Wednesday Wrap-Up #469

Nick Carolan

80% of Australians are now using social media
After launching the Digital 2021 global report last week in partnership with Hootsuite, we’re excited to share with you our very own local drilldown of the numbers specific to the internet, social media, mobile and e-commerce usage in Australia. So, how are we looking?

Australians spend an average of 32 minutes longer on the internet per day today compared to a year ago. The report shows that daily time spent on the internet has increased by almost 10%, from 5 hours 41 minutes to 6 hours 13 minutes in the past year, or close to 40% of their waking hours using the internet.

Social media, now at 1 hour 46 minutes per day, accounts for roughly one-third of the time spent online, making it the second most popular media activity for Australians after watching television. The report shows that YouTube, Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Instagram are still Australia’s most popular social platforms for internet users aged 16-64, but newer platforms are climbing the rankings.

Over the past year, TikTok has seen its usage almost triple amongst internet users aged 16-64, jumping from 8% to 23.6%. It has also become one of Australia’s top mobile activities, with Android users spending an average of almost 17 hours per month using the app. TikTok was the second most downloaded mobile app in Australia last year, after Zoom.

There’s plenty more to dive into, including our changing search, gaming and ecommerce habits, in our full Australian Digital Report breakdown.

TikTok will warn you about videos with questionable information
The fact-checkers are out in force on TikTok. The platform will start to display warnings on videos that contain questionable information that cannot be verified, also warning users when they go to re-share those videos.

The label reads “Caution: Video flagged for unverified content” meaning that a fact-checker looked at the content but could not certify whether it was right or wrong. TikTok is also cracking down on creators, warning them when a label is added to their video while also reducing the content’s distribution. This is part of the platform’s aims to tackle misinformation, a target that several other social platforms have been striving towards.

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Twitter looks toward subscription model
Twitter is exploring the addition of subscription services and other paid features – including tipping, profile customisations or an “undo send” option – to supplement its advertising revenues, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Twitter’s interest in paid features has long been public knowledge, after running a survey last year asking users which options they were willing to pay for; and, during its Q2 2020 earnings, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told investors Twitter would likely run subscription tests.

Instagram rolls out ‘recently deleted’ feature
Are you too trigger happy when it comes to the delete button? Now Instagram is giving your content a second chance with its ‘recently deleted’ feature that allows users to review what they’ve got rid of and decide whether or not to restore it. Deleted items will stay in a folder for 30 days and, if not touched in this time period, will be permanently deleted. Stories are the exception, only staying in the recently deleted section for 24 hours before removal. Users will need to confirm that they’re the account owner either through text or email in order to permanently delete or restore content.

Facebook bans vaccine misinformation
After years of harmful, unfounded health claims proliferating on its platform, Facebook will now remove posts with false claims about all vaccines, the company announced in an updating blogpost on Monday. These new community guidelines apply to user-generated posts as well as paid advertisements. Instagram users will face the same restrictions. Effective immediately, the policy will begin with a particular focus on Pages and groups; groups where users repeatedly share banned content will be shut down.

TikTok starts roll out on Android TV
TikTok is making a move to Android TV. TikTok on Android TV isn’t dissimilar to TikTok on your mobile; videos can play vertically in a scrollable main feed with access to specific categories of videos, and your profile is also available to browse. It is currently only available on devices from specific manufacturers and in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. It isn’t clear when the feature will be available more broadly, but with TikTok’s continuous expansion, we can’t help but think it won’t be long before it comes to your big screen.

Snapchat marks Black History Month with Bitmoji, creative tools and lenses
February marks Black History Month in the USA and to celebrate, Snapchat is highlighting the creativity of Black artists and lens creators by rolling out a host of in-application features and tools. Users will have access to Bitmoji, creative tools and lenses, as well as content from publishing partners including NBC News, which will be added to the app’s Discover platform. What’s more, Snap Original ‘The World,’ produced by Complex, will also return to Discover for its third season. The series follows the journey of athlete and activist Colin Kaepernick in his continued fight for equality and equal opportunity in the Black community. ‘Kaepernick vs. The World’ debuted on Saturday, and featured interviews with fellow activists and Black Lives Matter co-founder, Alicia Arza.

Google launches News Showcase in Australia
Google has finally launched its News Showcase product in Australia with seven Australian publishers (encompassing 25 mastheads) that it will pay to host news content. Showcase is part of Google’s US$1bn global investment in news, and it places publishers’ content in panels which provide more information and content from news websites than is found in search results or in Google News.

The launch has been met with initial resistance from media conglomerates who would benefit most from the implementation of a mandatory news media code, which would force Google and Facebook to negotiate with media companies over payment for their content. The federal government still plans to proceed with legislation, and Google recently threatened to withdraw its search product from Australia if the code goes ahead.

Ones to watch
Instagram is working on a TikTok-style vertical feed for Stories and Reddit is testing a full-screen video player.

The Wednesday Wrap-Up features additional reporting by Hannah Currey.