This week in social media:
Instagram Founders Step Down
Instagram Co-founders Kevin Systrom, and Mike Krieger, have decided to resign from the platform. They will be officially leaving in the coming week.
On Monday, the pair notified Facebook Facebooks Leadership team of their decision. As of now, there is little reported about why they decided to leave the company. They Did release a statement saying:
“We’re ready for our next chapter… We’re planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again. “
An inside source noted the team was beginning to lose autonomy with the recent re-org, putting Chris Cox in charge of Product, which may have lead to the decision.
Facebook To Release Smart Video Chat and Speaker Device
This week, news broke about the release of Facebook’s new smart speaker/video chat device, ‘Portal’. This device will be a direct competitor to the Amazon ‘Echo Show’ and will supposedly look very similar as well. According to a report by Cheddar, the device will come in two screen sizes and cost either $400 for the larger size, or $300 for the small one. The device will allow users to video chat, get news updates, play music, watch videos, and more.
The belief is that this product is out of Facebook’s building 8, which is a top-secret R&D facility for hardware products.
Facebook Dating Releases First Major Test
Facebook has released the first major test of its new dating site and matchmaking functionality by going live nationwide in Colombia.
The initial tests came with some restrictions, limiting the number of profiles users can express interest in, and not allowing photos to be included in Facebook dating messages. The release had a major impact on other sites such as Tinder, OKCupid, and Match.com, with some of them seeing a 20% drop in stock value.
Facebook Updates Security On Political Profiles
This week, Facebook announced the launch of a new pilot program to expand existing protections for users who are associated with US political campaigns. Candidates for federal or statewide offices as well as staff members can now add additional security measures to their pages and accounts. Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook released a statement saying:
Over the past year, we have invested in new technology and more people to stay ahead of bad actors who are determined to use Facebook to disrupt elections. Today we’re introducing additional tools to further secure candidates and campaign staff who may be particularly vulnerable to targeting by hackers and foreign adversaries. This pilot program is an addition to our existing security tools and procedures, and we will apply what we learn to other elections in the US and around the world.
As we have seen in past elections, candidates and elected officials, as well as their staff, can be targeted by hackers and foreign adversaries across platforms, including Facebook. However, due to the short-term nature of campaigns, we do not always know who these campaign-affiliated users are, making it harder to help protect them.
Instagram Updates Education Courses
Instagram has released new Blueprint courses to help users better understand best practices when advertising on the platform. According to a recent blog post:
“More than a billion Instagram accounts worldwide are active each month, and 80% of accounts follow a business on Instagram. People use Instagram to share and discover things they love, which makes it an ideal platform for businesses to connect with their customers. Whether you’re looking to create your first ad in Instagram Stories, craft thumb-stopping creative or drive business results, these 15-minute Blueprint elearning courses will help you get started.”
The new courses will include a breakdown of Instagram Business, a creative workshop to help marketers “bring their stories to life”, and information on setting buying objectives.
Instagram Tests Ability to Add Hashtags Absent From Caption
We have all seen the Instagram posts which have 30 hashtags in the caption. This has been a common strategy of marketers on the platform since its inception. However, according to a post by Code Hacker Jane Manchun Wong, Instagram may be releasing an update to this. From the screenshots she released, it appears Instagram will be adding the ability to include hashtags outside the main caption.
While the company has not released an official statement on this matter, this has been a commonly requested feature for many years and is a likely addition.
Instagram Launches Gifs in DM’s
In an official blog post this week, Instagram announced the release of Gifs in DM’s. According to the post:
“Now you can message your friends with GIFs in Instagram Direct. From “LOL” to “I love you,” you can express yourself in countless visual ways when you’re messaging your friends.
In any message thread, tap the new GIF button in the composer bar to open a library of the latest trending GIFs powered by GIPHY. Swipe through to see what’s currently trending or search using keywords or phrases to find the perfect GIF to make your friends laugh.”
There will also be a “Random” setting, which will allow users to send a random Gif associated with what they searched.
Twitter Adds Ability to Watch Videos In Full Screen While Tweeting.
You can you see by the tweet below, Twitter has made it easier to use the platform and watch videos at the same time.
Twitter users will now be able to interact with tweets while watching a video in full-screen mode.
Twitter API Bug Discovered
On Monday, Twitter discovered that an API Bug may have been sending private user data to unauthorized developers. The team released the following message about the incident: It is worth noting that there have been no reported cases of data misuse from the error. This discovery comes at a critical time when the social platforms are under a microscope. Many have begun greatly restricting developers API access in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Pinterest Expands ‘Shop The Look’
Pinterest has expanded the ‘Shop the Look’ e-commerce option to all businesses types. Historically, the options were only available to specific large companies, hand selected by the platform. While they did increase access earlier this year, the option was still limited to a select business segment. The company hopes to take advantage of its rapidly growing user base and the 250 million current active users.
Snapchat Partners with Amazon to Add Social Shopping
Users can use Snapchat’s camera to scan a barcode or a physical product to see an Amazon preview to purchase that item. The preview includes the product title, price, image, review score, and prime availability.
This announcement comes shortly after Instagram and Pinterest added in-app shopping.
The feature is being rolled out to a small percentage of U.S. users before it is considered for other countries.
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