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The week in social: Twitter autoplay ads, FB acquisitions, and Dropon

Study shows that users enjoy Snapchat advertisements

A study commissioned by Snapchat has shown that the majority of users are receptive to the new sponsored campaigns on the mobile app being featured on the “Our Story” and “Brand Story” sections. Millward Brown Digital, the form commissioned for the study, showed that Snapchat users were three times more receptive to these ads than to a typical mobile ad. In terms of engagement, 66% of users liked a sponsored “Our Story”, and 40% liked “Brand Story”. As an additional bonus, the brands running the campaigns saw increased brand awareness and affinity. Snapchat, through recent investments is now valued at up to $10 billion.

More information on Social Times.

Twitter updates iOS app with animations and notifications

Twitter has added a number of new minor features specifically for iOS users earlier this week. The update includes an animation for when someone clicks to “favorite” a post, and while not a function upgrade, adds to the visual stimulus of using the app. The other portion of the update is an option to enable notification when new features become available, but it remains to be seen if it will only send alerts when they are made available to the majority of users, as Twitter has a tendency to quietly test new features with a small user group.

Read more on The Next Web.

Dropon is potentially the new Ello

While it has only been a few months since Facebook rival Ello popped onto the scene attempting to bring the fun back into social networking, new network Dropon is claiming that Ello’s time is up. Dropon’s offering extends from Ello to include more varied features and higher privacy protection. Both networks aim to remove the focus from advertising, but Ello doesn’t provide encryption for data that could easily be reviewed or exposed by the NSA. According to Nathan Jurgenson, editor of Cyborgology Blog, Ello may not even be displaced by Dropon, because newness is what is most exciting about new social networks to most users, not Ello itself, “If there’s one thing that is especially combustible in the tech space, it’s newness – often to a fault. But people wanted a Facebook killer more than they wanted Ello,”.

More information on Social Times.

Facebook purchases

A voice interface creator,, has been purchased by Facebook for an undisclosed sum of money. has created a natural language processing application programming interface, or API, the purpose of which is to turn text and speech into computing actions. currently boasts a community of 6,000 users, and the tool is used currently on hundreds of apps. In a blog post from the company, they noted that the platform would remain open for anyone to use, and the blog post did not announce too many specifics of how and when the technology would be integrated with Facebook.

Read more on Blog.

WhatsApp now has 700 million active users each month

The popular messaging app that was acquired by Facebook earlier in 2014, WhatsApp just released numbers saying that it has 700 monthly active users. In addition, the app sees 30 billion messages sent everyday, according to a Facebook post from founder Jan Koum. The service has been growing exponentially since the additional press it gained through the Facebook acquisition, hitting 500 million users in April, and reaching 600 million in August, before this latest milestone. WhatsApp was acquired for $22 billion dollars, one of the largest recent company acquisitions in the tech industry.

More information on USA Today.

New options become available for admins of Places on Facebook Pages

Some admins of Facebook Page Places are being shown new options to help provide and leverage specific information about their place. The new features include adding the ability to show user ratings, check-ins, and a map on the Page. These options cannot be individually selected, and not all Page admins have these features available. Like many other features across Facebook and Twitter, it is likely that this is being tested within a specific market to how Page interactions changes or is increased before it is rolled out more widely.

Read more on AllFacebook.

Google provides new features for Hangouts app on iOS

With version 2.5 of the Hangouts app being released on iOS earlier this week, several new features that already exist on Android have been introduced. Among these features are single-tap location sharing, additional stick packs for messages, general status updates, as well as searching for contacts only by their phone numbers. Voice call performance is also supposed to be improved, and various bugs have been fixed. These same updates were released for the Android app last month.

Read more on The Next Web.

Twitter considering auto-play ad previews for video

Following in the footsteps of Facebook and YouTube, Twitter is putting a focus on promoted video content. Discussed at CES, Twitter is considering making promoted videos automatically play a six second preview when they appear in people’s feeds. Alongside this feature could also see a change to how advertisers are charged with a shift from being charged for the initial preview to full video click through. Details have not been confirmed, and it remains to be seen if or when this will be rolled out, as it is likely to cause a stir among the devoted Twitter user base.

More information on AdAge.

Facebook reaches 1 billion video views each date

Facebook has experienced a surge in video uploads and views, noting that since June, video views have been at an average of 1 billion per day. Additional statistics include that the amount of videos from both users and brands or Page owners has increased 3.6 times, year over year, and that 76% of Facebook users discover videos that they watch right on Facebook, as opposed to other networks. As a nod to mobile users, 65% of video views globally on Facebook happen on mobile devices. This news will create pressure for other social video sharing services such as YouTube, which is the second most popular search engine in the US, and focused solely on video upload and discovery.

Read more on AllFacebook.

Facebook user growth slows, remains most engaged

New research released on Friday from the Pew Research Center shows that while Facebook user growth has slowed in the U.S., user engagement is ranked highest among other social platforms. The survey, conducted in September 2014, found that more than half (56%) of internet users 65 years and older use Facebook, which was the only bracket of growth for the platform. The survey also revealed that Americans are now using multiple social media sites, which could contribute to the growth in user numbers for platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Read more on TechCrunch.

Facebook acquires video compression startup

Facebook’s interest in developing video capabilities has been strengthened with the acquisition of video compression startup QuickFire Networks. QuickFire’s technology quickly converts video formats into files requiring less bandwidth for users, without sacrificing video quality. In line with latest figures showing user uptake of video watching on the platform, this news is also welcomed from markets with less bandwidth allowance.

More information on The Next Web.

WE tv app makes GIF creation simple

Capitalizing on Twitter’s love affair with reality show commentary, WE tv has announced the launch of GIF sync. The app will enable viewers to tweet, create memes and GIFs in real-time to continue and enhance their social media conversations. The app uses Shazam-like sound recognition software to sync TV sound bites with the app. WE tv believes the added capabilities will increase interaction during shows and enhance the viewer experience.

Read more on Mashable.