Social Media

Facebook Adds New Features for Panoramic Pictures

facebookLast year, Facebook added the ability to upload panoramic photos to their platform for all users. They have now chosen to extend this ability to make it so that users will be able to capture panoramic photos using the Facebook app rather than having to use a device that is able to take these panoramic photos or a different app to allow these to be taken. This means that all users who have the Facebook app can begin taking these photos and using them on Facebook.

 

The update has now rolled out to both iOS and Android so anyone using the Facebook app will be able to use this new feature. Users will be able to just open their Facebook app and then click on the 360 photo option that is at the top of their news feed. This will allow them to start taking panoramic pictures directly from the app on their phone so that they can then use the different photos on Facebook.

 

Facebook allows you to share the 360 degree photos that you take with your friends as you would normally. They even have additional options that will allow you to choose the starting view for the photo that will display on people’s news feeds. The photo can be used around Facebook and shared with friends via timeline posts, albums, or even on group pages. You’ll even be able to tag friends in the photos that you take.

 

In addition to making these pictures usable just about anywhere around Facebook, the update also makes it so that you can use a panoramic photo from either the app or any other source as your cover photo on your profile page. This change is the first that has been made to cover photos since they were initially introduced to Facebook. The change will allow users to make the cover photo on their page something that is more fun.

Instagram Update Allows Users to Communicate With Pictures

In a new update, Instagram has started to allow users to respond to pictures in direct messages that use images as a response. While this may sound complicated, it is actually something that is fairly simple and had the intention of simplifying interactions between users. The feature makes it easier for people to specify exactly what their direct messages are in response to by creating whatever you’re responding to as a sticker that will then go into your reply image. The feature is one that provides a person with a greater amount of versatility when responding to images on Instagram.

 

This update is an addition to the direct messaging that already exists within Instagram. To use the new feature, simply tap on the reply button on the photo or video that you would like to reply to. This image will then be turned into a sticker that you can then overlay your reaction on. For example, you could have the sticker version of what you are responding to and then in the background you could be making a face showing your response to this image.

 

You are able to further use this sticker in your responses by drawing on the sticker itself and moving it around to fit with whatever your response is. By allowing further editing, Instagram is providing people with a further way to interact with the image and express their response more clearly while staying fairly visual and much more fun.

 

By adding this feature into Instagram, the hope is that conversing with friends via Instagram will become something that is a lot more fun to do. The visual elements of this new feature show ways in which Instagram is further competing with Snapchat. If people are more attracted to Instagram’s version of communicating through images, they may be less likely to use apps like Snapchat in the future.

Instagram Tests a New Update to Live Streaming

instagram live chatFollowing in Facebook’s footsteps, Instagram is planning a new update that will allow people using Instagram live to invite a friend, family member, or fan to join them during the stream. The hope is that many users will enjoy using this feature to chat with friends and make their live streams more interesting. Many people are seeing this feature as one that will allow for more useful back and forth dialogue with people who are not actively in the room with you when you are live streaming.

 

Since Facebook released a similar feature in May, it is no surprise that Instagram has followed by beginning testing of their new version of Instagram Live. The new version will allow users to invite anyone viewing their live stream to join the video. Once guests are live with you, either you can decide when you are done talking to them or they can leave the live stream themselves.

 

You can easily add a friend to your live stream just by tapping a new icon that will appear at the bottom right showing two smiley faces. Once you have added the person you are interested in talking to and they have accepted, the screen will be split in half and both people will be visible on the live stream until the second person is removed or removes themselves.

 

Splitting the screen evenly is a new design from the typical FaceTime model where one person appears much smaller than the other. Instagram is hoping that by splitting the screen, they’ll be visually representing an even back and forth between two people. Currently the feature is only available to a randomly selected group of users while it goes through its trial period. In next few months, Instagram plans to roll out the feature officially.

Facebook Further Updates News Feed to Prioritize Certain Articles

facebookFor the last few months, Facebook has been working on improvements to their news feed to make it easier for them to restrict access to fake and click-bait type articles while providing a better user experience for those who use Facebook as a place to obtain news and information. Their newest update is one that focuses on eliminating website links that are to sites with slow loading web pages.

 

Facebook’s new update to the News Feed algorithm will be looking at how fast links from different sources load and ranking the ones that are faster loading further up on the page. They hope that with this change, they’ll be able to make the user experience a lot better for their users. The change should allow users to spend a lot more time reading the stories that they find rather than waiting for pages to load.

 

Adding this new change came about since people looking for interesting articles to read and share online are often annoyed by stories that load up slowly. By implementing this change, Facebook will be able to decrease the reach of stories that load too slowly pressuring the sites to change the way that their pages load or to resolve to live without spreading on Facebook in a way that allows them to reach the highest number of users.

 

The changes to the News Feed will roll out slowly over the months to come, allowing different publishers to make any adjustments that will be needed to ensure that their links continue to come up on the News Feed in the future. The change may also benefit Facebook’s Instant Articles as these will be ones that will load up quickly meaning that publishers may choose to use this program instead of fixing problems with load times on their normal platforms.

Twitter’s New Update to Notifications Shows A Different Type of Notification

twitter notificationsTwitter recently updated its notifications tab to include a feature that is set up to show you what the people you follow are doing on Twitter. These new notifications will remind you to join the conversation by tweeting about something that is trending, show you when those you follow share links to a popular article, and let you know when they follow another user’s account. While this has been testing for the last year, the feature was finally launched this week.

 

The new feature is something that Twitter added to make sure that users wouldn’t miss content they might be interested in. By analyzing what people you are following do, it attempts to share information that you might otherwise miss when logging into Twitter after a while. As Twitter users often share many tweets each day and many people follow a lot of different accounts, it would be easy to miss something in this shuffle.

 

One of the disadvantages of the new feature is that it has made Twitter’s notifications tab a lot more crowded as there are more notifications that appear in this tab. For someone who spends minimal time on Twitter, the number of notifications that come in could be more difficult to deal with as a result. Those who don’t want as many of these new notifications cluttering their notifications tab can select “see less often” and then have some of them filtered out.

 

Many Twitter users have already started to complain about this feature. Some have been asking about a way to block these new notifications entirely so that they don’t end up checking their app for a Twitter notification that doesn’t relate to their personal tweets or the tweets of those they are following. As of now, it seems there is no way to block the new notifications entirely.

Twitter Claims the New Anti Abuse Features are Helping

twitterWith the year half over, Twitter is claiming that the anti abuse features that they have put into place are getting results. At the beginning of the year, Twitter said it would be focusing more on preventing a lot of the abuse that was taking place on the platform. Twitter has since implemented a range of different features to stop abuse and to hide it from view. They are happy with the results that they are seeing so far.

Over the years, Twitter has often been criticized for focusing on small cosmetic issues on their site and similar features, while letting abuse on their platform go unchecked. The new features have shown that Twitter is willing to step up and take the abuse on the platform a lot more seriously. As a result of their new features, they have been able to catch abuse more often and to prevent further incidents of abuse by letting users know why their accounts are suspended or limited after an incident.

 

Twitter announced that due to its new anti abuse features, they have been seeing significantly less abuse than at the beginning of the year. The new policies and features have resulted in a lot more warnings being sent out to different accounts, as well as more users being temporarily limited. In some cases, Twitter has even managed to suspend accounts that were particularly abusive. They are hopeful that by taking this firmer stance on abuse they’ll be able to limit the abuse users are experiencing.

 

While Twitter feels that they have made significant changes to the platform, many users are not satisfied with the changes. Many people feel that Twitter is still not doing enough to limit the abuse on their platform. Some even see these new changes as mostly cosmetic in nature, hiding abuse rather than removing it from the platform entirely. Twitter has acknowledged the fact that there is a lot still to do when it comes to preventing abuse on their platform.

Twitter Adds Additional Filters to Mute Abusive Accounts

mute accountsOne of the problems that Twitter has continued to struggle with is all the abusive and trolling comments that are on the platform. This is a common problem that comes partially from how global and public the social media network is. Since strangers all over the world can see tweets of other strangers, it is easy for abusive accounts to thrive. While users are allowed to set accounts to private, most don’t as this can keep them from connecting with people they are hoping to connect with. The new filters are intended to help users protect themselves, while allowing their account to remain open to the public.

 

The new filter options allow you to block notifications that come from accounts that are the most likely to be trolls. You’ll now be able to mute notifications that come from new accounts that you don’t follow, accounts that don’t follow you that you also don’t follow, or even just all accounts that don’t follow you. These new filters are targeted at protecting you from unwanted spam and from abusive comments as well.

 

The new filter options are actually an addition to an earlier update that allowed users to mute notifications from those without a profile picture, without a confirmed email address or phone number, and accounts that a user didn’t follow. The new filters are easy to access by going into notifications on your app, clicking on settings, and then checking the boxes for your preferred filters. This allows users to mute the types of accounts that they are personally more concerned with.

 

While the new filter settings are designed to help curb abusive and troll-like behavior on the platform, the problem isn’t completely solved by this feature. As Twitter users have to opt into the different filters, they may still leave the different accounts not muted if they don’t realize that this feature is out there or know this, but choose to see these different notifications. It is a step in limiting harassment and trolling, but Twitter still is far from solving this problem entirely.

Instagram Releases New Functions to Block Offensive Comments and Spam

instagramInstagram recently released its plans to crack down on the offensive comments and spam that often fills the comment sections of videos and pictures shared on this social media site. Their new filters for comments will work to block certain types of offensive comments and to prevent spam. Of these filters, the spam filter is one that is going to take effect most widely as it can weed out spam in nine languages rather than just English.

 

The new feature that Instagram is now using for blocking spam and offensive comments is one that is built using new AI programming. The program is designed with recent advances in machine learning which are meant to help the filter better understand the context within a comment. The goal is to eventually have this program trained to block offensive comments without having a lot of false positives. There are still certain phrases that are creating false positives, but the new filter has been implemented on Instagram since it has proven to be effective.

 

Now that this feature is available, Instagram has made it so this is something that users have to opt out of rather than opting in. The filter is set to be on by default, but can be turned off manually if users wish to view comments that it would otherwise be filtered out. By adding this filter and making it so the filter is automatically on, even those who aren’t very tech savvy or those new to Instagram will be able to benefit from the new filter. Filtering out offensive comments automatically will help to protect self-expression on Instagram.

 

The new steps that Instagram is taking are in hopes that they will be able to make Instagram more welcoming to all people. Their filter strikes back against body shaming, racism, and other types of hateful language that can often be seen in the comments of Instagram. Many users are already praising Instagram for taking steps to prevent these hateful comments. Even with this filter enabled, Instagram users will be able to continue reporting any comments that may get through the filter while this program continues to expand. The offensive comment filter will be updated to work in other languages in the future.

Facebook Rolls Out Discover Tool to Help Users Interact with Bots

Discover toolThis week, Facebook launched a new bot discovery tool with the aim to make it far easier for users to find different bots and businesses through messenger. The goal is to place bots so that users can find the ones that are most relevant to their life and their interests. This new update is an extension of previous ones introducing bots and trying to work to make them a bit more relevant on Facebook.

 

So far, Facebook has been struggling to make chatbots relevant additions to Facebook. In March, they acknowledged that bots had hit a failure rate of at least seventy percent. With most bots being unable to communicate effectively and help users with problems, the use of bots has been minimal. Many of these early bots had trouble with bugs in addition to issues answering questions in an effective way. The hope is that in the future, this technology can be ironed out more so that the bots will be much more relevant and helpful to the average user.

 

Facebook’s new update to messenger is making the Discover section into something that is more logical for everyday use. The feature organizes the different bots and makes them much easier to find by people typing in the names of companies or relevant keywords. Many have been hopeful that bots might be something that completely revolutionizes how business is done. At the very least, there is hope that bots can replace extra apps on a phone by helping to place food orders and to ask questions of different businesses. The hope is that Discover will help to make these bots usable to more Facebook users.

 

To use the Discover tool, just tap the Discover icon located in the lower right hand corner of the messenger home screen. From there you’ll open a screen that will allow you to browse bots and businesses by category, recently visited, and featured. This will make it easier for you to find bots that are ones that are the most relevant to you and your specific interests.

Twitter Introduces Redesign of Their App for Mobile, Desktop, and Web Use

speech bubbleTwitter has rolled out a new redesign of their app that is available for mobile, desktop, and web use. The new design targets parts of the app that were previously cluttered and confusing and works toward streamlining the app on the whole. This update also has some specific additions for iOS users including an update that makes it so links to articles and websites come up in a Safari viewer within the Twitter app, something that should make things easier for people who want to access accounts they are already logged in to. There are also some simple cosmetic changes including a shift to bolder headlines and some circular profile photos.

 

One part of the new update was a swap from the old reply arrow to a new speech bubble instead. Twitter says that the reason they made this change was that there were problems with newer users confusing this button for a back button or a delete function. As Twitter wants to make its app as inclusive as possible, they have made changes to the look of the app and the way that the app looks to make it easier for new users to enjoy the app. The speech bubble is something that is more universally understood to be a button to allow people to join a conversation.

 

Some iOS users will also be getting a new feature that has been a part of the Twitter app for Android users for almost a year now. This adds a new navigation bar on the left side of the app which will include shortcuts to profile, additional accounts, settings, and privacy. The reason for this change is that the new navigation bar makes it so that Twitter can decrease the clutter at the bottom of their app where links to many of these features were previously located.

 

Overall this is an update that includes many smaller changes that are all targeted toward making Twitter much more user friendly. Twitter is hoping to make it so that their platform will be one that is much more appealing to people who are new to the platform or to the internet in general. By working to make icons and movement through the app more intuitive, they are hoping their app will be one that is so much easier to use for a wide range of people internationally and in different age groups.