30 Mar Spark Bites: Social Media’s Biggest CEOs to Testify
As promised, Spark Bites is back this week with some updates on how Facebook is handling the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica mess, on top of our usual social media news and updates of course! Read on to find out what’s been going on in the social network world this past week:
- Pinterest is expanding its visual discovery feature “Shop the Look” with the help of Home Depot. Shop the Look allows users to simply tap the white circle on a pin to see similar, shoppable items. Home Depot is helping Pinterest identify the products in the pins to help improve Shop the Look. Basically, instead of the user having to google “rectangle platform four sticks coming out of it,” Home Depot will just tell Pinterest to tell us that that is a desk. The future is wonderful.
- Last month, Facebook quietly removed ad targeting by sexual orientation but made an exception for dating apps. This caused frustration for some organizations offering services to the LGBT community. For instance, for the Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping suicidal LGBT youth, this move has disrupted their work severely. Facebook recently told BuzzFeed News that dating apps will also be losing the ability to target ads by sexual orientation by the end of April.
- The social network has rolled out an update to prioritize more localized news within the News Feed. Back in January, Facebook established their goal of cleaning up the News Feed by prioritizing local news and reducing the total amount of news on the feed. With this new update, if a publisher’s content is more likely to be read by users in a specific location, they may be considered local and this feature would boost organic reach for that publisher. This newest update is now available in all countries and languages.
- Of course, Facebook is still trying to recover from their recent scandals. Several days ago, the Senate Judiciary Committee invited the CEOs of social media giants Facebook, Google, and Twitter to testify at a hearing on data privacy. The hearing will be an opportunity for senators to uncover more information on the recent controversies involving Facebook. The hearing is scheduled for April 10, making it probably the most ambitious crossover event in April.
- Ok, no more “Infinity War” crossover jokes, we promise. But LinkedIn is making that hard for us because it’s trying to imitate Snapchat now. Which is such a bizarre concept to even type out. The professional social networking platform is adding new filters and text styles so that users can enhance their videos on the app, just like on Instagram Stories and Snapchat. But this is particularly wild because it remains SO professional. Their filters are boxes that say fun little things like, “Work High Five” and “Side Hustle”. Their three text style options are FifthAve, Geometric, and Plain. PLAIN IS THE NAME OF THE TEXT STYLE. Sorry, we’ll stop freaking out over here about this. It’s just really mildly exciting.
- The latest beta version of Snapchat has a new tab called “Connected Apps,” suggesting that more third-party apps might soon be able to connect to Snapchat. Currently, Bitmoji is the only app with access to Snapchat accounts. This addition could be a sign that Snapchat is trying to become its own app ecosystem like Facebook, Google, and Twitter. Bad timing for this news to break out though, considering that third-party app access has caused Facebook its fair share of headaches recently. Be careful not to take it too far, Snapchat, or you might have some regrets down the road.
- Twitter is the latest social media platform to ban cryptocurrency advertisers, joining Google and Facebook. Facebook announced a ban of cryptocurrency ads in January and Google announced several weeks ago that they will also be banning these ads in June. This policy change is Twitter’s latest attempt to avoid giving publicity to misleading or unsafe claims.
- We mentioned a couple weeks ago that Instagram was temporarily, and understandably, removing the ability to put GIF stickers in stories due to racist GIFs being used. Well, now the feature is back! Giphy, the company responsible for overseeing the Instagram GIF library, says that it has re-moderated the entire library and is tightening future moderation.
And those are all the updates for this week! Now all that’s left is to get excited for next week’s edition of Spark Bites.
Yeah, that’s the minimum amount of excitement you should have, honestly. Have a great weekend!