We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #393

Facebook tries to make amends in wake of scandal
The Cambridge Analytica and Facebook controversy continues to make headlines. It’s been revealed that Facebook is under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, examining whether Facebook violated its terms by giving Cambridge Analytica data without users’ knowledge.

Facebook is trying to repair the damage. CEO Mark Zuckerberg took a rather long time to respond to the allegations, but the company has now said it will audit all apps that had access to user information before 2014, which was when it “dramatically limited” access to the platform’s data. Zuckerberg also eventually posted an apology on Facebook, and followed it with print adverts in UK and US newspapers featuring the post’s content, which included “This was a breach of trust, and I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time. We’re now taking steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again”.

The backlash to the scandal has led to the hashtag #DeleteFacebook appearing more than 10,000 times on Twitter within a two-hour period last Wednesday, and over 40,000 times last Tuesday – though it’s unclear how many people have actually hit delete on their accounts. For now at least, marketers aren’t pulling the plug, given Facebook’s hyper-precision targeting and huge reach across multiple platforms. But if users really do start leaving for good, it’s likely advertising investment will follow.

Instagram changes prioritise timely posts
Power to the people! Instagram’s unpopular algorithm change in 2016 moved the platform from reverse-chronological order, to serving up older content the platform deemed interesting to users. So as a result of feedback (i.e. moaning), Instagram is looking at a number of updates. In a blog post, the platform explained that it’s testing a “new posts” button, which will allow users to refresh their feeds manually so they don’t get automatically bumped to the top of the feed. The platform has also said it will once again prioritise recentness over various other metrics.

Instagram makes bios more interactive
Users of the platform can now add links to other accounts or hashtags in their profile, rather than showing up as plain text. About time.

Instagram expands ‘shoppable posts’ to new markets
In 2016, Instagram tested a “shoppable post” feature that allowed brands to add links to images so users could purchase products directly on the app. It was expanded to businesses across the US last year, and is now being rolled out in eight international markets – UK, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. Not only will it allow local retailers to sell via the platform, it will open up new markets to global retailers and ecommerce platforms that have so far been restricted to selling via Instagram in the US.

Facebook’s new ad tools designed to appeal to retailers
Facebook has introduced three new advertising tools. It’s added store sales optimisation to its offline solutions, allowing retailers to use machine learning to target those most likely to make purchases in their stores. It has enhanced Canvas (its full-screen ad experience built for bringing content to life on mobile) with the addition of tabs that will bring personalised catalogs to users. Finally, brands can now incorporate category-level images into their dynamic ads. This will help reach people earlier in their purchase journey, while they’re still browsing categories but not neccesarily specific products.

Facebook tests new products for creators
Facebook is testing new products aimed at creators on the platform. An Android version of the Facebook Creator app (currently iOS only) is said to be on the way “soon” as well as a creator-focused version of Rights Manager – an intellectual property protection tool. The platform is also testing a way to highlight creators’ top stalkers fans by displaying badges next to their names, and adding their names to fan leaderboards.

Snapchat updates Snap Maps with new feature
Thought this week’s news was all about the Facebook family? Wrong! Snapchat has introduced Map Explore, which will help users keep track of where their friends are visiting via Snap Maps. Only one status update is available per user at any given time, and they can be viewed for up to 24 hours, after which they will, in keeping with the style of Snapchat, disappear from Snap Map.

Snapchat moves in on location-based advertising
Snapchat is looking to crack location-based advertising. It’s acquired a couple of location-focused firms, Placed and Zenly, and is making its ‘Snap to Store’ feature available to all brands, tracking when shoppers who saw an ad on the platform then visited a store. Location is a notoriously tough nut to crack – even the mighty Facebook hasn’t managed it – but Snapchat thinks it can do better, putting “significant engineering resources” into location across advertising and revenue, content, and product teams.

Pinterest rolls out Shopping Ads to more businesses
According to (ahem) Pinterest, 90 percent of its users make purchase decisions while on the platform and 70 percent use it to find new products. So the platform is using its visual search technology to offer more businesses access to Pinterest Shopping Ads – initially tested last year with major retailers. A spokesperson for the platform said: “With Shopping Ads, businesses can seamlessly turn their product catalog into visual, actionable ads. Since Shopping Ads pull automatically from an existing product feed, they’re especially useful for brands that want to scale their Pinterest advertising.”

LinkedIn adds referral button and video filters
Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest… who’s left? It’s LinkedIn of course! Not to be left behind in this cacophony of social news, your favourite professional network is doing some interesting stuff this week. Firstly, it’s added an ‘ask for a referral’ button, allowing users to ask connections for a referral to a job at their company with a single click. It’s also got some new snazzy Snapchat-style features, with the debut of filters and text styles for users’ videos. I’ll let the content do the talking.