12 Jan Spark Bites: Post-Holiday Social Media Updates
While some social media apps entered a bit of a slow period during the holiday season, other reigning giants never seem to take their thinking caps off. Welcome to our latest edition of Spark Bites — read on for exciting post-holiday updates in the world of social media!
- Facebook announced a major News Feed update that will show users fewer posts from brands and more posts from friends and family. Mark Zuckerberg explained that although this move would lead to lower user engagement, he would prefer users find more value in the time they spend on Facebook. However, this update will affect visibility for businesses, as organic posts will garner lesser reach and engagement. In other words, paid social just got more important!
- Facebook began testing a feature which displays local news and events in specific cities. However, instead of being embedded in the News Feed, the feature has its own access button in the app’s menu. So far, the test has been rolled out to just a few cities in the U.S. This seems to be yet another attempt by the social network to build partnerships with local news publishers.
- Facebook has decided to shut down its personal assistant tool, “M.” Beta-launched to a few users in 2015, M was the Google Assistant of yore. The social network may be discarding the tool, but it has no plans to stop using M technology. Facebook has integrated the AI-powered M into Messenger, enabling the chat app to give you event reminders, location sharing suggestions, and more!
- Facebook is taking its relationship with AR to the next level and foraying into the hardware market at the same time. The company is planning to launch an augmented reality video device in 2018. Tentatively named “Portal,” the device will offer AR and VR features, voice commands and facial recognition. Pretty exciting stuff, wouldn’t you say?
- Instagram will now allow users to post their stories as WhatsApp status updates. Once a story is posted to WhatsApp, it’s encrypted, and compliant to story-like behavior, it will disappear after 24 hours. Social networks are continuing to find ways to make cross-platform integration much easier for users.
- Instagram launched an Alpha test feature for both iOS and Android users. Alpha test users will get access to a different version of the app altogether, which will not have much in common with the beta version. The Alpha version is for purely experimental purposes and will test features which may or may not ultimately see the light of day. We would definitely opt in if we could!
- Twitter has restarted verifying users. The social network initially paused its verification process late last year while claiming to have a new authentication process in the pipeline. Although Twitter did not release an official announcement yet, a handful of celebrity verifications came through over the past few weeks. All we have to do now is wait for the social network to announce its new verification strategy.
- Twitter, along with Snapchat, landed rights to the official Fifa World Cup 2018 highlights via Fox Sports US. The social network will host an exclusive show presented by Rachel Bonnetta during the tournament. The show will feature some big-name guests to discuss the games and players.
- Snapchat has new reason for worry. The app’s usage stats show that the number of Snapchat users who publish stories has shown zero growth. It’s ironic to see an app that managed to change the face of social media by introducing 10-second posts, being beaten out by its competitor who picked up the exact same concept.
- Since Snapchat landed Fifa World Cup 2018 highlight rights by Fox US, it will publish exclusive Fox content on its publisher stories section. Along with tournament previews, recaps, expert analysis and motion graphics, Snapchat will augment live publishing and broadcasts. Looks like the app has at least one cause for celebration!