Welcome to the 7th edition of the Social Media News Roundup. In these roundups, we go over recent — and timely — additions to the social media industry and/or to the social media marketing space. If interested, you can find the last edition of the social media news roundup, here.
Social Media News for January 2018
A lot has been going on in the world of social media. There have been some major announcements for new changes from some of the biggest platforms as well as some interesting developments regarding how Twitter and Facebook will be handling or have handled letting people know they have seen fake, Russian ads aimed at influencing the 2016 Presidential election. Let’s get to it!
Facebook’s Updates and Edgerank Changes
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg (whom we consistently scream at, while raising a fist in the air around my office — “ZUCKERBERG!!”) has announced that he will be changing the goal for Facebook this year from helping people find relevant news, to helping people have more “meaningful social interactions“. Because of this change, Facebook will be putting more emphasis in the algorithm on friends and family’s posts versus news articles or brand posts (posts from those pages you’ve “liked”). As social media managers and marketers, this is certainly frustrating as it forces publishers (pages) to either pay even more money to Facebook in order to show up somewhere in the newsfeed, or else go belly up, because they can’t afford the budget that it would require.
Another interesting announcement from Mark was that Facebook will be giving power to the people — its users — to decide what publications are trustworthy news sources. Obviously, this is probably a stupid move. Honestly, there are way too many people out there that believe so much crap is actually true, but in fact, it is not. Let’s point to all the posts talking about how if you shared this picture of Jesus, somehow that meant he would smite your least favorite Presidential candidate, I saw in my feed from the Presidential election to prove my point. There are people that BELIEVE that. I’m sorry, that’s not logical. I feel another announcement sometime after the implementation of this new change, rescinding it.
Finally, Facebook has also announced it will be allowing people to create Stories from their PC/laptops. Where you were once only able to create Stories from your phone before, Facebook is opening this ability to a broader scope of users, like those that prefer to use a camera instead of their phone to record their videos. Don’t be fooled, this isn’t just to help users (probably wasn’t even a thought, really), this also comes as Facebook announced it was creating a team over in London to pitch sponsored AR filters to advertisers. You know it’s all about that cash, right?
Twitter Figuring Out How to Alert Users About Fake Ads
Twitter has announced they are committed to emailing or alerting people to accounts they may have followed, retweeted, or otherwise engaged with that were linked to the Russian government-linked organization known as the Internet Research Agency (IRA) during the 2016 presidential election. Unfortunately for humanity, there are nearly 700,000 users that Twitter has identified as having had contact or otherwise engagement with these fake profiles and accounts whose primary purpose was to cause division and rile up their target audiences.
Instagram is Giving Us New Features
Instagram, who is owned by Facebook, is copying SnapChat by now alerting users when their friends have screenshotted their Stories. Apparently, the user will get one “free” screenshot and then will get a warning for any other screenshots that if they keep it up, the app will send an alert to the user you are screenshotting. This seems to be an effort to prevent potentially embarrassing content from getting shared away from the Stories portion of this platform, while I would just tell people to quit sharing embarrassing content on the internet. (But no one listens to that advice.)
They have also announced another feature showing people when you were online last. This is available through the Direct Messages screen and is on by default. If you would rather people didn’t know the last time you opened the app, you can turn on off the feature, by going to “profile” and “settings” (the gear) and scroll down the screen to the “Show Activity Status” button and turn it off.
WhatsApp Announces Some New Changes
WhatsApp has quite a bit going on right now. They have recently delivered a business app called WhatsApp Business. The app is free and is verified by phone number, just like the regular app. Business accounts will be clearly listed as businesses, and users will still have the ability to report spam or decide if they want to see messages from these business accounts, like normal.
To continue the fight against Fake News, WhatsApp is also testing notifications about messages that may have already been sent to others several times (chain letters). While spammy and annoying, some chain messages are harmless, however, some messages can contain scams, such as messages that tell users to pay for a non-existant app called “WhatsApp Gold” and some messages have proven to cause hysteria and mobs in India.
And that’s it! This month has had quite a bit going on but that’s all we have for now. Stay tuned for my future editions of the social media news roundup, where we’ll keep going through all the articles and giving you the condensed, important stuff! 😉
Interested in reading past social media news roundups? Find the list here, and stay up to date!