Facebook and Twitter reveal new ad transparency measures
The two giants of social media last week unveiled new ad transparency measures to give users "more details about what ads each account or page is running" and further insight into political ads. Twitter led the way with the launch of its new Ad Transparency Center, "which allows anyone to look up a particular Twitter handle to see which ads the account has run in a massive public archive" (including how much was paid for the ad and the demographic it was targeted at, for political ads only). Followed shortly (by a matter of hours) by Facebook's announcement of a "new section on every Facebook page with information on all of the ads the page is running". The new section will allow users to check when the page was created, if it has ever changed its name and for political ads only, it will show who paid for the ad.

Facebook starts pulling ads for lack of 'political' labelling
In light of increased transparency measures around advertising on its platform, the social media giant last week pulled ads from Walmart and P&G "because they struck political notes but lacked a 'paid for by' label". Both companies contested the decision, with P&G in particular defending their corporate LGBT+ Pride post as simply the brand "having a point of view" - rather than pushing a political agenda. Facebook has since reversed its decision on Walmart's post, but it's clear that brands are going to have to learn to carefully navigate this new set of rules to avoid being penalised.

Facebook tests 30-day "Snooze" filter to help avoid spoilers
Sick of your friends spoiling the World Cup or the latest episode of Love Island by posting all over social media, before you've had a chance to catch up? Well Facebook is now testing a new 30-day Snooze feature that will allow users to hide posts with specific keywords to help you do just that. The new update was rolled out to a small percentage of users last week, and follows the introduction of snoozing for people, pages and groups which was introduced last December. Currently however, users have to find a post containing the word they don't want to see before you an Snooze it - but Facebook has confirmed that it is working on "preemptive snooze" and "recurring snooze" to introduce to the update over the coming weeks. While the update will work on organic content, ads containing the keywords will still be shown.

Facebook launches new platform to connect influencers with brands
To help support the continued growth in popularity of influencer marketing, Facebook recently launched its new ‘Brand Collabs Manager’ dashboard "which will highlight relevant influencers to brands, and enable them to make connections". Brands will be able to filter matches based on specific promotion requirements and will be presented with a percentage match on the Influencer's profile, based on the submitted criteria. Once selected, brands will be presented with "a range of additional insight on that creator, including specific details on who they are, where they’re based, their preferred content type and website." Influencers will also have the option to create Brand Collab profiles, complete with intro videos and a media kit.

Instagram's new apps spell continued success
As part of plans to capture the growing market in the developing world, Instagram has developed a dedicated app which addresses many of the traditional barriers to entry for the region, including: older phones with less storage space, slower network connections and the inability to afford big data packages. The new Instagram Lite app for Android is just 573 kilobytes, 1/55th the size of Instagram, and will let users "filter and post photos to the feed or Stories, watch Stories and browse the Explore page". The launch follows the recent release of IGTV, as well as the announcement last week that Instagram has now hit 1 billion monthly active users - growing by roughly 100m users every four months.

Instagram's group video chat is live
After its initial announcement at Facebook's F8 conference earlier this year, Instagram's group video call feature is finally here - enabling users to chat with up to three pals at the same time. The new feature is available now on Android and iOS; but users will need to ensure they have the latest version of the Instagram app.

Instagram now lets users add music to Stories
Instagram has now officially released its music for Stories feature to users of its Android and iOS apps in Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Sweden, the UK and the US - with more countries to follow shortly. The announcement comes following a recent set of deals with all the major record labels, which will allow fans to choose from thousands of songs to add to their content; and comes just a week after the platform announced that the Stories feature now has has 400 million daily users. It was also announced that Instagram itself has now hit 1 billion monthly users.

Facebook adds more new features to Facebook Stories
Facebook has revealed four new updates for its Stories feature: "the ability to start a group conversation about them on Messenger; Reactions; two new interactive stickers; and the ability to view Messenger responses without leaving Stories". The new Reactions options are the same as those available in Facebook’s News Feed. Rumours are also circulating that a new Selfie mode for Facebook Stories' camera feature my be under development, after an image was shared by a Facebook employee. This is all good news for those fans of the platform's embattled Stories feature, as the social network doesn't seem to be giving up on it anytime soon.

WhatsApp introduces new broadcast feature for Group admins
Following a string of recent updates to its Group chat feature, the popular messaging app has introduced a new setting where only Group admins will be able to post in a chat. The new feature will enable a chat to work as a broadcast channel for important news and updates - such as for teachers to notify parents - without getting caught up in the regular group chat drama. To enable this setting, open “Group Info,” tap Group Settings > Send Messages and select “Only Admins.” The update is being rolled out to all users globally, and will be available in the latest version of the app.

Snapchat could soon let users play games on its platform
A new report in The Information has suggested that Snapchat could have plans to introduce in-app games to its platform. Details are still yet to be confirmed, however it is expected that this new update would see "Snap allow developers to create games that users could play inside of Snapchat". Snap declined to comment on the story but industry experts say that in-app gaming would be a logical next step for the platform. Comparisons are also being drawn on the striking resemblance Snapchat's strategy is starting to take to Facebook's pre-2010 development strategy; but either way - analysts consider gaming to be a positive move for the platform in terms of attracting users and continuing growth.

Snapchat opens its commerce feature to top creators
As part of a new strategy to appease influencers on its network, Snapchat has released a new tool (similar to its native commerce feature) for its top creators - starting with Kylie Jenner. Last week, launch partner Kylie Jenner published a snap video for her new The Sorta Sweet Palette for Kyshadow, where users could swipe up to buy the product. The new launch helps to diversify commerce options for influencers on the platform, with Snapchat not currently taking a cut from the new tool, and is hoped will give the platform a new competitive edge against increasingly popular rival, Instagram.

Snapchat experiments with sharing ad revenue with creators
In another strand of ongoing efforts to woo content creators on the platform, Snapchat has announced a new initiative to begin sharing ad revenue them. Exact details for the scheme are yet to be confirmed but follows Snapchat’s recent move away from licensing fees with publishers (which was replaced with an ad-revenue-share model), along with the introduction of similar revenue sharing models by platforms such as YouTube.

LinkedIn adds QR Codes and translation options
Professional network, LinkedIn last week introduced two new features to its platform: QR Codes, to allow users to quickly and connect with people they meet; and a translation option for posts with more than 60 language options. The new QR Codes can be found in the QR Code icon in the search box on the home tab, and users can reveal their own unique code by tapping "My code" - which they will then be able to share on iMessenger, email and so on.

Instagram’s IGTV brings out creativity in brands
The recent launch of Instagram's new long-form content hub, IGTV is already showing signs of being a roaring success - given its (currently) ad free offering and seamless integration into the original Instagram app. It's also brought out the creativity in many brands, with early adopters including "Chipotle, Nike, Netflix, Warby Parker, Trader Joe’s, Everlane and Gucci" all testing IGTV with "content ranging from silly one-offs to interviews with influencers". In particular, Bacardi's new IGTV campaign has shown just how the platform's many features can be utilised by forward thinking brands. The alcohol brand is putting a sponsored music video on IGTV that will be directed by people’s votes in polls within Instagram Stories". The music video will feature the dancing duo Les Twins.

The FA launches a daily YouTube show
Following the end of Vauxhall's sponsorship the country’s football teams after the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the English Football Association (FA) has launched a daily YouTube show called the “Lions’ Den” as a way to replace that sponsorship revenue. The 30-minute show, hosted by TV presenter Craig Mitch, is broadcast from the England team’s base camp in Russia and features interviews with players, management staff and fans. An impressive twelve episodes in, and the show has accumulated around 600,000 views.

adidas originals surprises influencers with personalised billboards
As part of a unique influencer outreach programme, which aimed to target specific influencers in New York and LA, adidas Originals found 16 different billboard locations and created personalised billboards which included each influencer’s Instagram handle. Each ad featured a tailored message saying a pair of shoes was waiting for them at their local adidas store, and each location was specifically chosen to ensure fans would see the work. The success of the campaign has led adidas Originals to expand the project to call out different neighbourhoods with a new set of art work - as well as expanding to target a new set of social media stars in Miami, Atlanta and Chicago.

Delta's Selfie Wall now offers Instagrammers the chance for free travel
A year after Delta's Selfie wall was first unveiled in Williamsburg, created as a way to provide stunning backdrops that would make passersby look like an international adventurer in their dating profile; the brand has turned the New York attraction into a way for lucky Instagrammers to get a free trip. To enter, users of the social media app simply need to use the platform's carousel feature to spell out the name of their dream destination one letter at a time (provided it's one of the 132 locations Delta flies to) using the backdrop of the Selfie Wall. Alternatively, users can also post the three letters from the destination’s airport code. The campaign will run until 22nd July, "with one winner selected at random each week and given a pair of round-trip tickets".