This week in social media news, Facebook hires a top legal expert to oversee WhatsApp privacy, Twitter partners with UC Berkeley to improve Machine Learning, Pinterest hires Goldman Sachs Group Inc and JPMorgan Chase to lead their IPO, Snapchat meditates on allowing permanent snaps, TicToc launches new video platform and Twitter kicks off #SuperBowl week.
Nate Cardozo Joins Facebook To Oversee WhatsApp Privacy
Why it matters: Hiring Cardozo to work on the WhatsApp privacy ranks demonstrates the company’s preparations for future legal and lobbying efforts, as at the moment it finds itself in hot water with the EU over merging other social media properties with WhatsApp.
Twitter Will Conduct Research On Machine Learning Together With UC Berkeley
According to a recent Twitter blog post, the platform will partner with UC Berkeley researchers to improve ML and “increase the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation” on Twitter.
Why it matters: According to the company, Machine Learning models are crucial to enhancing the user experience with the platform. “Making Twitter more healthy requires making the way we practice ML more fair, accountable and transparent,” the blog post stated.
Details: The new research initiative will focus on studying and improving the performance of ML in social systems and will be lead by Professor Moritz Hardt and Professor Ben Recht.
Pinterest Hires Goldman Sachs Group Inc and JPMorgan Chase To Lead Their IPO
Reuters reported today that the image search platform, Pinterest, hired Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase to lead its initial public offering (IPO).
Why it matters: With this move, Pinterest has the potential to raise around $1.5 billion in the IPO, which is likely to come in the first six months of 2019.
Details: The San Francisco-based company has seen rapid growth since its founding in 2008, and is valued at $12 billion. It hosts 250 million monthly active users and is now among other popular brands preparing for multi-billion IPOs this year, including Uber, Lyft, Airbnb and Slack.
Facebook Is Banned From Apple. Yet Again
Apple told TechCrunch that yesterday evening it revoked the Enterprise Certificate that allows Facebook to distribute the Research app without going through the App Store.
Why it matters: TechCrunch reported that The Research app asked users for root network access to all data passing through their phone in exchange for $20 per month, which violated Apple’s policy.
Details: TechCrunch’s investigation discovered that Facebook’s Research program was quietly run on iOS and Android since 2016 as Project Atlas. The program unethically recruited users in the 13 to 35-year-old range (5 percent of which were teenagers), with the help of ads on Instagram and Snapchat. The users received a monthly fee and referral bonuses to install Facebook’s Research app. The VPN app then routed traffic to Facebook and allowed root network access to the user phone to the company, which, in turn, let Facebook pull in a user’s full web browsing activity. According to TechCrunch, “Facebook went so far as to ask users to screenshot and submit their Amazon order history.”
Facebook Publishes A Report On Evolving Sports Engagement On Social Platforms
The Changing Profile of Sports Fans Around The World—a new report published today by Facebook, looks at evolving people’s engagement with sports content on mobile devices and social media.
Why it matters: With Super Bowl 2019 at the door, the report was put together to “help marketers gain a better understanding of who sports fans are and how they watch sports online” today.
Details: The “Sports Around the World” study conducted by the GlobalWebIndex was utilized. The study surveyed over 90,000 internet users and offered some interesting insights, such as nearly 60 percent of sports fans on Facebook said they watch sports online and nearly 80 percent of women surveyed say they watch live sports online or in person, compared to 90 percent of men.
Snapchat Considering Permanent Snaps
According to Reuters, Snapchat is considering making changes to its app that would allow the users’ content to stay on their profiles longer than 24 hours, or permanently.
Why it matters: This is the company’s strategic move to reanimate profits since Snapchat had seen a dramatic decline in user base and in revenue in 2018.
Details: The change would only apply to photos and videos in “Our Story” section, which the users can share not only with their friends but with the larger audience outside their network on the app. The Snapchat fans, however, will keep the option to delete their stories.
Twitter Kicks Off #SuperBowl Week
As one of the internet’s great drivers-of-discussion, Twitter announced itself as the “home for all things Super Bowl” in the blog post earlier today.
Why it matters: Twitter is serious about keeping the fans posted about Super Bowl with fresh updates, a special emoji, radio broadcasting and livestreaming, which will bring a lot of traffic to the site.
Details: Twitter partnered with the @NFL on special Super Bowl emoji and offered the following hashtags for the fans to share and follow: #SuperBowl, #SBLIII, #GoPats, #EverythingWeGot, #LARams and #RamsHouse. Twitter will also livestream a variety of memorable moments for users every day until Super Bowl Sunday.
TicToc Steps Out Of Their Twitter “Comfort Zone” With The New Video Platform
Bloomberg’s breaking news source on Twitter, TicToc, launched its own video platform today, AXIOS reported.
Why it matters: Although still native to Twitter, with this move TicToc attempts to develop and grow its own unique brand recognition.
Details: The new site will operate as a news video library with several categories, including, “Technology,” “Politics,” “Social Movements” and “Culture.” The site is designed to suit fast-paced news consumption and will feature videos that are under a minute and are set up to be watched with sound. The format of the content offered will vary from data to images and will aim to deliver vital information with more efficiency.
Facebook Expands Its Ad Archive Internationally
Facebook is launching versions of its political ad archive to countries with upcoming elections like India and Ukraine.
Why it matters: Users can look up information on any political ad they encounter on Facebook. The platform has a lot of influence on politics with so many followers using it—India has the largest audience. This news is also important because it shows Facebook is trying to avoid a repeat of the 2016 fiasco.
Details: According to Recode, the social media platform hopes its ad archive product will have ‘a global expansion’ by June. After the 2016 midterms, Facebook made “war room” so employees from different teams could more effectively respond to misinformation or voter suppression problems.
Snapchat’s Sunset Strip Billboard Turns Into AR Video Ad
Snapchat is promoting its original show, Bringing Up Bhabie, with an AR-enabled billboard.
Why it matters: Snapchat is getting creative on ways to attract Gen Z and get them to gain interest in their shows. Its Snapchat’s response to TikTok—a lip sync app.
Details: The billboard—located in one the most expensive areas for ads—has a Snapcode users can scan with their app. It turns the vertical billboard into a video of Bhabie ranting, it’s even somewhat personal because it seems she’s talking directly at you. The singer also premiered her new single “Bestie,” through a Lens Challenge. According to Next Reality, Snapchat users can access the Lens Challenge by opening the Snapchat camera and tapping the screen to access the Lens Carousel. Then you need to tap the smiley icon at the bottom of the screen to enter the Lens Explorer. “Users can then lip-sync along with the track, with the Lens providing an augmented reality backdrop using Lens Studio’s background segmentation feature.”
Instagram Stories Can Be Shared Via Direct Links
Following in Snapchat’s footsteps, Instagram launched a “Share link to Entire Story” feature to get more engagement and eyes on the stories.
Why it matters: Stories are getting easier to share, so more people will be able to watch them. Brands get another perk, the option to “Promote” their stories so they can increase their reach by promoting their story to users who aren’t followers.
Details: The platform is rolling out the new features they tested last year. The “Promote” option also sends users to a brand’s profile, website and it lets consumers to DM them in Direct.
Google And Facebook See A Boost In Ad Sales
Privacy and regulation issues aren’t hurting advertising on these platforms. This comes before the companies report their fourth-quarter earnings.
Why it matters: Facebook and Google are still very relevant and important tools to reach customers.
Details: Bloomberg reports advertiser attitudes haven’t changed towards Facebook. Experts state consumer spending is growing and so is digital advertising. For example, Instagram ad dollars spiked 120 percent from 2017.
Facebook Stories See A Notable Increase In Ad Spend
A report finds advertisers elevated their ad spend on Facebook Stories by about 124 percent during Q4 2018 compared to 2017.
Why it matters: This is evidence Stories is working for brands and there are no signs of slowing down.
Details: The report by Nanigans was shared with Mobile Marketer. For Facebook Stories, the report found CPM jumped 112 percent, CTRs increased 52 percent and CPCs surged 39 percent. Also, advertisers allocated 61 percent of their budgets to video.
Editor’s Note: Our weekly social media news post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, February 1. Have a news tip? We’re looking for changes to and news surrounding social media platforms as they relate to marketing. Let us know at [email protected].