Instagram launches ‘Live Rooms’
The people asked and Instagram listened. The platform is launching “Live Rooms,” which allow up to four people to broadcast live together at the same time. Up to this point, Instagram Lives have been a strictly one-to-one experience. The platform hopes that by expanding this limit, it will open up more creative opportunities to allow for things like live talk shows, expanded Q&As or interviews, live shopping experiences and more. To start a Live Room, swipe left and select the Live camera option, then title the Room and tap the Room icon to add guests. This is bound to be a hot new feature for Instagram, with livestreams aiding creators in growing their following and encouraging a greater variation of creativity.
Twitter users on Android can now join Spaces
From Elon Musk to Chrissy Teigen, people have been getting to grips with the rise of audio over the last few months. However, if you’ve wanted to participate up to this point, you’d had to have been an iPhone user. Twitter has come to the rescue, making their audio chat, Spaces, available to Twitter users on Android. The exact date that this will come into action has not yet been announced, but the company has said both Android and iOS users will be able to start and listen to Spaces “soon.” Spaces may have struck gold by heading to Android before Clubhouse, finally giving those users a taste of the audio life. When will Clubhouse make the move? Watch this space.
WhatsApp adds voice and video calling to desktop app
Desperate to keep everything to your desktop? WhatsApp is here to help, by rolling out support for voice and video calling to its desktop app. This means that rather than having to reach for your phone, you can conduct voice and video calls, along with normal text messaging, all in one place. The WhatsApp desktop app, which is nearly five years old, will only support one-to-one calls for now, but the app is looking to expand this feature to include group video and voice calls in the future. Got to go, Grandma’s calling!
Snapchat tests Stickers featuring avatars in Wheelchairs
Disability visibility on social media hasn’t always been up to scratch. Snapchat and Bitmoji are increasing their efforts in this area by testing a set of stickers that feature Snapchatters’ avatars in a manual wheelchair. Working closely with the company's disability rights advisor, the aim is to create avatars that reflect and represent the diversity of the Snapchat community. The details of the wheelchairs have been greatly considered, including the arm guard, foot rest and seat fabric. Snapchat users that are interested in testing the stickers can open the Bitmoji application or the Bitmoji Keyboard, and type “wheelchair” into the search bar.
Messenger Kids releases women’s history month sticker pack
It’s International Women’s Day! To celebrate, Messenger Kids has released a sticker pack designed to help empower girls to express themselves and tell their own stories. The stickers can be accessed by capturing a photo or video with the app’s camera and then tapping the sticker icon at the bottom of the screen. Pavnia Diawnji, the app’s vice president of engineering said “As girls on Messenger Kids grow into young women, I hope these stickers can help kick-start supportive conversations and encourage them to follow their dreams to become the next generation of leaders, artists, scientists, athletes and more.” Time to sticker up, kids!
TikTok calls in outside help with content moderation in Europe
TikTok is forming a Safety Advisory Council to help with content moderation in Europe. The council will be made up of external experts in the region, in fields such as child safety, young people’s mental health and extremism. The platform has previously run into difficulties in regards to content moderation, which has led to a series of coordinated complaints by EU consumer protection agencies which have reported a number of alleged breaches of the bloc’s consumer protection and privacy rules. The new council will hopefully keep these issues at bay, bringing fresh perspectives on challenges that the app faces and coming up with logical and effective solutions.
Twitter tackles misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines
As the world gets vaccinated, Twitter is the latest platform tackling the spread of misinformation about this subject on the platform. Tweets that share misleading information about COVID-19 vaccines will be labelled, publishing links to relevant information from official bodies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For repeat misinformation offenders, Twitter has introduced a five-strike system that can result in locked accounts and permanent suspension. If the platform deems a tweet particularly dangerous, it may delete it outright, counting as two strikes. Five strikes, and you’re out.