Wednesday Wrap-Up #409

Nick Carolan

From Facebook to FACEBOOK
In an effort to increase clarity around their products and services, Facebook have refreshed their brand: introducing FACEBOOK. The new look aims to create a clear distinction between the FACEBOOK master brand and their suite of apps (Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger etc.).

The new wordmark uses “rounded corners, open tracking and capitalisation” to communicate with clarity, empathy, openness and optimism – values Facebook want to build into their purpose moving forward. (For the type nerds, they’ve broken the wordmark down over here.)

The update has been met with its (expected) share of criticism (and memes), with its detractors labelling it a band-aid for the social media giant’s many controversies. “Think regular Facebook, but thicc, screaming, and bloated, with essence of boomer. Seems like a super effective and meaningful change,” as Mashable summed up. Plus, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has chimed in with plans for a similar rebrand.

Global internet freedom continues to decline
Looking at 65 countries, Freedom House found that free speech and privacy on the internet have declined globally for the ninth consecutive year. They cite two main reasons for this decline: increased disinformation and online election interference (by governments and civilians) and increased government surveillance.

Recode wrote, “These are topics that continue to dominate the news cycle, whether it’s Facebook’s ad policy that allows politicians to spread lies or Amazon’s growing relationships with police departments that use its Ring smart doorbells and associated social media products to surveil communities.”

The majority of surveyed countries were affected by social media surveillance programs, with law enforcement in 47 countries arresting people for political, social, or religious speech online. Freedom House are looking to our social media overlords to drive change in this area. Iceland and Estonia ranked as the most free, with China and Iran placing at the bottom of the list. Want to know how free your country is? Explore this fun, interactive map!

Twitter remove political ads
In related news, Dorsey announced last week that the social platform will ban political ads starting from November 22. Commenting on the decision, Dorsey noted that a “political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet” and that the platform believes that “this decision should not be compromised by money.” Twitter is expected to share its full policy on November 15 and has said it doesn’t expect a sizeable revenue hit as a result of the decision.

Facebook reports user growth and strong Q3 results
Despite current scrutiny, Facebook has continued to grow in Q3. The platform reported that it has reached 2.45 billion monthly users, up 1.65% from 2.41 billion in Q2, and now has 1.62 billion daily active users – an increase of 2% from Q2.

Notably, Facebook has gained 2 million users in each of its core US/Canada and Europe markets, after quarters of shrinkage, no growth or weak growth there in the past two years. The company says that 2.2 billion people now access Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Messenger every day (up from 2.1 billion last quarter). The platform has also reported revenue of $17.652 billion in Q3, up 29% year-on-year.

As part of his update, Zuckerberg also addressed the platform’s political advertising policy to address broader conversation, explaining that “ads directly from politicians will account for less than 05. per cent of Facebook’s revenue next year (estimated to be between $330m and $400m). 

Facebook launches ‘Work Groups’ 
Facebook has rolled out a new Group option, called Work Groups, to help users connect with co-workers without having to let them into all personal interactions. The option also enables Work Group members to send messages to each other without needing to be Facebook friends, with only work-related information on display.

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Facebook rolls out new updates for Messenger 
Facebook has released the latest version of its Messenger Graph API, which includes three new features for Messenger to help brands better connect with consumers. The upgrades include new ‘icebreakers’ for brand profiles – allowing businesses to list common questions that users can ask them to initiate the conversation; the introduction of Reactions to business chats; and a simplified process for connecting apps to Messenger ad campaigns.

Snapchat introduces new 3D Paint feature
Snapchat announced that it’s adding a new 3D Paint feature to its platform. The new functionality enables users to either draw on their own face in augmented reality using the phone’s front-facing camera, or use the rear-facing camera to draw objects in the environment around them. iOS users can now find the feature within the ‘Create’ section of Snapchat’s AR Bar. The platform says the update will be coming to Android in the coming months.

Pinterest gives its mobile app a new look
Pinterest has revealed that it now has 322 million global monthly active users, up 28% year-over-year, citing double-digit growth in nearly all countries outside of the US. The platform also reported revenue of $279.7 million, up 47% from the same period last year.

In more Pinterest news, they have rolled out a number of small updates to their app on Android and iOS, aimed at refreshing its appearance with “a more immersive design that’s streamlined for Pinners around the world.” As part of the update, recommendations have now been brought to the forefront of the home feed, while Pins have increased in size to have more prominence on a mobile screen.

Watch this space…
Facebook is adding a new feature, called ‘Multiple Text Optimisation’, that will enable advertisers to supply multiple text variations for ad copy which Facebook will then select for the best results; Facebook has also added a new ‘Suggested’ time option for scheduling Page posts.

This edition of the Wrap-Up was lovingly prepared by Jarryd Patel.