Facebook introduces its Bitmoji competitor, Avatars
Last week, Facebook launched Avatars - its version of Bitmoji - for use in Messenger and News Feed comments. Just like Bitmoji, Avatars are designed to help you create a virtual look-alike of yourself by allowing you to personalise aspects of your Avatar such as their face, hair and clothes. They’ll also star in a range of popular stickers on the platform, conveying common emotions and phrases. The new feature will be released in Australia, before coming to the rest of the world in late 2019 or early 2020.

Instagram allows brands to create ads from influencer content
Instagram has released a new update which will give brands and marketers the ability to promote an influencer's organic branded posts. The new branded content ads will be made available to all advertisers over the coming weeks, with a similar update for Stories to be introduced in the coming months.

Commenting on the update, Old Navy - one of the first brands to use the new update - said: "Promoting content directly from an influencer’s handle inherently gives the post more authenticity than coming from a brand handle, and we’re seeing significantly higher engagement rates using this strategy."

Snapchat launches more in-app shopping destinations
Building on its current offering which allows some brands, publishers and influencers to add a swipe-up on Snaps for users to buy products directly within the app, Snapchat has introduced a new tool which will allow select accounts to have a store within Snapchat. As of last week, only five official accounts were granted access to shops, including Kylie Jenner (Kylie Cosmetics), Kim Kardashian (KKW Beauty), and Spencer Pratt (Pratt Daddy Crystals). Snap plans to release the tool to more official accounts in the coming weeks and will expand the program to publishers later this year.

Twitter simplifies its rules on safety, privacy and more
In an effort to make the rules of its platform more understandable, Twitter has simplified the language around its policies from 2,500 to just 600 words - and now describes each rule in 280 characters or less (see what they did there). As part of the change, Twitter's policies can now be found under topics of safety, privacy and authenticity. The platform has also added new rules around election integrity, platform manipulation and spam, and has provided step-by-step instructions on how to report violating content.

YouTube announces a new partnership with AXS
After gaining 70 per cent coverage of the US ticketing market in recent years - via partnerships with Ticketmaster and Eventbrite - YouTube has now kicked that up to a solid 90 per cent through a new partnership with AXS. YouTube hasn't yet released any official figures on how many tickets have been purchased through its partnerships; however, the move is yet another step towards making YouTube more of a hub for musicians looking to expand their profile and community.

Ikea transitions its print catalogue to Pinterest
Ikea has created a shoppable version of its 200-plus-page catalogue for Pinterest. To facilitate this, Ikea created a product questionnaire built into Pinterest to gain insight into each user's personal tastes and create automated Pinterest boards based on their responses. All Pins are linked to product and catalogue pages on the Ikea site. Since the launch, 25,000 Pinterest boards have been created using the tool, and the questionnaire had a 4% completion rate.