Facebook Live becomes more accessible
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, which has seen Facebook Live viewers jump 50 per cent in the last month, the social network has announced several new features to make Live more prominent on the platform. These include: the automatic addition of close captions; the removal of geo-gating restrictions, meaning that people without Facebook accounts can now see public Live videos; and a new toggle to Live videos, enabling people in areas with low bandwidth to view important broadcasts without the sound.
Facebook Messenger rolls out a coronavirus community hub
Facebook Messenger has followed the lead of sister platform, WhatsApp, with the launch of its own Messenger Coronavirus (COVID-19) Community Hub. The new hub contains sections on coping with being physically separated from people users care about, supporting community, connecting with healthcare agencies and staying safe from scammers.
Instagram reveals new Co-Watching feature and more
Last week, Instagram unveiled several new updates to help people stay connected throughout the COVID-19 crisis, including the addition of a new Co-Watching feature which enables users to view posts together while they are video chatting. The update also includes new Stickers for Stories, including 'Stay at Home', and features to help downrank posts, ads and Stories which contain false or misleading information about the virus.
YouTube updates its educational resources to help families
YouTube is adding a whole host of resources to its dedicated Learn@Home and YouTube Learnings sites to help families educate their kids during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Both Learn@Home and YouTube Learning are currently available in English, but with plans to add languages such as French, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Spanish in the coming days.
Snapchat shares how it's helping tackle coronavirus
In a recent blog post, Snapchat outlined some of the ways it's helping users cope with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. These include working closely with the World Health Organisation and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure users receive the latest information.
Pinterest launches new ‘Today’ tab
Following a recent boom in usage, Pinterest has announced the launch of its Today tab — a new feature offering curated topics and trending Pins, chosen by Pinterest’s team. The feature is currently available to users in the UK and US, with plans to bring it to more countries in time. Pinterest has also noted that the Today tab will soon also be used to offer expert information from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control.
Pinterest kicks off its Verified Merchant Program
Pinterest is launching a new Verified Merchant Program for retailers on the platform, along with updates to its insights, catalogs and retargeting features. Members of the Verified Merchant Program can display a blue checkmark on their profiles and become eligible for increased distribution and reporting tools.
TikTok donates $10m to WHO’s Solidarity Response Fund
TikTok has said that it will donate $10 million to the World Health Organization‘s Solidarity Response Fund, which undertakes tasks such as sending essential supplies to frontline healthcare workers and accelerating efforts to develop treatments and vaccines. The social network has also pledged to match employee donations to the WHO, the Red Cross and several direct relief programmes.
Reddit introduces Polls to the platform
Reddit has announced that it will be introducing Polls to its platform to enable users to share their opinion by voting on questions shared by fellow Redditors. Polls will be available for all Reddit communities, except text-only communities, and can be open for up to one week.
TikTok brings us #HappyAtHome: LIVE!
Last week, TikTok teamed up with several celebrities and creators to bring users globally #HappyAtHome: LIVE!, a full week of nightly programming - aired daily at 5pm (PT).
Twitch hosts Twitch Stream Aid to help fight coronavirus
On Saturday (March 28th), Twitch hosted a global 12-hour charity livestream, Twitch Stream Aid, to help benefit the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
WHO runs #BuildForCOVID19 global hackathon
The World Health Organization teamed up with a number of leading tech companies including Facebook, Microsoft, Pinterest, Slack, TikTok, Twitter and WeChat - as well as scientists from the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub and experts from other industries - to host the #BuildForCOVID19 global hackathon. The hackathon, which ran from March 26th - 30th, aimed at finding local and global solutions to several key focus areas, including health, business and vulnerable communities.