In big collaborative news, Facebook has announced plans to further integrate its Messenger app into users’ lives. Facebook can now boast over 800 million users on the Messenger app, and wants to keep them there for longer. Big names in technology, namely Uber and Spotify, are now able to integrate their services into Messenger. Users will be able to share songs with friends via Spotify, and order cabs on Uber, without ever having to leave the Messenger app. Allowing users to send songs, make payments, order cabs, and play games within the app helps Facebook maintain its position as the preeminent social media platform.
Not all the news is rosy for Facebook. After the devastating terrorist attacks in Lahore, Pakistan, Facebook was caught short as it used its ‘check in’ feature to ask people thousands of miles from Pakistan if they were affected by the attack. Described by Facebook as a “bug”, many users were left confused and frightened after a Facebook push notification asks if they are safe. However, users were mostly satiated by Facebook’s subsequent apology. Facebook began the feature in 2014, following a large earthquake in Nepal, and has been widely hailed as a success. Mark Zuckerberg issued the apology from his own Facebook page.
Twitter’s Big Birthday
The tenth birthday of Twitter fell in March, with users using the hashtag #LoveTwitter to reflect on iconic, funny, and outrageous tweets from the last ten years. However, as Twitter enters a double-digit age, difficult times lay ahead. There has been backlash to Twitter’s move away from a chronological Timeline and towards a personalised feed that isn’t in real-time. Users even started the hashtag #RIPTwitter. These users felt the very essence of Twitter lies with a real-time chronological feed. Twitter CEO @Jack has responded (in a series of tweets, fittingly), explaining that the new out-of-sync is an optional feature. Therefore, users now have the ability to decide whether or not to use this new feature, or use it alongside the traditional chronological feed. The best of both worlds, perhaps?
Similar to Twitter, Instagram has changed its users’ home feeds from their current chronological feeds to a personalised algorithm. Based on users’ likes and pre-existing relationships, Instagram has introduced the new feed to overcome the 70% of content that users miss whilst they are not online. The move will widely be welcomed by advertisers but not, perhaps, by companies and individuals who don’t have available budget. Organic reach, as we know it, is becoming a thing of the past. The changes make Instagram more sustainable and profitable as it overcomes the problem that comes with ever-expanding amounts of content; in 2015 Instagram boasted over 400 million users. It seems unlikely that general disgruntlement at changes will materialise in any mass exodus. After all, people still use Facebook following the change to a personalised-feed years ago.
by Jenny Connelly