Insta and Facebook make important changes

|| May 3, 2019

By Jordan McDonald

55 comms social media coordinator

Welcome back to another weekly blog, it’s been a big week in news so let’s get to it!

Facebook unveils new stuff

Over the last 2 days, Facebook held its mostly-annual F8 Developers’ Conference which gathered the world’s most avid developers and entrepreneurs in San Jose, California. It’s a notoriously exciting event led by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, which aims to update the world on the company’s latest developments and pretty much show them off. But the looming privacy concerns generated by the last few years of agony for Facebook couldn’t be ignored, and they weren’t – in fact Zuckerberg almost needed to stop saying the word “privacy” because it was spread so thick. So, while the theme of the conference was “the future is privacy”, some great new developments were showcased, and they were:

  • A change to the Facebook platform (app & desktop): The newsfeed will no longer be the focus for Facebook, instead it will focus on your groups, events, stories, and push your interactions to a more private space … i.e. Facebook Messenger.
  • Facebook Messenger: It get its own desktop app. Soon you won’t have to be on Facebook to access Messenger and chat with your close friends. In addition to this, Facebook plans to allow users to communicate to our friends, via Facebook Messenger, on WhatsApp and Instagram simultaneously. Eventually it looks like the Messenger feed will be all cross-platform. As well as these two things, Facebook said it’s going to turbo-charge the video experience so that you can watch videos with other friends in real-time.

The F8 Developers’ Conference covered a stack of other material to do with the other apps Facebook owns which can be viewed on YouTube.

Elsewhere for Facebook this week was the publishing of its latest quarterly results. They included a line on their expected Federal Trade Commission fine of between $US3 and $US5 billion. You may remember from our recent updates that this was over Facebook privacy issues. The largest fine ever handed down by the FTC to date was to Google in 2012 totalling a measly $22 million.

Insta pivots to quality over popularity

Instagram today announced they’re globally testing a newsfeed with a difference. This feed will prevent a user from seeing the number of likes a post has in an attempt to change the focus from gratification to quality of content.

The user who posted the content will be able to see the numbers of likes, but it will be off limits for everyone else.

This latest development was announced at the recent F8 Developers’ Conference and was encouraged by increasing research into the damage social media causes to users’ mental health, especially young people.

I wonder though if this will really solve that issue. I’m someone who is a part of this group of “young people” they’ve identified and for a lot of us, social gratification is what we’ve grown up with.

We won’t leave Instagram, but I think we’ll simply measure the popularity of our posts via an alternate metric, like comments or post saves.

And you will certainly still have people deleting their post after 15 minutes when they (and only they) can see that the number of likes is fewer than they’d anticipated.

Mind you, I’m eager to see how influencers adjust because that will play a large part in helping shape the mindsets of large audiences on Instagram.

Tinder’s festival love

Tinder this morning announced a new feature called ‘Festival Mode’, aimed at connecting singles at festivals. The feature has only been made available in the US, UK and Australia for people attending large festivals. Your profile will display a badge associated with an upcoming festival you’re attending so people swiping through can quickly identify you. Whiled no Australian festivals have been added to the select list of large festivals, I’m sure it won’t be long. Could you find love amongst a raging crowd of thousands?

Vegemite outlines the benefits

To end on a fun note, one of my favourite creative Australian agencies Thinkerbell has recently created a new ad for Vegemite, aimed at getting young kids to eat is as much as possible for the obvious Vitamin B benefits. The ad is super playful, cartoonish, and definitely appealing to young kids. Take a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30m4YqBy8uI

That’s it for another week, see you here again next week.