Tuesday Tune-Up #347

Facebook and Instagram launch tools to fight social media addiction
Wake up, check social media. Shower, check social media. Go to work, check social media (and not just because it’s my job…). Sound familiar? It’s become so habitual to be constantly scrolling through our apps, it’s easy to lose track of just how much of the day we’re spending on them. That’s why Facebook and Instagram have launched a set of tools to help us manage how much time we’re spending on the platforms. With features such as an activity dashboard, a daily usage reminder and an option to mute notifications, the social media giants want us to be more mindful about the time we spend online. It’s been proven that social media can be as addictive as gambling, so could a ‘scroll responsibly’ message – similar to those from ‘Be Gamble Aware’ and ‘Drink Aware’ – soon become necessary, too? My bets are on yes…

Not another dating app: Facebook Dating will be a feature, not an app
Since it’s better to be addicted to love than to social media, Facebook has taken it upon themselves to combine the two. If you’re on the quest to find love in the Age of Swiping, you may be crowding your phone with random questionably-successful dating apps. Following the recent announcement that Facebook plans to move into the world of online dating, the platform has confirmed that its upcoming Facebook Dating feature will sit within the main app rather than as a standalone product. The feature will allow users to choose from a range of gender/non-binary options and sexual orientations for their profiles, as well as give the option to choose whether or not they want to be visible to Friends of Friends. Facebook Dating users will also be able to connect their profiles to other aspects of the platform, such as Groups and Events, in order to help them match with other users who have similar interests. It looks like the feature will encourage more meaningful relationships, rather than the ‘hook-up’ feeling of apps such as Tinder and Bumble. “I now pronounce you Facebook Official….” Bring on the Facebook weddings!

Facebook’s Got Talent with a new online singing competition
It looks like wannabe-Whitneys and Winehouses will be able to seek Facebook fame soon enough, as the platform may be launching a virtual singing competition called ‘Talent Show’. The feature could become a rival for lip-sync platform Musical.ly, as Talent Show users will be able to pick a song from a preordained list, record themselves singing it, and submit the video for audiences to judge. The competition aspect of it could also see it edge in on YouTube’s position as a means for aspiring artists to be discovered. Representatives at Facebook are being somewhat tight-lipped on any specific details about Talent Show, but it all looks to be a part of the platform’s increasing focus on video content.

Facebook launches threefold solution for gaming advertisers
It’s no secret that the gaming market is an extremely lucrative one, so it makes sense that marketers want to take full advantage of the advertising opportunities within it. Facebook is offering three advertising solutions to help publishers of games reach users who are likely to make in-app purchases. The first, developed by Rovio of the Angry Birds franchise, is a playable ad that will give users the chance to play a preview of the game before they purchase. The second is focused on optimising player retention and will target lookalike audiences who are likely to play across certain genres. The third solution will allow advertisers to set a minimum return on ad spend (ROAS) bid in order to find users who are more likely to purchase in-game items. The focus of the solutions is not to push app installs but instead to encourage in-game item purchases in order to retain audiences.

You’re so popular! WhatsApp’s new feature allows Group Calling
If there’s anything I hate more than a group message, it’s a group call. But now, WhatsApp has perfected both. WhatsApp users can now make voice and video calls with up to four people at once. An ‘Add Participants’ button will appear at the top right of the caller screen, allowing users to make group calls. What’s more, all of the calls are end-to-end encrypted, so your conversations will be safe from prying eyes and ears and you can gossip in private. I’m foreseeing lots of Mean Girls-style call attacks in my friend group near future…

WhatsApp will charge businesses for leaving you hanging
WhatsApp’s first revenue-generating enterprise feels surprisingly satisfying for us as regular folk but slightly daunting for our inner advertisers, as the messaging platform announced that its WhatsApp Business API will begin charging businesses who are slow to respond to customers. Companies will be able to reply for free for up to 24 hours, but beyond that they will be charged a fixed-rate by country per message sent. Although businesses will still only be able to send messages to customers who contact them first, the API will allow them to programmatically send shipping confirmations, appointment reminders, and event tickets. They’ll also be able to manually reply to queries using their own customer service tools. It’s a pretty savvy way to generate revenue, as both customers and businesses will likely get hooked to the service, and WhatsApp could eventually charge for all business responses. WhatsApp has also revealed plans to run ads in Status – its version of a Stories feature, currently used by 450 million users daily – so it seems that the platform is finally looking to help out Facebook and Instagram with some serious financial earnings.

‘Hi!’ Snapchat’s new speech recognition Lenses have launched. ‘Wow!’
Snapchat has released a series of Lenses that respond to simple English words such as ‘hi’, ‘wow,’ ‘love,’ ‘yes,’ and ‘no.’ Different words will trigger certain filters and animations. For example, saying ‘Hi’ will launch an animation that surrounds you with chatty birds, while saying ‘Love’ will activate cheesy jazz music. Previously, Lenses would respond to prompted facial expressions such as ‘raise your eyebrows’ or ‘open your mouth’, and while Snapchat has featured Lenses with audio before, this is the first time they will actually recognise words. While the feature is relatively simple at present, it’s very likely to be developed further as Snapchat strives to stay ahead in the photo filter game.

Facebook is personalising the navigation bar on its mobile app
Facebook said Tuesday it’s redesigning its mobile app’s navigation bar – at the bottom of the screen for iPhones, and at top of the screen for Androids – to show people shortcuts for the products they use most frequently. At first, the icons will be chosen for you automatically based on usage, but Facebook said it eventually wants to build in settings that let people have more control over what they see. “We want the shortcuts available in the navigation bar to reflect how an individual uses Facebook,” Product Manager Alexa Andrzejewski said in a statement. “To that end, we’re customising mobile shortcuts so everyone can more easily connect with their most frequently used products.”

This post courtesy of @philvince