Wednesday Wrap-Up #428

Jonathon Valenzuela

Facebook Live becomes more accessible
Facebook Live viewership has jumped 50 per cent in the last month due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, prompting the social network to announce several new features to make Live more prominent on the platform. These include: the automatic addition of close captioning; no more geo-gating restrictions, giving access to people without Facebook accounts to see public Live videos; and a new toggle to Live videos, enabling people in areas with low bandwidth to view important broadcasts without sound.

Facebook Messenger rolls out a coronavirus community hub
Facebook Messenger has followed WhatsApp’s lead with the launch of its own Messenger Coronavirus (COVID-19) Community Hub. The new hub contains lots of useful information, including sections on coping with being physically separated from friends and family, supporting community, connecting with healthcare agencies and staying safe from scammers.

Instagram reveals new Co-Watching feature and more
Last week, Instagram unveiled several new updates to help people stay connected throughout the COVID-19 crisis, including the addition of a new Co-Watching feature which enables users to view posts together while they are video chatting. The update also includes new Stickers for Stories, including ‘Stay at Home’ which aggregates content as the lead story for users, and features to help downrank posts, ads and Stories which contain false or misleading information about the virus.

YouTube updates its educational resources to help families
In news that will be a relief to parents everywhere, YouTube is adding a whole host of resources to its dedicated Learn@Home and YouTube Learnings sites to help families educate their kids during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Both Learn@Home and YouTube Learning are currently available in English, but there are plans to add languages such as French, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Spanish in the coming days.

Pinterest launches new ‘Today’ tab
Following a recent boom in usage, Pinterest has announced the launch of its Today tab — a new feature offering curated topics and trending Pins, selected by Pinterest’s team. Currently available to users in the UK and US, Pinterest plan to bring it to more countries in time, as well as using it to offer expert information from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control.

TikTok donates $10m to WHO’s Solidarity Response Fund
TikTok has said that it will donate $10 million to the World Health Organization‘s Solidarity Response Fund, which undertakes tasks such as sending essential supplies to frontline healthcare workers and accelerating efforts to develop treatments and vaccines. The social network has also pledged to match employee donations to the WHO, the Red Cross and several direct relief programmes.

Reddit introduces Polls to the platform
Reddit has announced that it will be introducing Polls to its platform, allowing users to vote on questions shared by fellow Redditors. Polls will be available for all Reddit communities, except text-only communities, and can be open for up to one week.

TikTok brings us #HappyAtHome: LIVE!
Last week, TikTok teamed up with several celebrities and creators to bring users globally #HappyAtHome: LIVE!, a full week of programming – aired daily at 11am (AEDT).

WHO runs #BuildForCOVID19 global hackathon
The World Health Organization teamed up with a number of leading tech companies including Facebook, Microsoft, Pinterest, Slack, TikTok, Twitter and WeChat – as well as scientists from the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub and experts from other industries – to host the #BuildForCOVID19 global hackathon. The hackathon, which ran from March 26th – 30th, was aimed at finding local and global solutions to several key focus areas, including health, business and vulnerable communities.

The Sydney Opera House launches digital program
As crowds dry up due to the pandemic lockdown, the Sydney Opera House has started a program of free digital entertainment to continue bringing art to the masses. Called ‘From Our House To Yours‘, it will feature a daily upload of exclusive performances, live recordings, talks and more.

This edition of the Wednesday Wrap-Up was prepared by Jonathon Valenzuela, with additional reporting by Ryan Dubras.