We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #332

Instagram launches two new ephemeral features
Instagram is launching two big new features for Stories on iOS and Android over the next few weeks, and they are both strictly ephemeral. Instagram Live lets users broadcast video to their followers in real-time but does not allow recordings to be viewed later; and ephemeral Direct Messages can only be viewed twice before disappearing. 

Whatsapp Launches Video Calls
No more hiding behind emojis people – WhatsApp is officially launching video calls worldwide for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. To use the new feature, users can hit the call button in the top right corner of a conversation. To kick off the call,  select the “video call” option from this screen. 

Facebook launches a unified inbox for businesses on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram
Businesses will soon be able to access their Facebook, Messenger and Instagram correspondence with a single email inbox. Currently in the testing phase, the inbox, in the Facebook Pages Manager app, will include comments on Facebook posts, posts on the brand’s page, messages and comments on their Instagram and videos, and individual tabs for focusing on individual channels.

Facebook tests retail ads showcasing more than one product
Facebook is testing ads that let retailers showcase more than one item. The ads pair a main image or video with related product images underneath and, if clicked, bring up a second page with more products. The ads also leads to the retailer’s website so consumers can actually buy the product. Michael Kors and Lowes have already begun testing the format this week.

Facebook takes action on fake news
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said the company is exploring new ways to fight the spread of “misinformation” (that’s fake news to you and me) on its social platform amid criticism of the platform in the wake of the US presidential campaign. Potential steps could include stronger detection, easy reporting of fake news, and third party verification of news stories.

Facebook launches review after admitting ‘bugs’ in measurement tools
Facebook is promising an additional independent review of some of its measurement methods, after uncovering more flaws. On Wednesday, the company admitted that “bugs,” led to errors in four measurements, including the weekly and monthly reach of marketers’ posts, the number of full video views and time spent with publishers’ Instant Articles. Facebook is now introducing a number of new tools to reassure advertisers, including ‘video watches to 100 percent,’ which tracks both completed views and completed audio. 

Facebook shuts down Atlas as ad server
Facebook has announced it will stop running Atlas as an ad server, and instead use it solely as a measurement tool for marketers. Three years ago, when Facebook bought Atlas, the company was looking to build ad infrastructure that one day could challenge Google’s DoubleClick. But it proved to be too tough a challenge to get marketers to switch from ad servers they already used.

Snap Inc. files for IPO
Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, is rumoured to have filed confidentially for an initial public offering. The platform will seek to raise as much as $4 billion in its IPO at a valuation of about $25 billion to $35 billion. The story has come from an unknown source and Snap Inc has declined to comment on the matter.

Snapchat teams up with Foursquare to improve geofilter targeting
Snapchat has inked a deal with Foursquare to power its location-based geofilters with more data. The move means that a retailer could home in on a specific store instead of zeroing in on the larger shopping centre. Snapchat says the deal will open “thousands” of locations and categories for brands to buy ads against, like parks or museums.

Twitter launches anti-troll tools including keyword and phrase blocking
So long, online bullies. Twitter is rolling out a way for users to not just block a user, but also to mute keywords, phrases and entire conversations. In a blog post, Twitter said: “The amount of abuse, bullying, and harassment we’ve seen across the internet has risen sharply over the past few years. These behaviours inhibit people from participating on Twitter, or anywhere. Abusive conduct removes the chance to see and share all perspectives around an issue, which we believe is critical to moving us all forward.” The tools will be rolled out in the coming days. 

Twitter rolls out QR codes
Who said QR codes were dead? Twitter is attempting to bring back QR codes to help users find each other more easily on the platform. The development is still in the testing phase, but once live, every user will be able to generate their own code which they can add to email signatures, websites and business cards, to make it easier for people to find them on the platform.

Twitter for Android TV now available on Google Play
Twitter for Android TV is now available to download from the Google Play Store. The app is largely geared towards live streaming content such as sports events and allows people to watch content and Twitter streams about it on one screen. 

Pinterest unveils new Explore publishing section
Pinterest has revealed its new Explore publishing section with partnerships with BuzzFeed, Tastemade, HGTV, Food Network, GQ and others. Explore is a new video-focused hub that delivers content from media partners and shows video ads. Explore is similar to Snapchat Discover, which gives premium publishers a place to post content and draw revenue from the app.

US DIY store uses Facebook Live to unveil Black Friday deals
Lowe’s, a US DIY home improvement brand, has revealed 11 Black Friday deals during a 20-minute segment on Facebook Live on Saturday. The brand has been running video ads on the social platform for the last two weeks to push the Mystery Box Bonanza livestream event. At the time of publication, the broadcast had secured 1.4 million views.

Lidl offers price drops in return for tweets
UK discount supermarket Lidl is using Twitter to determine the price of its products this Christmas. The grocer will invite the public to cut the cost of different festive products each week in run-up to Christmas. Lidl’s Christmas lobster will be the first product to be discussed – customers will have two days to drive down the price by tweeting about it before it goes into stores the following weekend.