Facebook's apps and Ad Manager experience issues worldwide
Last week, Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram and even Oculus VR all experienced issues and went partially down for some users around the world. Users reported issues with sending messages, posting to their feeds and accessing other features across the apps. Facebook has attributed the outage to a “server configuration change" and confirmed in a Tweet that the issue was not related to a DDoS attack. As well as the backlash from frustrated users globally, advertisers were also impacted as Facebook Ad Manager - through which Facebook makes more than $90 million a day in ad revenue - was also out of order. It's unclear if the Ad Manager failure was due to the same issue which caused problems on the main apps, and exactly how many advertisers were impacted.
— Jay Ong (@jayong28) March 13, 2019
However, it wasn't bad news for all. Telegram, an encrypted messaging service similar to WhatsApp which currently boasts over 200 million active users, said it saw three million new users sign up during the period in which the apps were experiencing problems.
Facebook updates its metrics to offer more actionable insight
Facebook has announced three major updates to its ad metrics. The first will see its relevance score split into three separate metrics: a quality ranking; an engagement rate ranking; and a conversion rate ranking. Next, potential reach will now be calculated based on the people who were shown an ad on Facebook in the last 30 days, rather than the total number of active users on Facebook. And lastly, from April, Facebook will be replacing seven ad metrics with more actionable ones, such as a 'posts saved' metric so that businesses can see how many people saved their ads.
Facebook announces Watch Party and music updates
Facebook has announced that it will be extending its Watch Party experience to include live television. Since Watch Parties were made available to groups worldwide last July, more than 12 million have taken place - with content generating eight times more comments than regular videos in groups. The platform will begin testing Watch Parties for TV with live sports events, such as UEFA Champions League matches, and has said it will also test interactive components such as letting hosts add trivia questions and live polls.
As well as Watch updates, Facebook is also expanding its feature which gives users the ability to add songs to their profiles. Users in more than 40 countries can now share personal videos with licensed music, and can tap on songs they like to go through to Spotify to find out more. Facebook has said more music partners will be added for this feature.
Facebook’s redesigned app gets a dedicated gaming hub
Facebook is introducing a dedicated 'Facebook Gaming' tab to its main app, which will see Instant Games moved to the new section. Users will be able to invite friends to play and chat with them right from the tab. The new Facebook Gaming section will also include gaming videos (including those from esports leagues) and dedicated gaming groups. The feature will be slowly rolled out, starting with some of the 700m people who interact with gaming content each month. The platform is also running a limited beta test version of a standalone gaming app for Android.
WhatsApp tests new ‘search image’ feature to help fight fake news
WhatsApp is continuing its efforts to tackle the spread of fake news by testing a new 'search image' feature which will allow users to easily send a photo from within the app to Google. The feature will then direct users to a search results page for “similar or equal images” from the web. Once launched, this will quickly allow WhatsApp's one billion active users to establish if an image is real, fake, or has been altered. This move follows several recent updates to curb the spread of misinformation including limits on message forwarding.
Twitter unveils its new app, Twttr
Twitter has previewed an all-new prototype app, Twttr, to a group of beta testers ahead of a potential global rollout. The new app is reportedly going to act as a testbed of new features, some of which already include: replies taking on the same blue and grey colour coding as direct messages; responses from users associated with trolling and abuse being demoted in threads; and the number of retweets and likes being hidden at the high-level thread view. Users will instead need to tap on the tweet, as they would to reply, in order to reveal additional details and actions.
Twitter confirms a new ‘Subscribe to Conversation’ feature
Twitter is looking to make conversations on its main app easier to stay on top of, as the platform has confirmed it is currently working on a new feature that will allow users to subscribe to individual conversations. The new subscription feature will enable users to follow a thread with the click of a button without having to join in the conversation themselves. The feature was first spotted as an interface prototype within the Android version of the Twitter app, which the platform later confirmed in a public tweet. Twitter has so far declined to provide additional details.
This is part of our work to make Twitter more conversational 🛠💬 https://t.co/jB4PWv3A04
— Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) March 15, 2019
Twitter launches new camera feature to demote text
Twitter is rolling out its new Snapchatty camera feature, which it confirmed it was developing a month ago, that will let users capture photos, videos and live footage. To access the new feature, all you need to do is swipe left from the Twitter timeline. You can then capture your media, overlay it with a location, hashtags and more, and share. Twitter will also now show this media in a larger, more immersive format in the feed with the imagery appearing before the text in your tweet.
See it? Tweet it! Our updated camera is just a swipe away, so you get the shot fast. Rolling out to all of you over the next few days. pic.twitter.com/moOEFO2nQq
— Twitter (@Twitter) March 13, 2019
TikTok sees huge growth in popularity in India
Last month, a report revealed that TikTok has now crossed the one billion downloads mark but, even more interesting, a quarter of those downloads have come from India. This makes it the biggest contributor to the app’s growth. Time spent on video streaming apps has grown by 185 per cent over the past two years in India, according to another report, fuelling the growth of apps like TikTok. The wealth of Bollywood content and that users don't need to sign in to view videos are also thought to have contributed to its popularity in the region.
Tumblr sees traffic drop by nearly 100M views following its porn ban
In December, Tumblr made the decision to ban pornographic and adult content on its platform - after it was temporarily taken down from Apple’s App Store - as a way of ensuring community safety and wellbeing. However, this move seems to have had a dramatic impact on the platform's traffic as data shows it lost more than 100 million views — equivalent to a 17 per cent drop - in just 30 days. Data from SimilarWeb has shown that the platform dropped from approximately 521 million page views in December to just 437 million in January.