Social Web Update 04.02.19
A weekly annotated curation 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
Now here’s some good news . . . so to speak. The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer reports that there has been a sizeable — and meaningful — increase in how many of us consume and amplify news on a regular basis. Whether as evidence of maturing news consumption habits, or abject fear of what partisan right-wing politics is doing to our world, it’s good to see we appear to be paying attention!
Not much usually happens at Tumblr when it comes to new features or updates. But last week it had quite the facelift. Driven by the need to meet higher accessibility standards, Tumblr has made its “inaccessible menus are more accessible, we fixed our poorly described elements, and increased overall readability.” More noticeable though is a color refresh aimed at upping “the color contrast in our UI, most notably on the dashboard and everywhere else that familiar blue touches . . . The blue is darker, the greys are lighter, all the buttons and icons are brighter with our new brand colors, and it has a contrast ratio of 7.87:1.”
It had to happen; nothing in social goes unsullied by ads for long. The relatively young short-form video app TikTok appears to be testing dropping ads into its streams. Last week a user noticed an app install ad from GrubHub on TikTok that lasted about five seconds. Digiday writer Kerry Flynn comments that “TikTok launching ads is not too surprising. Musical.ly’s team was shopping ad units to agencies last June, shortly before it merged with TikTok” (August 2018).
The pacesetter of disappearing videos and messages is considering making “users’ public posts longer lasting or even permanent”, reports Reuters. Snapchat “is also weighing an option to reveal the identities of Snapchat users who make public posts, a person familiar with Snap’s plans said. Together the changes would mark a big step in Snap’s effort to lure and keep users by making content shared publicly via the ‘Our Story’ section, more available outside Snapchat. They could also create a new revenue source for money-losing Snap, which has seen its user base shrink and executives flee the company.”
Karissa Bell at Mashable noticed a new feature at the top of Mashable’s Twitter timeline called ‘Good Morning: Catching up on what’s happened while you were away’. Unlike Twitter’s 2016 ‘while you were away’ algorithmic update, this new greeting appears to highlight stories from news publishers “rather than just tweets that are interesting or popular.”
I know. I know. Facebook is on everyone’s hate list these days. But it is taking some steps to clean up the dirty trick’s side of political campaigns that use Facebook. (Good luck with that: Partisan politics brings out the mendacious and manipulative aspects of people’s character, or as Winston Churchill put it “Some men change their party for the sake of their principles; others their principles for the sake of their party.” The latter far more common today I’d say. ) Most recently, Facebook announced a rollout of its ad archive product ahead of elections in Europe, India, Ukraine, and Israel, in anticipation of a full global release by June 2019. The ad archive is a “publicly searchable library of all political ads on the service, will include information like who paid for an ad, how many people it reached, and demographic information about which groups the ad was targeted to.”