Facebook announces a host of privacy-focused updates

Facebook has taken a hammering on the privacy front of late, and it's trying to claw back some trust. In a rather lengthy blog post from Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO admitted the platform had some credibility issues when it came to privacy (no shit) and announced big changes in its vision and principles. The proposed changes are part of a move towards Facebook being a "privacy-focused communications platform", with the headline grabber being plans to encrypt all Facebook users' messages end-to-end automatically (like WhatsApp already does).

Other updates include making messages ephemeral, merging Facebook's apps so users can message one another from any of them (first revealed a few weeks ago), and refusing to store data in countries "with weak records on human rights like privacy and freedom of expression." Our Chief Strategy Officer Mobbie Nazir spoke to Campaign about the implications for advertisers, stating "It’ll be interesting to see what the business model for the new 'private' Facebook will be. If they can’t gather implicit data, then how will they monetise the platform?"

Instagram brand content ads are about to drop

Instagram is helping brands and influencers push their content even further with the introduction of ‘branded content ads’, handy if you are looking to extend your reach beyond just the followers of your chosen influencer. With influencer marketing on Instagram in 2019 expected to be a $2 billion market, platforms are trying to increase ways brands can leverage their relationships with power users. Expect to see increased Kardashian presence in your feeds imminently - I already follow them all so this update won't apply to me. #KeepingUp

Youtube begins fact-checking search results

Misinformation spread online can have fatal consequences, so it’s time social platforms began making more visible efforts to educate users on #fakenews as it emerges. YouTube has started rolling out ‘information panels’, which provide users with fact checks for certain search terms and phrases, currently only being rolled out to a select number of users in India. Whilst YouTube isn’t seeking to censor content or block video results from appearing, a platform spokesperson said that the move is part of “ongoing efforts to build a better news experience on YouTube."

Snapchat shows off marker technology at SXSW

Snapchat has pimped the QR code with 'marker' technology and is showing it off all over SXSW. In a further play to push their augmented reality credentials, brands can now put Snapchat's code on their packaging or ads, allowing people to scan them and bring them to (augmented) reality in the app. It's an evolution to Snapchat's QR codes - Snapcodes - and they unlock certain features such as custom filters, pr the marker tech animates images via the lens. At SXSW, the markers can be seen in action on 'Game of Thrones' and 'Detective Pikachu' posters.

Foursquare launches real-time heat map 'Hypertrending'

We love a social occasion here at We Are Social (#agencylyfe), but sometimes I wish we could check in on the popularity of our local beer gardens from the comfort of our office before ultimately deciding to go to the same one we always go to, @ChippoLord. Thankfully Foursquare (remember those guys?) have launched a real-time heat map called ‘Hypertrending’ using anonymised data from Foursquare's own apps as well as third-party apps that use its platform to show real-time info on the most popular venues in town. Happy to give this one a test on Friday arvo #WeAreLocal

Cool meme, but does it save the planet bro?

Have you planked? Completed the ice bucket challenge? Are you searching for that next social vanity project? Why not jump in on the #trashtag challenge! This latest social trend isn't just a pun (shockingly) - it involves people going into the wilderness (or to the beach, or a picnic, etc. etc.), discovering garbage, taking a before shot of garbage, picking UP said garbage, and photographing the resulting pristine state to which they’ve returned their surroundings. Sure, sure it’s a bit of a humble brag, but who cares, it’s helping others right?

This post courtesy of @TomRichards. DM him to grab that Gladdy beer. He can expense it.