Facebook has been in some hot water of late, with repercussions likely to be ongoing. The social media giant has been accused of censoring topics on its newsfeed, opening the company up to accusations of political bias. Accusations suggest that Facebook would not publish stories in its ‘trending’ feed despite high levels of sharing, and instead pushed stories they were more politically aligned with. What with the American presidential elections looming in 2016, it seems a critical time for Facebook to be accused of meddling, and puts Facebook on the defensive.
Facebook has developed an even more sophisticated ad targeting system that will strengthen relations with businesses. Rather than simply taking into account where users have visited websites, targeted ads will now take into consideration if the visitor is simply a ‘window shopper’, or have consistently looked at their website, for how long, and which items were looked at. This helps weed out real leads and helps businesses gain a higher conversion rate.
Finally in Facebook news; May saw a large extension of live videos across newsfeeds around the globe. Live video has now been enabled on desktop, and users are able to view live videos from across the globe. With high profile users engaging with live video, such as Jamie Oliver, Buzzfeed, and new star ‘Chewbacca Mom’ (who has already broken the live viewing record), it looks like Facebook’s newest feature will be a roaring success.
Twitter has announced a series of changes over the last months that it hopes will help its ailing user numbers. Firstly, changes to analytical tools will give personal and business users a greater insight into its audiences. Following in the likes of Facebook, Twitter now allows users to breakdown their audience into incredibly useful subsets; age brackets, interests, net worth, and consumer history. These powerful tools, when harnessed correctly, could really make Twitter into a sharp advertising tool.
Attempting to appear more flexible, Twitter has announced that adding media, or a poll, or reaction gif, to a tweet will no longer eat into the valuable word count. In making this change, Twitter recognises the power of image and video to create dynamic and engaging content online. Similarly, adding a @handle to a tweet will also not eat into the count – these changes allow for a much more detailed tweet that can help users expand their networking capabilities with ease. Twitter has also removed the necessity of adding a .@ in order for the tweet to be broadcast to all followers, rather than users who follow both the tweet-er and the tweet-ee.
Lastly, the rollout of the new ‘Connect’ feature will help users find new content and other relevant users to follow. Based on previous likes, follows, retweets, and local popular accounts, the new Connect tab hopes to keep users’ feeds fresh and up-to-date by making suggestions (it hopes) that will build up a user’s following number. Twitter is actively creating a more dynamic and less rigid user experience – will the results be what Twitter hopes for?
Described by the Head of Design as a “balance between recognition and versatility”, Instagram’s new logo is certainly a marker of change for the company. The photo-sharing app had not changed its logo in the five years since its inception – in which time the company has undergone seismic change. The new app is simpler, contemporary, and vibrant. The new logo is greeted with changes to the visuals within the app; the sidebars and areas surrounding images are now simply black and white. The new logo, and in-app changes, reflect the cooler image and rapid growth the company has seen. Instagram is going from strength to strength these days, and any minor changes will hardly deter users from the ever-expanding app.
by Jenny Connelly