February 2017

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.

Facebook Steps Up Measures to Stop Discriminatory Advertising

facebook policiesAfter Facebook was criticized for having different advertisements for housing and employment that were excluding people of ethnicities visible on their site, Facebook announced in November that they would be making changes to fix this. We are finally beginning to see the new changes rolling out now. Facebook has updated rules for advertisers stating that ads should not be discriminatory. They’ve also added some new tools to prevent discriminatory ads from going out on their website.

 

The first part of Facebook’s update actually changes the advertising policies for the website to make it clear to advertisers that this kind of advertising practice will not be allowed. They have added a section which not only outlines the new anti-discriminatory policy, but also provides advertisers with a range of resources from government agencies and civil rights groups to help further educate advertisers on the subject. As advertisements for housing, employment, and credit opportunities that exclude groups on the basis of ethnicity are in violation of federal anti-discriminatory laws, these are the ones that Facebook is currently targeting the most.

 

In addition to the changes to advertising policies, Facebook has implemented some new tools that will flag advertisements that might be in violation of the policy. These tools evaluate the ad to see if it is about employment, housing, or credit opportunities and prevent the ad from appearing on Facebook if it is found to be an ad like this that is using multicultural affinity targeting as well. The information about the violation is then sent to the advertiser.

 

While these new tools target specific ads and keep them from showing up on Facebook if they are in violation, advertisers still have ways to appeal these decisions. Since these tools might not identify the subject of the ad properly, advertisers will be able to request a manual review if they feel that their ad is being wrongfully blocked. Facebook’s new policies and tools are just the start to preventing discrimination in advertising on their website.

New Update to Facebook Allow Users to Search for Photos Using AI Technology

image searchFacebook has just begun to roll out a new feature that will allow users to search for photos within the platform. This new feature can be used by searching for keywords that describe the image. The search will then return pictures from your friends that match that description in some way. In addition to using captions and comments on photos as clues to help the search bring back relevant results, Facebook is actually using special software that will allow its search function to actually return result based only on the image itself.

 

Releasing this update comes after updating Lumos, a piece of AI technology that Facebook had already been using to help recognize individuals and to tag them in various photos. This new update to the technology being used allows Lumos to actually look at photos on the pixel level so that it can describe the photo in various ways. This new AI technology is highly innovative as previously search engines relied on captions and descriptions to search images.

 

The new features show a big change in search technology on the whole as previously even image searches relied on text surrounding pictures to identify them. Of course, this method was flawed in that a person could write anything down as a caption and in other cases images didn’t correspond to surrounding text or didn’t have a caption at all. With the new ability to use image understanding, Facebook’s search feature is able to return more relevant results. Although it still seems to use keywords in descriptions and comments for more abstract searches, it is able to also use information that it has gathered from the photos themselves. This makes it so that photos that might not have any comments or a caption will still show up in the search.

 

While Facebook has been using Lumos already to identify faces and landmarks that can label who is in the photo and even where it is taken, the new update allows Lumos to extend its abilities to identifying what is actually happening in the photo as well. By doing this, Facebook has made it so that they can offer a search function that can help users find pictures that they would like to see again whether it is images of a pizza that they cooked a few months ago or of their friends playing in the snow. Users will be able to have access to this function right away as Facebook is currently rolling out image searches to all users whether they use Facebook on the computer or on a mobile device.

Twitter to Launch Additional Features Targeting Harassment in the Following Weeks

verbal abuseOn Monday, Twitter announced that Twitter users will be seeing a series of new features that will be used on the platform to limit abuse and harassment. Among the top feedback that Twitter received about the use of the website, was the fact that abuse and harassment makes Twitter a lot less fun on the whole. In a platform focused on the flow of conversation and opinion, such abuse halts the natural flow and discourages users from participating. For this reason, Twitter has renewed its dedication to weeding out this kind of behavior.

 

This week Twitter announced that they are going to be taking a completely new approach on abuse that occurs on their website. Over the coming days and weeks, they are planning to launch fixes to existing features and to add new ones to prevent abuse. These will include fixing the mute and block features and adding new ways to prevent repeat offenders from creating a new account when their account is suspended. By approaching safety on Twitter in a more aggressive way, the website hopes to break the pattern of abuse on Twitter.

 

One of the first changes to Twitter has already been rolled out, although it is a relatively minor one. Twitter will now allow users to report any Tweet that mentions them even if that user has blocked them on Twitter. This will prevent the common problem of people being unable to stop the flow of abuse from a user who hides behind the shield that blocking provides. While this isn’t too big of a change, it is a step in the right direction.

 

Preventing abuse and harassment on Twitter is of top importance to the company. Since they have received so much feedback about the abuse on Twitter and how inhibitive this can be, they are finally taking many steps to stop the harassment that is flowing through Twitter. While Twitter has tried some things in the past, they are promising much bigger changes in the future. By changing the climate for abuse and harassment on Twitter, they are hoping to make their website a place that is more welcoming to new and existing users.