Happy Friday! We’ve got a lot of social media updates this week, including Facebook combating “fake news,” Snapchat groups, Twitter’s new live videos, Instagram stories, and much more. Get all the latest below.
Is it okay to shout fire in a crowded movie theater if you yell “JUST KIDDING!” afterward? After months of issues with fake news stories spreading over the platform, Facebook is finally taking a stand. A problem that often originates with “reporters” that actively want to share false news stories, fake news started spreading on Facebook this summer when the platform cut its human Trending Topics team in favor of an algorithm. In order to stop the spread of fake news, Facebook announced a four-part plan mapping out steps that it will be taking. It will now be easier for users to flag fake news via implementation of a third-party fact-checking source that will verify whether or not news stories are real or fake, stating that “If the fact checking organizations identify a story as fake, it will get flagged as disputed and there will be a link to the corresponding article explaining why. Stories that have been disputed may also appear lower in News Feed. It will still be possible to share these stories, but you will see a warning that the story has been disputed as you share.”
While this approach is welcomed by many, many others worry that this may be an early step toward suppressing the press. Some stories are clearly fake, but in other cases, the truth can be subjective. How can we guarantee that fact checkers aren’t as biased as those that write fake news? Will these early steps to combat fake news evolve into an active social media society that polices the sharing of news stories? Facebook is well intended, saying, “It’s important to us that the stories you see on Facebook are authentic and meaningful. We’re excited about this progress, but we know there’s more to be done. We’re going to keep working on this problem for as long as it takes to get it right.” But in these early days, several questions still exist. In any case, this social media example shows the importance of sharing content wisely and being careful not to just jump on the “shiny new toy” bandwagon. Be sure to stay tuned for updates in the weeks to come!
This week Snapchat announced that their new update will feature a group chat function. Up to 16 users will be able to communicate in the group chat, and in true Snapchat fashion, all chats and photos in the chat disappear after each user views it. Group chats will last for 24 hours. This is a big step for Snapchat, but we’re still holding out hope for a group function that allows you to set pre-determined groups of friends to send an individual snap to (ie. “Family,” Work Friends,” “GoT Fans!”)
Livestreamers rejoice! The Twitter mobile app now allows users to share live videos. This seems very similar to Periscope, making many question whether or not Twitter plans to continue its relationship with the live-streaming app. Reports show that Periscope viewers do not tend to return after first viewing a video, so Twitter is testing out live streaming within the platform itself.
This week Snapchat launched templates that help to make Geofilters even easier to use. Geofilters, which were introduced in 2014, are images that users can put on their photos and videos. These filters are only available if users are within a certain geographical location. Snapchat hopes that providing templates will increase Snapchat profits, as businesses must pay to create Geofilters. What do you think about the new feature?
This week the BBC shared its finding that 18% of Instagram users watch Instagram live stories daily and 53% of users view live stories monthly. These numbers may not seem staggering—but analysts are hopeful that the service will continue to gain traction. Instagram stories, similar to Snapchat, are photo or video moments that users share for just 24 hours before they disappear. The success of Instagram Stories is important, as their results may influence whether or not other social media services will adopt expiring content models. We’ve fully embraced Instagram Stories, and hope they stay around!
2017 is almost here! And social media juggernauts like Facebook and Instagram are a great way to look back at what you’ve done this year. This week Facebook gave users the option to share a video with their personal highlights from 2016. This video includes popular photos that they share and tells how many pieces of content the user liked. Additionally, the site 2016BestNine helps Instagram users share their nine most popular photos from 2016. Did you jump on the “year-in-recap” bandwagon this week?