This week in social media news, Instagram Stories are ready to become memes with new Superzoom effects and Periscope allows podcasts on the go.
Also, Instagram helps parents start a dialogue with their kids and LinkedIn names the top 50 US start-ups on its site. Facebook braces for election time and its users take a break, Snap releases new shades, Instagram develops a shopping app and Twitter finds a bug. Meanwhile, Twitter plays with conversational features and YouTube rolls out picture-in-picture video and adds charity donation.
Instagram Adds ‘Superzoom’ Effects To Stories
New effects on Instagram let users quickly zoom into a person or object, then overlay an effect for dramatic or comedic impact.
Why it matters: Instagram’s new Superzoom effects are reminiscent of what you’d find on Vine, offering the potential to make Instagram Stories go viral (most likely captured as a GIF, since Stories disappear.) These new effects encourage creativity at a time when Instagram is trying to establish itself as a source for entertainment.
Details: Instagram is now offering several effects called Superzoom that add dramatic or comedic animated effects to Stories. The effect focuses on a person or object, then quickly zooms in, adding an effect such as camera flashes, flames, a big red X to indicate something is wrong and a heart-filled fog with cheesy music. You can see examples of these effects, as posted by Twitter user Matt Nevarra:
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) September 7, 2018
Periscope Adds Audio-Only Stream Option
Twitter-owned Periscope now allows users to broadcast without video.
Why it matters: In addition to creating opportunities for podcasters on the site, allowing users to post audio may also make the feature more accessible to those without native-language keyboards.
Details: For its annual #HackWeek, Periscope created an update that allows users to broadcast with only their voice. In a blog post by Periscope staff engineer Richard Plom, he explained that some users would stream with the camera covered because they didn’t feel comfortable broadcasting themselves or their surroundings. Periscope’s team decided to challenge themselves with a quick turnaround for this update and were able to successfully launch in four days.
Instagram Releases ‘A Parent’s Guide’
A microsite has been unveiled on Instagram, offering parents an overview of the site as well as options and topics to help start important conversations their children.
Why it matters: A number of studies suggest that social media browsing can lead to anxiety and depression among users, especially on a site like Instagram that is used to present a picture-perfect version of one’s life. Instagram is offering tools to help parents understand the site/app and talk to their children about it.
Details: Instagram has released “A Parent’s Guide” that includes an overview, privacy options, glossary of terms and list of potential questions that parents can use to start a conversation. These questions include topics like bullying and how “likes” and “comments” make a child feel about Instagram posts. In addition, Instagram offers six accounts the company calls #RoleModels, suggesting that following inspirational accounts makes the experience more uplifting.
LinkedIn Lists Its 50 Top US Start-Ups
On Thursday, LinkedIn published an article promoting “young companies reaching that escape velocity.”
Why it matters: LinkedIn is a place for professionals to build a career, so highlighting entrepreneurs is designed to inspire and encourage its users.
Details: LinkedIn created a list of US start-ups based on LinkedIn engagement, including jobseeker interest and employee growth. The top five are Lyft, Halo Top Creamery, Coinbase, Noodle.ai and Bird. The entire list and can be viewed here.
Facebook Building ‘War Room’ For Mid-Term Elections
The social media giant is building a physical “War Room” to manage activity related to the US Mid-term Elections and is “laser-focused on getting it right,” according to Facebook’s head of civic engagement, Samidh Chakrabarti.
Why it matters: After the revelation that Facebook had become a vehicle for foreign election interference, the company has a lot to prove—especially after, on Wednesday, Sheryl Sandberg told Congress they were “too slow” to react.
Details: In an interview with NBC News, Chakrabarti indicated that Facebook is tackling foreign interference head-on and has made some progress in the area. In addition to identifying and blocking such activity, Chakrabarti said they have detected, blocked or removed over a billion fake accounts in the last six months alone and have added over 10,000 people to Facebook’s security team.
“We have to be ready for anything,” he said, “that’s why we’ve been building this war room, a physical war room . . . so, as we discover problems that may come up in the hours leading up to the election, we can take quick and decisive action.”
Snapchat Reveals New Spectacles Styles, Curation Tools
Snap has unveiled two new styles for its POV camera Spectacles, each made to look more like traditional sunglasses. A new feature will be added later this fall to publish captured footage.
Why it matters: Snap is pushing its Spectacles with the new style, tools and by allowing them to be sold on Amazon. More footage means more posts and engagement on Snapchat, making it more attractive to advertisers.
Details: On Wednesday, Snap revealed Nico and Veronica, two new styles of Spectacles camera glasses. The water-resistant glasses capture up to 70 videos or hundreds of photos on a single charge, then wirelessly transfer them to a user’s phone. A new feature will be added to Snapchat later this fall that automatically curates Spectacles Snaps into a single Highlight Story for easy sharing.
Instagram Is Developing A Stand-alone Shopping App
A new app is reportedly in development at Instagram designed for ecommerce.
Why it matters: If the reports are true and the app comes to market, Instagram would be in a unique position to sell products to its millions of users.
Details: According to The Verge, sources familiar with the matter say Instagram is developing a stand-alone app designed for browsing and shopping. The app may be called “IG Shopping,” although Instagram declined to comment.
Twitter Bug Pushes ‘Liked’ Posts By Mistake
Twitter has acknowledged a bug that inserts posts into a user’s timeline, claiming that a followed account liked it even though they might not have.
Why it matters: With Twitter backpedaling against claims of political censorship, the bug could be interpreted as a kind of “fake news” on the timeline—claiming someone you follow liked a post from a politician or regarding a hot-button issue, for example.
Details: Twitter users may have noticed that the site will tell them about posts one of their friends or followed accounts interacted with. A deeper look, however, found that some of this activity never actually happened. A spokesperson for the company confirmed that the issue is affecting several accounts but Twitter is working to fix it.
FCC Chairman Expresses Concerns About Today’s Tech Giants
In a blog post, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai suggested that tech giants like Google and Facebook could be held to the same transparency standards as those operating broadband networks.
Why it matters: In an age where tech giants track our every move and control what content we see, Pai is concerned that consumers have little to no insight on how these decisions are made.
Details: Ahead of Wednesday’s hearing with Facebook and Twitter, Pai shared his concerns on a Medium blog post that focused on transparency, expression and privacy. Although he says he does not want to control these companies like a utility provider, “It’s time to have a full and open conversation about the realities of today’s Internet economy.”
Study Finds Americans Taking A Break From Facebook
Pew Research has released new findings that suggest Americans are taking a new look at their relationship with Facebook.
Why it matters: Consumers are becoming more aware of the impact that social media has on their daily lives and mental wellbeing. Some consumers are disenfranchised with the social media giant while others remain unphased by revelations of data collection or misuse.
Details: A study released by Pew Research asserts that 44 percent of US consumers aged 18 to 29 say they have deleted the Facebook app from their phone in the past year. Just over half of all respondents said they have adjusted their privacy settings and 42 percent have taken a break for several weeks or more.
Twitter Tests ‘Conversational’ New Features
Twitter has been playing with a number of features lately, including threaded replies and seeing who’s online.
Why it matters: Aside from a few key changes like extra characters, Twitter hasn’t altered its original form all that much since its inception. CEO Jack Dorsey has recently stated that he is rethinking the site’s core features in order to foster healthier conversations.
Details: On August 31, Twitter’s director of product management Sara Haider posted screenshots of new features she has been testing. Among them are color-coded reply threads. Jack Dorsey retweeted the post, adding that they are also playing with online status indicators.
— jack (@jack) August 31, 2018
YouTube Rolls Out New Miniplayer To Desktop Users
Some desktop users have observed the ability to let a video play while they continue to browse YouTube.
Why it matters: The video miniplayer is already in use on YouTube mobile applications, making the desktop site more like a mobile experience. Allowing users to multitask on the site may encourage them to view more, as they will already be searching for a new video before the previous one has ended.
Details: According to Beebom, YouTube has begun rolling out its desktop miniplayer, first spotted in testing earlier this year. Although not accessible to all users yet, the feature mimics functionality on YouTube’s mobile app.
YouTube Allows Non-Profit Donations With ‘Giving’ Suite
YouTube Giving is a new suite of features that allows streamers to host fundraisers on the site.
Why it matters: Charity live streams are common among the gaming community. Offering a way to more easily collect donations allows YouTube to compete with Twitch, where many of these streams take place.
Details: YouTube has released a suite of features called YouTube Giving. The suite, currently in beta testing, allows online creators to host fundraisers, donation matching and Superchat For Good, a version of promoted chat comments that raises funds for charity instead of the streamer. To show off and test the new features, YouTube has partnered with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for a series of fundraising gaming videos in support of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, September 7. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.