Facebook removes 5000 ad terms to cut down discriminatory targeting
Last week, the social media giant announced that it would be revoking thousands of options from its ad targeting function, in a move to cut down on discriminatory advertising. In total, the platform will be removing 5,000 ad terms which could show “bias against different religions, races and cultures”, including interests in Native American culture, Islamic culture, Buddhism, and more. A blog from Facebook said “While these options have been used in legitimate ways to reach people interested in a certain product or service, we think minimising the risk of abuse is more important.”

Facebook tests new “Things in common” label
As part of ongoing efforts to boost engagement and connects on its platform, Facebook is experimenting with a new ‘Things in common’ label which will “appear above selected comments from people you don’t know on posts you view”. The trial is currently only taking place with a small number of users in the US, with no current plans for the platform to extend this wider. However Facebook is hopeful that these suggested commonalities will help users to spark conversations with people they don’t know.

Facebook introduces pixel to Groups
The social network is rolling out access to Facebook ads pixel for Groups, “which allows marketers to track users’ behaviour after clicking on posts” and will help brands to better understand how fans engage with their website after they leave the platform. While this new update will help marketers improve their targeting on Facebook, as it has with Pages (where pixel is currently available) the platform says that its introduction is “unrelated to its other efforts to monetise” its Groups feature. The data collected from pixel will show up on a Groups’ insights page and will be visible to groups’ administrators. Currently, the new tool will be limited to Groups with 250 or more members.

Instagram tests new Recommendations feature
Instagram is trailing a new way to boost content discovery on its platform, by highlighting accounts similar to those which users already follow and interact with in the main feed. The new recommended posts will appear at the end of a user’s newsfeed, once they’ve already caught up with content from accounts they actively follow, where a “Recommended For You” icon will prompt users to jump into the new stream.

Snapchat announces partnerships with Tunemoji and Ariana Grande
Snapchat’s new partnership with Tunemoji will enable users to “send musical GIFs which play a snippet of a chosen song along with the moving image”. The new integration is one of the first Snap Kit praetorships, which allows third-party developers to build on the platform and will add a new fun element for Snapchat fans. Pop singer Ariana Grande has also created a new shoppable “Sweetener Lens” which will give users who engage with it the option to purchase the face mask which promotes her new album, ‘Sweetener’.

YouTube expands its digital wellbeing tools
YouTube has announced that it will be expanding its set of “digital wellbeing” tools to include an “added feature that will calculate how much you’re watching videos” online. The new “Time Watched” feature will roll out globally with immediate effect, and will provide users with data on their time spent on the site for today, yesterday and the past week – helping users take more control over viewing habits and time spent online. As part of the announcement, parent company Google announced that it would be “addressing digital wellbeing across its products, including Android, Gmail, Google Photos, YouTube and elsewhere”. It’s currently unclear if YouTube TV and YouTube Music will be included in this new usage tracking feature.

Tumblr updates its community guidelines
The multi-media social network has announced a set of updates to its community guidelines to “more explicitly ban hate speech, glorifying violence, and revenge porn”, which will come into effect from the 10th September 2018. Users will now be able to report a post directly from the mobile app, with the list of reasons now including hate speech, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, and anti-LGBTQ+ content. Tumblr says that it hopes the update will help to “create a safe, constructive, and empowering environment” for its users.

GIPHY refreshes its homepage with its own version of Stories
GIPHY has announced that it will be redesigning its homepage with its own version of Stories which will be curated by an editorial team and will be focused “around the day’s trending subjects, told through GIFs”. While the name, GIPHY Stories, sparks an obvious link to Instagram Stories, the new feature will in fact be more of a crossover between Twitter’s Moments and Snapchat’s Discover, with a little bit of Buzzfeed thrown in. Initial content ideas suggest that the feature will also include episode recaps such as “The Bachelorette Finale in GIFs”. Stories will be available on desktop and mobile.

GIPHY announces the World’s First Film Festival dedicated to GIFs
The GIF search engine is “throwing the very first GIPHY Film Fest for filmmakers up to the challenge of creating 18 seconds or less short films.” Contestants – in the US only – will be able to submit a maximum of three movies in the Narrative, Stop-motion, Animated, Experimental, or Wildcard/Other categories. The festival will be held in New York on the 8th November and “the winner will be awarded $10,000 USD, a five-year Squarespace subscription, and the chance to guest curate an official Spotify playlist.” Submissions are open until the 27th September.

Nickelodeon launches Double Dare game on Facebook Messenger
Nickelodeon is bringing back its popular 90s game show, Double Dare but this time in the form of an interactive game for the social media generation. The new multiplayer trivia game will enable users to challenge friends via Facebook Messenger to go head-to-head to answer questions based on a variety of topics, as well as a series of “physical challenge’ mini-games. Only two players will be able to play at a time, however each user can have multiple games running on their profile.

The New York Public Library brings the classics to Instagram Stories
The long standing New York institution is bringing beloved classic novels to Instagram through a series of animated Stories called, Insta-Novels, to help engage a generation of younger readers. The first book to make the transformation was Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The animated posts, which include the text in full, also come with a handy “thumb here” icon to encourage younger fans to stop the Story and read the full story. The library currently plans to release several other books in the series over the next few months.