We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #424

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We Are Social
Instagram cracks down on spammy behaviour
It’s no secret that social media is plagued with spammy bots and fake followers. Instagram recognises this and is cracking down on automated apps that leave spammy comments or use the ‘follow then unfollow’ growth tactic. The platform will be sending out warnings to people who it finds have used these apps and it may even limit their access to certain features.

But as our influencer consultant Jessica Shirling told The Drum, Instagram will need to keep on top of the issue: “As it always the case, just as quickly as Instagram develops tools for identifying irregular behaviour, there will be other people trying to find loopholes. Unless there are repercussions for using these services, if they get stopped from using one service, they’ll just move on to the next.”

Instagram tests simpler profile pages
Instagram profiles are already pretty clean IMHO, but the platform clearly thinks there’s room for improvement. It’s testing profile page changes to buttons, icons and navigation tabs intended to make the profile sections “easier and cleaner to use.”

Facebook launches ‘time spent’ dashboard
Another week, another platform getting on the ‘time spent’ bandwagon. This time it’s Facebook, who follows YouTube and Instagram in releasing a feature to show you how much time you spend on the app. Facebook’s dashboard lets users set an app time limit, and it will send you a reminder when you reach it. It will allow you to mute push notifications easily and compare your time on the platform with the previous week.

Facebook closes connected-TV ad network
A rare #FAIL for Facebook: two years after launching the connected-TV side of its Audience Network ad network, the platform is shutting it down. It will also stop selling ads inside publishers’ OTT apps by January 2019. As Facebook explains: “We worked with a small set of publishers to test monetizing their connected-TV apps with ads from Audience Network and ultimately decided not to move forward with the concept.”

Facebook tests ‘Watch Video Together’ feature on Messenger
Facebook could soon allow you and your friends to co-watch “a synchronized video over group chat” while discussing what you’re watching. While still in internal testing, if launched globally, the feature could enhance shared experiences on the platform and bolster Facebook’s aim to create meaningful connections on its network.

Twitter de-emphasises follower counts with app redesign
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has previously said he’d like to make follower counts a less important feature on user profiles, and it looks like he’s following through (excuse the pun). Twitter has redesigned profile pages so that follower numbers – as well as locations, birthdays, join dates and mutual follows – are less prominent, with smaller font. It’s all part of Twitter’s emphasis on “meaningful” conversations over numbers like retweets, likes, and follows.

YouTube tests back-to-back ads, to enhance the viewing experience
In a move to create a better, “distraction-free video watching experience” for its audience, YouTube is toying with the idea of introducing back-to-back skippable ads, called Ad-pods. The new format would group ads together, instead of the traditional beginning and middle, to let viewers watch for longer without interruptions.

YouTube streams The Lego Movie free, as a 100-minute ad
YouTube and Warner Bros. Pictures previewed the entire The Lego Movie as a 100-minute ‘commercial’ this Black Friday. The one-day promotion aimed to build hype around the upcoming 2019 launch of the film’s sequal and gave viewers just 24-hours to watch the entire move ad-free. All viewers had to do was click on a trailer for The Lego Movie 2 and select the option to watch.

LinkedIn launches Student Voices, its own version of Stories
LinkedIn has unveiled its first move into Stories-style content with the launch of Student Voices, for university students in the US. The video-only feature allows students to upload content to a collective Campus Playlist, where their video will remain live for a week. After it expires, the video will sit permanently on the Recent Activity section of the user’s profile. The move comes as part of plans to gain the attention of younger audiences.

Disney creates Ralph Breaks the Internet stickers for WhatsApp
To mark the release of Ralph Breaks the Internet, Walt Disney Pictures last week revealed a set of stickers specifically for WhatsApp – the first time an entertainment studio has created a pack. The studio also created a WhatsApp for Business account for the film which allowed fans to chat with Ralph and his partner in crime, Vanellope. Fans could also opt to receive notifications via the messaging platform when tickets went on sale.