Hispanic heritage—and a car fully wrapped in TikTok branding, according to the company blog post.