Social Media News Brief

Facebook Announces Further Steps to Block the Purposeful Spread of Misinformation

Facebook recently announced that they are going to be stepping up the level of protection for their platform as they work to further eliminate the spread of fake news. Specifically, Facebook has decided to target Information Operations which are typically started with the goal of spreading misinformation to manipulate political sentiment. While the initial users in these operations are working to spread the information purposefully, real users often get caught up in the operation and take part unknowingly. Facebook has already begun to use different tools to prevent this, which have succeeded in identifying 30,000 fake accounts that Facebook was able to take action against.

Facebook’s focus on preventing these accounts from operating within their platform stems from the fact that hackers used Facebook as a tool for spreading misinformation during the U.S. election. Facebook’s plan to prevent this in the future, includes using new tools to identify strange behavior. They have created algorithms which can block bots from creating fake accounts and others that can recognize when accounts post the same item again and again or send a huge number of messages.

 

Preventing these Information Operations is something that is more complex than fighting traditional scammers and hackers. This is why Facebook has had to spend time working on creating tools to identify false accounts so that Facebook can suspend them or delete the accounts. These tools include machine learning software and tools that encompass intelligence-agency level analysis. The hope is to prevent the unnatural spread of false information before it reaches real accounts that begin spreading it further.

 

Facebook has stated that they’ll be doing more to stop the spread of fake news through their platform. They intend Facebook to be a place for people to engage and communicate much more authentically. As fake accounts and the spread of false information can drown out real conversation, they are determined to eliminate this as much as possible by creating new tools to identify and shut down these practices.

Instagram’s Newest Feature Makes it Easy to Organize Saved Posts

instagramWhile Instagram has allowed users to save posts since December, until now there has been no real organization in the way that the different posts are saved in your personal collection. As part of the newest update to Instagram, users will now be able to save these posts into specific collections. This will make it so that Instagram users will be able to organize all the posts they save rather than having a jumble of various saved posts in their collection.

 

To save posts to new categories, you just have to tap and hold the bookmark icon beneath any post. Instagram will then allow you to either create and name a new collection or to add this post to any existing collections. By separating saved posts into categories, users will be able to go into their collection later on and to find the posts that they saved much more easily. This can make things easier when users are sharing posts with friends or just trying to look back and something that they saved.

 

This new feature will make it easier for users to store recipes, outfit ideas, and so much more in their collection without everything being lost in the jumble. Since many users may already have a lot of posts saved to their collection, they’ll be glad to find that there is a way to sort existing posts that have been saved. Users can sort these posts into collections by clicking the plus sign in the upper right corner of the screen and adding a new collection and then choosing which posts to add to this category as well.

 

These new collections will show up under the saved posts tab on your Instagram profile. The collections will remain private and visible only to you just as they were before. Many users have started to compare the new feature to Pinterest, where people are able to save pins and sort them into a variety of categories so it is easy for them to find them and to view them at a later point in time. Instagram users who like to save a lot of different posts will be especially glad to have this feature to use.

Twitter’s Update Prevents @Usernames from Counting Toward Character Limits in Replies

conversationOver the past year, Twitter has made many moves to prevent their 140-character limit from being too limiting to users. This has meant making it so that pictures and videos don’t count toward the 140-character limit on tweets. In Twitter’s latest update, it has begun preventing @username tags from limiting characters left when replying to posts. This allows users to have more characters to give to their reply rather than having characters eaten up by tags.

 

Instead of having to add @username to a reply tweet, users will now be able to tap on a button labeled “Replying to…” to manage which people are part of this conversation. This will make it so that the username will appear above the text of the Tweet rather than as a part of it, giving you more of your 140-character limit to use in the reply.

 

This change is going to make it so that conversations between two or more people on Twitter can move a lot more smoothly. People won’t have to look at the clutter of @username tags on the beginning of the tweet when they are trying to read a conversation. This should help to clear up conversation and make it easier for people to communicate thorough twitter.

 

The main goal of the update is to make it so that Twitter is a place where conversation is allowed to flow a lot more easily and naturally. Despite this goal, some people worry that this new feature will allow reply tweets to become a lot more spam like in quality. People will be able to post replies to a wide number of people much more easily as these tags don’t count against the character count.

Facebook Adds New Tools to Prevent the Spread of Revenge Porn

facebookOne of the problems that Facebook has faced in the past is the spread of pictures within their various platforms. The way that Facebook sharing and the internet in general work can make it challenging to stop the spread of an image once it is out there. This can be frustrating and unpleasant for people who have their pictures being distributed without permission. Facebook has recently been working on tools that can help prevent the spread of these different images and especially of what is often called “revenge porn.”

 

Initially Facebook had been controlling the spread of these images simply by having users report them and then removing them as they appeared. The main problem with this was that the images would still continue to spread as people would see them and share them or save them before the image could be reported. For this reason, Facebook has extended the tools it uses. They will now be using image matching software to find images that have been previously reported and removed. When someone tries to post this image or send it to another user, they will automatically receive an alert saying that the content violates Facebook policy.

 

Some people have voiced concern about how this software will work. Many are worried about the way that the images will be stored so that Facebook can use them with photo matching software. Facebook says that the images will be kept for a certain period of time, but then they will be reduced to data that is essentially the image’s virtual fingerprint. Photos cannot be reconstructed from this information, allowing for greater privacy. Images that are stored temporarily will have parts blurred out to further protect privacy.

 

It is likely that a recent case involving a young girl in which Facebook was found to have fault for failing to prevent the spread of these images has contributed to Facebook’s desire to control these different types of images better. While pictures will still have to be reported initially, Facebook will be able to use software to prevent the images from appearing again within their various platforms.

Facebook Adds a Feature to Accept Donations for Personal Fundraising

donate buttonFacebook has announced that their newest feature will allow customers to conduct personal fundraising through Facebook pages. People will be able to make pages that ask for donations that go to a personal account. The feature that Facebook is planning to add will be similar to GoFundMe and other crowd raising websites that gather money for people who are in need.

 

The plan is for the feature to roll out over the next few weeks in the United States. It will only be available to those who are 18 and older on the website. These individuals will be able to set up a dedicated Facebook page to include information about the fundraiser. The page will feature a blue donate button that will allow other Facebook users to donate money to the cause. One of the benefits of having these pages be a part of Facebook is that they will be linked with individuals so people will know who they are donating to.

 

The new feature will put Facebook into competition with different website like GoFundMe. For now Facebook is going to only allow fundraisers to cover education expenses, medical bills, pet medical bills, crisis and disaster relief, personal emergencies, and assistance for family members after a death in the family. They plan to have a 6.9% transaction fee in addition to a fee of 30 cents per donation to cover the costs of processing the donations and reviewing each fundraiser before it goes live.  

 

With this new feature in place Facebook pages will be created to help accept donations for different things. People visiting the page will be able to read about the fundraiser and also share the information with their own friends in addition to contributing money to the situation. The feature will be a way to fund raise directly with Facebook rather than sharing pages outside of this social media site.

Instagram to Release a New Update to Help Businesses Using this Platform

instagramWhile many updates to different social media sites, include updates that help make different items much more user friendly, many social media sites have begun to work on making their social media sites appeal much more to businesses as well. Most recently, Instagram announced that they would be adding a new update that would allow users to schedule appointments with businesses from Instagram pages. This update is one that will allow customers and businesses to connect more easily.

 

There are at least eight million businesses that have accounts on Instagram, so adding an update to help these businesses thrive makes a lot of sense. The idea of this update is to make it so that businesses can easily transfer people looking at their pictures to actual customers. People who see things that they like within the business Instagram account will not only be able to like pictures, but schedule appointments based off of them.

 

The main benefit of this new update is that businesses will be able to see the way that their Instagram campaign actually contributes to their business itself. They’ll be able to track customers coming from Instagram to see how sharing photos on this site can turn followers into paying customers. This will also allow Instagram to compete with websites like Yelp and OpenTable as many of the features they offer will now be similar to ones on these websites.

 

While the new update is not intended to change the focus of Instagram as a platform, the intention is to allow businesses new ways to connect with customers. By providing an easy way for customer to make appointments after seeing photos that inspire them to go to a certain business, Instagram is extending the way in which people and businesses can interact on their platform.

Facebook Policy Update Prevents Data from Being Used for Surveillance

facebook surveillanceThis week, Facebook announced a new update to their policies that more clearly forbids developers from using Facebook as a place to gather data for surveillance tools. Facebook feels that tools that use the data on their platform for surveillance discourage users from sharing openly on Facebook. Part of the goal of the new policy is to help people feel safer when they are using Facebook so that they don’t have to filter what they say on social media as much.

 

The update is partially a result of Facebook’s work with the ACLU and other civil rights groups. A recent report by the ACLU uncovered that police were using a surveillance tool that acquired data through Facebook to keep tabs on protests in Oakland and Baltimore. If people worry that police might be targeting their posts and keeping an eye on them, they might be less likely to use Facebook in different ways. Since Facebook is concerned with civil rights, they are implementing this update to help prevent apps connected to Facebook being used to spy on members of the Facebook community.

 

The main focus of the update is to make it easier for Facebook to shut down apps using Facebook data for surveillance purposes. The updated policy is intended as a barrier against developers who could use their access to Facebook information to provide information to law enforcement or other agencies. Facebook hopes that the language of the new update will make it clearer what isn’t allowed so that apps can easily follow the policies.

 

The new update to this policy is just another update on top of previous updates that have helped to prevent discrimination within the platform through third party sources. Other recent changes to the policies have includes ones to prevent discriminatory adds and using Facebook data to help in the process of approving or denying loans.

Newest Twitter Update Helps iOS Users Free Up Storage Space on Their Phones

iPhoneA few days ago, Twitter rolled out a small but helpful update to iOS users. On their iOS app, Twitter has made it so that users will actually be able to see how much space is taken up by the various photos, files, and web data stored within the Twitter app. The update has also made it possible for users to begin deleting this information, effectively freeing up space on their device. For many Apple users, this new update is extremely helpful.

 

Twitter’s newest update is focused on making it a lot easier for users to manage the storage space taken up by their Twitter app and to even regain some of their devices internal storage by deleting cached data. For some users, this may free up a huge amount of internal storage space as regular Twitter users may have 1 MB or more filled with information that Twitter stores. Anyone with limited phone storage is sure to love Twitter’s update for this reason.

 

Prior to the update that Twitter has now implemented, users would have had to delete the Twitter app entirely and then reinstall to get rid of the cached information taking up so much of their internal storage space. The new update makes the process a lot easier allowing users to just go in and clear their cache whenever necessary. This update is especially great for iPhone users who have iPhones with limited memory as people trying to choose between apps or pictures, will now be able to free up space used by Twitter.

 

To clear the cached information that Twitter uses, start by updating the iOS app on your device. You’ll then be able to click on the gear icon to go into your settings. From there, simply click on Data Usage under General. There will then be two options, Media Storage and Web Storage. By going into either of these, you’ll be able to see how much data is being stored and you’ll be able to clear it, freeing up storage space on your phone.

Latest Twitter Update Helps Users Screen Out Abuse

TwitterSince Twitter initially began, it has faced problems with cyber bullying and harassment within the user base. Twitter has implemented further features that are now helping Twitter users screen out this abuse. As part of the latest update, Twitter has added new algorithms to help them catch abuse that is unreported and has extended muting features to make it easier to see the things you want to see on your timeline. With the newest features Twitter hopes to curb the abuse on their platform.

 

One of the biggest features introduced in this update is the extension of the muting feature that Twitter has provided for users. Now users can screen out abuse by muting different accounts or phrases directly from their timeline. They’ll also be able to choose an amount of time to mute different items for including options to mute for one day, a week, a month, or even longer. There are also some new filters that people can use allowing them to avoid accounts without profile pictures and verified phone numbers so that accounts made hastily with the intent to troll or abuse users can be blocked out.

 

In addition to this new feature, Twitter has created some new algorithms to help them identify abusive accounts and respond accordingly even when these accounts are not being reported. This is an important new feature that will allow Twitter to stop abuse that is going on without being reported at all. While these are still in the early stages of development, Twitter is hopeful that these algorithms will make it easier for them to track abusive accounts and limit the damage these accounts can do.

 

The new update is part of Twitter’s work to limit the abuse and trolling that goes on within their website. By allowing users to limit abuse and to get more of a response from Twitter after reporting abusive accounts, they are hoping to help build a much safer place for users to communicate with one another. Twitter will likely continue to update to help add new features that can curb abuse happening within the website.

Instagram Launches New Update Allowing Up to 10 Pictures and Videos Per Post

instagramThis week, Instagram announced an update to allow users to post up to ten pictures and videos within each post that they make. The update will make it so that these pictures and videos are displayed in a carousel format so that friends can scroll through the photos to get even more. This allows people to share pictures from one event or even create a step by step tutorial for something. The new update brings Instagram in line with competitors like Facebook that already offer the ability to put multiple pictures into a post.

 

When users utilize the new function, they’ll find that they are able to share up to ten pictures and videos at a time. They’ll even be able to mix pictures and videos together so that there are pictures and videos from an event within the same post. Once the post is live, friends will be able to see only the first photo initially when it appears in their feed. They’ll also be able to see an icon that shows that there is more to see, allowing them to scroll through the other images or videos. The new feature will allow users to share a lot more without having to post one picture at a time, filling up people’s feeds.

 

Instagram says that their main reason for making this change is that they have received a great deal of feedback from people saying that they wished they could share more than one picture from an experience and that it was often a challenge to pick just one. Their goal with the new update is to help people add additional depth to their post and share more with their friends.

 

To use this feature simply open your Instagram account and hit the plus sign. Here you’ll find an option that says “select multiple”. You’ll then be able to choose up to ten photos and videos from your phone’s library. Once you’re done tap next. This section allows you to select the order of the pictures and what filters to use on each one. From there you’ll be able to post this group of pictures and videos in a single post.