Keep on scrollin'

The week in social: Kik Bot Shop, NFL on Twitter, and WhatsApp encryption

Twitter makes it easier to share tweets in direct messages

A new feature built into the menu of options on a tweet now makes them easier to share with friends and contacts via direct message. Previously, when viewing a tweet on the timeline or its own individual page, users only had three options; reply, retweet, or like. Now, a fourth option in that menu, “message”, lets users share the tweet in a direct message. Part of the reason for introducing this is an increase in direct messages sent of 60% in 2015, and an increase in sharing of tweets in direct messages by over 200% in the second half of last year, according to a blog post from the company.

More information on Twitter Blog.

Pinterest begins to monetize outside the US

Pinterest has just introduced Promoted Pins for the first country outside of the US, the United Kingdom. The company’s plan is to introduce Promoted Pins to more English-speaking countries in the coming months, but the decision to start with the UK is that it is one of the largest Pinterest-using territories outside of America. Users in the UK grew by over 50% last year, and over 3 million pins are saved by these users everyday, according to a blog post from the company. There is currently no news on which countries will receive Promoted Pins next.


Read more on Pinterest Business Blog.

Facebook introduces new features for Live video

As an expansion to Live video introduced through the Mentions app last year, Facebook Live is now available to all users with a set of additional new features debuted by the company earlier this week. To start, Live video is now available within Group and Event conversations, giving users the ability to share Live video with just a select group of people, as opposed to the wider set of all their friends and contacts. In addition, more interactive features have been introduced, such as the ability to provide a live reaction, which functions just like the reactions in news feed, but overlays the emoticon on top of the video in real time, and disappears a short while after. Another way reactions have been enhanced is the “replay comments” feature, which when a Live video is replayed later, users will see the comments that went along with it. According to Facebook’s post, users are ten times more likely to comment on a Live video as opposed to a normally uploaded video. Lastly, new ways to customize videos are being introduced, such as the ability to add color filters, and draw on the videos as well. Similar to Periscope, a map of videos currently live is available for users to browse content from different geographies.


Read more on Facebook Newsroom.

Twitter will begin streaming Thursday night NFL games

In a big move for streaming broadcast video, Twitter will begin streaming NFL Thursday night games in the near future. Although the exact terms of the deal are undisclosed, other bidders such as Facebook stepped out of the competition to win the rights. Viewers will be able to stream the games for free, even if they do not already have a Twitter account, and the games will still be shown across broadcast and cable television services.

More information on Social Times.

Kik launches Bot Shop

Popular messaging app Kik has introduced a “Bot Shop” where users can find bots from various brands to chat with and more. Kik is advertising the store as a place where useful services and entertainment can be obtained, all through chat. Examples of brands that have chat bots include Sephora, the Weather Channel, and the comedy channel Funny or Die. The decision to open the shop came as research from Kik showed that mobile users are downloading fewer and fewer apps, and spending increasing time in chat apps, but the requirement for information and services on mobile apps has been increasing. Kik has likely surmised that if users can get all the information they need directly from Kik, the need to download or switch to using other apps will decrease.

More information on Kik Blog.

WhatsApp now features full encryption

The founders of WhatsApp announced in a blog post earlier this week that the service will now feature end-to-end encryption, and that users do not need to do anything to activate it, noting that it will be activated by default in versions of the application. The blog post goes on to clarify that encryption will take place across group messages, voice calls, and video calls as well, noting that no one can see the contents of a message, including WhatsApp the company.

More information on TechCrunch.

Facebook can now describe photos to the visually impaired

Through use of object recognition technology, Facebook’s AI can now describe photos to users who may be visually impaired. Previously, users were only able to hear the name of the person who posted the photo, and now if the user has a screen reader, they can now hear the description, powered by the feature which is officially called Automatic Alt Text. The feature is being rolled out in English during the next few weeks and will expand to different platforms and languages soon.

More information on Facebook Accessibility.

Sprinklr purchases Postano

Sprinklr, a well known social scheduling and analytics tool, has purchased Postano, a company that specializes in social media data visualization. The reason for the acquisition is to improve the way that Sprinklr can feed data back to its customers, and it has powered events such as Presidential debates, and the NCAA championship football game.


Read more on Social Times.

Facebook updates policies and tools for Brand Content

Branded content has exploded on Facebook in recent years, with celebrities, influencers and other public figures using the platform to advertise various products, services, and brands they are commercially associated with. To help create additional transparency for users and make creating branded content easier for marketers, the company has updated its policies and introduced new tools. Facebook will now require influencers to tag the brand they partnered with to create the posted content, and a new Branded Content tool, that is described by Facebook: “Starting today, we will roll out a new tool that will enable publishers and influencers to tag a marketer in a branded content post. The marketer will be notified of the post and can access high-level post insights, including engagement and reach metrics, along with total spend and CPM on the tagged post.”.


Read more on Facebook Business.

Reddit launches official mobile apps on iOS and Android

Although many solutions in the form of 3rd party apps already exist for users who want to access Reddit on mobile, this week marks the first time that they are available officially from the company. The app is currently available for users in the US, Canada, and Australia. As a result of building the new app, Reddit has halted support of Alien Blue, the previous solution to accessing the service in a mobile app.

More information on Reddit Announcements.