We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #407

Instagram adds ‘Reaction’ emojis to Stories
Sometimes you want to let your pals know you appreciate their Instagram Stories, but sending them a whoooole message to do so seems like a lot of effort. Luckily, Instagram is rolling out a new option that will allow viewers to react with an emoji, similar to Facebook Reactions. The update may allow brands to engage with audiences in a playful way, as well as gauging user interest and sentiment with their content. It looks as though there won’t be an ‘angry’ reaction, so if a post really ticks you off you’re still going to have to send a message response.

Instagram introduces new green dot to show when users are active
Everybody’s favourite photo-sharing platform has announced a new feature in the form of a green status dot that will indicate when a user is active on Instagram. You’ll be able to see the dot next to friends who are active in the direct messaging part of the app, as well as on your friends list when you go to share a post with someone. According to Instagram, “You will only see status for friends who follow you or people who you have talked to in Direct.” The update is supposed to get you talking more to the people you’re already talking to, although there have been some concerns raised around the fact that Instagram has typically been a more ‘serene’ online space, which will now be punctured with real-time pressures. It’s an opt-out feature, however, so I say if you don’t like it, you don’t have to lump it!

Instagram is allowing public accounts to remove followers
It’s a conundrum we’ve all faced (probably) – you don’t want just anyone following your Instagram account, but you don’t want the constraints of going private, and blocking seems just a little bit aggressive. Well, Instagram has answered your (my) prayers, with a new feature that gives those of you with a public account a little more control over your list of followers, allowing you to manually remove them. Users you choose to remove won’t be notified about the action, so while this does mean you can be stealthy about it, there is still room for an awkward “I thought I was following you!” exchange with boring Aunt Cathy who doesn’t approve of your late-night “#lit” posts this Christmas. You’ve been warned.

Instagram is looking to two-factor authentication to guard against SIM hacking
As hackers become increasingly adept at gaining access to a user’s phone number and tying it to a new SIM, authenticating via text is no longer a sufficiently safe way for users to keep their app logins secure. Instagram is set to join a number of other platforms in using code-generating apps such as Google Authenticator and Authy as a means to address this problem. It’s a welcome update for many users who have, until now, been concerned about the safety of their accounts with the current SMS authentication method.

This one’s for the K-Pop fans; BTS stickers come to Facebook and Messenger
BTS are continuing to blaze trails in the social media world, partnering with Facebook to create BT21 (the animated characters of the band) stickers for Facebook and Messenger. With BTS’s chart-busting success in both record sales and social media followings, it’s no wonder that the platform wanted to jump on the K-Pop bandwagon and collaborate with the group. It seems like the venture might pay off, too, as many of the band’s substantial fanbase have claimed that they will now return to Facebook, having previously left the platform. BTS gives you Wings, baby.

Pimp My Ads: Facebook Ads Manager
Whilst Facebook’s Ads Manager app has been around since 2015, until now advertisers have had to create image-based content outside of the app, save it to their phone and then upload it to Ads Manager. The app has now released a suite of creative tools, including text overlay, cropping, image filters, templates and logos, meaning that advertisers can now easily build ad content from a mobile device. It’s another step in the platform becoming an all-in-one solution for mobile advertising. Easy-peasy.

Bye-bye, Snapcash
Remember Snapchat’s peer-to-peer money transfer service, Snapcash? No? Don’t worry, the platform has announced that it will be scrapping the service at the end of August. Snapcash was the app’s first partnerships with another company – Square, and whilst Snapchat hasn’t specified why it will be shutting down the feature, it suggests that the service may have been struggling to compete with its contemporaries such as Venmo and Google and Apple’s similar features.

Snap specs are getting (another) upgrade
While the initial rollout of Snapchat Spectacles wasn’t exactly a rousing success, the platform is hoping to boost its potential by allowing users to upload Spectacles content to formats other than Snapchat, including YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. It’s hoped the “new options will expand the content potential of Spectacles.”

WhatsApp has had it with fake news
Following horrifying violence in India as a result of mass-forwarding false information on WhatsApp, the app has announced that it will be limiting the number of people to whom users can forward messages. In an effort to curtail false information going viral, globally, users will now be able to forward messages to a maximum of 20 people, with the exception of India, where the limit will be just five. The previous limit was over 250. Indians previously forwarded more messages, images, videos and articles than people in any other country, and while WhatsApp has also removed the ‘quick-forward’ button in India, critics have been cynical about whether the measure will be sufficient in halting the spread of fake news.

If your group of friends loves theme parties, you’re going to LOVE Pinterest’s new update
DIY-inspo platform, Pinterest, will be adding new collaboration tools for group boards on mobile and web. Pinners can now more easily plan events and projects, as you will be able to have conversations with others in your board, and keep track of new Pins added. The update seeks to increase conversation between individuals on the platform, as well as to boost user engagement. Although the new feature may not be directly of use to marketers, 78% of Pinterest users say that they find content from brands on the platform helpful, so it’s certainly useful for advertisers to take note of growth within the platform.

KFC (Kittens, Felines, Cats)?
It’s no secret that fast food giant, KFC, isn’t shy when it comes to taking risks with their social content. Lest we forget their response to Chickengate 2018. The brand has now managed to gain over 1m views on a four-hour Facebook Live stream of cats climbing on an enormous felt model of Colonel Sanders. The stream was narrated by Ron Lynch of Bob’s Burgers, and footage included pointing lasers and dangling chicken in front of the cats. The video claimed that “This is NOT a shameless attempt to sell fried chicken by wooing the internet with cute cats.” They may have fibbed a little on that, but they sure did get people talking.