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The Week in Social: FB Browsing, Tech Firms vs Alex Jones, and Snapchat user decline

Facebook is officially a major player in mobile browsing

It seems mobile browsing isn’t merely a two horse race, with recent data showing Safari and Chrome’s dominance is being challenged by Facebook. According to a study by Mixpanel, the social networking app now accounts for over 10 percent of mobile browsing traffic in many US states, and that number reaches over 13 percent in Washington and Rhode Island. Countrywide, Safari still reigns supreme, commanding on average 58.06 percent of the mobile market, followed by Chrome (32.48 percent), Facebook (8.82 percent), and everyone else (0.64 percent).

Read more at TechCrunch

Google releases Q&A app for public figures

Google is making it easier for public figures to answer the world’s burning questions about themselves with a new app called Cameos. Recently launched on iOS, the app lets the likes of stars and athletes create short videos in which they respond to community questions or common Google searches, and the clips are posted directly to Google search results. Usage is invite-only but don’t be offended if you don’t get accepted, as Cameos is intended to be source of knowledge about notable people (rather than a way to get your Stories into Google search).

Read more at Engadget

Tech companies take action against conspiracy theorist

Several of the world’s largest tech companies made their biggest moves against misinformation and hate speech this past week by restricting content from conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Following Apple’s banning of Jones’ podcast from iTunes, much of the talk show host’s content was swiftly pulled from Facebook, YouTube, and Spotify due to Jones violating each service’s policy on hate speech. Notably, Jones’ app is still available on the App Store and Google Play (due to the marketplaces having different policies), and his presence is still alive on Twitter, with CEO Jack Dorsey suggesting the onus is more on journalists to combat disinformation.

Read more at The New York Times

Multiplayer AR games arrive in Messenger

Augmented reality continues to get a push at Facebook with the company’s latest addition to its Messenger platform: multiplayer AR games. Users can now access a couple of games while video chatting, each of which can be played by up to six people, and more games will be introduced in the future. Snapchat introduced a similar feature a few months back with “Snappables,” its AR gaming lenses.


Read more at Business Insider

Snapchat loses millions of users through its redesign

How much does a redesign cost? For Snapchat, it isn’t just a dollar amount. Snap Inc.’s latest quarterly earnings report has revealed the app’s daily active users dropped from 191 million to 188 million, with the blame placed on the not-so-warmly received facelift. Luckily for the company, the redesign does seem to have achieved its goal of revitalizing Snap’s ad business, contributing to a 44 percent year-over-year revenue increase.

Read more at The Verge

Business Pages get a redesign on Facebook

Small business pages on Facebook have received a revamp that aims to let visitors perform key interactions quicker. The redesign makes utility CTA buttons (like “Start Order” or “Book Now”) front-and-center, and reviews are shown more prominently but are being restricted to 25 characters to keep them concise. These changes debuted alongside a few other tools, such as ability for small businesses to post Stories, and the featuring of related pages on business presences.


Read more at TechCrunch

Instagram’s new user growth exceeds Snapchat’s total users

Instagram and Snapchat’s ongoing battle is looking less like a contest of tech giants and more like David versus Goliath. According to recent stats, Instagram managed to pick up 300 million monthly active users last year, and if you were paying attention earlier, you’ll recall that’s greater than Snapchat’s total user base. Combining Instagram’s growth with that of its brethren Facebook and WhatsApp, the social media empire grew by 728 million users last year, trumping Snapchat and Twitter’s growth of 15 million and nine million respectively.

Read more at Business Insider

Fortnite hits Android in an unconventional way

Android gamers rejoice (partly)! Fortnite Battle Royale – the game that has been dominating Twitch and YouTube streams for months – has begun its long-awaited voyage to Android phones, but it won’t be as simple as downloading any ol’ app. First off, the title (currently in beta form) is temporarily exclusive to Samsung devices and available from Samsung’s Game Launcher app. And once the exclusivity ends, the game won’t be available on Google Play, but rather, from developer Epic Games’ website – a choice that prevents Epic from having to share its profits with Google.

Read more at Polygon