5 Social Media News Stories You Need to Read This Week.

Quick bites of social media goodness.
Veena Ramakrishnan
Veena Ramakrishnan
September 17, 2020 - 51 min. read

Social media is constantly being updated—so you should be, too. Here are 5 of the top social media news stories from this week that you don’t want to miss.

Latest update: September 17th

1. New TikTok-like functionality from YouTube launched in India.

Well, well, well. If it isn’t yet another TikTok-like functionality making its way to the social media hub. Honestly, at this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if LinkedIn or Reddit came up with their own version of creating short videos on their apps. As explained by YouTube, “Over the next few days in India, we’re launching an early beta of Shorts with a handful of new creation tools to test this out. This is an early version of the product, but we’re releasing it now to bring you—our global community of users, creators, and artists—on our journey with us as we build and improve Shorts. We’ll continue to add more features and expand to more countries in the coming month.” Much like TikTok and Reels, Shorts allows you to create 15-second video clips, add music of your choice, set to different recording options, and more. We really are spoilt for choices now, aren’t we?

2. Twitter tests audio clips in DMs.

While some of us (myself included) haven’t had a chance to try out audio clips yet, Twitter has already begun testing new options of the functionality. What we’ve heard through the grapevine is that Twitter is testing audio clips in DMs with users in Brazil. Much like how audio messages on Instagram DM work, you can record and send audio clips via direct messaging on Twitter. The audio clips in DMs are limited to a duration of 140 seconds, same as in audio tweets. We just can’t wait for the broader roll-out of this audio messaging option!

3. More news on the Oracle partnership with TikTok.

I’m so over the whole ‘who’s allowed to use TikTok now’ conversation but apparently, it’s not over yet. Of the many companies showing an interest in taking over TikTok, the latest company to join the buzz was Oracle. While Trump issued an executive order banning the app, it now looks like the White House will indeed support the decision of Oracle becoming a ‘trusted technology provider’ for ByteDance’s TikTok. The specifics of the deal are yet to be disclosed but the general belief is that Oracle will get to license TikTok’s technology from ByteDance rather than taking full ownership over it. And the plot thickens, again. Sigh.

4. Facebook launches ‘Facebook Campus’ to help students connect with fellow classmates.

Looks like Facebook is going back to their roots by launching a college-only space designed to help students connect with fellow classmates over shared interests. With campuses shifting to partial or full-time remote learning, students across the country will find it difficult to stay connected to their college life. But the launch of the Facebook Campus makes it easy to find and start conversations within their college community. Some key features include campus-only newsfeed, campus directory, real-time chat rooms, and more. We love this!

5. Twitter’s “Holiday Hub” to help marketers prepare for the holiday season.

Believe it or not, there’re just 99 days left for Christmas this year. Seriously, where the heck did all the time go?! 2020 was (and still is) just awful from the get-go and you all know why. But with cases reducing in many countries and advances in vaccine trials taking place as we speak, we could all use some holiday spirit and something to look forward to. That’s why Twitter launched the ‘Holiday Hub’ resource center to help marketers prepare for the upcoming holiday seasons. From inspiration for holiday ads to downloadable planning resources, Twitter’s got the full package to help marketers make the most out of the holiday season. A big thank you to Twitter for this amazing resource!

Hungry for more social media updates? Scroll on to read the latest industry updates!

1. Pinterest is building a more inclusive company.

You can’t be inspired if you don’t feel represented, can you? Pinterest takes the future of beauty to a whole new level with inclusive product updates. In a move to increase the utility of their product, Pinterest made new updates to skin tone ranges that allow users to discover products and tutorials personalized to individual skin tone, style, and preference. According to Pinterest, “the skin tone signal is now 3x as likely to detect multiple skin tone ranges in top search results, compared to previous technology.” We love this new update!

2. Snapchat launches new AR lenses in collaboration with TikTok influencers.

It seems like everybody (including every social media network) wants a piece of TikTok. This is true for Snapchat as well who just recently started collaborating with popular TikTok creators. Word on the street is that they’re building new augmented reality (AR) lenses to encourage users to participate in TikTok dance challenges using Snapchat. The idea is to make users add the lens effects to their video clips on Snapchat and then post the videos, made using Snapchat tools, to TikTok. Smart move, right?

3. LinkedIn outlines a new process to detect InMail harassment.

Unsolicited advances in any form are simply not acceptable. And for a career-oriented platform like LinkedIn, the last thing you want is for people, especially women, to be harassed with inappropriate messages on the platform. To curb InMail harassment, LinkedIn has built an algorithm to detect and hide inappropriate InMail messages. It’s a three-step process that first scans the sender’s behavior using a behavioral model, then scores the content from the message using a message model, and finally reads the interaction between the two members in the conversation using an interaction model.

4. Reels vs TikTok: Can Reels replicate what TikTok does best?

What TikTok does best is to deliver content in such a way that doesn’t involve too much thinking. It removes the paradox of choice. Unlike Instagram, users aren’t spoiled for choices. The central focus of TikTok lies in watching and creating fun short clips. But that’s not the case on Instagram. Instagram Reels is just one of many functions that Instagram provides for its users and is often not the first thing that you see when you open the app. While Reels makes people go seek out that function, TikTok does a fine job at surfacing the content without any manual work. Could this pose a problem to Reels in making people switch to using their competitive service? Can Reels replicate what TikTok does best? We don’t know!

5. Facebook cleans up their ad targeting options due to low usage.

This isn’t the first time Facebook has removed certain ad targeting options. In 2018, Facebook removed over 5,000 ad targeting options to protect people from discriminating with advertising on Facebook. This time, there are other reasons. Facebook announced the removal of over 1,000 ad targeting options due to low usage. As explained by Facebook, “As part of our latest efforts to simplify and streamline our targeting options, we’ve identified cases where advertisers – of all sizes and industries – rarely use various targeting options. Infrequent use maybe because some of the targeting options are redundant with others or because they’re too granular to really be useful. So, we’re removing some of these options.” Facebook has assured us that these changes will not have any impact for the majority of advertisers and that there’s still plenty of options available to target your ads.

Hungry for more social media updates? Scroll on to read the latest industry updates!

1. You can now play official music videos on Facebook.

The music video experience on Facebook just got a whole lot better as the app introduced new Music Video Playlists on Facebook Watch in the U.S. As explained by Facebook, ”Today, we’re adding a new way for people to come together around music by bringing official music videos to Facebook in the US. Starting this weekend, you’ll be able to discover, watch, and share music videos from today’s top artists to up-and-coming bands and classics across various music genres on Facebook.” Like with any Facebook video, you can like, share, and comment on them across News Feed, Groups, and Messenger. Facebook also added that “you can discover new artists from music videos shared by friends in News Feed, connect with fans who share your passion in a Facebook Group dedicated to your favorite artist, and react to a video in real-time as it premieres.” Pretty cool, right?

2. Snapchat released its first-ever CitizenSnap report.

Snapchat’s first-ever CitizenSnap report outlines the social and environmental initiatives the app has taken over the past year. The report is split into three areas of focus: society, planet, and people, and lists the efforts taken by Snapchat in each of these key areas. Now, to give you a few examples… Snapchat globalized their voting initiatives and activated a campaign for the EU elections that boosted youth voter participation in the 28 member states. They also reduced disposables in their cafeterias by 29%. The app prioritized bullying prevention, mental health, and suicide prevention on the Snapchat platform. Snapchat increased the diversity of its leadership team and committed to paying a robust living wage to all employees, regardless of job function. Trust me, this is just the tip of the iceberg! For a full overview of the report, click the link here.

3. What happens to TikTok now?

Last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States is ”looking at” banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok, and added that they are taking it “very seriously”. Looks like they did in fact take it very seriously as this week President Donald Trump said (well, threatened) that he would get TikTok “banned as early as tomorrow” in an official statement. In response to the threat from the President, TikTok released an official statement saying that the company is committed to protecting their users’ privacy and safety and added that TikTok US user data is stored in the US with strict controls on employee access. TikTok also mentioned that the app had created jobs to 1,000 people in the last year alone and has a plan of hiring 10,000 more people in the U.S. To give you some more tea on this speculation, Microsoft released an official statement stating the company is seeking a buy-out of TikTok and is continuing dialogue with the United States Government, including the President. After the discussion, it was revealed that TikTok has until September 15 to sell its business and become American-owned.

4. TikTok creators are getting lucrative offers from Facebook.

Well, well, well. Looks like Facebook is trying to make the most out of the ongoing TikTok speculation by offering lucrative offers to TikTok creators. Facebook-owned Instagram couldn’t have launched their TikTok-like functionality Reels at a better time. With TikTok’s future hanging by the thread, Facebook decided to sweep in and offer financial incentives to the TikTok creators, asking them to share their content on Instagram’s competitive service, Reels as an alternative option. As confirmed by Instagram, Reels will soon be rolled out to most regions in August, while the functionality is already available in India, Brazil, Germany, and France.

5. LinkedIn publishes a new guide to help companies recover post COVID-19.

Sooner or later, the pandemic situation is bound to end, right? While we might not know the exact day and time when WHO will declare planet Earth corona free, we all know that things will eventually get better. (They should, I’m losing it here!). When that day finally comes, the last thing you want is to be unprepared to tackle the business world post COVID-19. That’s why LinkedIn published a new eBook that covers the latest trends, tools, and market research to help businesses plan for a strong recovery. From brand building and strategic planning, to change management and media planning, the guide covers key areas and best practices for driving growth and ROI.

What were the top social media news in July? Scroll to find more of the latest updates:

1. Snapchat launches its first Mini app.

As promised during the 2020 Snap Partner Summit in June, Snapchat this week launched the first of its Mini apps with tools from the meditation app Headspace. This new micro-version app built within the Snapchat platform allows users to engage with friends in meditation sessions together. Users can find six three-to-four minute meditations from Headspace to choose from, including “Just Breathe,” “Get out of a funk,” “Kick the panic,” “Be nice to you,” “Pressure to succeed,” and “Me time.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to the “Me time” session!

2. Touch ID and Face ID lock options to be rolled out in Facebook Messenger.

Worried that people might snoop on your Messenger chats? Well, if you’re an iOS user, you can now breathe a sigh of relief as Facebook has just rolled out Touch ID and Face ID lock options for Messenger. iOS users also have the option to choose a time frame after which they’ll have to unlock again with Face/Touch ID. This new addition to Messenger clearly indicates that Facebook is going ahead with the plan to expand end-to-end encryption across the Messenger platform despite warnings over crime.

3. Facebook to add new labels to posts mentioning voting from politicians.

The next time you see a post on Facebook mentioning anything to do with voting or ballots, be sure to notice the “Get Voting Information” CTA at the bottom of such posts. When you click on this newly added label by Facebook, you will be taken to the official USA.gov website, which outlines a ton of questions and answers related to the voting process. We all know that Facebook’s inaction towards President Donald Trump’s controversial statement on the #BlackLivesMatter movement earned the company heavy backlash from civil rights groups and brands. So, if you ask me, this is a pretty significant move from Facebook to tackle the criticisms the company has been receiving for its hands-off approach to political statements.

4. Instagram shares a list of top hashtags on posts about racial justice.

In its ongoing effort to ensure Black voices are heard and build a more inclusive product, Instagram shared a list of top hashtags from the past couple of months related to social justice on Instagram. The listing provides great insights into the conversations people are having on the app around social justice, which can be of great use to people who are looking to engage with or monitor such conversations. Among various measures, Instagram is also taking a harder look at how their product impacts communities differently, specifically around harassment, account verification, content distribution, and algorithm bias.

5. Pinterest shares a new guide on effective Pinterest marketing in 2020.

For those of you who wish to step up your Pinterest game this year, you need to read their new guide on Pinterest Advertising. The guide covers everything from reaching the right audience at the right moment, mapping Pinterest marketing solutions to client objectives, to choosing the most effective campaign type to set yourself up for success. The report says that Pinterest engagement hit an all-time high globally in 2020 and that 9 in 10 weekly Pinners used Pinterest for inspiration in a recent purchase. Interesting, isn’t it? You can download the full guide here and share it with your team to strategize your next big Pinterest marketing campaign.

Hungry for more social media updates? Scroll on to read the latest industry updates!

1. India gets Tik Tok-like functionality from Instagram.

In case you missed it, earlier this month the Indian government banned 59 Chinese apps including Tik Tok because of border tension with China. Translation? Tik Tok just lost a little over 120 million monthly users from India. Bummer, right? Well, yes, for Tik Tok but not for Instagram though. Instagram just launched a Tik Tok like functionality called Reels that allows users to create fun and engaging videos that last up to 15 seconds which you share like stories. There’s even a music library from which you can choose your favorite track and add it to your short clips. Well played, Instagram. Well played.

2. Possibly the U.S. could be banning Tik Tok too.

Now this is brand new information even for me! But then again, this is not the first time the U.S. government is concerned about the safety of its people’s private information being in the hands of China, right? Earlier this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States is “looking at” banning Chinese social media apps, including Tik Tok, and added that they are taking it “very seriously”. Looks like Tik Tok might have to face yet another roadblock real soon.

3. Twitter is testing collaborative fleets.

While it hasn’t been too long since the launch of Fleets, Twitter’s very own story-feature has yet to be rolled out in most regions. To further rock the boat, Twitter just announced that they’re working on a collaborative fleets function. This functionality would enable two contributors to engage and co-create double-bubble fleets. This is a cool idea that I think will come in handy when two brands engage in co-branding or collaborative campaigns. Can’t wait to see what will come out of this one.

4. Instagram tests the “Shop” tab feature with a select group of users.

For those of you who missed out on Instagram’s announcement of the shop functionality, here’s what it means: With Instagram shop, you can browse selections from your favorite brands and creators, filter by categories like beauty and home, and buy products you love all via the Instagram Explore tab. Instagram also added that they’re looking into adding a new shop tab in the navigation bar, so you can get to Instagram Shop in just one tap. Well, it looks Instagram has made progress with that last part as the app has officially begun testing the shop tab in the navigation bar with a select group of people. How cool is that??

5. New prompts on Facebook urges people to wear a mask.

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase in the U.S., Facebook this week added new prompts that urge people to wear a mask when they leave their homes. Now, that’s a sentence I never imagined typing even in my wildest dreams! To quote Facebook, “With the rise in COVID-19 cases in the US, we’re putting an alert at the top of Facebook and Instagram to remind everyone to wear face coverings and find more prevention tips from the CDC in our COVID-19 Information Center.” Seriously people, just wear a damn mask already!

What were the top social media news in June? Scroll to find more of the latest updates:

1. Brands and civil rights groups join the #StopHateForProfit campaign.

We all know what happened after President Donald Trump’s controversial statement on the #BlackLivesMatter movement blew up on social media. While Twitter chose to put a warning on the President’s tweet, Facebook chose not to respond. Facebook’s inaction in this case has made a group of civil rights groups and brands hit pause on all paid advertising on Facebook. A campaign in the name of #StopHateForProfit was launched to call on major advertisers to pause their Facebook ad spend in July. As explained by StopHateforProfit.org, “We are asking all businesses to stand in solidarity with our most deeply held American values of freedom, equality, and justice and not advertise on Facebook’s services in July.”

2. You can now tweet your voice.

Tired of typing your tweets? Worry no more. It’s now possible to record and tweet with voice tweets! After giving us sneak peeks of test versions of audio clips, Twitter has finally rolled out the option to tweet audio clips for up to 140 seconds for iOS users. If you, like me, can’t wrap up your train of thoughts under 140 seconds, Twitter allows you to start a new voice Tweet automatically and so create a thread of voice tweets. Exciting as it is to have an option to send out voice tweets, can you imagine having to listen to your own voice on Twitter? *Shudders*.

3. Google launches a Pinterest-style app called Keen.

While there is a stark difference in the monthly active users(MAU) on Pinterest (367 million MAU) versus Google (2 billion MAU), Google knows that Pinterest is growing in popularity. Hence, Google decided to launch a new app called Keen. To quote Google, Keen is, “a place to grow and share your interests with loved ones and find things that will help in making this precious life count.” Google also added that Keen allows you to “curate the content you love, share your collection with others, and find new content based on what you have saved.” So yeah, if you ask me, this does sound a lot like an app that starts with P and ends in T — and has an interes in the middle. But that’s just one woman’s opinion.

4. Pinterest shares insights on e-commerce behaviors.

Speaking of Pinterest. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought about many changes in ways we didn’t think was possible. For instance, who would have thought that online grocery shopping would be an absolute necessity to keep ourselves alive and socially distant from others? In fact, a recent study from Pinterest on emerging e-commerce behaviors revealed that pinners are now more likely to grocery shop online — and spend more too. The study revealed that the number of online purchases from Pinterest increased by nearly 70% from March to February and that an estimated 50% of all US consumers have now grocery-shopped online — a whopping 40% increase from last year.

5. Snapchat launches a certification course on advertising essentials.

For advertisers and agencies who are always trying to stay on top of Snapchat advertising, a new learning portal called ‘Snap Focus’ is here to makes things easy for you. As explained by Snapchat, “The Snap Focus curriculum features six courses that will give you a foundational understanding of Snapchat, the Snapchat Generation, advertising formats and opportunities, how to deploy media and creative campaigns in Ads Manager, and creative best practices.” You can either choose to complete the entire certification or hone in on the courses that matter most to you. And guess what? It’s absolutely free. Enjoy learning!

Scroll on to find more of the latest social media news stories!

1. LinkedIn offers free courses in diversity.

With everything that’s going on right now, I think we all could stand to learn a thing or two about how we build a better workplace and society. This week, LinkedIn shared the company’s decision to offer free courses on how to create more inclusivity and build a sense of belonging in the workplace. The course covers topics such as Skills for Inclusive Conversations, Communicating about Culturally Sensitive Issues, and Confronting Bias: Thriving Across Our Differences, to name a few. This initiative calls for a huge shout out to LinkedIn for providing us with the resources in moving toward a better world.

2. YouTube adds new features to boost channel performance and merchandise sales.

YouTube is launching its own version of a Google Analytics-like performance overview which will display subscriber count, watch time, views, and revenue performance within a single dashboard. The platform also released a ‘Live Alerts for Merch’ feature, which will promote the merchandise sales within the comments thread during a live stream. With live stream viewing increasing in popularity during the COVID-19 lockdowns, this feature is seen as a welcome move by creators to help them promote their merch sales and boost their revenue. Way to go, YouTube! 🙌

3. Facebook’s Manage Activity feature gets a refresh.

Is it just me or does everyone else also cringe when Facebook reminds you of the stuff you posted 10 years ago? I’ll take that as a yes. I mean, it is fun to look at the stuff your younger self posted but you kind of want to keep that to yourself, right? Here’s where Facebook’s archive feature comes in handy. For content you no longer want others to see on Facebook, but still want to keep for yourself, can now be archived in the manage activity tab. Phew! According to Facebook; “Manage Activity also allows you to move posts you no longer want to the trash. Posts sent to the trash will stay there for 30 days before being deleted unless you choose to manually delete or restore them before then.”

4. Twitter is guiding people to take action against racial inequality.

Learn. Ask. Show up. Speak up. These are the golden rules that Twitter provides on how to act and respond to the racial inequality prevailing in the society. According to Twitter, the first step is to “understand the historical and structural contexts that have led to racism and discrimination that are so ingrained in society.” To help with that, Twitter also shared resources like ‘Anti-Racism Resource Guide’, ‘How to be an Anti-Racist’, and a few others. Twitter advises people to speak up and “address anti-Black sentiments when you see them and discuss the violence and injustice that Black communities face” with friends and family, in meetings, and on social media. It’s important we stand up for what’s right and there’s no time like the present.

5. Instagram is testing a ‘double-story stories’ feed.

Seeing double? Don’t worry, your vision is just fine! Instagram is testing a new format for stories that will feature them more prominently in your feed. A double-story stories feed might be the new normal for stories if the test results come back with positive responses. For all we know, this could either be a fun experiment that Instagram is testing out or a clear indication that the app is moving towards a stories feed approach. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. What are your thoughts on this new format? Yay or nay?

What were the top social media news in May? Scroll to find more of the latest updates:

1. Streaming services and social media are changing the ways people discover new music.

Facebook’s latest report offers insights into music listening behavior and how social media is proving to be an effective way for fans to interact with favorite artists. If you look at the report, you can see that 51% of music listeners in the U.S are very satisfied with their ability to discover new music via the digital platform as opposed to the 30% who prefer to listen to music through radio the most. Social media also plays an important role in the music listening behavior of the younger audience. About 57% of 18–34-year-olds in the U.S. feel that social media is helping them get to know artists better. How I wish The Beatles were on Instagram now…. sigh.

2. Facebook welcomes GIPHY to the Instagram team.

I don’t know about you, but no conversation of mine is ever complete without a GIF or two. I mean, what better way to express yourself through GIFs? Facebook figured out that GIPHY makes everyday conversations more entertaining and so decided to integrate GIPHY’s GIF library into Instagram and other apps as well. With this new acquisition in place, Facebook is actively helping people find the right way to express themselves.

3. Pinterest shares 10 video techniques to help you make excellent video ads.

If you’re scrambling for ideas to make thumb-stopping video content, Pinterest may have a few, okay 10, techniques to help you make video ads that stand out on the platform. Pinterest says that video views on the platform have increased threefold over the last year. To make your videos visually standout, Pinterest advises playing with perspective, white space, color, movement, motion, and depth to make your content feel alive. You can check out the 10 video techniques here.

4. Twitter is testing out ways for you to decide who can reply to your tweets.

At this very moment, a small group of people is testing Twitter’s newest functionality that will allow users to choose the people who can reply to their tweets. You can choose one of these three options when you compose a tweet: everyone, people you follow, or only people you @ mention. Twitter will also label the tweets that come with a limited reply setting so that people tell straight away if they fall under that label or not. We think this is a great feature that will help users to not just have meaningful conversations but also prevent users from getting trolled and abused on the platform.

5. YouTube asks users to please go to bed.

Yup, you heard it here first. It looks like we’ve all been having too much screen time lately. So much in fact, that YouTube had to step in and ask us to please go to bed. YouTube has announced a new bedtime reminder feature that allows users to set a specific time to stop watching videos and go to sleep instead. According to YouTube, “you set start and end times in your Settings, including whether or not you want the prompt to interrupt a video or wait until the video is over. You’ll also be able to dismiss or snooze the reminder.” While 3 am might just be the perfect time to watch a video of dancing penguins, let’s just give our eyes some rest and go to bed, shall we?

Hungry for more social media updates? Scroll on to read the latest industry updates!

1. Snapchat shares data about users’ purchase intent ahead of the back-to-school season.

Okay, so maybe schools are not going to reopen for all students anytime soon, but the learning must still go on, right? School supplies are a huge part of the learning experience and despite the current scenario people are still having to buy binders and books for the upcoming academic year. To help brands plan their back to school campaign, Snapchat published a set of data points on the user purchase intent of school supplies. A look into the data will reveal that Snapchatters of all ages are making shopping lists and planning to shop in all-new ways with Augmented Reality (AR). The data also mentioned that 2/3 of Snapchat parents plan on spending $300+, while 1/3 plan on spending $700+ on back to school supplies.

2. Brazil users get a taste of LinkedIn Stories.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been looking forward to the launch of LinkedIn stories ever since the company announced the arrival of the functionality back in February. LinkedIn stories is now made available to users in Brazil and the company is preparing to roll out this function to the rest of the world soon. LinkedIn stories pretty much work like the ones you see on Facebook and Instagram. You can share your story directly with another LinkedIn member that you’re connected to via LinkedIn messaging. The app even allows you to get story analytics during the 24-hour window after which the story will disappear.

3. Twitter inspires us to tweet about events in May.

For those of you struggling to remember what day it is today, it is Thursday. There, job done! But for those you who are scrambling for ideas to tweet about this month, Twitter comes to your aid. There’s still a good chunk of May left before June rolls in, so Twitter released an overview filled with fun seasonal celebrations that brands can tweet about. Twitter also shared some techniques for how brands can craft the perfect Tweets around these holidays. If you need more, you should download the 2020 Twitter marketing calendar.

4. Facebook shares a social content calendar template for businesses.

Let’s just all agree that a content calendar makes it so much easier to help stay organized and connected with customers online. Everybody could use a content calendar to help plan out content and stay efficient, so this week Facebook released a new set of tips and a template on how to create a content calendar. When to post, what to post, and where to post. According to Facebook, these are the three basic elements that marketers need to make note of when planning an effective content calendar. You can get a copy of Facebook’s free content calendar template here. Or you can use Falcon. Just saying…

5. TikTok releases “Commercial Music Library” for businesses.

Previously, verified businesses on TikTok had the privilege of using popular songs to their TikTok videos free of charge, but that’s not the case anymore. Based on what TikTok’s video producer, Dave Jorgenson, said on Twitter, it looks like “business and some unspecified organizations cannot use commercial music anymore.” Instead, TikTok has released a pool of royalty-free music that brands can use in their videos. As explained by TikTok, “This new library enables verified businesses or organizations on TikTok to access a pool of royalty-free music for promotional content and provides the tools and resources to help them further embrace the creativity and authenticity of the TikTok community.” Will this have a big impact when brands can no longer chime in on the trending memes and remixes? Yeah. But there’s still a lot that can be done using the generic backing tracks.

What were the top social media news in April? Scroll to find more of the latest updates:

1. WhatsApp group calls now support up to eight participants.

Lately, people all over the world have turned to their phones when trying to connect with people due to the ongoing coron…you know what. According to WhatsApp, we’ve spent over 15 billion minutes talking each day on WhatsApp in the last month. With this in mind, WhatsApp has officially announced that they will double the capacity of group video and voice calls from four to eight participants to help users stay connected in these trying ti..nope, not gonna say it. To access the new participant limit on WhatsApp calls, all participants in a call need to update to the latest version of WhatsApp available on iPhone or Android.

2. LinkedIn: This is how coronavirus has influenced employer branding.

Look at the data from the latest content engagement trends on LinkedIn and you’ll see that corona-related posts are getting more engagement than other posts — especially those focusing on how companies are joining the fight against COVID-19. Since the crisis, companies have had to scrap their old employer branding strategy and come up with a new, contemporary version that takes the current situation into account. The share of posts addressing the crisis has rapidly increased, and so has the engagement for said posts. Based on these numbers, companies should take a cue from brands that honor healthcare workers, support local communities, and show how they care for their employees on social media.

3. Facebook is the go-to social platform for news during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The number of people relying on social media to keep informed about the latest developments on COVID-19 has significantly increased. A study from Flixed revealed that Facebook is the most popular platform, followed by Twitter and YouTube, for COVID-19 news. While the crisis has sent most of us all home, social media usage everywhere has spiked and it’s safe to say it’s been instrumental in helping improve the situation. As for misinformation and fear-mongering, the social networks are doing their part by creating new tools to tackle fake news and conspiracy theories.

4. Facebook to host a virtual graduation event for the Class of 2020.

The global pandemic might just be the biggest curveball mankind has faced in the last 100 years. From how we travel and buy homes, to how we stay in shape and do our grocery shopping. Also on the list, are all the award ceremonies, conventions, conferences, and trade shows that have been canceled this year, not to mention the graduation of the Class of 2020. But thanks to Facebook, the class of 2020 gets a virtual graduation event with (drumroll please) Oprah Winfrey as the commencement speaker! It may not be the day they had imagined, but our graduates can still look forward to a special event on Facebook and Instagram.

5. Instagram shares tips on how brands can stay connected through Stories.

According to Instagram, Stories’ real-time, authentic nature can help humanize your brand, drive engagement, and garner support for your business. Since many businesses are facing uncertainty in how to reach and serve their customers, Instagram shared a few tips on how to stay connected with the audience through Stories. Instagram says that brands should uplift and inform their audience by re-sharing positive content from their community coming together to inspire others. Another suggestion is to show authenticity and take people behind-the-scenes of your business to show them what’s really happening and how you’re feeling in this uncertain time.

Don’t miss out. Scroll down for more social media news updates!

1. Facebook introduces “Quiet Mode” to help control your Facebook usage.

With the new normal in place, setting boundaries for how you spend your time online can be helpful. Facebook’s new “Quiet Mode” might just be what you’re looking for to lead a healthy work/life balance. As explained by Facebook; “We’ve added Quiet Mode, which mutes most push notifications, and if you try to open Facebook while in Quiet Mode, you’ll be reminded that you set this time aside to limit your time in the app.” To press pause on screen time, you can either switch on Quiet Mode straight away, or schedule it for later. Either way, we think this’s a cool addition to the app to remind people to wind-down without screens during the lockdown.

2. LinkedIn publishes a special edition of its “Top Voices” listings.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, LinkedIn has announced a special edition of its “Top Voices” listings that highlights health experts sharing their experience as front-line workers and offering insights on what’s coming next. As explained by LinkedIn; “Each year, our Top Voices list surfaces the professionals whose posts, videos, articles, and comments spark quality conversations in their industries. This special edition list features the health care experts that are lighting up LinkedIn right now to cover COVID-19.” This special edition is a great initiative to help people stay informed with reliable information and pay tribute to all the front-line workers who are risking their health to combat the outbreak.

3. “Wanna talk about it?” – Instagram and Netflix join forces to release self-care series for young adults.

Adjusting to the new normal and restricting social contact has taken a significant toll on the mental health of young adults. For people in their formative years, social connections and real-life experiences help them discover who they are. Being confined to their homes and practicing social distancing, albeit necessary to flatten the curve, is leaving them bored and frustrated. To address this, Netflix and Instagram have partnered on “Wanna Talk About It?” — a live series where every week one star talks with a mental health expert about self-care during a global pandemic.

4. Twitter provides monthly tweet prompts for brands.

Wondering what your brand should tweet today? Ask a question? Crack a joke? Or should you just retweet and leave it at that? Consistency is one of the key elements of an effective social media marketing strategy but coming up with new content ideas every day to engage your community can be tricky. To help you with that, Twitter has published a list of 20 tweet prompts to help you come up with new content ideas. Stuff like FAQs, behind the scenes, retweet with a comment, go live, post a video, tweet one-liners, and so on. By paying attention to which of these content ideas are working, brands can refine their future content and overall Twitter voice.

5. WhatsApp to limit message forwarding to curb the spread of misinformation.

Gone are the days when you could forward WhatsApp messages to 256 people if you wanted. Now, WhatsApp seems to be the weapon of choice for rumormongers to spread misinformation campaigns, especially during this global pandemic. To curb the spread, WhatsApp is restricting messages that have been sent through a chain of five or more people. From now on, messages can only be forwarded to a single person, so choose wisely.

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1. LinkedIn shares tips on what to post during lockdowns.

What do you post on LinkedIn during the COVID-19 crisis? Updates on upcoming meetups or job interviews? Heck no! Social distancing, remember? To help nudge you in the right direction, LinkedIn shared some top-notch tips on what to post during the lockdown. Out of the many useful tips that LinkedIn shared, our favorite one is: “Be yourself and offer your unique perspective.” LinkedIn noted that some of the most successful posts are the ones were professionals discuss lessons learned from their personal lives, show appreciation for their team, or share words of encouragement. You can find the full list of tips here.

2. TikTok’s #HappyAtHome initiative is here to entertain you.

Whether we like it or not staying at home is the new normal. To keep boredom at bay, TikTok has partnered up with well-known musicians, actors, and comedians to live stream daily for our entertainment. As explained by TikTok, the goal of this initiative is to; “share in a bit of levity, provide some comfort, and embrace the responsibility we all have to do the right thing by staying inside and stopping the spread.” And we couldn’t agree more. Catch these live streams of entertainment every day at 5pm PDT.

3. YouTube reduces streaming quality to lessen network strain.

Staying at home has got us all streaming videos and Netflixing at all hours of the day. After Netflix, YouTube follows suit to stream videos in standard quality to all regions to lessen network load. Users still have the option to watch videos on high definition if they want to but will have to do so by choosing the HD option as videos will initially load in SD only. This is not the end of the world people, just a small price we must pay in order to ease the burden on internet infrastructure.

4. Instagram launches a new feature to help users stay connected during lockdowns.

Let’s face it, video calls are essential for staying sane during the lockdown. To make it a lot more fun and engaging, Instagram launched a new feature to help us all stay connected. As they say: “…to help people stay connected, we’ve launched media sharing, a new feature that allows you to view Instagram posts together with your friends over video chat.” While you can’t scroll through your regular feed during a video chat, you can still create a list of posts that you want to discuss with your friends by liking or saving them. Let us know what you guys think of that one.

5. In response to COVID 19, Snapchat is launching a new mental health resource center.

Anxiety and stress are on the rise as the pandemic situation continues to intensify. In response to COVID 19, Snapchat has decided to launch “Here for You”, a new mental health resource center to help people experiencing mental health or emotional crisis. This feature will provide people with relevant updates from the World Health Organization, the CDC, Crisis Text Line, NHS, and other partners, links to relevant resources, and exercises to help people cope with anxiety and stress.

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1. LinkedIn just dropped its playlists on Spotify.

Say you have a ton of deadlines to meet. Naturally, you crank up the music to keep yourself motivated. If you don’t already have a work playlist in place, here’s a trick for you: New Job, Fresh Start, Never Give Up, Interview Time, and Women at Work. These are just some of the playlists that LinkedIn launched on Spotify for career development. Considering how a lot of people are working from home these days, this is just what we need to get the work done efficiently. Speaking of getting work done, I’m going to go shake it off with Taylor Swift now.

2. Facebook Dark Mode is on its way.

Those of you who have already switched to dark mode on Instagram, Twitter, Slack, and Uber (just kidding) will be glad to know that Facebook is also testing out the dark mode. Earlier this month, Facebook launched the dark mode on WhatsApp, so we all kind of saw this coming for Facebook too. Nevertheless, we’re looking forward to Facebook making scrolling through the app a little easier on the eyes.

3. Fleets? What are Twitter Fleets?

Another day, another story. And by that, we mean a story-feature similar to stories on Snapchat and Instagram. This time, it’s Twitter. Twitter is launching a new stories feature, only they’re calling it “Fleets”. Why? Because these messages will literally be fleeting as they cannot be retweeted, liked, or publicly replied to. And, of course, they disappear after 24 hours like we’re used to from other social networks. Twitter’s fleets come years after Snapchat started the wave of disappearing content in 2013.

4. Instagram steps in to prevent misinformation about COVID-19.

Instagram has established a new process to help users get accurate updates on the coronavirus by removing “known harmful misinformation related to COVID-19“. Links to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and local health authorities will be highlighted every time someone clicks on hashtags related to COVID-19. Furthermore, Instagram is also taking measures to prevent misinformation by blocking hashtags, posts, and any potentially misleading information.

5. WHO is getting free use of Facebook ads to combat COVID-19.

As the novel coronavirus continues to spread, the World Health Organization has gotten access to unlimited free ads from Facebook to fight back misinformation campaigns. With growing concerns over the number of COVID-19 cases across the world, the need to curb the spread of misinformation and fearmongering is not to be taken lightly. That is why Facebook has partnered with WHO to fight the outbreak. Facebook is also giving away ad credits to other organizations fighting the pandemic. High five, Facebook! 🙌

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1. LinkedIn’s new “Fair Chance” feature helps applicants with a criminal record re-enter the workforce.

LinkedIn’s new job filter is here to make things easier for applicants who have a criminal record. This new “Fair Chance” release rides on LinkedIn’s goal to expand economic opportunities and ensure that people from all walks of life have a fair shot at employment options. The filter is available in the Job Search drop-down listing to help identify employers committed to considering applicants with a criminal record. This new feature is currently available on the web in the United States. LinkedIn is looking to roll out this feature to iOS and Android soon.

2. Make way for (Instagram-like) stories on LinkedIn.

Yes, you heard it right. Soon, there will be LinkedIn stories as LinkedIn has confirmed that they’ve begun testing their own version of stories. Instagram Stories have proven to improve engagement and visibility of content for businesses. So, it should come as no surprise for LinkedIn to experiment with stories on their platform as well. Will this be effective? Who knows? But since there’s a rise in the use of stories on other platforms, this might very well be a win for LinkedIn.

3. Tik Tok now lets you pin stickers in a video clip.

Tik Tok recently launched a new sticker pinning option in videos, which means you can now attach stickers to objects in their videos as well as choose how long you want the sticker to remain attached. Even cooler, you can also make the sticker change size according to the movement of the video. You’ll find this new option in the latest version of the app.

4. Facebook rolls out faster, smaller, and simpler version of Messenger for iOS.

Facebook says the latest version of the Messenger app will load twice as fast and be one-fourth of the size. The updated layout of the app will no longer have the ‘Discover’ tab in the bottom, bringing it down to just ‘People’ and ‘Chats’ in the navigation bar. The removal of the Discover tab is seen as a move to increase speed and simplicity. Facebook also said that this new version of the app will make it more accessible for low-storage phones and slow networks. Users can expect the updated version of Messenger this week!

5. Twitter makes tweet copy more effective.

Twitter has shared some best practices on tweet copy to boost performance on Twitter. The new initiative called “Good Copy, Bad Copy” comes with a set of simple, actionable tips to improve the performance of the tweet. Our favorite tip is to stop using uppercase letters all the time. Honestly, who wants to be yelled at in writing? Another one is to use the percentage symbol (%) instead of the dollar symbol as studies conducted by Twitter revealed that more people clicked tweets that use percentages than those with $ discounts. While the two symbols can be used interchangeably, we think it’s best to just switch dollar signs for percentages signs.

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1. Facebook launches new Pinterest like app.

Facebook’s New Product Experimentation (NPE) team launched yet another new app called Hobbi. Hobbi works much like Pinterest, yet in some ways, it doesn’t. With Hobbi, you can add images of your interests and hobbies to boards (sound familiar?) to track your personal progress. As explained by the NPE team, “you can save photos of the projects you’re working on and the activities you love to do, whether it’s cooking, baking, DIY, arts & crafts, fitness or home decor. You can then organize your photos into visual collections in order to see the progress you’re making over time.” You can also create highlight videos of interests you’ve collected to share with your friends and families.

2. Instagram adds a new appeal process for disabled accounts.

Users who’ve had their accounts disabled get another shot at redemption as Instagram launches a new appeal process to retrieve disabled accounts. This new process will allow users to request a review of the app’s decision to disable their accounts. To appeal for a review, you must enter your username, password, and state a reason why you think Instagram has made a mistake in disabling your account. The app then takes 24 hrs to respond. While this doesn’t guarantee that the account will be restored, it sure does give the users an easy way to get in touch with the app and track the review progress.

3. YouTube emerges as the winner in mobile streaming wars.

According to App Annie’s latest report, YouTube dominates 70% of the time spent by people watching content in the top five streaming apps. The report revealed that seven out of every 10 minutes were spent on YouTube worldwide on Android phones. Subscription-based streaming services like Netflix and Hotstar are further down the list. This comes as no surprise considering that YouTube is free and has a vast selection of local videos to watch from thus eliminating access barriers for users.

4. WhatsApp reaches a whopping 2 billion users.

Last week, Facebook-owned WhatsApp hit 2 billion monthly active users. While the western regions are still heavy on using Messenger, WhatsApp has managed to capture the rest of the world. It’s taken two years for WhatsApp to grow half a billion users since 2018 were it stood at 1.5 billion users. Despite having a user base smaller than Facebook’s (2.5 billion), the platform is gaining traction and developing outside of the U.S.

5. Snapchat looks to redesign their app to simplify in-app navigation.

Snapchatters can expect a redesigned version of the app as Snapchat is looking to add a navigation bar at the bottom. This navigation bar comes with five new sections to simplify in-app navigation. These five new sections will link to Snap Map, chat, the main camera, Community section, and the new Discover section. The new format is sure to improve Snapchat’s user-friendly design and make it easier for newcomers to navigate the app’s features.

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1. Snapchat launches Bitmoji TV.

What if the bitmoji avatars of you and your snap friends could star in a full motion cartoon series? Snapchat’s new offering Bitmoji TV is here to do just that. The new release is riding on the popularity of bitmojis and demand for short, TV like content. Users can now customize and watch episodes of their bitmoji characters undertaking various adventures. The first season of Bitmoji TV has ten episodes that users can find in the Bitmoji TV section within the app.

2. Pinterest’s new development is an AR “Try-On” feature for Lipstick shades.

Searching for beauty inspiration on Pinterest just got a lot easier as the platform released an AR “Try-On” feature for lipstick shades. As explained by Pinterest, “Simply open the Pinterest camera in search, click “Try on” to find different shades and swipe up to shop from brands. A “try on” button will also appear on select products, as well as in search with related terms like “matte lipstick” or “red lips”.” Try-On also features a skin tone range, so Pinners can see similar lip shades on skin tones that match their own.

3. Conversation thread on Twitter gets a makeover

Twitter’s latest, albeit small, update is a more refined version of the conversation thread on iOS. The new layout of the conversation thread makes it easier to see when people you follow are in a conversation. You can also see who’s replying to who so you can join relevant conversations. Twitter is looking to roll out this feature for Android soon.

4. Facebook Messenger for Business Gets a One-Time Notification API 

Facebook’s new feature allows businesses to get back in touch with potential customers with relevant updates on Messenger. As explained by Facebook, “Businesses can send a message to the user asking if they want to be notified on a topic. If the user asks to be notified, the business receives a token and can use this token to send out the notification with the information the user requested at a later time.” The feature will also support valuable use cases such as price drop and back in stock alerts, as well as other notifications that people have requested notifications for.

5. LinkedIn’s Elevate functionality to be merged with Company Pages

LinkedIn just announced the merger of its Elevate functionality into its native company page tools. Elevate is an employee advocacy platform that makes it easy to discover and share content curated by your company experts. A paid tool for company pages, Elevate gives LinkedIn page managers more ways to engage with their employees, share relevant updates, and amplify their online brand reputation.

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1. No more Audience Insights element from Twitter Analytics?

Yes, you heard it right! In a surprise move, Twitter announced the removal of its Audience Insights tab from Twitter Analytics at the end of this month. The Audience Insights tab provides in-depth data on followers’ demographics, mobile footprint, purchasing behavior insights, and much more. The Audience Insights tab has proven to be useful in the past to help marketers chart out effective Twitter ad strategies. With the feature gone, what does this mean for the future of Twitter audience insights? Will Twitter bring out a different tool to replace the feature? Hopefully!

2. Emoji reactions now on Twitter Direct Messages

At a loss for words? Worry no more as Twitter launches Emoji Reactions for Twitter Direct Messages. As explained by Twitter, “To add a reaction, hover over the message and click the reaction button (heart and plus icon), or double tap on the message and pick an emoji from the pop-up” In addition to that, you can also undo the reaction at any time and it will be removed for all participants of a group conversation. This new update certainly makes it easier now to acknowledge a message on DMs.

3. TikTok’s new development is here and it is much like Snapchat’s Discover Stream

TikTok is looking to roll out a feed of curated content highlighting selected original videos from popular TikTok creators and professional publishers. Concerns raised over ad displacements alongside controversial posts is the cause behind this new development. The Curated Content Stream, taken inspiration from Snapchat’s Discover Stream, will aid TikTok moderators in having more control over the viewer experience to make sure that ads do not get wedged in between controversial posts.

4. Instagram begins testing of DMs in the Desktop version

Good news for marketers as Instagram has officially begun testing direct messaging in the Desktop version. Regions having limited network access can benefit from this new development as this will allow them to connect to direct messages from an alternative device. Moreover, businesses can now easily use Instagram DMs to address customer service queries among other things. It is also important to note that at this stage only a small percentage of users can access the desktop version of the DMs, but it soon will be accessible for all users in the future.

5. Pinterest overtakes Snapchat as the No. 3 social media app in the U.S.

Pinterest emerged as the third biggest social media app in the U.S. surpassing Snapchat in 2019. Unlike Snapchat, which has a young audience base, Pinterest is represented by all age groups. Pinterest saw a 9.1% growth in users in 2019, a 1.7% increase from the previous year, while Snapchat saw a 5.9% growth rate. According to eMarketer’s latest social user estimates, Pinterest will continue to stay ahead of Snapchat in the years to come.

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1. Pinterest introduces “Pinterest Trends”

Pinterest’s new tool “Pinterest Trends” is here to quench every marketer’s thirst for consumer behavioral insights. The new tool will provide data on the top US search terms for the previous 12 months on the platform. In addition to that, the tool showcases when these top search terms peaked during the year to help marketers’ campaign planning and budget allocation during various planning stages.

2. Facebook adds Suggested Moderator tool in group management

Facebook’s new “Suggested Moderator” tool helps businesses identify a potential group moderator for their Facebook group(s). It lists any members of a Facebook group that are good candidates to become a moderator. Suggested Moderator helps brands solidify their business relationships with key advocates of their community. With Facebook groups considered a great marketing tactic to engage with your community, this tool will be a great help.

3. Facebook opens Brand Collabs Manager to include Instagram collaborators

In 2018, Facebook launched its Brand Collabs Manager tool, a search engine for Facebook creators, to help brands identify and connect with relevant influencers. Now, Facebook is opening up this tool to a select group of Instagram creators to help them collaborate and plan partnerships with brands. These creators will be able to share their insights and engagement with brands to help them find partners that resonate with their audience. The move suggests Instagram is going bigger than ever than on influencer marketing as a valid marketing channel for all types of brands.

4. YouTube’s new feature to automatically crop out copyright claimed elements

Copyright violations have always been a problem for YouTube content creators. YouTube allows creators to file for copyright infringement when an original material of theirs has been used without permission. Keeping the interests of both parties in mind, YouTube has rolled out the “Assisted trim” feature that automatically crops out the copyright claimed element from the video. While this may trim out a portion of the video, it provides an easier way to keep content alive and free from copyright claims.

5. Snap acquires AI factory for $166 million

Snapchat’s parent company Snap has acquired Ukraine based startup AI Factory for $166 million. This acquisition introduces a new type of Snapchat video service called Cameos, this feature lets users take a selfie that can be animated and used in video templates. At present, there are about 150 video templates that users can use in this feature. As explained by Snap, the idea of this feature is “to make you the star of your own short, looping videos that you can send to friends in Chat”.

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