Social Media Update 19.08.19
A weekly annotated curation of significant social media platform developments from the previous week, with links and carping marginalia as needed . . . Posted every Monday morning or thereabouts.
The Verge rightly notices that “Improving replies seems to be a recent focus for Twitter, as it has also introduced the ability to hide replies and is testing threaded conversations in twttr, its experimental app.” Twitter is now testing a feature that will notify users when there’s a new reply to an individual tweet rather than having to scroll through non-related tweets. In other words, you will be following a specific topic or subject that interests you rather than a person.
Android users can participate in “testing a way for you to follow specific interests, such as sports teams and celebrities “ on Twitter. “Once you choose these topics, Twitter’s machine learning algorithm will curate tweets for you and show it on your timeline.” Ivan Mehta’s take on this on TNW is that Twitter is “trying to further establish itself as the go-to news app.”
Twitter is testing moving DMs in ‘Message requests’ to a section called ‘Additional messages,’ when the message could contain abusive or inappropriate content “giving people the option to view the message or permanently delete it.” The content will be hidden and replaced with the notification that “This message is hidden because it may contain offensive content.”
It was a busy week for Facebook with a number of updates and test announcements:
Playing catch up with other platforms, Facebook is now testing dark mode on its Android app . . . although it may be some time before it is made widely available.
Coming out of its Safe Communities Initiative, Facebook “is renaming its confusing public, closed, and secret group settings to the slightly more straightforward public and private settings, with the option to make private groups visible or hidden to non-members.” More tools are also being made available to administrators of these groups giving them, according to Facebook, “more clarity about how and when we enforce our policies in their groups and gives them greater visibility into what is happening in their communities. The kicker is that it will also mean that admins will be held “more accountable for what happens under their watch.”
Moviegoers in the US and UK (for the time being one assumes) will soon be able to see showtimes, buy tickets and get reminders about premieres through Facebook ads for movies: “Users can hit the “Interested” button when they come across a movie ad in their News Feed, and they’ll receive a notification when the movie is in theaters, similar to how event pages work. On the movie detail page, users will be able to look up showtimes and buy tickets.” (The Verge)
Instagram is testing some changes to its popular Boomerang feature which makes mini looped videos out of users’ photos. Researcher Jane Manchun Wong is reported in Mashable as having uncovered a number of new features including “ ‘Hold’, which puts a slight delay at the end of a clip so there's a bit of a pause between loops; ‘Dynamic,’ which speeds up at the end of the clip; ‘Slowmo,’ which loops the clip in slow motion; (and) two called ‘duo,’ which appear to be more like a classic Boomerang, just set at different speeds.”
Recent changes to this multi-platform messaging service (200 million so monthly users) include: “A silent messaging feature, which allows you to send a message without the recipient’s phone making a notification sound”; Slow Mode “that group admins can enable, which restricts how many messages group chat participants can send”; And a new ‘custom tile’ feature for group administrators.
YouTube is expanding its options for publishers wanting to offer subscription-based video products. Digiday reports that “After introducing its Memberships program in June 2018 to sell subscriptions for individual YouTube channels, YouTube has begun testing an option for channels to upload members-only videos, according to a document published to the platform’s support forum.”