In case you’re still wondering, our world continues to be in absolute chaos. Last month, we saw social media updates that were a response to the coronavirus pandemic, and this month we are seeing concerted efforts to fight the spread of misinformation on social media, especially from Facebook and Twitter, as we approach the presidential election. Read our round-up below to learn more about some updates you might’ve missed.
Largest Voting Information Effort: Facebook is hoping to register 4 million people to vote through efforts via Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger ahead of the 2020 presidential elections. Additionally, Facebook, which has been the target of criticism in the past for not doing enough to stop the spread of political misinformation online, has come up with a solution – letting users turn off political ads they do not like – shifting the responsibility of stopping misinformation to its users.
Labeling State-Controlled Media: Facebook will begin applying labels to state-controlled media outlets, saying they “believe people should know if the news they read is coming from a publication that may be under the influence of a government.” This would include state-run news agencies such as Russia’s RT and Sputnik, and China’s Xinhua News and the People’s Daily. No word yet on whether they plan to label Fox News and OANN. ?
Clean Up Your Online Image: Are you thinking about running for office in the future? Worried about your online presence? Facebook is launching “Manage Activity,” a new feature that allows users to delete their old posts individually or in bulk. Facebook will offer filtering options to help find posts from a certain time range.
Tips For Inclusion: Following the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests against police brutality, Facebook has seen tensions flare up across Facebook groups. The social media network released tips for moderators on how to be more inclusive, to educate themselves on current events, and suggested adding people of color as group moderators, among other tips.
Facebook News: In an ironic turn of events, the social media network accused of spreading misinformation has launched Facebook News, a dedicated section devoted to journalism. Users will be able to react and share articles, but not comment. They’ll also be able to hide articles, outlets and topics they don’t want to see, which can be seen as problematic as users will eventually transform their Facebook News experience into an echo chamber.
Second Screen: Facebook is launching Venue, which aims to “give fans an interactive second screen experience, curated by experts and centered on the pivotal moments of their favorite events.” The commentators hosting events in Venue will be able to pose questions and chats for audience participation, allowing viewers an opportunity to connect with fellow fans.
Collaborative Music Videos: Attempting to give TikTok a run for its money, Facebook has launched Collab, where creators can record their own musical arrangement or collaborate to build a composition. Collab is designed for making original music videos, setting it apart from other video apps.
Reinventing The Wheel: Phone calls? I don’t know her! Facebook launched CatchUp, an app that makes it easier for friends and family to coordinate phone calls or group calls with up to 8 people. The app is set up for audio-only calls, and it flags available users.
That’s Old News: Facebook announced a new feature that’ll warn users if they are about to share an article that is over 90 days old. It is designed to give people more context about articles before they share them and it was developed in response to concerns about old news being shared.
Audio Tweets: And now, for the feature no one asked for. Twitter is testing and plans to roll out a new feature which allows users to record up to 140 seconds of audio and tweet it out. If a recording goes longer than 140 seconds, will automatically create a thread of voice recordings to post. We are concerned about the state of our timeline as we approach November 3.
Think Before You Tweet: In their latest effort to curb misinformation, Twitter has begun testing a new feature that prompts users to think before they retweet articles they haven’t read. It will prompt users to actually read the article and hopefully, encourage meaningful conversations.
Fleet Tweet: Twitter’s Fleet feature just became available in India, after launching in Brazil and Italy. The feature will allow users to share tweets, photos and videos that will last 24 hours on their profile, similar to Snapchat and Instagram Stories.
This is NOT a Feature: Over the past few days, Instagram users have puzzled over some stories soliciting questions from users and promising anonymity to those who respond. A spokesperson from Instagram said, “this is not an Instagram feature and we have no plans to test anything like this.” So stop divulging information to your friends. It’s a trap!
New Design: Snapchat is unveiling a new action bar that allows users to access Snap Map and Snap Originals in one tap. Additionally, a new “Happening Now” banner will feature a curated selection of stories at the top of the Discover tab.
Snap Minis: Designed for a post-coronavirus world, Snapchat’s new feature, which will be launched later this year, allows users to coordinate plans as a group, integrated into the platform’s text chat. The first set of Snap Minis allows for group meditations through a partnership with Headspace.
Snapchat Ads Learning Modules: Snapchat has announced the launch of Focus, a module-based training for advertisers and brands. Snap Focus is the perfect tool for advertisers who are unfamiliar with ads on Snapchat.
Dolla, Dolla, Bill, Y’all: WhatsApp launched an update in Brazil, its second-biggest market – person-to-person payments. The company announced that expansions to other countries will come soon, but has not given a date.
Curated Content: Here we go again! It’s time for Google+ 2.0. Google has quietly announced a new machine learning app called Keen, which has been referred to as the competitor to Pinterest. Keen uses Google Search and machine learning to help surface curated content related to your interests and offering marketers a new way to grow traffic and popularity for the brands they manage.