Facebook’s Clubhouse competitor is on its way
We’ve been keeping our eyes (and ears) open for audio offerings from Facebook, and now the wait is (almost) over, as the platform has announced at least three audio features set to launch in coming months. So what have we got to look forward to? Firstly, Soundbites, which is a new format for creative, short-form audio, allowing you to change your sound via filters and other effects. Podcasts are also a promising offer from the channel, partnering with Spotify to bring long-form audio to the app. And finally, Clubhouse-style audio rooms will be making an appearance, with participants able to tip creators with Facebook’s digital currency, Stars. With a timeline of three to six months until the launch of these features, it’s time to invest in a good set of headphones.

Reddit unveils Reddit Talk
The Clubhouse competitors are coming in thick and fast, with Reddit announcing its social audio product, called Reddit Talk. Yet to be rolled out in full, the company has given users a ‘sneak preview’ into the feature. Currently only subreddit moderators will be able to initiate a Talk and Talk hosts will have the ability to invite, mute and remove speakers. Audio isn’t the only thing Reddit is tackling, with the platform exploring how it can improve its search experience; it's doubled the number of people working on this area.

Instagram is testing ads in Reels
In a surprise to no-one, ads are coming to Instagram Reels. The ads can be up to 30 seconds and will appear similar to the ones you see in Stories. However, in Reels, people can comment, like, view, save, share and skip ads. Sticker ads are also rolling out across the platform via select advertisers and creators. The stickers will allow creators to get a cut of advertising revenue, with more organic product placement a departure from more obvious brand shoutouts seen across Instagram.

Instagram launches tools to filter out abusive DMs
Your DMs getting you down? Well worry no longer, as Instagram is introducing a new way for people to shield themselves from harassment on the platform. The new tool filters out any messages that contain offensive terms, phrases or emojis, targeting DMs from accounts that a user does not already follow. You’ll also have the chance to curate your own personalised list of terms of emojis that you don’t want to allow in your DM requests, making it easier to avoid mean messages. Ta-ra trolls!

You can now tweet pictures in 4K on Twitter
When it comes to images, Twitter has been lingering on the low-res side when it comes to mobile. Now pixelated pictures are a thing of the past, as the platform is letting all users tweet and view pictures in 4K on iOS and Android. Twitter’s web app already supports high-res images, but the mobile app has been trailing behind, with resolution limited to half that of the web version. With apps more visual than ever before, this is an overdue move from Twitter that’ll allow you to post those pics on the go without compromising on quality.

Twitter adds backgrounds for Fleets on iOS
Twitter is looking to make Fleets more appealing. In its latest update, you can now add backgrounds to Fleets, whether that’s colours, videos or photos. Now, when you go to compose a Fleet, you’ll be able to tap on the camera to access your photos, from which you’ll be able to select an image or video for your Fleet background.

Oculus rolls out new avatars
Oculus avatars have had a fresh lick of paint, offering more customisable options to allow for a more expressive end result. The new avatar editor has countless combinations of hair, eyes, body type, facial hair, and other features. However, there’s no gender toggle, with the editor instead allowing you to tweak each facial feature, down to each wrinkle. Initially rolling out in just a few games, Oculus will eventually open its new avatar SDK to all developers. Studying behavioural traits to make the characters as real as possible, Oculus have stepped it up a level when it comes to the world of avatars.

Oculus avatar editor

Facebook is making it easier to export text posts
Big news for bloggers! Facebook is now allowing users to archive their posts and transfer a copy of the data onto Google Docs, WordPress, or Blogger. This means that all your wonderful words can be easily transferred to sites other than Facebook, convenient for users who want to share specific posts or notes that have been created through the platform. You can access the tool by opening Facebook settings, clicking on ‘Your Facebook Information,’ then selecting ‘Transfer a Copy of Your Information.’

Social platforms mark the 93rd Academy Awards
Last night the stars were out in force as they gathered for the biggest night in the Hollywood calendar; the Oscars. Yet with COVID-19 keeping the fans at home, social platforms came out in force to bring the movie magic to their mobiles. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences teamed up with Facebook for the occasion, delivering interactive, real-time virtual experiences across multiple platforms. Vanity Fair and Instagram collaborated to have photographer Quil Lemons capture portrait photos and Reels of nominees, presenters and winners, whilst a live Messenger Room on Facebook gave fans access to live interviews with winners fresh off the stage. With all these fab features, who needs the red carpet?

Lavazza launch The Vanishing Colour for Earth Day
With Earth Day an important time to reflect on the problems faced by our planet, We Are Social Milan worked with Lavazza in collaboration with Pantone Color Institute to create a campaign that educates people about deforestation. ‘The Vanishing Colour’ is a symbol of the fight against the destruction of the lungs of the planet.

Lavazza

Ones to watch
Facebook launches tests to inform future changes to its News Feed algorithms and tests topic targeting for in-stream video ads. Twitter launches test of 'professional profiles' for brands and creators.