Facebook rolls out News tab in the US
That well-known trusted source of content Facebook has now started rolling out its News tab. Facebook News is currently running as a limited test in the US, as a home screen tab and bookmark in the main Facebook app. News articles will continue to appear in the main News Feed, but the new tab is designed to encourage users to “explore a wider range of their news interests”. Facebook will use both human editors and algorithms to determine which stories people see, and the platform will serve up suggestions based on your interests and activity. Facebook hasn’t provided a list of participating publishers, but screenshots include stories from The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed News and other reputable names.
Facebook meddles in de-identification technology for video
Facebook AI Research says it’s created a machine learning system for de-identification of individuals in video. Bear with me on this – basically the technology alters individuals’ appearance in videos so that facial recognition systems won’t pick them up. The changes are said to be subtle enough that humans will still recognise the subject but facial recognition systems won’t. Er… why bother? Privacy of course! “Face recognition can lead to loss of privacy and face replacement technology may be misused to create misleading videos,” said Facebook AI’s paper on the tech. “Recent world events concerning the advances in, and abuse of face recognition technology invoke the need to understand methods that successfully deal with de-identification.”
Twitter underperforms in Q3, but moderation tools improve
Q3 wasn’t much fun for Twitter, and it fell below analysts’ predictions. Revenues came in at $824 million, when they had been predicted to hit $874.03 million, or higher – ouch. Twitter’s excuse was the impact of “revenue product issues, which we believe reduced year-over-year growth by approximately 3 or more percentage points, and greater-than-expected seasonality.” It wasn’t all bad news, however – in its earnings report, Twitter said that 50 percent of tweets identified as abusive are now being flagged by its automated moderation tools and taken down before a user reports them. Cracking down on abusive content has been one of Twitter’s key goals, so at least this is something to celebrate.
Q3 update: Snapchat snaps back
A better Q3 for Snapchat, which has had something of a turnaround year by all accounts. In its Q3 earnings report last week, it smashed expectations. Daily active users were up 7 million to 210 million (13% growth y-o -y). It’s losing less; $227 million from $255 million last quarter, with the loss decreasing $98 million versus Q3 2018. Share price might have closed 4% down at $14, but given it was at $4.99 in December, that’s still a pretty solid recovery. Keep up the good work.
Snapchat introduces Creative Kit for Web
Snapchat has added more tools to integrate its platform with third-party companies, by extending its Creative Kit to the web. Previously only available for mobile apps, it now allows website owners to add a ‘Share to Snapchat’ buttons to their sites, so that Snappers can, well, share the content to Snapchat. Each Snap shared with the buttons will contain a custom-branded sticker or GIF, along with a link to drive content back to the originating site. Initial partners for the rollout of Creative Kit for Web include Buzzfeed and Vice.
TikTok looks to creators for new safety videos
TikTiok has tapped some of its most popular creators to make safety-focused videos. Intended to drive awareness of TikTok’s safety and privacy features and illustrate how to use them, the films explain things like blocking, filtering comments and protecting private information. TikTok director of creator community Kudzi Chikumbu said: “Our in-app controls are designed to keep TikTok welcoming for everyone, and we love showcasing these creators’ enthusiasm to help keep our community safe.”
‘Women of Impact’ take over National Geographic’s Instagram
More than 30 female photographers took over National Geographic‘s Instagram account last week, posting content focused on women, both in the grid and in Stories. It’s part of the publication’s Women of Impact month, highlighted by the November issue of its magazine, which was the first to be written and photographed exclusively by women. Here’s an example of the work on show – head over to @natgeo for more.
Watch this space…
LinkedIn refreshes its daily morning news update; Pinterest rolls out updated Pin format; LinkedIn grows both revenue and engagement; Instagram adds a new IGTV ‘Series’ option and bans ‘plastic surgery’ filters.
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