We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #316

Facebook Messenger reaches the 1bn mark
More than one billion people are now using Facebook Messenger, according to a post on the company’s blog. To mark the occasion, Facebook is encouraging users to send a balloon emoji to their friends and family.

Facebook owns 67% of social media ad spend
Snapchat may be on the rise but Facebook is still pulling in the big bucks, according to eMarketer’s latest research. More than two thirds of ad revenues spent on social are going to the social sharing giant. eMarketer estimates that Facebook will take in $22.37 billion in net ad revenues this year, up from $17.08 billion in 2015. 

Facebook tests floating drones to ‘beam down’ the internet
Aquila, Facebook’s first internet drone, has had its first test flight. The drone, which will ‘beam down’ the internet to areas with no access to wifi, is one of several initiatives the social media giant is trialling in its bid to bring internet connectivity to every person on the planet. Mark Zuckerberg said the company’s motivation was lifting people out of poverty:
If you’re talking about 4 billion people who are not on the internet, spreading internet connectivity is clearly one of the biggest things we can do to improve the quality of life for so many people around the world.”

Facebook paying independent video artists up to $24,000 per video
Independent video artists are being snapped up to broadcast on Facebook Live – for hefty wads of cash.  The Wall Street Journal has reported Facebook is paying Vine star John Paul Piques $119,000 to post at least five videos on its live-streaming service over the next two months. That’s the equivalent of $24,000 per video. And he is just one of about two dozen other internet celebrities and video stars who have signed similar deals.

Facebook scraps ‘quick updates’ trial
Facebook has abandoned its trial of ‘quick updates’ which expired after 24 hours. Quick updates could be shared with a select few, rather than a user’s entire Facebook following. But the platform has apparently decided to abandon the trial, so they won’t be rolled out after all. Now that was quick. 

Snapchat now allows users to recommend accounts to friends
Snapchat has introduced a way to find followers outside your existing network. The ephemeral social platform has launched a ‘recommend’ option which allows users to share accounts with their existing contacts. To give it a try, go into your Stories list, tap and hold on someone’s name and then click on the blue arrow on the right hand side. This allows you to send the account to other people as a private chat message. 

Snapchat snaps up Bitmoji
Snapchat has gone public about its purchase of Bitmoji, the app which enables users to create their own cartoon avatars. As both platforms featured ways for users to create bespoke Ghostbuster images, they already have a lot in common. It’s a savvy purchase, which will enable Snapchat to pair up sponsored lenses with Bitmoji’s branded content abilities.

Twitter to have 286m active users by the end of the year
Twitter continues to grow at a steady pace. eMarketer estimates that worldwide, user growth of 10.9% this year will bring Twitter’s monthly active population to 286.3 million by the end of this year. That comes on top of 9.8% growth in 2015. The US is home to the most Twitter users, followed by Brazil, Japan and Mexico.  

You – yes YOU – can be now have a ‘verified’ Twitter account
Finally, there will never again be any doubt amongst my literally tens of followers – I can get my very own ‘verified’ @AlexValk twitter tick. That’s right, the blue tick is now available to every Tom, Dick and Harry on the internet – even me. All you have to do is make sure your account has a verified phone number, email address, bio, profile picture, birthday and website.

Tinder parties now possible via Tinder social
Tinder is now allowing you to organise group get togethers with a bunch of your existing friends and a group of, er, ‘new’ friends. The app will allow you to create a group using your Facebook connections and then look for other groups of the opposite sex via Tinder. Just like the individual function of the site, groups have to reciprocate your attention to be contactable. Fortunately, if you don’t want your mum, mates and girlfriend to know you’re on Tinder, the service is opt-in only.

Exclusive specs on offer for Snapchat users
Spectacle company Warby Parker is offering its very first Snapchat-exclusive product — limited edition sunglasses only available for purchase to its Snapchat followersThe US retailer shared a Snapchat story with its followers with a unique URL where, for a limited time, they could buy “head-turning Haskell in Crystal, now with new silver mirrored lenses” for $95. What an incentive.

Identity crisis? There’s a candy chatbot for that
Candy brand Trolli is launching a Facebook Messenger chatbot that it hopes will open up a new way to talk to sweet-toothed millennials in the US. The bot uses a 10-question quiz to match up consumers with one of three ‘personalities’ based on flavours of candy – Egg, Crawler and Blast. Each personality serves up different pieces of content. Crawler, for example, asks consumers to care for a virtual crawler – similar to a Tamagotchi. The Blast, meanwhile, sends users a ‘daily blast of weird’. None of them seem to send you free sweets though. Maybe that will be in the next update.