We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #442

Facebook updates brand safety controls with new inventory filter
Facebook has found time in its busy schedule of being lambasted by various groups to introduce a new inventory filter. It will give advertisers more control over where their ads appear within Instant Articles, Audience Network and in-stream videos, based on their tolerance for risk. The filter has three main options: limited inventory offering maximum protection, standard inventory providing moderate protection as a default choice, full inventory with minimal protection. In practice, this means that for strong language for example, limited inventory means that ads will only appear where there’s no strong language; standard will allow a few instances and full is essentially a free for all. The updated controls are Facebook’s latest move towards making the platform a safer place to advertise; other tools already available include transparency controls and block lists.

Facebook announces plans to crack down on fake news
Facebook has revealed plans to further crack down on fake news. The platform will now add ‘Trust Indicators’ to the context button that provides more information on posts in its News Feed; put verified badges in Messenger; expand its fact-checking partnership with Associated Press; work with outside experts and more. Facebook has struggled to get a grip on the spread of misinformation to date, but with an increasingly unforgiving public and talk of more regulation from governments around the world, this kind of push is very much needed.

Instagram demotes ‘borderline’ content
Instagram’s using AI to identify, demote and reduce the spread of content it deems inappropriate, but not against its Community Guidelines. This ‘borderline’ content could include suggestive modelling shots, risqué memes or content that’s generally just in bad taste. Instagram’s being rather vague about the whole thing – but its product lead for Discovery, Will Ruben did offer a limited explanation: “We’ve started to use machine learning to determine if the actual media posted is eligible to be recommended to our community”. The platform is training its content moderators to label borderline content when they’re looking for policy violations, and Instagram then uses those labels to train an algorithm to identify it. The move comes as part of a flood of “Integrity” announcements from Facebook to safeguard its family of apps.

Snap releases new Android app
Android users rejoice! Snapchat has finally released its new rebuilt Android app, bringing it on par with iOS. While the UI and navigation are pretty much the same, it’s said to be much less prone to bugs and a good deal faster. Snap celebrated with this short video, where a happy Snapchat ghost places a flower garland on the head of an Android robot, who reciprocates by gifting the ghost its antennas. Your guess is as good as mine.

YouTube adds interactive format 
YouTube is investing in an interactive ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ series. A spokesperson for the company revealed that the projects will exist under a new unit dedicated to interactive programming and live specials, likely designed to compete with similar shows on Netflix. Watch this space for details – the mystery spokesperson said that the company intends to announce the first of these projects soon.

YouTube TV hikes subscription fee 
YouTube has announced a significant price increase for YouTube TV, its (currently) US-only TV streaming service that offers live TV to phones, tablets and streaming devices without a cable subscription or contract. Early subscribers started off paying $35 per month, more recently it’s been $40 per month; soon, people will be paying $50 every month. The introduction of new channels will ease some of the pain of the price rise however – Discovery Channel, HGTV and Food Network are just three of eight new partners for YouTube TV.

LinkedIn adds post Reactions
LinkedIn has come over all Facebook-y with the addition of Reaction buttons. Instead of just a boring old ‘like’, users will be also able to react in one of the following ways: celebrate, love, insightful and curious. LinkedIn blamed its copycat behaviour on user feedback, stating: “One of the things we regularly hear from all of you is that you want more expressive ways than a “Like” to respond to the variety posts you see in your feed.” Convenient.

Pinterest sets IPO price below last private valuation  
Who’s excited about Pinterest’s impending IPO?! I am (obvs) but maybe not as many people as the company initially hoped, as it’s set the pricing of its initial public offering below its last private market valuation from two years ago. The self-proclaimed discovery platform will sell 75 million shares at a range between $15 and $17 per share when it goes public later this year and it plans to raise about $1.5 billion in its initial offering of shares. This still puts Pinterest’s valuation at a maximum of about $11.3 billion (down from $12.3 billion in 2017) which isn’t too shabby.

Pinterest adds new conversion tools
Ahead of the aforementioned IPO, Pinterest is enhancing its offering to advertisers. It’s added two conversion tools – conversion optimisation for Promoted Pins and conversion goals for Promoted Videos. The former will allow advertisers to optimise Promoted Pin campaigns for specific actions to drive online checkouts, more signups or better leads (rather than just clicks). The latter offers support to advertisers with traffic or conversion goals, requiring a click to open a landing page containing an advertiser’s website and a close-up of the video.

KFC creates virtual Colonel to parody influencer culture
KFC is killing it on the PR front at the moment. Its latest stunt is a super hunky, super cringe virtual representation of the Colonel. Clearly created to take the piss out of those influencers who take themselves a little too seriously on social, the Colonel can be found mounting steeds, looking buff and taking part in Important Business Meetings over on KFC’s Instagram channel. The fact the brand used a virtual creation rather than an actor or a famous face added to the hype and captured the current zeitgeist nicely (check out our 2019 Think Forward Report for more on this trend). Well played KFC.

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Three launches gaming campaign for Instagram Stories
A nice social campaign from mobile network Three – the first-ever interactive 8-bit video game on Instagram Stories. With a retro look and feel, the game is designed to celebrate phone culture. The game comprises a series of stitched-together stories across three levels of increasing difficulty and players have to avoid obstacles with timely tapping. Check out the video below to see it in action.