A new month means new platform updates. What are the key social media updates you need to be aware of?
TikTok launches new research initiative
As a result of increasing pressures from social media regulators, TikTok are set on proving that they are not censoring certain content by providing academics and researchers with access to new API access points to the system. This access will enable them to gain more insight into how TikTok’s algorithm actually works.
This stems from a leaked document in 2020, that revealed TikTok moderators were instructed to suppress content containing people who were “too ugly, poor, or disabled for the platform”. This was allegedly carried out through the app’s AI which is able to detect physical elements.
This could be a beneficial way for TikTok to solidify support and understanding, while also providing newer insights into what is driving its success.
TikTok’s update makes videos more globally accessible
TikTok has announced two accessibility updates: auto captions and translations. Though the app already supports captions for video uploads, viewers now have the option to enable closed captions while watching, if they wish.
As well as this, video captions, text stickers and descriptions now support translations, making a wider range of videos from all across the world accessible to more people.
Both of these features are currently compatible with English, Portuguese, German, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish and Turkish.
Instagram halts its attempts at being the new TikTok
Following its recent update, Instagram users have called the app out for trying too hard to replicate the roaring success of TikTok.
With the update came the removal of the chronological timeline, making it near impossible for users to see content posted by those they actually follow. This resulted in a petition launched by Tati Bruening to get the app back to its roots of photo sharing.
This petition gained traction fast, and even Kylie Jenner jumped on board expressing her dislike for the update. Since then, the petition has gained more than 225k supporters.
Chief of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, has since responded to this outcry by reassuring users that he will halt the app’s full screen format test and scale back AI-recommended posts. However, while Mosseri listened to the masses, CEO of Meta, Mark Zuckerberg, has not been as lenient by reminding users that the amount of content displayed to users based on AI recommendations, will double over the next year.
So, even though the app recognises its unappreciated attempts at trying to be TikTok, the Instagram feed will be changing in line with broader trends.
Instagram may be launching Public Broadcasting Chats
Just as a telegram works, Instagram is supposedly looking to launch a one-to-many messaging feature called Public Broadcast Chats.
This will allow creators to reach their most engaged fans by broadcasting a message that others read and react to, but cannot post a message of their own to. Messages could incentivise followers to subscribe by offering benefits such as exclusive updates or sneak peeks of upcoming content.
As a brand, you will get feedback from followers through reactions, making this feature low-maintenance in terms of community management, as users will not be able to spam, troll or leave abusive messages.
Instagram has not released any word on when this feature could possibly launch.
Instagram Reels have levelled up
Official reports state that all new videos uploaded to the app, 15 mins and under, will be shared as Reels from now on. Old videos will remain unchanged, but they will now appear in the Reels tab on a user’s profile.
The benefits of using Reels over standard videos goes hand in hand with improving your discoverability, as more users will see recommended Reels on their feed.
An update on Reels Remix was also announced. The algorithm rewards early adoption, so it is best to get started with using Remixes and Templates.
Finally, Instagram has also confirmed that you can access Reels templates from the Reels creation page, as well as confirming a new dual camera feature.
YouTube announces its ‘Edit into a Short’ feature
Short form video is dominating social media platforms, and with 1.5 billion YouTube users interacting with YouTube shorts every month, it only makes sense for the platform to continue updating with this in mind.
Creators will now be able to convert segments of their existing long-form content into minute-long Shorts variations.
The Shorts conversion process will still include all the regular Shorts editing tools and you will also be able to add new video segments to your converted clips or even include sections from your existing content.
All Shorts you create via this process will link back to the original long-form video, so that users can easily connect with the full content.
YouTube tests a new product tagging feature
For its latest creator feature, YouTube is testing a new shopping tool that allows creators to tag products in videos. Viewers will then browse these products on the video through an on-screen pop up, which redirects them to the retailer’s website if clicked.
YouTube creators currently do not earn commission from sales generated. Instead their revenue comes from the number of clicks their product tags in the description box generate. With this new feature appearing in front of the viewer’s eyes, the likelihood is that it will increase product clicks and generate more revenue for the creator.
Embedding the product tags into the video is much more sophisticated, as it allows viewers to browse without having to leave YouTube.
New ‘Status’ Markers in Tweets
Users will have the opportunity to add a status indicator to their Tweets with 17 activity options to choose from; including ‘Hot Take’, ‘Travelling’, ‘Shower Thoughts’ and ‘A Case of the Mondays’. These will be added to the Tweets and displayed in-stream like this:
The hope is that brands will also be able to utilise this tool by announcing a ‘Countdown’ to a new launch.
At this stage, you cannot customise your own Status Markers, but who’s to say this won’t come to fruition in a later update once the initial tool has been rolled out to everyone.
Explainer Notes are now embedded in edited Tweets
After years of hesitation towards letting users edit Tweets, as this could alter their original meaning, Twitter has finally announced a way to provide relevant context to edited Tweets without causing confusion.
Both versions of the Tweet will still be available just with contextualising embeds, as seen here:
‘Last edited’ and ‘There’s a new version of this Tweet’ are implemented with the hope of avoiding confusion among users as to which is the original content; ensuring transparency.
Though it isn’t the edit button that Twitter has confirmed to be working on since April, it is a start and seems as though it is fairly easy to use and navigate. Hopefully users’ positive interactions with this update will provide a pathway to the app realising that a simple editing button is all they needed to implement from the start.
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