Wednesday Wrap-Up #420

Nick Carolan

Facebook hits 2.5 billion monthly users
Facebook has experienced some significant growth in Q4. Off the back of its Q4 earnings report, the social media giant revealed it has 2.5 billion monthly users, up 2% from 2.45 billion in Q3 2019, and now has 1.66 billion daily active users. The platform also experienced substantial growth in the number users across its family of popular apps. There are now a staggering 2.26 billion daily users across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, up from 2.2 billion last quarter.

Despite showing a significant increase in terms of user growth, Facebook also experienced lower than expected profits due to increased expenses resulting from a large number of new hires made in an effort to focus on privacy for the platform. This increased expenditure can also be attributed to a number of recent legal battles which have seen the platform agree to pay $550 million to settle a class-action lawsuit for violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. As a result, despite earning $21.08 billion in revenue, up 25% year-over-year, Facebook’s shares fell over 7% in after-hours trading, after initially closing up 2.5%.

Let there be privacy!
Facebook has finally released its long-awaited Off-Facebook Activity tool, initially known as Clear History. Released on Data Privacy Day (January 28), the tool was soft-launched in Ireland, South Korea and Spain in August 2019. In the coming weeks, Facebook users will begin to see prompts encouraging them to review their privacy settings via the platform’s Privacy Checkup tool.

Snapchat launches Bitmoji TV
Snapchat has officially released its new Bitmoji TV offering. Bitmoji TV features avatars of you and your Snap friends undertaking a variety of adventures and places you in your own full-motion cartoon series hosted in a dedicated section of the app that will remain ad-free – for now, anyway. You can discover more by scanning the Snapcode below:

YouTube goes big on e-sports
In an step towards cornering the gaming marketplace through big e-sports leagues, YouTube has announced new deals with three different e-sports organisations – the Call of Duty League, the Overwatch League, and competitive Hearthstone – which will see the bodies stream matches exclusively on its platform. In the past, all three leagues (which collectively belong to Activision Blizzard) have primarily streamed matches on Twitch. 

Pinterest debuts AR Try On feature in the US market
Pinterest has begun rolling out its new AR Try On Lens in the US, for those accustomed to shopping from the comfort of their couch. The Lens currently focuses on lipstick but will soon branch out into other categories. Available on both the iOS and Android apps, the Lens allows users to not only sample various shades of lipstick from brands including bareMinerals, Estee Lauder, Neutrogena and Sephora but also save them to shop at a later date.

Twitter updates its iOS app design
Twitter has made a subtle update in the design of its iOS app in an effort to make conversations easier to parse and join. The update draws a concrete line between a parent tweet and the replies, with the replies indented slightly and connected by the series of vertical and horizontal lines.

More Emojis for everyone in 2020
You’ve asked, and the Unicode Consortium has delivered. The Emoji 13.0 update promises 117 new emojis this year, including 55 new gender and skin tone variants of emoji and more gender-inclusive options. The transgender flag and transgender symbol will also be making it into this year’s selection. All we can say is, we’re all for it!

Global Digital Report
It’s that time of year again! That’s right, the latest edition of our Global Digital Report, Digital 2020, is hot off the press. You can now immerse yourself in 247 pages of data-filled goodness covering everything from the  internet, social media, mobile, e-commerce to smart homes and much more! This ultimate guide to the evolving digital world is all you’ll need to get yourself in gear for 2020. 

Have you met the new kid on the block, BYTE?
Those of you pining for the long lost days of Vine (RIP) needn’t lose any more sleep awaited its long-promised successor, Byte. In an impressive debut indicative of its fierce popularity, Byte was downloaded 1.3 million times in its first week on the App Store and Google Play – almost twice as many downloads as Vine received. However, the lasting impact of Byte and whether it becomes a meaningful competitor to TikTok rides on its ability to pay influencers, lest it suffer the same fate as its predecessor. Byte will still have to compete with more established platforms, including YouTube and Instagram, and contend with TikTok, which still in the early stages of experimenting with monetization, before any indication of its longevity, popularity and success can be determined. Only time will tell. 

This edition of the Wrap-Up comes courtesy of Lauren Lim.