Social Media Platform News and Updates for OCTOBER 2023
The social media industry is in constant flux, marked by innovation, privacy concerns, and the growing influence of AI. Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has unveiled AI-powered features, including celebrity-voiced chat assistants and creative tools on Instagram. Questions arise about the impact of character-driven chatbots on user engagement. LinkedIn introduces AI elements to enhance Sales Navigator, while Pinterest uses AI to improve image representation. X (Twitter), on the other hand, discontinues its Circles feature, reflecting the evolving landscape of social media. These updates and more provide a glimpse into the dynamic future of the industry. Happy reading!
Social media updates for Meta
Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, announced several new AI-based features at its 2023 Connect conference. The headline announcement is an AI chat assistant tool that will be integrated into all of Meta's apps. What sets it apart is the ability to choose different celebrity voices for the AI chatbot, enhancing familiarity and engagement. Other AI-related features include AI image editing for Instagram, generative AI stickers, and a new AI studio for creating custom AI engagement systems. Meta also unveiled updates to its smart glasses and a new VR headset.
Meta is set to introduce AI chatbots with distinct personalities across its social media apps. Users can engage with chatbots with up to 30 different personas, such as surfer dude or historical figures. Meta believes these character-driven chatbots will attract young users and create a cool novelty factor. While this may initially generate interest and conversations, the long-term impact of such chatbots on engagement remains to be seen. It could be a promotional tool to boost awareness of Meta's AI advancements and retain users within its apps.
Meta has published a guide to its automation and generative AI ad tools for marketers, focusing on helping them prepare for the holiday season. The guide covers Meta's AI ad tools, including the Advantage+ suite and creative automation features, which automate various aspects of ad creation, from background generation to targeting. It also offers tips on effective ad account structure, messaging for businesses, and planning holiday campaigns. Meta's automation tools have evolved significantly, making it easier for advertisers to optimize their Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns. Read more
Social media updates for LinkedIn
LinkedIn is introducing new AI elements for Sales Navigator to make it easier for users to search for information and connect with leads. It includes a "Filter with AI" feature to refine searches using conversational language and an "Account IQ" option that summarizes essential information on potential contacts. These additions expand LinkedIn's use of generative AI to improve user experiences and insights. The platform also offers free, generative AI courses to help members enhance their AI knowledge.
LinkedIn is partnering with CoderPad to launch 33 new software development courses and interactive coding exercises. These courses cover various coding languages and are free until December 18th. The move recognizes the growing demand for coding skills and the impact of AI on the workforce. Enhancing coding skills can help individuals adapt to changing technology and job opportunities.
LinkedIn is enhancing accessibility on its platform by integrating Microsoft's "Immersive Reader" system. All articles published directly on LinkedIn will now be processed through this system, offering features like text-to-speech and translations. This initiative aims to make content more accessible to differently-abled audiences and improve the overall user experience.
Social media updates for Instagram
Instagram is testing a new feature that allows users to add location tags to their Notes queries. This update aims to make it easier for users to share their thoughts, moods, and even places with their connections. Instagram's Notes feature, launched in December of the previous year, lets users add short 60-character notes viewable by all their connections at the top of their inbox. This feature has proven popular, especially with younger users. Instagram is expanding it with additional functionality like audio clips, song highlights, and location tags to maximize engagement.
Instagram is testing a privacy feature that allows users to hide their like activity from others. Users can hide their likes from non-followers, limit visibility to close friends, or hide likes from everyone. This move aligns with the broader trend toward increased privacy in social media, similar to features offered by other platforms like Twitter. The goal is to make users feel more comfortable engaging on the platform while reducing potential stigma or association with certain types of content.
Instagram is expanding its virtual gifts feature for Reels creators to more regions. Creators can receive gifts from viewers through a dedicated button on their Reels clips. These gifts are purchased using Meta's in-app currency, Stars, and creators earn money based on the Stars they receive. To be eligible, creators must have over 5,000 followers, a professional account, and meet other requirements. While it may not be a game-changer for most, it offers an additional income stream for creators and encourages them to continue posting to the platform. Read more
Social media updates for Pinterest
Pinterest is using AI to help users find images that align with their body shape, enhancing representation across related feeds and search results. This new feature identifies body shape, size, and form in images to provide more personalized and diverse search results. Additionally, Pinterest is launching a Creator Inclusion Fund for North American creators who share content related to different body types.
For more engagement options, Pinterest is introducing new ad products and display options, including Premiere Spotlight ad units in user home feeds, Showcase ads, and Quiz ads. These updates offer brands more opportunities to engage with users in a visually appealing way. Pinterest is also adding direct links and integrations for easier management of shoppable Pins.
Pinterest is emphasizing personalized recommendations through AI and unique buyer intent signals. The platform's investment in AI development, based on user activity such as saves and searches, aims to offer users more relevant and engaging ads. Pinterest is positioning itself as a valuable platform for retail advertisers, especially as it continues to refine its AI systems and increase personalization.
Social media updates for X (Twitter)
Twitter's Circles Feature Deprecated: Twitter is shutting down its Circles feature as part of its transition into X. Elon Musk, the owner of X, had expressed plans to discontinue Circles, and now the official end date is set for October 31, 2023. Circles was introduced last year as part of Twitter's effort to facilitate more private group interactions, but it needed to gain significant traction. Users who want to keep their Circle contacts must unfollow and refollow those profiles.
X's Audio and Video Calls as Premium Features: X is reportedly planning to make its upcoming audio and video calling features available only to X Premium subscribers. While X has shared details about these features, it hasn't been confirmed whether they will be accessible to all users or restricted to paying subscribers. This move aligns with X's strategy to boost X Premium subscriptions, aiming to increase revenue and combat bot activity on the platform.
Verified-Only Replies on X: X is developing a new feature allowing users to restrict replies to their posts to verified users only. This "Verified Only" reply restriction encourages interactions among paying X Premium subscribers and could prompt more users to sign up for X Premium. X also plans to introduce a cheaper subscription tier called "X Basic" to attract more users to its Premium package.
Social media updates for TikTok
TikTok is expanding its features to focus more on social engagement. The app has posted several job listings indicating its intent to develop messaging, new sharing functions, in-stream chats, and more to enable users to connect with real-life friends on TikTok. This shift suggests TikTok's aim to keep users engaged within the app instead of sharing content off-platform and may involve replicating some features of Meta's apps.
TikTok has partnered with TransUnion to provide multi-touch attribution within TikTok campaigns. This partnership uses TransUnion's "TruAudience" framework, which offers insights into the effectiveness of marketing channels and touchpoints in customer journeys. This move is particularly significant as data restrictions from companies like Google and Apple are forcing marketers to find new data sources to optimize campaigns.
TikTok is introducing in-stream labels for AI-generated content to increase transparency. Users creating posts using AI will need to label their content accordingly to avoid removal. This measure addresses potential confusion or misinformation caused by AI-generated content on the platform.
Social media updates for Snapchat
Snapchat is implementing several safety enhancements for young users. It will now display warning labels on accounts trying to connect with teen users with no mutual contacts, helping protect them from strangers. A strike system for accounts promoting inappropriate content will be introduced to deter rule violations. Snap is also providing new resources and explainers for parents and teens to educate them about online safety. These measures aim to improve safety for young users on the platform.
Snapchat has filed a patent for an "image-based valuation system" allowing users to estimate the value of items by scanning them with the Snap camera. The system uses computer vision to identify items and provide price estimates based on basic identifiers. While it's unclear where Snap will source its valuations, this feature could be valuable for collectors and those looking to sell items. It may also enhance Snap's understanding of user interests for ad targeting.
Snap Inc. is shutting down its Augmented Reality Services for Business (ARES) platform less than six months after its launch. ARES allowed businesses to utilize Snap's AR tools in their own apps, with a focus on retail. The decision to close the division and cut 170 jobs was driven by the platform's cost, technical challenges, and the evolving AR landscape. Snap will continue to support CameraKit partners and expand its Sponsored AR business.
Social media updates for WhatsApp
WhatsApp Expanding Business Features: Meta-owned WhatsApp is expanding its business offerings with a new feature called "WhatsApp Flows." This feature will enable businesses worldwide to offer more transactional processes within the app, such as choosing seats, ordering meals, and booking appointments without leaving the chat. WhatsApp is also enhancing its in-stream payment options in India, allowing users to add items to their cart and pay using various methods, including UPI apps, and debit and credit cards, through partnerships with Razorpay and PayU. Meta Verified, a program that verifies business profiles, will soon include WhatsApp, granting verified businesses a blue checkmark, direct support, and discoverable WhatsApp pages.
WhatsApp's Interoperability Feature: WhatsApp is working on a "Third Party Chats" section that will enable users of other chat apps to send messages to WhatsApp users. This move aligns with the EU's Digital Markets Act, which requires significant apps to allow third-party interoperability. While Meta has been working on its own cross-platform interoperability, this new measure will require Meta to open up its platform to outside tools, potentially impacting its growth and adoption.
Meta is introducing animated avatar stickers on WhatsApp as part of its ongoing efforts to integrate avatars across its platforms and guide users toward the metaverse. These stickers allow users to add animated versions of their digital avatars to WhatsApp chats, expanding their usage within Meta's ecosystem. Meta's push into avatars includes features like avatar profile pictures, simulated profile backgrounds, and avatars in video calls. By familiarizing users with interacting through avatars, Meta aims to make this mode of communication more natural and engaging as it envisions a future where digital personas play a central role in interactions.
Social media updates for YouTube
YouTube is experimenting with a full-screen viewing experience for vertical live streams on its mobile app. This new format aims to enhance the immersive viewing experience of live content, making it similar to Instagram or TikTok. Creators can stream vertically through mobile devices or desktop streaming software, and these streams will be visible to eligible viewers in the Shorts section of the YouTube app. The move is part of YouTube's efforts to tap into the popularity of short-form content like Shorts and provide more engaging display options for viewers.
YouTube introduces several creative tools and features, including its first generative AI elements. One of these new features, "Dream Screen," allows creators to add AI-generated images or video backgrounds to their YouTube Shorts. Creators can use simple text prompts to customize their backgrounds.
YouTube is also launching "YouTube Create," a video editing and creation app that offers various editing options, including audio clean-up, auto-captions, filters, effects, transitions, and access to royalty-free music. Additionally, YouTube is testing an AI ideas generator, an automatic dubbing tool for expanding content to more languages, and assistive search in Creator Music.