This week in social media news, Snapchat rolls out additional privacy controls for sharing user locations, Facebook defends its political advertising policy and activists wasted no time in filing GDPR lawsuits.
In other news, Snap is investing in future content creators and Facebook explains why it’s easier said than done to stop the spread of misinformation. Meanwhile, Twitter is labeling US election candidates for easy identification and Facebook users can book home service professionals through the Marketplace. Earlier this week, Instagram began offering a way to mute friends, Mark Zuckerberg was questioned by European Parliament, Facebook began testing the influencer marketing waters and Cardi B partnered with YouTube Music for its biggest marketing push yet.
Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, May 25. 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.
Snapchat Adds “Share And Request” To Map Location Options
Snapchat has begun rolling out additional controls for Snap Map, allowing users to request, grant or deny other users the ability to see their geographic location. A new “Share and Request” feature can be accessed by pressing and holding a friend’s name or from the menu inside a chat thread. The option will only be available to friends, mutual friends or no one at all, depending on which setting a user chooses.
The new request feature adds a way for friends to share their exact location privately—helpful for outings but bad news for those just getting in the shower but claiming they’re “on the way.”
At launch, Snap Map automatically showed exactly where a user was—down to the address and part of a building—every time Snapchat was opened. This raised a number of safety concerns, especially for children. Since then, users have been able to broadcast their location to all friends, select friends or no one at all.
Facebook Will Label, But Won’t Ban Political Ads
Mark Zuckerberg’s media social super power began labeling political advertisements on Friday, including “Paid for by” disclosures designed to help users “follow the money” behind polarizing topics. This may also help raise red flags if a Page name doesn’t match the name of the company or person funding an ad.
“We believe that increased transparency will lead to increased accountability and responsibility over time – not just for Facebook but advertisers as well,” Rob Leathern, Facebook’s director of product management explained.
All election-related and issue ads on Facebook and Instagram in the US must be clearly labeled, the company announced, and all advertisers interested in such products will have to verify their identity and location. Users can click on a label to view an archive of information about the advertisement such as campaign budget and how many people have viewed the ad.
Happy GDPR Day: Have Some Lawsuits
Snap Launches Content Creation Incubator ‘Yellow’
On Wednesday, Snapchat parent company Snap, Inc. announced Yellow, an incubator program for mobile content creators. The company is accepting applications for creators interested in augmented reality, narrative storytelling and interactive through July 8.
“In an ecosystem that’s rapidly evolving, we’re excited about the future of storytelling and the creators who will push the artistic boundaries of what’s possible with mobile content,” Snap wrote.
Creators chosen for the program will be invited to Venice, California in September, where they will take part in an intensive three-month program. Snap says it will invest $150,000 in each team that is accepted into the Yellow program, and possibly more for “exceptional cases.” The program will culminate in a demo presentation and the opportunity for distribution on Snapchat.
Facebook Creates Documentary About Battling Fake News
It’s no secret that Facebook has been under a tremendous amount of global scrutiny about its data collection practices and unwitting tool for spreading propaganda. In an attempt to reassure users, Facebook partnered with documentary filmmaker Morgan Neville to create a behind-the-scenes look at the company’s efforts to fight misinformation.
“Facing Facts” is an 11-minute short film that takes viewers inside Facebook headquarters, where team members explain the challenges of balancing free speech with determining whether content is designed to spread misinformation or hate speech.
“We wanted to try something different with this project,” says John Hegeman, head of News Feed. “The challenges the News Feed team faces are complex, but it’s critical that people outside the company understand what we’re doing and why. So we need to keep trying new, different ways to give people that context.”
Twitter Will Now Label US Midterm Candidates
To help prevent misinformation around US elections from floating around its platform, Twitter has announced that it will now label certain candidates, beginning with the 2018 US midterm general election. Beginning after May 30, Twitter accounts identified as midterm election candidates will receive a label that can be seen on the profile page, tweets and even retweets, even those embedded outside of Twitter.
Labels will be indicated with the icon of a government building and contain information such as the office the candidate is running for, the state the office is located in and district number when applicable.
“[…]Twitter has become the first place voters go to seek accurate information, resources, and breaking news from journalists, political candidates, and elected officials,” wrote Bridget Coyne, Twitter’s senior public policy manager in a blog post. “We understand the significance of this responsibility.”
Twitter will continue to roll out candidate labels as states hold primary elections and candidates officially qualify for the general election ballot.
Home Services Added To Facebook Marketplace
Those who use Facebook’s Marketplace feature can now find professionals to provide services inside the home such as plumbing and cleaning. On Wednesday, Facebook announced a partnership with Handy, HomeAdvisor and Porch to recommend professionals and help facilitate business transactions.
Marketplace users will be able to search for a service provider and see reviews, credentials and location. From there, users can communicate with them, get estimates and book appointments.
The new feature began rolling out immediately and will be available across the US in coming weeks.
Instagram Users Can Now Mute Accounts
Instagram has added a mute option for users that want to control what they see in their timelines without unfollowing an account altogether. Users can choose to mute an entire account, just posts or posts and Stories. Muted users are not notified.
“We’re aiming to make feed the best place to share and connect with the people and interests you care about,” Instagram said in a Tuesday blog post.
Parliament Wants Answers
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with European Parliament president Antonio Tajani on Tuesday to discuss data privacy. After a lengthy 90-minute session with Tajani and other Parliament leaders, no concrete answers or solutions were offered to address concerns about data collected and sold by Facebook. Zuckerberg patiently answered all questions with broad strokes and promised to cover specifics in writing later on.
He did, however, deny any political bias on the platform and indicated that the site would be GDPR compliant by the May 25 deadline.
Facebook Tests Influencer Search Engine
As reported by TechCrunch, Facebook has confirmed the existence of an influencer search engine that is not yet available to marketers. Dubbed “Branded Content Matching,” the search engine lets advertisers search creators on Facebook based on factors like gender, interests and top countries where they are popular. Once an influencer is selected, marketers can contact them and make a deal.
Facebook is not taking any revenue cut during the testing phase, but likely will in the future. For now, the Branded Content Matching search engine will only help brands find creators on Facebook.
In November, Facebook launched its Creator app as part of an ongoing strategy to attract influencers with monetization.
YouTube Pours Its Hopes (And Money) Into Music Service
On Tuesday, YouTube will unveil a new version of YouTube Music that offers multiple subscription tiers and a massive campaign starring hip-hop star Cardi B. The campaign represents YouTube’s largest marketing spend to date and will include spots across TV and YouTube.
Google is offering a number of bundled subscription services ranging from free to $11.99 per month. Consumers can get YouTube Music for free, pay $9.99 a month for YouTube Music Premium or sign up for YouTube Premium, which includes the music service and ad-free video viewing.
Starting Tuesday, Google is rolling out early access to the new YouTube Music experience in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea with additional locations in the coming weeks to include Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.