Vincent Varney, 18 Feb 2019

The week in social: DM on desktop, Reddit funding, and Instagram followers fall

Instagram reportedly testing DM on desktop

In perhaps 2019’s most exciting news thus far (not even kidding), Instagram is reportedly conducting internal tests on a web version of its Direct chat platform. The ramifications are obvious: users will hopefully be able to shoot messages from their desktops or laptops in the near future, significantly increasing the speed and volume of their DM output (again, not joking, this is big). The ‘gram’s big screen functionality has long lagged behind its competitors, especially in this space – WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Line, and iMessage have been accessible via PC for years.

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Read more at TechCrunch

Reddit confirms $150m investment from Tencent

Following last week’s reports, Reddit has confirmed that its latest $US300 million funding run was led by Chinese tech giant Tencent, which contributed half of that hefty sum. Reddit CEO Steve Huffman told reporters that the investment is aimed at improving the site’s overall functionality and digital ads business, though it has countless users concerned that the connection to Tencent could affect their ability to freely express themselves. It’s worth noting, however, that other companies that have received funding from Tencent – such as Spotify and Epic Games – haven’t faced global censorship.

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Read more at The Verge

Facebook and Google under pressure to crack down on anti-vaxxers

Two of the largest sources of news are facing criticism for not doing enough to address the spread of anti-vaccination conspiracies. Facebook and Google have both been called on to take action following a measles outbreak in the US state of Washington, alleged to have resulted from digital misinformation. Facebook says it is “exploring additional measures to best combat the problem,” such as demoting anti-vaxxer content in its recommendations, and Google has been taking similar action lately with its YouTube search results.

Read more at Bloomberg

Snapchat users bring in box office success, says study

Snap Inc. has released the results of its study into “the moviegoing Snapchatter,” and has a come away with a bold claim: cinema attendance by Snapchat users is “highly correlated with box office results.” They also have very specific pre-film rituals – three of the most popular places to visit before seeing a movie are farmers markets, dog parks, and party-supply stores (which is odd, because fresh food and pets aren’t allowed in cinemas, and why would you bother wearing a costume in the dark?).

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Read more at Adweek

Glitch causes Instagrammers to lose millions of followers

An influencer’s worst nightmare became reality this week when a bug caused Instgrammers’ follower counts to drop, with some cases in the millions. Popstars Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande were among those affected, losing around two and three million followers respectively for reasons currently unknown. Instagram has stated that it’s looking into the matter, and has confirmed that those losses aren’t related to the culling of fake accounts.

Read more at Fast Company