Facebook asks Australian government for negotiation period with news outlets
In an effort to get ahead of the news media bargaining code they've described as “complex, unpredictable and unworkable”, Facebook has asked the Australian government to consider giving major digital platforms like Google a six-month grace period to make individual deals with news outlets to pay for content, rather than adhere to a mandatory code.
“Given our success in reaching commercial agreements in other jurisdictions without the threat of regulation, we are optimistic that Facebook could reach commercial deals with major Australian publishers,” Facebook said in its submission to a Senate committee. “There could also be a requirement to support regional and local news (for example, through a competitive funding pool or grant round). Concepts like a grace period approach have been used in other laws, like the energy sector’s ‘big stick’ legislation.”
Instagram wants to stop users sharing feed posts to Stories
Instagram is making moves to stop some users from sharing feed posts within their Stories, with a view to prompting users to create content specifically dedicated to each stream. Late last week, Instagram notified selected users that they were restricting feed posts in stories due to user feedback around high instances of being served duplicated posts.
Twitter buys into newsletters with Revue acquisition
Twitter is tapping into the much-touted email renaissance by acquiring Revue, an email service that lets writers publish newsletters. The aim is to make it easier for these users to connect with subscribers, while also helping readers to better discover writers and content. As Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour explains, “Twitter is uniquely positioned to help organisations and writers grow their readership faster and at a much larger scale than anywhere else.” This will be stiff competition for rival email newsletter service, Substack, which has been growing in popularity. Twitter is making Revue Pro’s features free for all accounts and lowering the cut it takes on paid newsletters to just five percent.
Pinterest adds stories to its home screen
Stories have taken social apps by storm and the latest to introduce the feature is Pinterest. “Story Pins” were introduced in September, working like any other story format but appearing like a normal post on Pinterest. This has changed, with the platform now displaying a row of stories at the top of its home screen when you open up the app, whilst also suggesting stories from creators you aren’t following. Stories stick around on Pinterest, unlike on other platforms where they are ephemeral. Once stories are uploaded, they will be added to a library that allows users to continue to promote their product. Off to upload a story? You may have to hold off for now. Story Pins are currently limited to approved businesses and creators.
Twitter is opening up its tweet archive to academic researchers
Twitter has announced a significant shift in the type of data it makes available for free to third-party academic researchers interested in studying user behaviours and trends related to online discourse. Researchers will no longer have to pay for premium or enterprise developer access and will have access to the platform’s “full history of public conversation” when they apply as part of the launch of a new academic research track. The change is part of Twitter’s ongoing efforts to improve the set of tools it makes available for those outside the company who wish to use their data for research studies. Delving deep into the world of online public conversation? Interested academics and developers can apply to the new academic research track on Twitter’s developer website.
Telegram can now import your WhatsApp chat history
It looks like Telegram is making moves in the messaging world, having added the ability to import your chat history from WhatsApp. If you were fearful of losing your precious WhatsApp gossip, you need not worry, as new Telegram users can bring their individual and group chat history with them. Any messages imported to chats have a small ‘Imported’ label on them noting when they were originally sent, with the messages visible to all chat participants. This feature comes following several other improvements for Telegram, like being able to adjust volumes for individual voice chat participants, or reporting ‘fake groups or channels.’
WhatsApp adds biometric authentication for logging in on desktop
If you’re a WhatsApp web user, things are about to get a little more secure. If you’ve got biometric authentication enabled on your phone, you’ll have to unlock the app before you can link your account on desktop. This is intended to ensure that should someone else gain access to your phone, they won’t be able to link your account to their web browser which would allow them to see any messages you send or receive. Don’t like the sound of that? To avoid these new security measures, you can disable biometric authentication for your entire device. But don’t be concerned, the new system does not mean that WhatsApp is accessing or collecting your facial scans or fingerprints.
Quizlet is now integrated with TikTok
Quizzes were a staple of 2020, and now TikTok is keeping the knowledge flowing with its integration with Quizlet. Known for its artificial intelligence-powered study tools, Quizlet offers more than 450 million study sets, in topics such as arts, history, languages and science. With homeschool here to stay for a while longer, this will be a welcome relief for weary parents who are looking for fun new ways to keep their kids engaged. What’s more, education creators can create their own study sets and incorporate them into their TikTok videos. The integration is part of the platform’s #LearnOnTikTok initiative and its Creative Learning Fund pledge to support its community during the pandemic.
Facebook to stop recommending civic and political groups
Facebook is trying to reduce the number of political posts in people’s feeds by stopping recommendations of civic and political groups. The decision follows weeks of suppressing such content around the US election but will now become permanent policy around the world. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the change in a phone call with investors, citing feedback from the community as a reason for the decision. “People don’t want politics and fighting to take over their experience on our services” he said, highlighting how this is “a continuation of work we’ve been doing for a while to discourage divisive conversations and communities.”
Redditors disrupt financial markets by buying GameStop stock
Social media continues to evolve and surprise us with new functionalities and features - as well as new user behaviours, as financial folk discovered to their detriment last week. Redditors banded together to buy stock in bricks and mortar games company GameStop, which sent hedge funds who had bet on its stock price decline via "shorting" it, into meltdown and in the most severe cases, bankruptcy. Trading app Robinhood then restricted trading on the surging ‘meme stocks’, incurring a class action lawsuit in the process. US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez jumped on Twitch to discuss the situation with 300,000 followers, and Netflix reportedly already have a filmic adaptation of the saga in the works. Safe to say we haven't seen the last of this one yet.
Ones to watch
Facebook plans newsletter tools, YouTube tests clips on live streams and VODs, the Facebook Oversight Board begins accepting public comments on Donald Trump's suspension, Facebook tests topic exclusions for brands, and Spotify patents technology that will allow it to suggest songs based on your emotional state, gender, age, or accent.
The Tuesday Tune-Up features additional reporting by Hannah Currey.