Twitter announced this month that it would be widening the use of verified accounts – now it is not only celebrities and major brands that will be able to get the accredited ‘blue tick’. Twitter has demystified how to get the elusive blue tick, and blogged about the accreditation process. Now that brands will be able to get accredited (if they meet the criteria) profiles will have more of an air of authority around them. This is an important step for Twitter, as it recognises that users crave the blue tick and will add gravitas to marketing tweets and promotional posts. Facebook has long had a clear policy on verified accounts, and has encouraged all businesses and brands to gain a verified account. Twitter is finally catching up on this – recognising that users inherently trust accounts more with that little blue tick.

In order to reverse a long-term slowdown in signing up new users, Twitter has released a ‘back to basics’ video in order to explain what Twitter is actually for. The video explains that Twitter is the premier platform for the most up-to-date news and commentary. This video is aimed towards tackling a general confusion in some people’s minds about what Twitter is about, and attempts to reposition itself as a tool for all, not just those whom have a lot to say.
Another major milestone has been reached by Facebook this month – with the Messenger app surpassing one billion regular users. This means that the top three downloaded apps, Facebook, Messenger, and WhatsApp, are all Facebook-owned, and all have over one billion users.

There was also an important technical announcement to Messenger this month that hit the headlines. Facebook outlined plans to introduce end-to-end encryption of some messages, meaning users can send messages to other users which will later completely disappear. This move follows Snapchat from a user perspective, with no trace of a message once it has been read by the intended recipient. In a culture of hacks and leaks, Facebook is taking the lead in protecting users’ data and creating a sense of security.

After the news that Instagram lengthened the amount of video users can upload, the tech giant has continued to push video as its centrepiece. Instagram has introduced a ‘videos you may like’ function – pushing videos selected by its algorithms to create a “seamless viewing experience”. Interestingly, the videos in this feed will be from accounts that a user does not (yet) follow. Videos will automatically load after the previous video finishes, rolling seamlessly from one to the next. Using video as an immersive experience, with a view to push new follows, is a canny move that will encourage users to spend more time within the app. Brands would be wise to create video content that mixes seamlessly with user-generated content, as Instagram’s algorithms will link brand content to native content.