Written by Erasmus William, Denicia Lew, Benn Tan and Melantha Tan.

Fortnite's latest stunt just changed gaming forever

Fortnite, one of the world’s most popular video games, mysteriously blacked-out over the weekend. The outage occurred on Sunday, Oct. 13 at roughly 2pm US Eastern time. Players had logged in to “The End”—a special event Fortnite held to mark the end of its tenth season—where a rocket blew up in the game and plunged everyone into a black hole.

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This unexplained outrage stumbled millions of loyal fans. Over the next 36 hours, more than 6 million people tuned in on Twitch, Twitter, and YouTube to watch what was essentially a livestream of a black hole. No one could get into the game; its menu system and maps had all been sucked into the abyss.

This intentional conclusion by Epic Games was however just the end of the first chapter of the game, which has amassed 250 million players since the launch of its Battle Royale mode in September 2017. 

Dragging the world into an abyss ended up being a genius publicity stunt for Epic. The nearly two-day blackout ended up being the most widely-watched Fortnite event of the year on the streaming service Twitch.

It is an innovating and very experimental method of storytelling created for a gaming franchise. Through a system of events and signs from the game’s Season Three, a kind of narrative economy emerged between players. Fans took to Reddit forums in their millions to discuss findings and theorise over what the latest signals could mean. These theories were focused and amplified by the game’s biggest YouTube players – especially Fortnite superstar Ninja – who made videos, picking through clues they and other players had found in the landscape.

The gaming world would definitely be curious and looking forward to being on this narrative journey for Chapter 2, where new landscapes and gameplay features await.

More control over your tweets? Twitter exploring disappearing tweets and restricted audiences.

In a recent interview with Twitter’s head of product Kayvon Bekpour, he confirmed that Twitter is indeed following the footsteps of other social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, by considering ephemeral content.

He also mentioned that Twitter is considering options to restrict audiences for your tweets.

Both of these moves will give users more control over how long their tweets are visible, and who can view and participate in conversations. This is something users have been interested in as well, as illustrated by a consumer poll posted by Twitter product designer, Brittany Forks, where most users would like only a selected audience to be able to see and interact with their tweets.

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If these features come to life, users can look forward to being less hyper-conscious and more comfortable about sharing their thoughts and feelings on the platform.

Facebook opens search ads to all advertisers

Facebook has recently announced that it will now display ads in its Search Results by default-to the benefit of its advertisers, giving brands one more way to reach its audience now.

Ads that are added to the Search Results placement will appear in both the general and Marketplace search results, each designed to suit their native experience respectively. Appearing similar to News Feed ads, they will have the same transparency, controls and “Sponsored” labels. Facebook’s ad algorithm will respect the audience targeting that an advertiser sets.

Search Result placements will be given automatically when ‘Automatic Placements’ are used, with a manual option of opting out by deselecting and selecting an alternate chosen placement.

As of now, advertisers will have their ad shown only to search terms that are related to them. Hence it is important they put search terms they wish to be associated with on their Facebook page. There is currently no option to target audiences based on the phrases and keywords they use.

Twitter unveiled a plan for world leaders who break its rules

Twitter has said if politicians break its rules, their tweets may be quarantined, meaning users cannot reply to it, "like" it or share it. Having said that, users will still be able to quote-tweet and express their opinions.

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The tweaked rules follow renewed pressure from Democrats to remove US President Donald Trump from the platform. Twitter believes this move will help its users stay informed about global affairs, but while balancing the need to keep the site’s rules in check.

“When it comes to the actions of world leaders on Twitter, we recognize that this is largely new ground and unprecedented,” Twitter shared in a blog post. The social media giant asserts that the accounts of world leaders are not above our policies entirely. They will take enforcement action on any accounts if it violates certain areas (i.e. content promoting terrorism, making “clear and direct” threats of violence, and posting private information). However, Twitter said in cases involving a world leader, “we will err on the side of leaving the content up if there is a clear public interest in doing so.”

All in all, Twitter is making a good effort to reduce harmful impact without censoring anyone, but at the moment the new implementation remains rather vague.