Wednesday Wrap-Up #350

BuzzFeed Premieres Netflix Series and launches Twitter-based TV review show
Late last week, Netflix premiered ‘Follow This,’ a 20-part documentary series that delves into how BuzzFeed report the news. “We’re thrilled that Netflix saw the drama in the work of our journalism and the stories we tell,” said BuzzFeed News’ Editor-in-Chief, Ben Smith. On the same day, BuzzFeed also announced a Twitter-based TV review show, ‘#What2Watch.’ The weekly 40-minute show will be produced in the UK and follows on from ‘#AD2DM,’ Twitter’s live morning show focusing on daily news and popular Twitter moments.

Facebook cuts down on discriminatory targeting
Last week, Facebook announced it would be removing thousands of options from its ad targeting function in an effort to cut down on discriminatory advertising. In total, the platform will be removing 5,000 ad terms that could show “bias against different religions, races and cultures,” including interests in Native American culture, Islamic culture, Buddhism, and more. A blog post from Facebook said, “While these options have been used in legitimate ways to reach people interested in a certain product or service, we think minimising the risk of abuse is more important.” And you know what? GOOD.

….and tests new ‘Things in Common’ label
As part of efforts to boost engagement and connections on the platform, Facebook is experimenting with a ‘Things in Common’ label, which will “appear above selected comments from people you don’t know on posts you view.” The trial is currently only taking place with a small number of users in the US, but Facebook is hopeful these suggested commonalities will help users spark conversations with people they don’t know.

Perhaps Steven Macpherson and Jonathan Wilde can check out Jasper’s Market together. Thanks for that, Facebook!

…and introduces pixel to Groups (three headlines for you, Facebook! You go, Facebook!)
Facebook is adding pixel to Groups. The addition will allow marketers to track users’ behaviour after clicking on posts, helping brands better understand how fans engage with their website after they leave the platform. While the new update will help marketers improve their targeting on Facebook, as it has with Pages (where pixel is currently available), Facebook says that its introduction is “unrelated to its other efforts to monetise” its Groups feature. The data collected from pixel will show up on a Groups’ insights page and will be visible to Groups’ administrators. Currently, the new tool will be limited to Groups with 250 or more members.

GIPHY refreshes its homepage with its own version of Stories
GIPHY has announced it will be redesigning its homepage with its own version of Stories, which will be curated by an editorial team and  focused “around the day’s trending subjects, told through GIFs.” While the name, GIPHY Stories, sparks an obvious link to Instagram Stories, the new feature will in fact be more of a crossover between Twitter’s Moments and Snapchat’s Discover, with a little bit of BuzzFeed thrown in. Initial content ideas suggest that the feature will also include episode recaps such as “The Bachelorette Finale in GIFs.” Stories will be available on desktop and mobile.

Instagram tests new ‘Recommended For You’ feature 
Instagram is trialling a new way to boost content discovery by highlighting accounts similar to those users already follow and interact with in the main feed. Once they’ve already caught up with content from accounts they already follow, a ‘Recommended For You’ icon will prompt users to jump into the new stream.

…and announces added security and transparency features
Instagram has three new tools in its arsenal. The first, ‘About This Account,’ is accessible through the menu section of accounts with a substantial following and includes creation date, country, and account name change information – handy for evaluating account legitimacy. Second up is a pathway to verification through the platform, so there’ll be no need for maniacal reality TV stars to storm Instagram’s offices. Finally, the platform is adding support for third-party authentication apps, including Google Authenticator, providing a stepped-up method of two-factor authentication.

The New York Public Library brings the classics to Instagram Stories
The New York institution is bringing beloved classic novels to Instagram through a series of animated Stories called ‘Insta-Novels’ to help engage younger readers. The first book to make the cut was Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’. The posts also come with a handy ‘thumb here’ icon to encourage younger fans to stop the Story and instead read the full text. Let’s hope Paris Hilton’s 2004 classic, ‘Confessions of an Heiress’ is in the pipeline.

Snapchat announces partnerships with Tunemoji and Ariana Grande 
Snapchat’s new partnership with Tunemoji will enable users to “send musical GIFs that play a snippet of a chosen song along with the moving image.” The new integration is one of the first Snap Kit partnerships, allowing third-party developers to build on the platform, adding a fun new element for Snapchat fans. Pop singer Ariana Grande has also created a new shoppable ‘Sweetener Lens,’ which will give users the option to purchase the face mask promoting her just released (and might I add, incredible) fourth album, ‘Sweetener.’

YouTube expands its digital wellbeing tools 
YouTube has announced that it will be expanding its set of “digital wellbeing tools,” including an “added feature that will calculate how much you’re watching videos” online. The new “Time Watched” feature has been rolled out globally, providing users with data on their time spent on the site for the preceding week. As part of the announcement, parent company Google announced that it would be “addressing digital wellbeing across its products, including Android, Gmail, Google Photos, YouTube and elsewhere.” It’s currently unclear if YouTube TV and YouTube Music will be included in the new feature.

This post courtesy of @DeanBillman