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Social Media News Roundup: April ’17 Week 4

social media news roundup
In the news this week - Instagram reaches 700 million users, Pinterest looks to reinvent itself and Twitter wants to live-stream 24/7…
Twitter shares rise as users grow at higher-than-expected rates

Shares in Twitter surged more than 10 percent this week. Alongside better than projected revenues and earnings, investors cited an increase in users. The social network, which struggled to grow its user-base in line with rival networks throughout 2016, said it was “proud to report… accelerating growth in daily active usage for the fourth consecutive quarter, up 14 percent year over year.”

Although no actual numbers were released for daily active users on the network, Twitter announced that monthly active users were  9m more than the previous quarter at 328m, 7m more than expected. Chief executive Jack Dorsey said this:

“While we continue to face revenue headwinds, we believe that executing on our plan and growing our audience should result in positive revenue growth over the long term.”

Twitter’s ambitions to live-stream 24 hours a day

Twitter is making a stand to increase its dominance in the world of social networking live streaming with plans to broadcast news, sports and entertainment 24 hours a day. Twitter COO and CFO Anthony Noto spoke about the company’s ambitions in an extensive interview with BuzzFeed News:

“We will definitely have 24/7 content on Twitter… Our goal is to be a dependable place so that when you want to see what’s happening, you think of going to Twitter.”

New app helps Instagram users choose a caption for their photo

Former Made In Chelsea star Amber Atherton has launched an iOS app that uses computer vision technology to offer up potential captions for photos. Rubric, which has already been downloaded over 7,000 times, attempts to detect what is in a photo, allows users to choose a subject, before suggesting captions such as quotes, phrases and song lyrics.

Instagram reaches 700 million users

Instagram looks set to be Facebook’s next venture to reach 1 billion users. The social networking app has gained an additional 100 million monthly active users in the last four months, putting the total at 700 million active users a month. The team said this on the Instagram Press Blog:

We’ve made it even easier for people across the globe to join the Instagram community, share their experiences and strengthen connections to their friends and passions. With new features like stories, live video and disappearing messages in Direct, people now have more ways than ever to express themselves and feel closer to what matters to them.

Pinterest looks to reinvent itself with major ad campaign

Pinterest is hoping to reinvent itself as a visual search engine and not a social network in its first major ad campaign this summer. Unlike networks such as Facebook which are looking to virtual reality, Pinterest wants to inspire real lives. CEO Ben Silbermann said this:

“I hope that Pinterest would someday be so useful to people they could so reliably get inspiring ideas that they wouldn’t be able to imagine how they used to just go through life and find inspiration for things.”

Social Media News Roundup: April ’17 Week 3

social media news roundup april 17 week 3
In the news this week - major announcements from F8 Facebook Developer Conference and Instagram automation crackdown…
Mind-reading brain-computer typing interface

Perhaps the biggest reveal of Facebook’s F8 conference was the announcement that the company’s immensely secretive Building 8 R&D lab were working on a direct brain-to-computer interface which would allow users to type by thinking. Intentions to create this kind of technology has been hinted to in the past when the research division posted job ads for Brain-Computer Interface Engineers and similar.

Facebook’s vision is to be able to optically scan a human brain 100 times per second and convert that to into text at 100 words per minute - that is five times faster than conventional phone typing. It’s safe to say that this technology is in its (very) early stages but it could one day spell major developments to VR and AR.

Augmented reality developer platform

Facebook announced the launch of an augmented reality camera effects developer platform, allowing outside developers to contribute AR filters to the network. Facebook is clear that allowing developers access to the platform will benefit them by offering a much more diverse array of experiences.

Alongside the options for developers to soon be creating on the AR tool, right now anybody is able to make use of Facebook’s Frame Studio to create image filters that will appear on Facebook Camera to friends or page fans.

AI-powered additions to Facebook insights

Facebook have updated analytics in a way that make it easier for users to monitor important metrics and better appreciate the value of certain insights at a glance. They are integrating machine learning into the platform, opening up new opportunities for granular analysis and monitoring.

At the centre of the updates to Analytics announced at F8 was AI powered automated insights. Engineering manager Amit Finkelstein said this:

“With this new feature, you’ll see insights such as changes in purchases for a new version of your app or variations in engagement across people in different cities. Getting to these insights quickly and in an automated way helps you easily identify where to dig deeper and determine a plan of action.”

Launch of VR hangout platform Spaces

Facebook Spaces, a social VR hangout space, has been launched in beta for Oculus Rift + Touch. It is significant as it is the leading social network’s first significant integration of social virtual reality. into its core product. In the app, up to four friends are able to join a space, draw, chat, watch 360 videos and take VR selfies in a quirky and fun environment.

Messenger bots for groups, Messenger QR codes and bot discovery tab

Facebook has launched three new, significant ways to allow user to find and engage with bots on Messenger. Chat extensions allow users access to Messenger bots in group chats - such as sports ticker bots and collaborative Spotify playlists - whereas the discover tab addresses the discovery issue faced by developers for quite a while. Now users are able to discover “recently used bots [and] popular experiences”.

Facebook have also added new parametric QR codes for Messenger bots. In their newsroom post, they said this:

“Our new parametric QR codes will enable people whenever they are out and about at events, like at basketball games and concerts, to be able to find out more from a bot for Messenger, just by simply scanning the code in the Messenger camera."

Instagram offline mode for Android

Users of Instagram’s Android app have been given an offline mode. At F8 the social network announced it wanted to offer support for using most of its features without internet access and much of this is now available on Android; the preferred device type in the developing world. Instagram say that more is coming in future months and the prospect of an iOS offline version is also in the pipeline.

Could this be partly in response to Snapchat’s CEOs ill-advised comments on their user-ship as a way of Instagram cementing their support for users in developing world? Almost certainly.

Instagram taking the fight to spammy automation software

After months of spammy auto-comments, Instagram are cracking down on fake account activity created by bot software, beginning with the closing of third-party automation service Instagress. Instagress, which allows automatically likes and comments on other photos, was forced to shut down on Thursday. Needless to say, for genuine users the prospect of a mass-exodus of bot activity on Instagram is just terrific.

Social Media News Roundup: April ’17 Week 2

social media news april 17 week 2
In the news this week - Snapchat announce new product, Twitter tests a complaints bot and a guy is 15m RTs away from a lifetime of chicken nuggets…
New Snapchat product confirms whether ads increase foot traffic

Snap is launching a significant new product which will allow businesses to see whether users visit their stores after seeing their advertisements on the app. Snap to Store looks at the number of people who visit a store within a week of viewing a vertical-orientated mobile ad on the social network.

This new product could enable marketers to correlate their campaign with genuine foot traffic in a much more significant and reliable way. Currently only used by select stores in the US, it makes use of location tracking via GPS to determine users’ movements.

Survey suggests Snapchat still teens’ favourite app

A recent survey of teenagers by Piper Jaffray has confirmed that, despite Facebook’s continual casual thievery of its products, Snapchat continues to be the app of choice for young people.

According to the research 81% of US teens said they use Snapchat every month. 39% confirmed that it is their favourite app, a fairly substantial figure when compared to the next biggest Instagram at 23%.

Twitter support testing a complaints bot

Twitter has begun testing a customer service bot to help handle questions and complaints via the company’s @support account. It can now serve automated replies to basic queries around five specific topics. According to Buzzfeed News, these include account impersonation and abuse reporting. A company spokesperson said this:

"We're testing a new @Support DM tool to make it easier for people to get help with certain support issues, directly on Twitter. This is a very early test and will be limited in scope for the time being."

Carter Wilkerson a mere 15 million retweets away from a year’s supply of chicken nuggets

A teenager from Nevada is (probably not) on the way to landing himself a year’s supply of chicken nuggets from American fast food chain Wendy’s. Carter Wilkerson, a self professed nuggs lover, may well set a new world record for retweets after reaching out to the restaurant, asking how many retweets he’d need to land himself a year of free nuggets.

The current world record for retweets is held by Ellen DeGeneres - the famous oscar selfie - which has more than 3.3m retweets. One Twitter user has estimated that a year’s supply of nuggets would cost Wendy’s around $650 dollars - whereas 18m retweets would be worth around $72,000 in advertising.

Social Media News Roundup: April ‘17 Week 1

Social media news roundup april 17 week 1
In the news this week - Twitter unveils new API, McDonalds take CVs via Snapchat and Facebook’s AI guy confirms robots won’t seek world domination…
Facebook’s campaign to help people spot fake news

Facebook in launching an educational campaign to help people understand, identify and limit the spread of fake news. For three days a link to an article on “Tips to Spot False News” will appear on the top of users’ news feeds. Beginning today (07/04/2017) users will be able to see and click the link to the tips article. These tips include studying an article’s URL, investigating sources and being sceptical of sensationalist headlines.

Will it be enough? BBC tech correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones thinks not. He said “…one has to suspect that it will be read in the main by people who are already suitably sceptical about hoaxes and propaganda. So I’m not convinced that this will be seen as a game changer in the battle to make Facebook a place you go to find the truth, rather than wallow in your friends’ prejudices.”

One in five Facebook videos is now live

After a suitably rocky start riddled with controversies, it seems Facebook Live is beginning to entrench itself as the go-to for live streaming social media. According to the network, Live now accounts for one-fifth of video content shared on the network. Fidji Simo, the company’s head of video also claims that Live broadcasting daily watch time has quadrupled in the past year:

“…Now, one in every five Facebook videos is a live broadcast – and over the past year, daily watch time for Facebook Live broadcasts has grown by more than 4x. Every day, we get to enjoy new use cases for Live that we would never have thought about.”

Twitter unveils new API to try and win back developers

Twitter is trying to rekindle it’s relationship with developers by releasing a new API platform with a focus on transparency. The social network unveiled it’s vision for the platform in a blog post, stating their goal as “to create an integrated Twitter API platform that serves everyone, from an individual developer testing a new idea to Twitter’s largest enterprise partners.”

For the first time, Twitter have made public their roadmap for what is planned. Historically, Twitter has had a fairly poor relationship with its developer community, one which lacked consistency and coherence and constantly went back on permissions. Their new API is clearly an attempt to clear the air and win them back.

McDonalds Australia is now taking job applications via Snapchat

McDonalds Australia is asking potential applicants to apply using Snapchat. It has created a McDonald’s themed lens - complete with cap and employee badge - that users can try on and send a 10-second video “snaplication”. Once reviewed, applicants are redirected to the digital careers hub where they can download an application form.

McDonald’s Australia COO Shaun Ruming explained “we’re the largest employer of youth in the country, so we’re trying to look for new and innovative ways to recuit crew people… it certainly won’t replace a thorough face-to-face interview, but we’ll obviously take it into account.”

Facebook’s head of AI confirms robots won’t seek world domination

Yann LeCun, head of Facebook’s artificial intelligence lab, is pretty big in the world of AI. His contributions have helped put self-driving cars on the road. Facebook is increasingly using AI in its products - from image recognition to voice controlled assistance to in-depth learning algorithms. In response to questions about machines taking over in a recent interview, he said this:

“We have a lot of checks and balances built into society to prevent evil from having infinite power. Most companies are not either working for good or evil—they're just maximizing profits. But we have all sorts of rules and laws to prevent our economy from going haywire.

It will be the same thing for AI. Learning to build AI systems that are safe—not because they're going to take over the world, but because you want them to work reliably—is going to take some time, similar to how long it took people to figure out how to build airplanes that don't crash.”

Social Media News Roundup: March ’17 Week 5

Social media news roundup march 17 week 5
In the news this week - Facebook tests a new News Feed, Twitter removes names from tweet replies and Instagram is officially labelled as narcissistic…
Facebook tests new rocket ship News Feed

Facebook is testing a new feed of alternative content that users may be interested in, in the shape of a rocket ship icon adjacent to the News Feed button. This button has been spotted both at the top and bottom of the screen, depending on whether users are on the iOS or Android app. It includes content such as posts, articles, photos and videos from sources that users haven’t yet followed but may have an interest in based on what they currently like.

The new feed is part of Facebook’s attempts to better angle content towards user’s interests, while also encouraging engagement with content outside their own inner circle. Facebook believe that it could help limit misinformation and the spread of fake news by encouraging engagement with a broader array of media organisations and pages.

Facebook is bringing chatbots to groups in Messenger

According to TechCrunch, chatbots will soon be available on Facebook Messenger for a variety of functions, such as updates and new tickers for group members. These include sports bots, e-commerce bots and news bots, helping keep participants aware and informed on specific news and events.

It’s not yet clear how chatbots will be added to groups. The announcement has also been made that Facebook is opening its API to allow users to build their own bots for their own specific groups.

Twitter removes usernames from character count in tweet replies

Twitter is going to make tweet replies longer by stopping usernames from counting towards the 140 character count in responses. Originally announced back in May 2016, the update means that users will have more room to continue their dialogue via interactions.

The update has been met with some scepticism, particularly around the subject of Twitter canoes - situations where two or more people take to one of your tweets to start a heated discussion that doesn’t actually concern you. Beforehand usernames could be omitted in order to limit this. However, with that possibility removed it could result in some larger-scale frustration. Twitter has added a thread-specific mute button to help tackle this.

Instagram is officially the most narcissistic app

Instagram has been named as the number one app for narcissists, according to a survey. Undertaken by LendEDU, the survey found that 64 percent of millennials believe Instagram is the vainest social media app, ahead of Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter combined.

Social Media News Roundup: March ’17 Week 4

Social media news roundup march 2017 week 4
In the news this week - Instagram announce a bunch of updates, Twitter consider a premium Tweetdeck, and Ed Sheeran stands up to Facebook for a busker…
Instagram rolls out option to save live videos to your phone

Instagram has begun offering users the option to download their Live streams as videos to their phone. The new feature was announced on a post on the Instagram blog at the beginning of the week. Once a broadcast has finished a save button appears in the top right-hand corner.

Although downloaded videos do not include any live interactions, comments, likes or viewer count information, the feature nevertheless has merit for users who want to either study their Live feed or re-purpose it as content for another network.

Instagram begins blurring content marked as ‘sensitive’ to all users

Until recently, Instagram had a very simple way of dealing with content - either it was deemed okay for posting and made it through their censors, or it was banned. Not anymore - starting soon the app will begin blurring out photos and videos marked as containing ‘sensitive’ content.

The Verge approached Instagram for clarifications on what qualifies as sensitive content. The app confirmed that what was banned before will still remain banned. Blurring will first be focussed on posts depicting violence, such as those from animal rights groups sharing content to expose animal abuse.

Facebook rolls out Live for desktop and laptop computers

People across the world will now be able to go live on Facebook direct from their desktop or laptop computers. Facebook Live has been accessible via mobile devices for over a year now and has facilitated a great deal of ‘on-the-go’ and hand-held broadcasts. The desktop option gives a much more professional, stable feel to broadcasts.

The social network has also given personal profiles the option to use streaming software while going Live - such as gamers streaming their PC gameplay or tech experts sharing advice on how to achieve more on a piece of software. Check out their how-to guide here.

Ed Sheeran defends busker who was banned from Facebook for covering his song

A full-time busker from London named Charlotte Campbell was blocked from accessing her Facebook page for three days for including a teaser video of an Ed Sheeran cover she had posted on her YouTube channel. After discovering the ban, the 27 year old singer posted a explanatory video to her YouTube page. When he found out, Ed Sheeran himself got in touch with her apologising. Below is a transcript of his comment to Charlotte:

“Just seen your video, it definitely has nothing to do with me, I bloody love seeing people cover my songs, one of the best things I get out of this job is seeing other people find enjoyment too. I asked whats gone on and apparently its a bot that Warner have that works on some weird algorithm (I have no idea what that means) but its just bad luck that it was your video. I’ve had a word, and I’ll get it sorted. Sorry again. Keeping doing what you do, tis ace. Ed x

Instagram plans to introduce new in-app booking feature

Instagram plans to release a new feature that will allow users to book appointments from with the app within the next few months. The announcement was made in a post that also explained that it was keen on helping businesses to grow and to play its part in deepening the relationship between users and businesses.

Twitter considers offering a premium version of Tweetdeck

A spokesperson for Twitter has announced that the social network is conducting a survey “to assess the interest in a new, more enhanced version of Tweetdeck.” Suggestions have been made the a premium version could include “more powerful tools to help marketers, journalists, professionals and others in our community find out what is happening in the world quicker”. The spokesperson said this:

"We regularly conduct user research to gather feedback about people's Twitter experience and to better inform our product investment decisions, and we're exploring several ways to make Tweetdeck even more valuable for professionals."

Social Media News Roundup: March ’17 Week 3

Social media news roundup march 2017 week 3
In the news this week - more options for live streaming on social media, attack of the Twitter bots, and the discovery of Skull Island on Google maps…
Up to 48 million Twitter accounts are bots

A new study released by University of Southern California and Indiana University has suggested that up to a whopping 15 percent of active monthly Twitter users are bots. Using over 1,000 features to identify bot accounts across six categories and Twitter’s most recent figure of 319 million active monthly users, the study suggests between 28.7 and 47.9 million are bots.

The figure is significantly higher than that most recently cited by the Twitter team which suggested that 8.5 percent of active monthly users are automated accounts - translating as little over 27 million. Researchers form the study believe that their figure of 15 percent is a “conservative estimate” given the complex nature of some more sophisticated Twitter bots.

Pinterest is now also blocked in China

Pinterest, until recently one of the few popular western sites still accessible from within China, has been blocked. According to sources, the social network has been inaccessible for over a week, suggesting that the country’s internet censorship system The Great Fire Wall has intentionally blocked it. It is as yet unclear why a social network famed for shabby chic wedding ideas and baking inspiration has been blocked.

Twitter wants to make it easier for companies to live stream

Twitter looks set to open up its live streaming API in order to give media companies a more direct path to live stream on the network. The move will mean that media users won’t have to rely on Periscope. It seems that the new open API for live streaming would only be open and available to media partners and not regular Twitter users - which shows that Twitter is serious about furthering live content on the network.

Hoax Facebook facial recognition app turns out to be publicity stunt

A strange and creepy facial recognition app which claimed to be able to identify people by matching their photo with their Facebook profile picture has been revealed to be a hoax publicity stunt by a viral marketing agency. Once the app, called Facezam, was revealed to be a hoax, Facebook claimed that such an app would violate their privacy policies, stating:

"People trust us to protect their privacy and keep their information safe. This activity would violate our terms."

Kong’s Skull Island appears on Google Maps

As part of a promotional stunt for the newly-released film “Kong: Skull Island”, the fictional island has appeared on Google Maps. According to sources, the location could be found only by direct search in the South Pacific. It was labelled as an archaeological site, had 200 photos and nearly 8,000 reviews. One such high-rated review stated:

"Lovely holiday. Would have been 5 stars had the helicopter tour gone smoother. Wife swallowed whole by an oversized ape; wouldn't have been a problem but she had the passports. Would go again."

Social Media News Roundup: March ‘17 Week 2

social media news march 2017 week 2
The world of social media is pretty fast moving and news travels fast. We have rounded up some of the biggest stories of the past seven days into one handy resource…
Twitter begins hiding entire profiles that may contain sensitive content

A number of Twitter accounts are reporting that the social network has begun hiding accounts behind a sensitive content warning, sources suggest. The message reads “Caution: This profile may include potentially sensitive images or language. Do you still want to view it?”.

The feature appears to be next in a long line of new safety features intended on tackling abusive behaviour. However, many of the users affected are confused about why their profiles were ever flagged in the first place. Another cause for confusion is that the showing of these messages is currently inconsistent, with some users being able to access affected profiles without encountering it.

Some are questioning whether the decision to flag entire profiles is really a good idea. The reason for this is simple - it is hard enough to train AI to search for and flag specific posts for sensitive content, let alone analyse an entire profile and decide how it appears as a whole.

Facebook tests reactions on messages

Facebook has begun to allow users to respond to their friends’ messages in the same way that they do with news feed posts. Facebook Messenger is showing a reactions option for messages sent in chat. Users have the option to reply with thumbs-up, thumbs-down, heart-eyes, lol, wow, sad or angry emojis.

Facebook have also included a reaction counter, which can be tapped to see a list of who has reacted and with what emoji. What sets reactions on this platform apart from traditional news feed is the inclusion of the commonly requested dislike emoji.

Facebook announces 360 VR app

Facebook has announced its first app dedicated to virtual reality. Designed for use with Samsung Gear VR, Facebook 360 uses 360-degree virtual reality media on Facebook. The app can be downloaded via Oculus app on any Gear VR-compatibale Samsung device.

In a statement released by Facebook, product director Brent Ayrey and software engineer Christopher Wong said this:

“With more than 25 million 360 photos and more than 1 million 360 videos posted on Facebook to date, there’s plenty of great content to discover in Facebook 360. The app is a one-stop shop for catching up on what you may have missed from your friends and others you follow, diving into the 360 photos and videos you’ve saved, and finding something new to enjoy

LinkedIn restores some reportedly lost member search functionality

Following a petition by a recruitment manager calling for the restoration of certain services, a spokesperson for LinkedIn has confirmed that the professional network will be restoring a number of advanced free search features. This includes text search for a number of things and saved searches, but still not tags and notes in LinkedIn’s free version. The full list can be seen here on Recruiter.co.uk.

And finally, Facebook’s obligatory weekly Snapchat feature theft

Facebook has launched Messenger Day, a repackaged version of Instagram Stories, itself a complete copy of Snapchat stories. It appears above your chats on Messenger as thumbnail tiles depicting the days of friends in reverse chronological order.

Facebook are now pinching features from Snapchat left right and centred. However, Messenger Day is apparently about looking-forward to today whereas Stories was always about looking-back at today. Facebook believe that while the rival network may have invented Stories, it is actually a content medium bigger than any one company.

Social Media News Roundup: March ’17 Week 1

Social media news roundup march 17 week 1
We’re only a few days into March and already we’ve seen some pretty hefty social media news stories. Here are some of the biggest...
Twitter partners with leading companies to live stream esports tournaments

Twitter have announced that it has partnered with leading esports companies to live stream content this year. ESL, the worlds largest esports company and industry leader, and DreamHack, both the world’s largest computer festival and a production company with a focus on gaming, will both be working with Twitter.

The first tournament to be live streamed via the social network will be the Intel Extreme Masters Katowice, kicking off this week on Saturday 4th March. Over fifteent seperate events in the ESL One, Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM) and DreamHack circuits will be live streamed across Twitter. Twitter’s COO Anthony Noto said this:

“Esports is growing at a rapid pace and we see this collaboration as a way to tap into the engaged audience of gamers that are already using Twitter as a primary source of content… We look forward to bringing the best of esports live video and conversation together on Twitter.”

Facebook’s Explore tab shows posts from pages you don’t like but might like

Facebook have began rolling our another tab for iOS and Android which shows users content from pages that they don’t necessarily follow but might be interested in. ‘Explore’ seems to be an example of Facebook experimenting with an alternative news feed, perhaps in an attempt to stem the existence of echo chambers and fake news.

According to various sources the ‘Explore’ tab, which is available on the latest beta version of the Android app and has been glimpsed on some iOS versions, displays a combination of posts that are proving to be popular based on topics and interests that are similar to pages already liked by the user. However, these posts are from pages not liked by the user - theoretically offering views from outside their own echo chamber of news.

Facebook develop AI suicide prevention tools

Facebook will begin using artificical inteligence in a bid to spot users who may be at risk of suicide or harming themselves. Although suicide prevention tools have been present on the network for over ten years, AI should theoretically be able to flag posts that show consistent patterns of suicidal thoughts or depression, based on previous known cases.

Through these tools, Facebook can reach out to users and encourage them to contact a friend or a helpline in order for help. Reporting tools will also be integrated into Facebook Live, allowing viewers to report and reach out to the person directly.

Loss-making Snap shares soar 44% on first day of trading

The company behind Snapchat has gone public with stocks soaring 44% on the first day of trading, despite the fact that it is technically a loss-making enterprise. The boost valued the company at $28bn.

Shortly after co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy rang the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange with a guide share price of $17, share price rose 41% to $24. At one point it reached $26.05, with a market value of $29.1bn, but settled at $24.48 upon closing, with a market value of $28.3bn.

Instagram rolls our Ads in Stories for all businesses

The Instagram Business Team have announced that Stories Ads are now available for all businesses globally. Full-screen ads on Stories were first announced back in January at which point they were tested by around 30 global brands including Nike, Airbnb and Capital One. Now they are rolling out to all businesses and will be available globally in the “next few weeks”.

Wondering how to create ads that run in stories? Check out this page on Facebook Business Advertiser Help Center.

Social Media News Roundup: February ‘17 Week 4

social media news february 2017 week 4
Hardly an hour goes by without something happening in the world of social media. In our social media news roundup we look at the best stories from the past seven days.
Facebook continues Snapchat feature-pinching tirade with WhatsApp Status

Hardly a week goes by without Facebook repackaging one of Snapchat’s features as their own. This one was no exception. This time it is on the part of their messaging subsidiary app, WhatsApp. The major new feature is marketed as a substantial update to the originl text-only “status” feature - the one where users would have statuses along the lines of “out to lunch” or “busy” beside their profile.

WhatsApp Status is very much in the vein of Instagram Stories - which itself is an almost identical clone of Snapchat Stories. For this reason, the features will come as no suprise. WhatsApp Status lets users take photos, add stickers, text, drawings, and shares them to their contacts for 24 hours after which time they dissapear.

Twitter makes direct messaging with brands more personal

Twitter are attempting to make connecting with brands via direct messaging more personal with the addition of custom profiles. This means that when a user reaches out, businesses no longer have to respond with just their company name and can instead insert that of a customer service agent along with their photo. They believe this will help users feel more at ease knowing that they are talking to a person and not a bot.

Custom profiles are currently available through Twitter’s Direct Message API, which is currently in private beta - but verified brands can be whitelisted by filling out this form.

Instagram rolls out multiple photo uploads

Instagram have rolled out a major update in the shape of multiple photo uploads. For the first time users are able to post slideshows of up to 10 pictures. Multi-picture posts have been available to ads partners in the past and have now been rolled out to the public. Users can swipe left and right to flick between photos, however comments and likes will apply to the post as a whole.

Multiple photo uploads are available on Instagram version 10.9 for iOS and Android. Full details of how to post a slideshow are included in this article by the Telegraph.

User bags herself Instagram cruise dream job

Do you remember that incredible paid-internship that Royal Caribbean International were advertising for? In case you’ve forgotten, the chosen intern would have the opportunity to sail around the world for three weeks, snap three Instagram photos a day and get paid £3,000 for the privilege their work.

Well, after 75,000 applications the position has been filled by one Ciara Flynn, a tour guide from Dublin. She was chosen by judges after she submitted a photo of two young monks in Kathmandu. Congratulations Ciara - it’s safe to say almost every social media manager in the UK is incredibly jealous proud of you right now.

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