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It’s Friday! Forget the weekend, Friday means it’s time for another new edition of Spark Bites, your weekly dose of social media news! This week, LinkedIn’s most recent updates make the social networking site seem like it’s having an aggressive midlife crisis. Plus, social networks continue to react to Facebook’s data misuse scandal. Read on to find out more about all the social media updates you missed this week!



  • Instagram is great for staying in touch with friends, family… and making us all look way better than we actually do.

    The photo-sharing app continues to deliver on this aspect with the rollout of its new Focus feature. This feature uses face recognition technology to sharpen the face and blur the background of a picture in order to make a photo look more stylized and professional. It’s a similar effect that the Portrait mode on the iPhone 7+, 8+, and X create, but Instagram plans to have this feature available for many more phones. In fact, it’s already available on the iPhone 6s, 6s+, 7, 7+, 8, 8+, and X, as well as select Android devices.
  • An Instagram spokesperson announced on Wednesday that the social network would soon let users download a copy of all the content that the user has uploaded on the app. There is no word yet on when this will be available to users, but this announcement is clearly in reaction to all the recent controversy regarding Facebook’s misuse of user data.
  • Instagram recently announced that brands won’t have to manually resize their creative in order to post a photo or video on both their feed and their story. When an advertiser uploads creative that is square or landscape, Instagram will automatically make it fit the full screen of a story. The text from the Instagram feed will be added underneath the image if the creative is square or landscape. If the image is taller than a square, no ad text will show.
  • Instagram is preparing to launch a new feature which is… essentially a more aesthetic Snapchat QR code. Instagram Nametags will allow a user to add another user simply by scanning their Nametag. These Nametags can be customized by changing the background color or by patterning the background with an emoji or selfie. Better step up your game, Snapchat!



  • …And Snapchat answers that challenge indeed. The app may be bringing back its sorely missed reverse-chronological Stories feed. Last November, the photo-sharing social media app implemented an algorithm-personalized redesign that met a lot of backlash from users. However, some users now report that the interface has gone back to how it was before the November update. If this anti-update truly does roll out across all Snapchat users, then Snapchat will have something new to hold over Instagram. Users are still missing the chronological Insta feed ever since it became replaced by an algorithmic one.



  • Twitter’s latest emoji update will replace the pistol emoji with a water gun emoji, likely a small but significant move to combat hate speech and harassment on the social media platform. Twitter isn’t blazing any trails here (seems like a water-based weapon would be putting out blazing trails anyway), as it follows Apple’s, Samsung’s, and WhatsApp’s decisions to also replace the pistol with a water gun.

    (Also, as it turns out, water guns cannot put out a blazing trail. The more you know.)
  • Twitter recently announced their support for the Honest Ads Act, which would make digital political ads follow disclosures that already apply to similar media on TV and radio. This follows Mark Zuckerberg’s recent endorsement of the Honest Ads Act on Friday.



  • LinkedIn continues its initiative to be the hip professional who’s ‘totally with it, yo’. LinkedIn Messenger now lets users send GIFs to each other using GIF platform Tenor, in case you ever wanted to respond to a recruiter or your boss with a reaction shot from the Minions movie or something, we guess? This follows the addition of LinkedIn’s new ‘fun’ video filters and text styles. How far will LinkedIn go in its quest to be cool?
  • …And we just answered our own question. LinkedIn is testing OBLIGATORY hashtags on posts. A LinkedIn social media representative says that the goal of this is for users to “better understand the value of using hashtags in posts” and to “help members discover and join relevant conversations.” A bold move from a platform that, until recently, didn’t support hashtags at all. LinkedIn seems incredibly determined to be cooler, and they will MAKE you join them on this journey, dammit!



  • This week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified twice in front of Congress in the wake of the recent company scandal. Zuckerberg answered many of the questions ambiguously, but here are a couple of the highlights so far:
    • When asked if Zuckerberg’s own data was “included in the data sold to malicious third parties,” Zuckerberg replied, “Yes”.
    • The Facebook CEO says that regulation of social media companies is inevitable, but that severe rules could stunt the growth of these companies.
    • Zuckerberg repeatedly mentioned the steps that Facebook would take to prevent interference in future elections, but also admitted he could not guarantee that they could fully stop all interference.
    • You created the meme machine, Mark. You did this to yourself.



  • The popular quiz app, HQ Trivia, is rolling out the first of many future features that will add a more social aspect to the game. This new feature allows users to search for their friends inside the app and connect with them. Once connected, users can then see who is playing in the live match and how they are faring in the game. The app is still less than a year old, but already rakes in over a million people on average per live game, which has caught the attention of many advertisers already, no doubt. A couple days ago, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson even hosted a game to promote his new film Rampage.


And those are all the social media updates we’ve got for you guys this week! Tune in to our blog again next Friday for more social media news. See you then!

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