Nick Carolan

Instagram redesigns its home screen, adding Reels and Shop tabs
Instagram’s home screen has had a makeover, adding Reels and Shop tabs. The Reels tab directs users to watch and create short-form videos, while the Shop tab will surface personalized recommendations, as well as editors’ pics curated by the shop channel, shoppable videos, and new product collections. This is the first major design change that Instagram has made in years, an indication of the app’s priorities to maintain relevance in a continually evolving market. 

Launch Image – Home + Reels + Shop

Instagram lets users opt-out of third party data usage for ad targeting
Instagram has added a new setting which lets users choose whether they want to be targeted with personalized ads using supplementary data sourced from third-party platforms. It follows a similar move made by Facebook earlier this year with the launch of its ‘Off-Facebook Activity’ tools.

Twitter rolls out updated carousel ads worldwide
Swiping is second nature to most social users, and now Twitter is bringing this function to adverts. Carousel ads enable advertisers to include two to six horizontally swipe-able images or videos, with the goal of driving viewers to an app or website. Carousel ads now feature an edge-to-edge design, third-party measurement reporting, accessibility support and new reporting features. This new format is a step in the right direction for Twitter’s advertising offering.

Vanish mode arrives on Facebook Messenger and Instagram
Taking inspiration from Snapchat, Facebook has announced its new feature for disappearing messaging, Vanish Mode. Users can send text chats, emoji, pictures, GIFs, voice messages and stickers, which will disappear automatically after they’ve been seen and the chat is closed. This opt-in feature is designed to enable more casual conversations, and people will be informed if a screenshot of their chat has been taken. 

Facebook extends political ad ban in the US
Facebook has announced it will extend its ban on political ads in the US well into December, as it continues to stem the tides of misinformation flooding its platform in the wake of the US election.

“We are keeping the ad pause and other temporary election protection measures in place as that result moves towards certification next month,” said Rob Leathern, director of product management at Facebook. “We know that people are disappointed that we can’t immediately enable ads for runoff elections in Georgia and elsewhere,” Leathern added, referring to a pair of runoff elections in January 2021 which will determine if the Republican party retains control of the US Senate.

TikTok tests feature that helps people fundraise for charity
A new feature currently being tested on TikTok will allow users to raise funds for causes and charities they care about directly from their profiles. Screenshots uncovered show a new option on users’ ‘Edit Profile’ area directing them to choose a non-profit from a list of vetted organisations and charities. Once selected, the user’s profile will feature the charity in red text just below their bio. Visitors can then click on the text, taking them directly to a screen that allows them to make a donation.

TikTok requests update on its supposed US ban
After the deadline for TikTok’s parent company ByteDance to sell off its US assets came and went without acknowledgment from the Trump administration, the company filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals calling for a review of actions by CFIUS – Trump’s committee on foreign investment in the United States. The committee’s inaction confirms much of what we already know to be true of the administration: that the ban was largely performative. Per The Verge’s perfectly encapsulated headline on the subject: ‘TikTok says the Trump administration has forgotten about trying to ban it, would like to know what’s up.’

Snapchat now lets you compare astrology readings with friends
Snap’s new feature allows users to access their detailed astrological profiles, including analyzes and personality explanations of their sun, moon and rising signs. To see whether you and your friends are really meant to be, you can click on the astrology icon in a friend’s profile, witnessing a detailed astrology compatibility analysis. All presented with Bitmoji, the feature includes swooshing and twinkling planetary backgrounds and easy-to read insights.

Finally, a way to understand my rising sign!

YouTube Rewind 2020 cancelled
2020 hasn’t been the best year. In fact, it might be better off forgotten altogether. That’s YouTube’s thinking at least, as it announced that it has cancelled its annual Rewind video that highlights the creators, videos and trends that have defined the past year. According to the platform, it’s supposed to be a celebration, but “2020 has been different. And it doesn’t feel right to carry on as if it weren’t.” Fair enough.

Ones to watch
Twitter is testing audio DMs in Brazil, enabling users to record and send audio clips via direct message.

The Tuesday Tune-Up features additional reporting by Hannah Currey.