Global tech giants join forces to fight online extremism
Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have signed a new agreement as part of an effort between world leaders and tech companies to fight terrorism and violent extremism on their platforms. The agreement (which currently does not include the US) will see the tech giants support a nine-part plan which includes identifying appropriate checks on live streaming. The agreement comes with a promise to work with NGOs, government officials, and non-profit groups to better educate social media users and make reporting tools more widely available.
Getting a headstart on its promise, Facebook last week announced a new one-strike policy for Facebook Live users. The social network will now ban users who violate its community standards just once from using the live streaming service for set periods of time.
Facebook announces two News Feed algorithm updates
As part of ongoing efforts to keep people engaged and using its platform for longer, Facebook has announced two algorithm updates aimed at improving the content users see in the News Feed. The first will increase the importance of posts from your closest friends, based on signals the platform receives about who you want to hear from most. The second update will demote posts which users have said are not 'worth their time', helping to reduce the amount of click-bait style content in your feed.
Facebook braces the industry for its 'clear history' feature
Last week, Facebook announced that its long-awaited 'clear history' functionality will be rolling out over the coming months. The new feature will allow users to delete their personal data from the platform, meaning that brands will no longer be able to use it for targeting ads. In a blog post, Facebook detailed the product launch and its implications in the hope of addressing any concerns of brands and advertisers. 'Clear History' is one of several steps in reorienting the company towards a privacy-first mindset.
Facebook launches Eventbrite-powered Ticketing for Pages
Facebook and Eventbrite are looking to make it easier for small and mid-sized businesses to sell tickets on the platform. Ticketing, available to all Pages in the US, will allow organisers to select 'Create Tickets' while setting up events and attendees will be able to register for non-paid events or purchase tickets without having to leave the social network. The new feature also includes an event-management dashboard, as well as tools enabling hosts to contact attendees directly.
Instagram revamps its Explore tab, focusing on IGTV and Shopping
Instagram has redesigned the navigation bar in Explore to include shortcuts to Shopping and IGTV, as well as channels for topics like Travel, Food, and Design. Tapping these shortcuts for Shopping will reveal category filters for specific products such as clothing, beauty, and home decor; while the IGTV tab will pull up a new vertical scrolling IGTV discovery grid. In addition, the platform has also brought Stories to Explore for the first time, giving users personalised suggestions based on the accounts they like and follow.
Instagram kills Direct, its stand-alone messaging app
An Instagram spokesperson has confirmed that the platform will be "rolling back the test of the stand-alone Direct app" after users began receiving notifications that the app would be 'going away'. It is currently unclear how many markets the app was released in or when exactly it will be removed; however, conversations on the app will be automatically moved back to the main app’s messaging feature.
YouTube introduces an automated way to create six-second ads
YouTube has unveiled Bumper Machine, a new tool which uses machine learning to automatically crop six-second versions from longer ads. Currently in alpha testing, the new tool scans longer ads for 'key elements' such as voice-overs, people, logos or products to create the shorter edit with a final call-to-action in the last two-to-three seconds. The platform's six-second 'Bumper' ad format launched back in 2016.
YouTube adds a new still image ad format
YouTube has announced that it will soon be providing a new still image option for non-video advertisers. The new Discovery Ads will use audience targeting to display ads to relevant users across Gmail, Discover and the YouTube Home feed, based on their activity. As YouTube increasingly becomes a discovery platform, it's hoped that the new format will open up the social network - and its 1.8 billion active users - to more advertisers.
LinkedIn bolsters its jobs and hiring offering
LinkedIn has integrated its jobs and hiring tools and announced new features for both. For job seekers, this includes instant job alerts, a redesign of the Jobs home page and more salary insights, with skills assessments coming soon. Recruiters will see LinkedIn Jobs, Recruiter, and Pipeline Builder come together to make it easier to manage ads, and source and interact with candidates. LinkedIn now has over 20 million job listings on the platform, up from just 300,000 five years ago.
Lionsgate turns to Reddit for John Wick 3 launch
While in the past, studios would turn to managed channels to help promote a movie's release, Lionsgate shook things up last week by instead linking its site to r/JohnWick - a user-controlled subreddit about the movie franchise - for the launch of John Wick 3: Parabellum. The thread’s moderators are longtime Reddit members and there’s no overt movie branding on the front page. The community remains a space where members are free to share official trailers, fan art of Wick, movie-themed memes, and more.