Instagram redesigns its home screen, adding Reels and Shop tabs
Instagram’s home screen has had a makeover, adding Reels and Shop tabs. The Reels tab directs users to watch and create shortform videos, while the Shop tab will surface personalised recommendations, as well as editors’ pics curated by the shop channel, shoppable videos, and new product collections. This is the first major design change that Instagram has made in years, an indication of the app’s priorities to maintain relevance in a continually evolving market. 

Launch Image – Home + Reels + Shop

Twitter rolls out updated carousel ads worldwide
Swiping is second nature to most social users, and now Twitter is bringing this function to adverts. Carousel ads enable advertisers to include two to six horizontally swipeable images or videos, with the goal of driving viewers to an app or website. Carousel ads now feature an edge-to-edge design, third-party measurement reporting, accessibility support and new reporting features. This new format is a step in the right direction for Twitter’s advertising offering.

Vanish mode arrives on Facebook Messenger and Instagram
Just like magic, it’s gone! Taking inspiration from Snapchat, Facebook has announced its new feature for disappearing messaging; Vanish Mode. Users can send text chats, emoji, pictures, GIFs, voice messages and stickers, which will disappear automatically after they’ve been seen and the chat is closed. This opt-in feature is designed to enable more secret casual conversations, and people will be informed if a screenshot of their chat has been taken. 

TikTok tests feature that helps people fundraise for charity
TikTok is not only a platform for Gen Z dance challenges, but could also soon be an app that enables charitable donations. A new feature currently being tested allows users to raise funds for causes and charities they care about directly from their TikTok profiles. Screenshots uncovered show a new option on people's ‘Edit Profile’ area directing them to choose a non-profit from a list of vetted organizations and charities. Once selected, the user's profile will feature the charity in red text just below their bio. Visitors can then click on the text, taking them directly to a screen that allows them to make a donation. 

Snapchat now lets you compare astrology readings with friends
Are the stars written in…Snapchat? Snap’s new feature allows users to access their detailed astrological profiles, including analyses and personality explanations of their sun, moon and rising signs. To see whether you and your friends are really meant to be, you can click on the astrology icon in a friend’s profile, witnessing a detailed astrology compatibility analysis. All presented with Bitmoji, the feature includes swooshing and twinkling planetary backgrounds and easy-to read insights. 

Finally, a way to understand my rising sign!

YouTube Rewind 2020 cancelled
2020 hasn't been the best year. In fact, it might be better off forgotten altogether. That's YouTube's thinking at least, as it announced that it's cancelled its annual Rewind video that highlights the creators, videos and trends that have defined the preceding year. According to the platform, it's supposed to be a celebration, but "2020 has been different. And it doesn’t feel right to carry on as if it weren’t." Fair enough.  

Ones to watch
Twitter is testing audio DMs in Brazil, enabling users to record and send audio clips via direct message.