“Social Media Roundup” is a weekly roundup of news pertaining to all of your favorite websites and applications used for social networking. Published on Sundays, “Social Media Roundup” will help you stay up-to-date on all the important social media news you need to know.
‘Your Time On Facebook’ Starts Rolling Out
Back in August, Facebook announced a new feature called “Your Time On Facebook” that shows you how much time you spend using the social network over the past week. Now this feature is being rolled out globally.
“We typically roll out features slowly so we can catch bugs early and resolve them quickly. We slowed the rollout of the tools after launch so our teams could fix a few bugs before we expanded globally,” said a Facebook spokesperson via TechCrunch. This tool will be rolling out over the next few weeks so you may not see it yet.
Through this feature, you can also set daily limits and receive a notification to stop after a certain number of minutes per day. You can see this feature by going to the “More” tab and then Settings & Privacy > Your Time on Facebook.
This tool is part of a broader initiative by the largest tech companies to help parents and children manage addictions to their devices. Facebook’s Instagram recently launched a similar tool and both Apple and Google have rolled out controls for screen time in the latest versions of their mobile operating systems. This feature is known as “Screen Time” in Apple’s iOS 12 and Google added a “Digital Wellbeing” dashboard to its Android operating system.
Mark Zuckerberg Has No Plans To Step Down As Chairman
In an interview with CNN last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that he is not going to be stepping down as chairman of the company despite the way that the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the Russian interference with the election were handled. Facebook has also been accused of failing to act on fake news spreading in Myanmar and India, which resulted in mob killings. And the company also revealed that 50 million user accounts were compromised in September.
Zuckerberg said a lot of the criticism around the biggest issues have been fair, but he said that there is a “bigger picture as well.” And he said that Facebook has a different worldview than what some of the media has been covering.
When CNN Business asked Zuckerberg whether he would step down as chairman at Facebook, he said: “that’s not the plan.” Zuckerberg added that he is not “going to be doing this forever,” but is not “currently thinking that that makes sense.”
Earlier this month, a bombshell report from The New York Times revealed that Facebook downplayed the Russian interference in the 2016 election initially. And to deal with the blowback of the scandal, Facebook had hired a Republican-linked public relations company called Definers Public Affairs to help manage the controversial incidents. Definers ended up investigating Jewish investor and philanthropist George Soros — who is often targeted by right-wing conspiracy theories with anti-Semitic content.
Following the report, Facebook ended its relationship with Definers Public Affairs and published a response saying that there were inaccuracies in The New York Times story.
Eliot Schrage Takes Responsibility For Hiring Definers
Eliot Schrage, the Head of Communications and Policy at Facebook, recently published a memo accepting responsibility for the hiring of Definers. Schrage said that the social network company asked Definers to do what public relations companies typically do to support a company such as sending press clippings, conducting research and reaching out to reporters.
And some of that work has been considered opposition research. “But I believe it would be irresponsible and unprofessional for us not to understand the backgrounds and potential conflicts of interest of our critics,” said Schrage.
In the memo, Schrage acknowledged that Facebook asked Definers to do work on George Soros. This was because Soros attacked Facebook in a speech at Davos in January 2018 and called the company a “menace to society.”
“We had not heard such criticism from him before and wanted to determine if he had any financial motivation. Definers researched this using public information,” explained Schrage. “Later, when the ‘Freedom from Facebook’ campaign emerged as a so-called grassroots coalition, the team asked Definers to help understand the groups behind them. They learned that George Soros was funding several of the coalition members. They prepared documents and distributed these to the press to show that this was not simply a spontaneous grassroots movement.”
Schrage pointed out that Zuckerberg and Sandberg relied on him to manage these decisions without controversy. And he said that he approved of the decision to hire Definers and similar PR firms.
“Over the past decade, I built a management system that relies on the teams to escalate issues if they are uncomfortable about any project, the value it will provide or the risks that it creates,” wrote Schrage. “That system failed here and I’m sorry I let you all down. I regret my own failure here.”
Zuckerberg’s Support For Sheryl Sandberg
Zuckerberg also showed his support for chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg in the interview with CNN. There were rumors swirling about how Sandberg was worried about her job at the company following the scandals that shook up the company this year.
“Sheryl is a really important part of this company and is leading a lot of the efforts for a lot of the biggest issues that we have,” added Zuckerberg in the interview via CNN. “She’s been an important partner to me for ten years. I’m really proud of the work that we’ve done together and I hope that we work together for decades more to come.”
Instagram is making some improvements to profiles so you may notice some changes to the icons, buttons and tab navigation. However, Instagram said that the photos and videos that you have shared on the grid will not change. Here is what it will look like:
Fake Accounts And Likes Being Removed
To identify accounts that use these services, Instagram built machine learning tools to remove the inauthentic activity. And accounts that have been identified of using third-party apps to boost popularity will be notified to change their password in case their account security has been compromised.
“We’re taking a number of steps to limit this kind of unwelcome behavior. Accounts we identify using these services will receive an in-app message alerting them that we have removed the inauthentic likes, follows and comments given by their account to others. We will also ask them to secure their account by changing their password,” said Instagram in the announcement. “People who use these types of apps share their username and password, and their accounts are sometimes used by third-party apps for inauthentic likes, follows and comments. Not only does this introduce bad behavior into the Instagram community, it also makes these accounts less secure.”
LinkedIn Student Voices
Microsoft’s professional social network is also getting on-board with the Stories trend with the rollout of the “Student Voices” feature. This feature is being tested with student users in the U.S. Short video clips will be added to the top of users’ feeds in the main app — which are called Campus Playlists. On other social platforms, photos and videos can be used in stories.
“Campus playlists are a new video feature that we’re currently rolling out to college students in the US. As we know, students love to use video to capture moments so we’ve created this new product to help them connect with one another around shared experiences on campus to help create a sense of community,” said LinkedIn product manager Isha Patel via TechCrunch.
The videos can be tapped and they appear for seven days, according to Mashable. And the individual videos are timed up to 45 seconds compared to the 10 second limit on other social networks.
This feature has been launching gradually over time and it should be available to all college students in the US soon. It is unknown whether this feature will be rolled out beyond university students. LinkedIn believes that this feature will be a great way for users to share their academic experiences like career fairs, class projects and internships.
New Spectacles With Dual Cameras Reportedly Coming
Snap reportedly has plans to launch a new generation of its Spectacles smart glasses with a dual camera for augmented reality videos by the end of the year, according to Cheddar’s sources. Through the Snapchat app, you would be able to overlay AR lenses and create 3D photo effects with the footage taken from the Spectacles.
The new Spectacles are code-named “Newport.” Snap is also going to use high-end materials for the design. And the price of the new Spectacles is expected to be $350.
iOS App Redesigned To Emphasize Less On Follower Count
According to The Verge, Twitter has redesigned its iOS app that places less of an emphasis on follower counts. This was done by making the font size smaller. The locations, birthdays, mutual followers and join dates have also been made smaller.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently indicated that the company is rethinking how to bring out more “meaningful” conversations on the platform rather than users focusing more on the number of followers, likes and retweets they receive.
Abhijit Bose Named As Head Of WhatsApp India
This past week, Economic Times reported that Abhijit Bose has been hired as the head of WhatsApp India. Bose is joining WhatsApp from Ezetap where he worked as the CEO and co-founder.
And Bose will be responsible for building WhatsApp’s first team outside of California. This team will be based out of Gurgaon, India and Bose will be starting the position in early 2019.
Additional Social Media News
Retailers Are Expecting 32% More Social Messages This Holiday Season
Sprout Social published a new data report about how retailers can expect 32% more social media messages this holiday season compared to the previous year. To conduct the study, Sprout Social analyzed over 2.9 billion messages across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to reveal how retailers fared in previous holiday shopping seasons and what to expect this year.
According to the study, retailers saw a 92% jump in the average messages received between January through October and November to December last year. Facebook is the leading social platform with about double the volume of messages seen during the holiday season by retailers. And Instagram saw growth in 120% more messages per day from November to December 2017 than in 2016. Retailers can also expect a 75% increase in messages per day between November and December 2018 than they saw in January through October 2018.
Based on 2015-2017 data, retailers saw triple the messages from consumers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday than on an average day that corresponding week. And countries outside of the US such as the UK, Brazil, Canada and France saw traffic increases on Twitter for Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.