May has been a busy month for social media. Leaked screenshots have shown a new Facebook tool, backlash about fake news has led social channels to make some changes to their services and we’ve seen some exciting updates added to our favourite social platforms.

Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in social media in May.

 

Facebook is allegedly working on a search engine for influencers

Facebook is making it easier for brands to work with content creators on its platform. Leaked screenshots by allfacebook.de show that Facebook is working on a ‘Branded Content Matching’ tool which will allow advertisers to see a list of content creators, their best work, and information about their audience. Advertisers can then collaborate with these content creators on ad campaigns.

With the whole Cambridge Analytica scandal and GPDR coming into force, Facebook is looking for new ways to make money on its platform, outside of its standard adverts. It also wants to give its best content creators a chance of monetising their content; this seems like a good way of going about it. The content will be good, because it will be made by top content creators with a strong audience base, and for users, the ads won’t feel like ads.

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Twitter makes changes to combat spam

Twitter will now filter out spammy tweets and trolls to ‘improve the health of public conversations.’ It will be looking at specific behaviour cues, like if an account hasn’t confirmed their email address (make sure you confirm yours if you haven’t already!), if the same person signs up for multiple accounts in a very short space of time, and odd tweet behaviour like constantly mentioning and tweeting to people who don’t follow you.

In recent months, Twitter has come under increasing pressure to combat spam and abusive behaviour on the platform, so it’s good to see it finally taking some action.

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Instagram is improving its inbox – making it more business friendly

Instagram has updated Instagram Direct (private messaging on Instagram) for Instagram Business Accounts. Messages from customers will now be a lot more prominent – instead of hidden in the pending folder. Although we still don’t know how Instagram will judge which messages should be in the main inbox folder and which ones should stay in the pending folder.

Businesses will also be able to create quick replies, similarly to Facebook where you can create a set of pre-set replies for frequently asked questions.

Another new feature coming is custom third-party call to action buttons, where users can reserve a table, get tickets to a show, or book without leaving Instagram. Similarly to Facebook, these will be quite limited and tied to Instagram’s selected partners and the functionality they offer.

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Facebook increases transparency around political adverts – it’s pretty eye-opening – check it out!

Facebook has been under tremendous amounts of pressure to act against foreign interferences in politics. Last October, Facebook announced that only authorised advertisers will be able to run adverts about electoral content. Now anyone wishing to run adverts about a political issue in the US on Facebook’s channels, will need to verify their identity and location.

All US political adverts on Facebook and Instagram (including boosted posts), will now have a label saying who the advertiser is. The label will show on the actual advert and will read ‘Paid for by’ – this label will make it clear who the content is sponsored by, especially important when the page name hosting the content doesn’t match the name of the company or person paying for the content. When users click on this label, they’ll be shown the budget for the advert, how many people saw it and basic demographic data of those people (like age, location and gender).

All of these political adverts will now be put into an archive that any member of the public can access and will be visible on that archive for seven years. You can actually have a look now: https://www.facebook.com/politicalcontentads  (just type a keyword into the search box such as ‘Trump’).

Here’s a list of 20 ‘political issues’ Facebook has identified – and advertisers covering one of these topics will need to get authorisation from Facebook. If you have a look at this list, it’s pretty extensive and could impact journalists and news sites. However, Facebook has said it is ‘working closely with news partners and are committed to updating the archive to help differentiate between news and non-news content.’ We’ll have to wait and see how this pans out.

Facebook has started with the US, it will be interesting to see how it will roll this out to the rest of the world and how it will affect us. And, with the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal, could this eventually include ALL adverts on Facebook including brand adverts? We’ll have to wait and see.

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Twitter is also increasing transparency for political content

Like Facebook, Twitter is taking action against political meddling. Ahead of the US midterm elections, it is rolling out labels for the different party candidates so users know which Twitter account actually belongs to that candidate. The small label will appear under their name on their profile pages and also under their name on any tweets they send out. Making it as clear is possible to users which tweets and profiles belong to political candidates.

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Twitter is also cracking down on promoted political content, such as ads that are about the federal elections. Similarly to Facebook, advertisers will need to gain authorisation from Twitter by filling in a form and acknowledging a physical letter sents to them from Twitter to validate their identity.

The Twitter adverts now have to include a label saying who’s paying for the advert, and whether it was authorised by a political candidate.

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Snapchat launches lens that reacts to sound

Okay, so this isn’t as ground-breaking as it sounds – however it could lead to new opportunities further down the line.

The new audio lens in similar to other AR lenses on Snapchat, only that the lens changes when you make a noise. The lens adds pink ears and cat whiskers to your face and when you make a noise, the ears glow and get bigger. So not as groundbreaking as the headlines make it seem. However, it’s good to see voice being used to react to Artificial Reality – and this way of pairing voice with AR has a lot of potential. For games developers for example, it would add another level of immersion to AR games, it could work for adverts and even at events.

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Instagram launches ability to re-share user posts in stories

If you’re a keen Instagram user, you may have already spotted this. Instagram’s new update lets users share Instagram posts to their stories.

This could be big for brands because, when a post is shared in your story, the username of the original poster will be visible with an option to see more of the original poster’s feed.

To share a post to your story, just click on the airplane icon under the post in the same way you would when sending it as a DM. You can only do it with public accounts, and users can opt out of this if they want to as well.

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This story was written by automotive PR specialists Torque Agency Group.