Social Media

Facebook Makes Updates to Its Trending Feature to Reduce the Prevalence of Fake News

fake newsIn the wake of the presidential election in November, Facebook received a great deal of criticism for spreading fake news that may have contributed to people’s views on different topics during the election. As a result, Facebook has been working on making some updates that are targeted at eliminating fake news and preventing the spread of fake news through Facebook. Some new changes have begun rolling out today that are made to control the spread of fake news through Facebook’s “trending” feature.

 

This feature was launched back in 2014 as a way for Facebook to help people find interesting and relevant discussions that were happening within Facebook. By making some changes to this feature, Facebook is hoping to avoid spreading fake news that many people are already discussing on their site by drawing further attention to it. They’ll be adding headlines that come directly from news sources and placing a line with the source below this to make it easier for people to see where the news is coming from.

 

In addition to adding clear statements about where the news is coming from, Facebook will stop targeting their “trending” topics at the individual and will instead be choosing topics that are more broadly targeted. This should make it so that the items that come up in this section are a lot more relevant to a larger number of people on the whole. It should also help to get the focus off of smaller articles that may be fake pieces of news.

 

One of the main ways that Facebook will now be working to block fake news stories is that they will have the “trending” feature ignore topics that come from a single news report in favor of ones that are covered by many media outlets. This is a good way for Facebook to prevent fake news stories from trending even if they are pieces that have a lot of people talking about them. By making these updates today, Facebook is hopeful that it can keep fake news out of the “trending” feature.

Facebook Incorporates Messenger into Facebook.com

facebook messageWhile Facebook has been using Messenger as a secondary app connecting to their platform for quite a while, they have yet to give many desktop and laptop users the ability to have the updates that have come with Messenger. The old Facebook inbox remained on their actual website until this week. Now Facebook has replaced this interface with a desktop version of Messenger.

 

With this new change comes a huge amount of new features for messaging through Facebook.com. Users will be able to enjoy many of the great features that have been rolled out to Messenger over the last several months. They’ll also have some customizable options for their conversations that make it so that they can change the color of the conversation, edit nicknames, alter which emoji can be used, and mute notifications about a conversation. They will also have the ability to make voice calls through Facebook.com.

 

It seems that the idea behind switching is to harmonize user experience between the Facebook apps and what people view on Facebook.com. Facebook knows that many users switch between their computer and their phone or another device regularly which is why it makes sense to make messaging the same on both devices. This hasn’t stopped the range of complaints that have been coming out about the new interface for messaging on Facebook.com.

 

Many users have already started to complain about the new update reacting partly to the fact that the change occurred with no warning in the form of a Facebook announcement. Some are calling for some way for users to choose which kind of interface they would like to use. Complaints about the new inbox include the most recent message being set to an automatic read status if a person goes into the inbox and photo uploads being sent immediately. While Facebook has been listening to complaints, it does seem that they are going to continue to use their new desktop version of Messenger from now on which means that users will just have to get used to it.

Instagram Brings Ads into Popular Instagram Stories

instagramSince the launch of Instagram stories back in August, this feature has grown a substantial following. Right around 150 million users work with this feature each day. With this area of Instagram enjoying such a high level of success, Instagram has decided to put in some ads that will show up as people are scrolling through stories. They are launching these new ads over the course of the next few weeks.

 

To test the ads that will be placed into Instagram stories, Instagram has joined with 30 large advertisers who would like to get videos and simple ads to appear for these users. Instagram hopes that by adding full screen ads that appear intermittently as users swipe through photos and videos they will be able to increase advertising revenue generated within their app.

 

For now, these ads and videos are limited to still photos lasting five seconds and videos up to 15 seconds. These ads will also be skippable, which means that Instagram users will be able to pass them by rather than waiting for them to finish before moving on to look at the content that they are interested in. Businesses will be able to look at analytics surrounding their ads so that they can see which ads are more interesting to users and which are skipped often. This will allow businesses to target their ads at the content people want to see and the items they would like to buy.

 

The overall goal of adding these different ads to stories is to create a space where businesses are able to more easily connect personally with their customers. Businesses will be able to target their ads toward people who have specific interests so that their ads are really reaching the people who are most likely to purchase their product. By providing businesses with the tools to reach their customers, Instagram is making itself into a social media site that is better for businesses.

Snapchat Makes It Easy to Make Connections by Adding a Search Bar

searchFor a long while, users of Snapchat have been waiting for some kind of tool that they can use to easily go through snaps and find the ones that they might be interested in. While the app has been criticized in the past for having a confusing layout, it is clear that Snapchat is now making progress toward creating an app that is a lot more organized. On Thursday, a new update rolled out a new search function to many Android users.

 

While other social media features have had search bars for a very long time, Snapchat is new to the search function. By adding a search bar to their app, they have put themselves in line with the standards of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Users will now be able to look for friends, media companies, and search the app for things that might interest them on the whole. This feature adds a new level of accessibility to the app by allowing people to more easily use the app to connect with friends and with their favorite brands.  

 

The universal search has made it a lot easier for people to find new people to follow on Snapchat and to make it so that followers can find them as well. By using the search function, users are able to find people making different snaps about subjects that interest them the most. Snapchat hopes to use this new feature to encourage new users who may have been previously discouraged by the lack of a search feature.

 

In addition to this search function, Snapchat has been working on creating a much more organized layout on the whole. Part of this update has meant changing the layout so that Snapchat users are able to access their profile from any screen by tapping the ghost icon or Bitmoji. This makes it easier for Snapchat users to continue using this app without getting lost in the app altogether. With the new features as a part of this app, Snapchat may be able to quell complaints that focus on their layout being overly complicated or confusing.

An Edit Button for Twitter? It Might Happen in 2017

editWhile Twitter made a lot of different changes during 2016 one of the main criticisms by users was the fact that they didn’t make changes on highly requested items, such as an edit button that would allow users to make changes to tweets after these had been posted. Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey decided to start the new year by asking users what they want to see on Twitter. Of course the edit button was one of the main things to come up as usual. What is new, is Dorsey’s response to the idea.

 

In responses to several different Tweets about the edit button, Dorsey asked further questions about what users would like to get from this button and whether they wanted long term editing or just short term. He suggested that the edit button was something that he had been thinking a lot about and talked about perhaps allowing a short window of time for editing or a revision history for edits done later on. This makes it seem like Twitter is taking the possibility of this update seriously.

 

This has of course caused a great deal of excitement among Twitter users just because this is something that they have been asking for regularly. Users have stated that the edit button is necessary to help fix grammar and spelling mistakes and also for clarifying information that may get misconstrued while trying to stay within the 140-character limit. At this time, users are able to delete tweets, but often this is a bit of a hassle for a misspelled word.  

 

Now that Dorsey has admitted that the edit feature is something the site is beginning to consider, many people are starting to get excited over the idea. Some are theorizing that Twitter might be more open to user suggestions due to a disappointing year in 2016. With low user growth and job cuts within the company, it is clear that Twitter has been looking for changes. The edit button just might be a good one to add as it is a feature that competitors including Instagram and Facebook already have.  

Facebook’s Messenger Update Seems Ready to Challenge Snapchat

facebook messengerFacebook recently made the decision to add some great new features to Facebook Messenger which allow people to communicate using pictures complete with stickers, filters, and more. This new update adds many features similar to those popular on Snapchat including masks and filters that can be used for pictures or for video as well. Unlike Snapchat, the pictures and videos that are sent don’t have any kind of time limit, so people can view them however they want.

 

With the new update to Facebook Messenger, users can add masks, effects, stickers, and frames on their photos and videos captured with the in-app camera. To use the new camera features, users just have to open the app and tap the camera button. This will then show you the different types of items that can be used on the photo that you’ll be taking. The new update also makes it so that users can draw on images and add their own text.

 

Prior to this update, Facebook Messenger did have a camera feature, but this was one that was fairly plain and boring. Facebook has now added a camera that offers all of the frills and editing features that have been proven successful in other platforms like Snapchat. They hope that by adding these items they’ll be able to encourage people to spend more time sharing videos and pictures with each other through Facebook Messenger.

 

The update represents a part of one of Facebook’s recent goals which is to make Messenger something that exists in real time and is a lot more visual than it has been. This new update also makes it so that Messenger can compete more directly with Snapchat and other applications. Some are already claiming that Facebook’s new messenger update helps to make it better than Snapchat since Facebook’s version allows users to place text and stickers before a picture is even taken, making it easier to line up items in the picture and streamlining the process of creating and sharing these items. This update is definitely one that brings Facebook into a space to compete with Snapchat more easily.

Instagram’s New Update Includes Stickers and More

emojiInstagram released a new update recently which added several new features. With the new update, users will now be able to add stickers to their pictures including ones that can provide context for a picture. They also have new hands free filming and the ability to move text around and to add multiple lines of text for further flexibility. These new changes are important for helping Instagram to stay competitive.

 

One of the biggest parts of this update is the addition of stickers that you can add to your images. This is much like Snapchat’s stickers, except that on Instagram you’ll actually be able to add multiple stickers to the same image. This will allow users to add all the different types of stickers that they want to make it so that their images look just the way they want them too.  Most of the stickers offered right now are holiday themed stickers, but in the future, stickers could include a range of different designs.

 

While some of the different types of stickers that are offered are more like emoji, there are some stickers that are meant to be used to add context to your image. These stickers allow you to add current weather, time, and even your location to the image that you are editing so that you can provide further context or even share with your friends how cold it is getting. These allow you to really enhance the value of a picture that you are sending out into the world.

 

Since users of social media have shifted to focus on communication through different types of images, social media sites like Instagram are changing their features to help make this a lot easier. Of course in this particular update Instagram added a few other features as well, including one that allows you to record video hands free. Rather than holding down the record button the app now allows you to just press to start recording and then press again to stop. They have also made it so that users are able to add multiple lines of text and arrange these as they want around their photos. All these new features are meant to benefit users and keep them more engaged.

New Facebook Update Makes It Easy to Add Color to Text-Only Statuses

facebook colorsThis week Facebook launched a new feature to add color options that can show up behind text-only posts. With their new update, some people are going to begin seeing a lot more colorful posts appearing on their news feed as their friends share statuses with new color schemes. The idea of this new color addition is that these colors will help to make text only posts more visually appealing.

 

For now, the update is only going out to Android users, but soon the feature will be released to iOS and web browsers as well. Users who have access to the new feature will be able to write their posts as they always did, but they will notice a color menu appearing under the box that they can type their post into. By selecting one of these colors or color gradients, the user will be able to have this color background appear with their post.

 

While the feature will not work with links, pictures, or videos, it does open up a wide range of options for those who are posting text-only statuses. Users will be able to select from a range of colors including the standard white as well as yellow, yellow orange gradient, red orange, green blue gradient, pink purple gradient, and grey. Facebook’s purpose is to make it so that text-only statuses don’t end up getting lost in the sea of links and videos that are being shared on Facebook.

 

Beyond just keeping these statuses from getting lost, Facebook is probably hoping to make it so that users are more interested in posting text-only content on their site. Over the last several years, they have seen a significant decrease in the number of original sharing posts that have appeared on their site. Since many users like to use Facebook as a way of keeping track of what their friends are doing, encouraging these kinds of posts rather than viral videos and news shares just makes sense. Whether the colored text-only posts significantly increase the number of posts like this remains to be seen.

Twitter Finally Launches Internal Live Video

live video streaming While Twitter was early to start on the development of live streaming within their social media platform, they just now have integrated this live video into Twitter itself. Twitter users can now broadcast live video directly from Twitter without installing Periscope or even having a Periscope account. This new update puts Twitter’s live video feature within Twitter in a way that makes it much more convenient to Twitter users.

 

In the past, there was some reluctance toward live streaming on Twitter as the process was over complicated. Users had to install the Periscope app and use this app to create live streaming videos. These would be shown on Twitter as well, but people watching the broadcasts couldn’t interact with the video. The new update changes this to make it so that Twitter users create live videos directly from Twitter.

 

One of the big changes with the update that rolled out earlier this week was not only to make it so that the video could be streamed live directly from Twitter, but also that viewers of the video would be able to interact with it more. Members of the audience can now respond to the video by making comments and sharing emoji. Tweets containing live streams may also be retweeted and shared making them a whole lot more versatile.

 

By adding this live streaming to their platform, Twitter is finally joining other social media sites in real competition for the live video market. Despite their head start with the acquisition of Periscope, the app was losing momentum long before the new update. This is because other social media sites like Facebook and Instagram released live video updates that made the live video streaming an internal feature that was easier to work with. Now that Twitter has integrated Periscope within its own app, they may be able to become more competitive in this area once again.

Facebook’s New Feature Allows Users to Create Their Own Frames

frameIn a new move last week, Facebook decided to release an update that would allow users to actually start making their own frames for pictures and videos displayed on the social media site. While custom frames have been available on other social media sites before now, Facebook is just now starting to allow people to create their own frames. Facebook has created frames in the past that users can add to their pictures, but for the first time Facebook is handing over the reins to the users on the site. For now, the feature is only available in some countries.

 

If you are in Colombia, Mexico, Taiwan, the UK, or Ireland, you may already be able to create frames for the pictures that you post on Facebook. The new feature makes it so that you can choose from dozens of profile frames or even use a special feature to create your own frames to go around your pictures. These frames will be ones that you can share with others who use the social media site as well so in time a vast selection of frames will be available.

 

While the tool is sure to be fun for normal users who want to create exciting frames to share with their friends, the main target of this tool is actually businesses and people who are planning special events like weddings and parties. The frames will allow related pictures and videos to go together in a completely new way or add advertisement to a standard photo. The application of this new feature should be very helpful for certain individuals.

 

One concern about these different types of frames is that some of these might break Facebook policies. However, Facebook is already on top of this. While frames can be shared with others, they must first be submitted for approval. Facebook will then check them to make sure that they adhere to Facebook terms before they are allowed to go live. The company will also be able to take down frames identified as inappropriate after they’ve been posted. The custom frame feature is not coming to the U.S. just yet, but hopefully we’ll see this feature sometime soon.