Australian politicians target Facebook

In the wake of recent terror attacks in Christchurch, Labor leader Bill Shorten says that social media companies like Facebook need to take greater responsibility over what is shared and discussed on their platforms.

Australian PM Scott Morrison has raised the possibility of regulation if they fail to act against the use of their platforms for spreading violent extremism. Further to this, New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern also called on the social media giants to do more to tackle online radicalisation and far-right hate speech.

Should social media companies be responsible for policing this content? Or will viral extremism and egg-smashing continue? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Facebook on the fritz

ICYMI, 90% of the world's "models" were unemployed for approximately five hours last week. Selfies everywhere were left unliked and millions of snap-happy boyfriends had no reason to exist anymore. That's what happens when Insta, Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Oculus VR all experience issues AT THE SAME TIME. The rest of the internet rioted in outage outrage as the platforms went partially down for users around the world. Users reported issues with sending messages, posting to their feeds and accessing other features across the apps. Facebook has attributed the outage to a “server configuration change" and turned to rival social network, Twitter, to let users know that outages were not related to a DDoS attack.

Advertisers were also impacted as Facebook Ads Manager - through which Facebook makes more than $90 million a day in ad revenue - was also out of order... 

There was talk of advertisers getting refunded for the time their ads were suspended, but we haven't seen any such action come to fruition. If you have, stick it to Zuck and tweet us @wearesocialau

On the upside, Telegram, an encrypted messaging service similar to WhatsApp that currently boasts over 200 million active users, said it saw three million new users sign up during the period in which the apps were experiencing problems.

Unsurprisingly, some other sites also saw a...rise...in usage on the day.

Facebook updates its metrics to offer more actionable insight

Facebook has announced three major updates to its ad metrics. Firstly, relevance scores will be split into three separate metrics - a quality ranking, an engagement rate ranking, and a conversion rate ranking. Secondly, potential reach will now be calculated based on the people who were shown an ad on Facebook in the last 30 days rather than the total number of active users on Facebook. Thirdly, from April, Facebook will be replacing seven ad metrics with more actionable ones, such as a 'posts saved' metric so that businesses can see how many people saved their ads.

Facebook announces Live TV will soon be available on Watch Party

Should we start taking Watch Party seriously? Facebook has announced that it will be extending its group viewing experience to include live television. Since Watch Parties were made available to groups worldwide last July, more than 12 million have taken place - with content generating eight times more comments than regular videos in groups. The platform will begin testing Watch Parties for TV with live sports events, such as UEFA Champions League matches and has said it will also test interactive components such as letting hosts add trivia questions and live polls.

Facebook introduces further music integration

Facebook is also expanding its music feature, which gives users the ability to add songs to their profiles. Users in more than 40 countries can now share personal videos with licensed music and can tap on songs they like to go through to Spotify to find out more. Facebook has said more music partners will be added for this feature.

Facebook’s redesigned app gets a dedicated gaming hub

Music. Live TV. Is there anything Facebook hasn't thought of? Oh, right, gaming. Well, here you go. Facebook is introducing a dedicated 'Facebook Gaming' tab to its main app, which will see Instant Games moved to the new section. Users will be able to invite friends to play and chat with them right from the tab. The new Facebook Gaming section will also include gaming videos (including those from esports leagues) and dedicated gaming groups. The feature will be slowly rolled out, starting with some of the 700m people who interact with gaming content each month. The platform is also running a limited beta test version of a standalone gaming app for Android.

WhatsApp tests new ‘search image’ feature to help fight fake news

WhatsApp is continuing its efforts to tackle the spread of fake news by testing a new 'search image' feature that will allow users to easily send a photo from within the app to Google. The feature will then direct users to a search results page for “similar or equal images” from the web. Once launched, this will quickly allow WhatsApp's one billion active users to establish if an image is real, fake, or has been altered. This move follows several recent updates to curb the spread of misinformation including limits on message forwarding.

Does anyone else think this feature would be a hit on dating apps? 

Twitter unveils its new app, Twttr

Twitter has previewed an all-new prototype app, Twttr, to a group of beta testers ahead of a potential global rollout. The new app is reportedly going to act as a testbed of new features, some of which already include replies taking on the same blue and grey colour coding as direct messages, responses from users associated with trolling and abuse being demoted in threads, and the number of retweets and likes being hidden at the high-level thread view. Users will instead need to tap on the tweet, as they would to reply, in order to reveal additional details and actions.

Twitter confirms a new ‘Subscribe to Conversation’ feature

Twitter is making it easier to stay on top of the tea as the platform has confirmed it is currently working on a new feature that will allow users to subscribe to individual conversations. The new subscription feature will enable users to follow a thread with the click of a button without having to join in the conversation themselves.

Twitter launches new camera feature to demote text

It was only a matter of time before Twitter embraced the vertical format. The platform is rolling out its new Snapchatty camera feature, which it confirmed it was developing a month ago, that will let users capture photos, videos and live footage. To access the new feature, all you need to do is swipe left from the Twitter timeline. You can then capture your media, overlay it with a location, hashtags and more, and share. Twitter will also now show this media in a larger, more immersive format in the feed with the imagery appearing before the text in your tweet.

TikTok sees huge growth in popularity in India

Last month, a report revealed that TikTok has now crossed the one billion downloads mark, with a quarter of those downloads coming from India. This makes it the biggest contributor to the app’s growth. Time spent on video streaming apps has grown by 185% over the past two years in India, according to another report, fuelling the growth of apps like TikTok. The wealth of Bollywood content and the ability for users to view videos within sign in are also thought to have contributed to its popularity in the region.

Tumblr sees traffic drop by nearly 100M views post-porn ban

In December, Tumblr made the decision to ban pornographic and adult content on its platform - after it was temporarily taken down from Apple’s App Store - as a way of ensuring community safety and wellbeing. However, this move seems has had dramatic impact on the platform's traffic as data shows it lost more than 100 million views — a 17 % drop - in just 30 days.

This post courtesy of @JarrydPatel