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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.

Social Media News Roundup: February ’17 Week 3

Social media news roundup february 2017 week 3
Week three of February has been a busy week for social media news. We’ve compiled the biggest news stories of the past seven days into one handy summary article.
Mark Zuckerberg posts 6,500 word manifesto

Mark Zuckerberg has posted a 6,500 word statement on his page reminiscent of a state of the union address. It reads as a riposte to recent criticisms of the social network and growing anti-globalization sentiment. It also makes a number of statements about the measures that Facebook can take in addressing and tackling a wide range of global issues including terrorism and inequality, with a view to building global community.

“Facebook stands for bringing us closer together and building a global community. When we began, this idea was not controversial. Yet now, across the world there are peple left behind by globalization, and movements for withdrawing from global connection.”

Zuckerberg recently denied that he would be running for President of the United States. His statement does not make any direct references to current devisive policies, rather focuses on vague references to empowering global connection and decreasing polarization. Read it here.

Facebook announces the introduction of job postings

Facebook is now muscling into the territory of LinkedIn with the introduction of features that enable job postings and applications from within the social network. The new feature was announced this week on the official blog and began rolling out to businesses in the USA and Canada. Simplicity seems to be the aim of the game here, as Facebook look to make the process of filling vacant roles as simple as possible.

“It's easy for Page admins to create a job post, track applications and communicate directly with applicants. After posting a job, Page admins will be able to review applications and contact applicants on Messenger, all on mobile and all in one place… The experience is simple for applicants, too. Job posts may appear in their News Feed, in the new bookmark for jobs, and alongside other posts on business Pages. ”

Facebook continue to make no secret of the fact that they intend to develop a multi-faceted service that limits the amount of time users have to spend on other networks/webpages.

Twitter begins temporarily restricting tweet reach for abusive users

Twitter has begun temporarily restricting the reach of tweets by users who have been flagged as potentially abusive. The new anti-abuse measure restricts tweets so that they can only be viewed by their direct followers. The change was spotted by BuzzFeed and has been described as being reminiscent of a “time out”. Flagged users are greeted with the same message, as shown below.

Twitter restricted tweet reach message

Recruiters complain about LinkedIn’s “confusing” redesign

A number of recruitment professionals have spoken up against LinkedIn’s new redesign, complaining that it has had an adverse effect on the way that members use free and premium service search functions. One user has even decided to start a petition urging the the company to restore perceived lost features, including the ability to tag connections on free accounts, radius area search for premium accounts and the ability to use ‘AND’ and ‘NOT’ in Boolean searches.

Facebook page pays homage to the boyfriends of Instagram

A hilarious Facebook page is paying homage to the boyfriends and partners on whose shoulders falls the responsibility to take those so-called ‘candid’ Instagram photos. Boyfriends of Instagram currently stands at nearly 31.5k likes and popularity is growing at a substantial rate.

Social Media News Roundup: February ‘17 Week 2

Social Media News Roundup Week 2 February 2017
Hardly a day goes by without something happening in the world of social media. Every week we take a look back at some of the biggest social media news stories of the past seven days.
Facebook introduces new weather forecast feature

Facebook hab announced the roll-out of a new feature that puts a full local weather forecast directly within it’s mobile app and desktop site. The social network have confirmed the new feature has launced to around 95 percent of its global user base this week. The new feature is described as an expansion of its earlier “weather greetings”, short informational weather updates that appeared at the top of your feed in the morning.

The new Facebook Weather section is powered by data from Weather.com. It is available via the “more” menu on the mobile app and direct from News Feed on the desktop site. It offers exactly the kind of data that you would expect from a weather app; a full week’s weather forecast. It also features a cartoon-style header that is reactive to the current forecast.

Investors mistake little-known startup for Snapchat

Shares in a little-known video chat and online dating service provider have almost doubled in the past few days because investors mistook it for Snap Inc - the creator of popular social network Snapchat. The amount of daily Snapchat users grew to an average of 158 million at the end of December 2016.

The name of the little-known startup is Snap Interactive. It seems that investors were incredibly eager to invest in the first public offering of Snap Inc, who last week said it had filed for an initial public offering of $3bn. This resulted in shares of Snap Interactive growing by 164 percent.

Twitter announces new measures to tackle harassment and abuse

On Tuesday Twitter announced expansions to it’s efforts to protect users form abuse and harrassment. These include the prioritising of safer search results and the collapsing of potentially abusive, low-quality search results. Twitter have also outlined intentions to identify, suspend and stop the creation of new accounts by those who have been permanently suspended.

Social Media News Roundup: February ’17 Week 1

Social media news February
We’re only a few days into February and already it’s starting to look like a big month for social media news. Here are some of the biggest stories.
Facebook celebrates Friends Day with a strange video on a day which isn’t Friends Day

Facebook have released a feature where a strange alien-humanoid-robot-thing made of reaction emojis and pictures of best friends, who aren’t really best friends at all, dances for you on a video. It’s been made all the more confusing by apparently celebrating “Friends Day” - however the offical day marked as Friendship Day occurs in June or August.

Many users have taken to social networking to voice their distress. Many people have said that the photos used aren’t of friends at all but distant relatives and acquaintances that they had been meaning to un-friend for quite some time.

Back in 2015 Mark Zuckerberg posted about Friends Day, citing that it was Facebook’s birthday - but the day wasn’t about them at all, it was about friendship. And because it’s not about them at all, they are obviously allowed to change the date of a official day recognised by the United Nations. We look forward to Christmas when it occurs next Tuesday.

Stastics in Snapchat’s IPO filing show a massive drop in growth after Instagram Stories

According to statistics in Snap’s filed IPO, the introduction of Instagram Stories is likely to have contributed somewhat to a slowing in growth rates of 82% for Snapchat. Although other factors were present for the drop at the end of Q3 2016, such as technical errors and the rise of international competitor Snow, marketers and analysers are pointing fingers to Instagram.

At the time of the drop Snap were also introducing Memories, a feature which saves users’ content within the app. This has been cited as a bandwidth-sensitive feature so it is likely to have also contributed to the slowing-down of growth rates. However, a quick glance at the IPO shows that Snap may indirectly highlight Stories…

“There are many factors that could negatively affect user retention, growth and engagement, including if… users increasingly engage with competing products instead of ours [and] our competitors may mimic our products and therefore harm our user engagement and growth.”

Instagram tests multi-photo galleries/posts

Some sponsored Instagram posts have made use of posting multiple pictures for some time. Now it looks like the average user will soon have access to this function. Members of the Instagram Android Beta Program Have reveled that the latest beta allows users to enable multi-photo selection with a long-press on the first photo.

The feature has been confirmed by The Verge who mentioned that it may have cropped up a little earlier then the social network intended, as attempts to publish albums currently results in an error message. They reached out to Instagram for more information on when it could be expected, but a spokesperson declined to comment.

Social Media News Roundup: January ’17 Week 4

Social Media News Roundup January Week 4 2017
Seven days is a long time in the world of social media. Let’s take a look at a few of the biggest news stories over the past week.
Study shows that middle-aged people spend more time on social media than Millennials

Until now the word “Millennial” has for some unknown reason, had negative connotations. Regardless of the fact that it just refers to a group of people currently between 18-24, it has been widely adopted as a derogatory term, suggesting that those lot are narcissistic technophiles. Because they practically live on the internet, right?

Well, thanks to a recent report by Nielson which looked at users in the US, we now know that Generation X (currently 35-49 years old) are actually the ones who spend the most time on social media, averaging 39 more minutes a week than their young counterparts.

Facebook’s latest update could result in users seeing more longer videos

Facebook looks determined to further hone in on the video-viewing habits of users by changing the way it ranks longer videos in News Feed. According to an announcement on Thursday, professionals realised that percentage completion should be weighed more heavily on longer videos as completing viewing of a longer video is a bigger commitment than a shorter one.

The change will roll out gradually and is considered a routine improvement to Facebook. The update is intended to alleviate instances of longer videos being unfairly penalised for low view percentage rates. Users are unlikely to see a significant change in news feed distribution but those who watch more longer videos are likely to see an increase in their appearance, while some shorter videos may appear less often.

Twitter is replacing Moments with a new Explore section on Android and iOS

As part of Twitter’s new streamlined interface for its Android and iOS apps, the Moments tab will be replaced with a new Explore section. The announcement was made officially on the social network’s blog on Thursday, however users have been reporting instances of testing the feature for a while now. According to Twitter, the motivation for the change is to help amalgamate live-streams, search, trends and Moments feature.

Social Media News Roundup: January ’17 Week 3

Social Media News Roundup January Week 3 2017
A week is a long time in the digital age. Here’s our roundup of some of the biggest social media news stories of the past seven days
Instagram live lands in the UK

Instagram users in the UK, Germany, France, Brazil and Canada are now able to make use of live video broadcasting via Instagram’s Stories feature. Live for Instagram was first announced back in November 2016 but until now has not been available to users in the UK.

Instagram live videos appear in the top Stories slider on the Instagram app. They are available only while the user is broadcasting and disappear immediately.

Users get first glimpse at LinkedIn redesign

Microsoft-owned LinkedIn is currently undergoing a big makeover. The new homepage is intended to have a fresh and clean design that enables ease of navigation for users. Business Insider offered a first-glance look in this report.

Among the biggest updates is the top bar where common actions are now far more prominent. Messaging has also received an overhaul in an attempt to encourage conversation between connections. Profiles too have received a major face-lift, looking noticeably sleeker, more easily-digestible and closer to that of the mobile app.

Facebook is opening its first startup incubator in Paris

Facebook is building a huge startup space in a former train station built in 1929 in Paris. Known as Station F, the space will play host to 1,000 startups across 34,000m2 of space over a six monthly rotation of ten to fifteen startups.

Facebook will help each startup develop their business with the help of their network of experts and experienced professionals. They have already picked some of their first intake, including Karos, which helps with carpooling and The Fabulous, a science-based health app.

Following campaigning, a redhead emoji could be on the cards

Following a high-profile, persistent social media campaign, Apple are hosting a Unicode Technical Committee meeting to discuss the introduction of a redhead emoji character. One online petition organised in Scotland gained no less that 20,000 signatures.

Apple emojis have become far more diverse in recent years. There are already six different skin tones available with a selection of different hair styles, but no redhead option. The man who tabled proposal is Jeremy Burge, founder of Emojipedia. He had this to say:

“The lack of a redhead emoji has been the most frequent complaint from users in the past three months… This document aims to move the discussion forward on how this can be addressed.”

Unicode 10.0 is just months away from release. Therefore a redhead emoji would likely only appear at the earliest in 2018.

Finally, Sir Patrick Stewart is set to play smiley poop in The Emoji Movie

Critically acclaimed actor Sir Patrick Stewart has been named to play poop in the upcoming Emoji Movie by Sony Pictures Animation. According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Emoji Movie is due to be released on August 4th and “introduces a secret world inside smartphones’ messaging apps called Textopolis, a bustling city where all emojis live, hoping to be selected by the phone’s user.”

A teaser trailer for the movie was largely mocked on social media, receiving three times as many negative reactions as positive ones. Will Sir Patrick’s performance stink? Would that necessarily be a bad thing? Only time will tell.

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