Facebook looks to buy Giphy for $400 million
Facebook has announced that it is buying popular GIF-making and sharing website Giphy for a reported price of $400 million. As part of the new deal, Facebook plans to integrate the massive GIF library into Instagram and more of its apps, with Giphy living on as part of the Instagram team. According to Facebook, 50 percent of all of Giphy’s traffic comes from its apps, with half of that coming from Instagram alone. However, in the US a number of senators are currently pushing to block the deal on the grounds of antitrust enforcement.

Messenger Rooms launches globally
Facebook's video calling platform, Messenger Rooms, is now available globally. It allows up to 50 people to join a group video call at the same time. The capability will be extended to Instagram Direct, WhatsApp and Facebook’s Portal video-calling devices soon.

Facebook expands brand safety tools
Facebook is expanding the availability of several brand safety tools - including its Content and Publisher Whitelists - in order to give advertisers more control over where their ads appear within in-stream placements. The new tools can be accessed via the Brand Safety Controls interface in Business Manager.

Facebook brings Avatars to the US
Last week, Facebook made Avatars - its version of Snapchat's Bitmoji characters - available to users in the US. Avatars were previously introduced in selected regions last year, and have been since made available in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Canada.

Instagram supports SMEs with new Small Business Sticker and more
In a recent blog post, Instagram announced the launch of its Support Small Business Sticker which users can incorporate into their Stories to shout out about their favourite local business. If that business is mentioned, it will be able to repost the content to its own Stories or message people who tagged them. Among other things, the blog also included a reminded to users that Facebook’s Businesses Nearby feature can be used to find information on which local businesses.

Instagram adds new anti-bullying features
As part of its anti-bullying efforts, Instagram today announced a series of new features - including tag controls and content management tools - aimed at helping users better manage negative comments, as well as highlight positive ones.

Twitter makes it easier to see quote tweets on iOS
Twitter has altered the way it displays retweets to make it easier for users to see how many people have retweeted a tweet and added a comment. The new update, currently only available on the iOS version of the app, now breaks retweets into two columns - ones commenting on the retweet and a list of retweets with no comment. The update will be coming to the web app and Android in the coming weeks.

Twitter adds labels and warnings to Covid-19 tweets
Twitter has begun adding labels and warning messages to tweets containing disputed or misleading information related to the coronavirus pandemic. The move follows the platform's update in March, requiring the removal of tweets that increase the chance of someone contracting or transmitting the virus.

LinkedIn makes its push into virtual events
LinkedIn has announced that it is merging its Events and LinkedIn Live features into a new offering called Virtual Events, aimed at making it easier for companies to hold live events online. The move will allow companies to limit live events to audiences that have opted in to attend, while the relevant event discussions and information will remain on a dedicated page.

LinkedIn introduces Polls
LinkedIn has (finally) introduced its own Polls functionality, allowing members to source opinions from their connections, groups or from the whole network with just the click of a few buttons.

TikTok launches its Youth Portal
TikTok has rolled out Youth Portal, its dedicated hub to give teens and parents a single destination for safety resources, best practices and guides to the video-creation application’s tools. The feature launched globally in over 15 languages, including English, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Thai, with more educational resources will be added in the coming months.

McDonald’s creates virtual Ramadan hourglass
McDonald’s in Saudi Arabia has found a way to promote the brand throughout the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, by creating a virtual, live hourglass that counts down the time until Iftar each day. The campaign, which will run until May 24th, features virtual hourglasses in the shape of a Big Mac, a McFlurry, and a portion of McDonald’s fries, and will run on social media and on outdoor screens at McDonald’s drive-throughs.

Uber Eats teams up with influencers to #BringIt on Twitch
To help Uber Eats spread some love among the gaming community, and tap into the booming growth of Twitch, our team in London teamed the brand up with two of Twitch’s biggest streamers - Manny and Miniminter - to reach out to and help champion some of Twitch’s smallest streamers. The finale, which saw Miniminter and Manny compete in a ‘best of three’ FIFA showdown, aired on the platform last Wednesday. Check out our blog for more info.

Ones to watch
On Friday, Facebook announced that it has begun running a small test of skippable mid-roll in-stream video ads. Mid-roll videos of 10 to 15 seconds will be eligible for the test, including existing ads.