Shopify expands Shop Pay to Facebook and Instagram
Shopify’s payment option, Shop Pay, has landed on Facebook and Instagram. This represents a significant expansion for the e-commerce platform’s payments technology, with this partnership the first time Shop Pay will be made available outside of Shopify’s own platform. Shop Pay will first become available to all Shopify merchants using checkout on Instagram in the US, and will then be rolled out to Facebook in the weeks after. Prior to this launch, Facebook’s platform has been one of Shopify’s most popular sales and marketing channels for merchants. Therefore, this new partnership is bound to be a success for brands wishing to tap into this popular payment option. Ka-ching!

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Twitter ad revenue exceeds $1bn as Trump is banned forever
Despite the ban of one of its most prolific users, Twitter had a pretty great last three months of 2020, with its ad revenue growing 31% year over year to $1.15bn. Total ad engagement grew by 35% over the same period, with overall revenues growing by 28% to $1.29bn, up from $1bn over the previous three months. This comes as Twitter CFO Ned Segal announced that Donald Trump would not be able to return to Twitter in the event that he would run for the presidency again. Trump was acquitted in his impeachment trial over the weekend, meaning that he could take office once more if elected. However, it looks like Twitter users aren’t missing Trump’s tweet tirades, with these latest numbers representative of a pretty amazing year for Twitter. 

TikTok's forced sale to Oracle is put on hold
Will it? Won’t it? The potential forced sale of TikTok’s US operations is reportedly ending. This next stage in the saga has come as President Biden reinstates rational policymaking, differing from Donald Trump who took a stab at ‘gangster capitalism’ by trying to force the sale of the platform to a group of buyers including Oracle and Walmart. It was unlikely that Trump’s efforts would succeed in the first place, with TikTok’s parent company ByteDance winning most of the legal challenges to the government effort. However, discussions between the platform and US national security officials are continuing as there are valid concerns around TikTok’s data collection and the potential for manipulation and censorship of content on the app. What’s next for TikTok in the US? Stay tuned to find out.

Instagram won't promote Reels that have a TikTok watermark
Instagram is continuing to ensure that Reels rule on the platform by making changes to its algorithm to stop videos with TikTok watermarks from being promoted. You’re also in luck if you want your Reels to be recognised, as the channel is issuing new best practices on its @creators account to give users tips on how to make content that’s likely to be seen and promoted. How, you say? By posting vertical videos using music found in Instagram’s library or by starting a trend that others can participate in. Videos that are mostly covered by text, have a watermark or logo are less likely to be recommended. With many users repurposing their TikTok content on Instagram, it’s no surprise the platform is working to eradicate these watermarks filling up the feed.

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Instagram launches 'We Create' initiative
Instagram is stepping up to support creatives and business in the Black Community with its ‘We Create’ initiative. A creative collaboration between 15 Black creative professionals and 15 Black-owned small businesses, We Create tasks each creative with crafting custom Instagram content to address the needs of their small business partner. Support and resources have been provided by Facebook Elevate and The Creative Collective NY, with the businesses receiving ad credits from the platform to run the resulting creative.

Justin Bieber teams up with TikTok for Valentine's performance
Beliebers were in for a treat this Valentine’s Day, with Justin Bieber participating in the first-ever single-artist, full-length concert performance to air LIVE on TikTok. Initially airing in the US on Sunday, February 14th (worldwide at 7pm GMT on February 15th,) Justin treated fans to his first-ever performance of songs from his fan-favourite 2013 album, Journals. With over 19.6 million followers, Justin Bieber is pretty active on TikTok, often using his account to reveal behind-the-scenes footage and to partake in a dance challenge or two. Forget red roses and boxes of chocolates, Bieber's brought the love to TikTok.

Snap teams up with Givingli on Valentine's Day Snap Mini
Love is in the air and on Snapchat, who teamed up with gifting application Givingli on a new Snap Mini that enables users to create free customisable greeting cards and share them via Snapchat. Valentine’s Day also saw the introduction of several love-themed lenses, with hearts aplenty. The new Snap Mini was bound to be a welcome saviour for those who may have forgotten to add a card to their shopping cart. Looks like Cupid’s watching out for you.

Instagram announces tougher consequences for hate speech in DMs
Instagram is cracking down on hate speech in direct messages, following recent racist abuse directed towards footballers. Manchester United’s Axel Tuanzebe, Manchester United Women’s Lauren James and Chelsea's Antonio Rüdiger and Reece James are part of a growing list of football stars who have been racially abused on social media in recent weeks. Instagram has reacted by announcing that it’ll start disabling the accounts of people who repeatedly send hateful messages. First-time offenders won’t be able to send messages for an undefined period of time, but if they send hateful DM’s again, their account will be disabled. Instagram has emphasised that it cooperates with law enforcement when necessary to assist in hate speech cases.

Snapchat to remind users to clean out their friends list
Time for a friend refresh? Snapchat is here to remind you to clean out your friends list with a new feature called Friend Check Up. However, the aim isn’t to cause conflict within your friendship group but instead protect you from anyone on your friends list that is less of a mate and more of a meddler. On the platform, having someone friended could give them access to your story and even possibly your location, depending on your Snap Map settings. So if you don’t want your ex tracking you down to beg you to reconsider, this feature will be a welcome addition to the app. Snap says the feature will be rolling out globally on Android in the coming weeks, and on iOS devices in the coming months.

Facebook will take down posts claiming vaccines cause autism
In the next chapter of Facebook’s fight against misinformation, the platform is expanding what false claims it will remove related to COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines, and vaccines in general. The claims that will be removed include suggestions that COVID-19 is man-made, and that vaccines are dangerous, toxic, or cause autism. Facebook will be enforcing this policy immediately, focusing on groups, pages, and accounts that share content from its new list of debunked claims. With vaccines a hot topic right now, these actions will hopefully extinguish any fears that people may have about going for a jab. 

A Komodo Dragon is the new face of Twitch
The people have spoken. The Twitch community voted to crown a new face for PogChamp, deciding on a Komodo Dragon known as KomodoHype. After the original PogChamp emote was removed due to comments about the Capitol Riots made by the person it depicted, Twitch has been rotating a new PogChamp every 24 hours. However, KomodoHype has now taken over the hype role permanently following a vote, a pretty good choice in our opinion. It was selected over another PogChamp created by streamer UmiNoKaiju. 

Ones to watch
Facebook is working on a Clubhouse copy, is testing cutting back on political posts in the News Feed and is secretly building a smartwatch. Twitter confirms plans to experiment with subscriptions and TikTok pilots a recipe-saving feature on food videos.