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The Week in Social: Facebook data, Instagram music, and Ad Transparency

Transparency on Facebook and Twitter

The experts predicted that 2018 would usher in a new demand for transparency. Thus far, they’ve been right. This week, within hours of each other, Twitter and Facebook revealed new services that publicly connect ads with the companies that run them. With a few clicks on either platform, viewers can find who paid for the ad, their billing information, and their associated social pages.

The move provides easy means for users to see who is paying for the message. Consequently, ad buyers must re-consider their campaigns, knowing that they can be easily found from behind an ad. We’re eager to see the impact in the marketplace.

Read more at The Next Web

Facebook’s new data to Congress

When Mark Zuckerberg returned to company headquarters following his appearances in Washington, he brought home a homework assignment. The task: answer more than 2,000 questions from Congress and the Senate for the record. Like many of us would, Facebook turned in the assignment near midnight on the date the report was due.

The work was assigned in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. In that instance, Facebook’s privacy policy from 2015 was exploited by Cambridge Analytica (CA). CA collected information about friends-of-friends, and used that data without any awareness or permission from the vast majority of users to whom that data belonged. Facebook immediately closed the public loop on that exploit.

Privately, 52 companies remained as data partners with Facebook following the CA event. Some of those partnerships remained up to this year. Some of them remain up to this day. The companies involved could arguably be receiving better data in order to provide better services for Facebook users. The companies in question include giants like Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, and Alibaba. Facebook has the unenviable task of walking a mono-filament wide tightrope between being transparent to users, and being an effective marketing platform.

Read more at The Washington Post

Instagram Lite

Cities in the developing world lack the wealth of internet bandwidth enjoyed by their metropolis cousins. Consequently, social media apps in remote locations lose ground to low-overhead, low-bandwidth solutions. Instagram, not wanting to leave opportunity on the table, has announced Instagram Lite. The Android app requires less device space, and less bandwidth, only sacrificing features like video and direct messaging.

Read more at TechCrunch

Twitter confirming accounts

Reducing spam and promoting healthy conversation are Twitter’s stated top priorities. Due to the number of spam users seeking to undermine that effort, Twitter now requires a confirmed email or phone number to create a new account. Consequently, Twitter reports that 50,000 spam signups have already been blocked.

Read more at Bloomberg

Facebook keyword snoozing

We’ve all been there. We didn’t catch the game, the race, or the latest episode of that show with all the robots. As a result, we spend the next working day white-knuckle-scrolling through our social feeds, hoping we avoid any spoilers. Facebook is working on a solution us by adding a keyword snooze feature. Like users, we can opt to mute select keywords for 30 days.

The downside we see: you have to snooze a keyword by finding a post that contains it. We wonder if Facebook will include a new report that includes number of users who muted a keyword after viewing your content.


Read more at TechCrunch

One-way messaging on WhatsApp

Group messaging is great for group conversation, however, open discourse is not always the best setup for clean communications. This week, WhatsApp added a setting that let’s group admins send one-way messages to the group’s participants. WhatsApp indicates the feature is a response to understanding how groups communicate. Others view it as yet another case of feature-borrowing from another app.

Read more from WhatsApp

Instagram adds Story Music

Talk to any director and they’ll tell you music is 50% of the movie. At least, that’s what Hans Zimmer says, and he wrote the music for that Christopher Nolan movie you liked. This week, Instagram updated their story options so you can include popular music as soundtrack to your story video. Now you can set your sunset run to something besides your disturbing heavy breathing. Or is that just me?


Read more at The Verge

Distracted BF’s GF is shocked

What happens when a rights-managed stock photo becomes a viral meme? Thankfully, Antonio Guillem is not starving (but you should support him anyway).

Read more at Thrillist