Social Web Recap 15.10.18
My weekly annotated summary of significant social web platform developments from the previous week, with links and carping marginalia as needed . . . Posted every Monday morning or thereabouts.
Love the Numbers
What the hell is that image you ask. It represents the total number of faces on average that people can remember. A team including Dr. Rob Jenkins at Toronto’s York University studied how many faces people could recall from their personal lives and the media, as well as the number of famous faces they recognized. Well, guess how many — 5,000 faces! In a summary of the study, Science Daily claims that “Humans have typically lived in small groups of around one hundred individuals, but the study suggests our facial recognition abilities equip us to deal with the thousands of faces we encounter in the modern world — on our screens as well as in social interactions.” Are all those selfies on Snapchat and Instagram in reality expanding our cognitive capabilities after all?
Instagram is upping its game to eliminating Insta bullying. The new head of Instagram announced it will be using machine learning (a branch of AI) to “proactively detect bullying in photos and their captions and send them to our Community Operations team to review.” It’s also adding the previously launched bullying comment filter to comments on live videos posted on the platform. In parallel, though, Insta users will now see a “kindness camera effect to spread positivity”, involving something to do with hearts, selfies and Maddie Ziegler. Look for yourself.
Netflix need not be worried, but Snapchat has created “Snapchat Originals’ as a cover brand for original programming. Digiday says that “Snap Originals will encompass Snapchat’s existing original shows, like political news series ‘Good Luck America’, as well as a new slate of scripted and documentary series that will begin to premiere on Snapchat on Oct. 10 and mark the platform’s entry into TV-like programming.”
A whack of new features have been added to Facebook Workplace, FB’s enterprise incarnation. Chief among the changes is ‘Safety Check for Workplace’, intended to “make work communities better prepared in a crisis by allowing employers to locate their people and provide assistance quickly.” And what TechCrunch calls a “big upgrade” will see “the ‘chat’ features of Workplace (conversations that happen outside the news feed, first launched last year)” boosted so that users “will be able to start chats, calls and video conversations either one-to-one or in groups, in the style of WhatsApp or Messenger.”
In a controversial move, Facebook introduced a product “that will bring a camera and microphone into your living room. Facebook Portal, and the larger Portal Plus, are smart displays that are laser-focused on video chatting.” However, as The Verge points out in its launch coverage “A majority of Americans say they don’t trust the company very much or at all, and the Portal’s launch was delayed in hopes it could escape the long shadow of the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal.”
Less controversial is Facebook’s roll out of 3D photos to add depth to iPhone portrait mode shots. Josh Constine at TechCrunch says that to shoot one “tap the new 3D photos option in the status update composer, select a portrait mode photo and users on the desktop or mobile News Feed as well as in VR through Oculus Go’s browser or Firefox on Oculus Rift can tap/click and drag or move their head to see the photo’s depth.” My view? Who cares.
Facebook has confirmed to TechCrunch that it intends to make available an ‘Unsend’ feature for ‘Messenger’ that will let you claw back unfortunate messages: “Currently, you can only delete messages from your own inbox — they still remain in the recipients’ inbox. But with this Unsend feature prototype, you’re able to remove a message from both sides of a conversation. “