Some interesting rumoured tests and controversial updates this week, from the ever-changing social media giants, Twitter and Facebook.
We delve into the need-to-know social media news of the week.
This week, Twitter announced the roll out of ‘Highlights’, describing it as ‘a simple summary of the best Tweets for you’. Highlights will send users a push notification up to twice daily, prompting users to ‘read more’. The platform then takes you to an entirely new interface, which neatly serves up a feed of recent Twitter content that Twitter deems most relevant to you.
This is a mix of things from things like accounts and conversations that are popular among people you follow and Tweets from accounts, topics, and events that you regularly interact with and that are trending within your area or among people you follow.
For now, this is only available on Android and is limited only to English speaking users. We’re hoping this will be rolled out to all users, as it can be tricky to absorb the vast quantity of information that Twitter provides. This feels like an expansion of the ‘While You Were Away’ feature, which is aimed primarily at users who don’t open the app multiple times a day, which will make it easier for them to keep up with what’s been going on within the platform.
Facebook is expanding the functionality of the ‘Notifications’ tab and transforming it into a kind of mini news-hub. At the moment, the notifications tab provides you with a neat list of all your recent activity; anything happening on your posts, your likes, comments and shares, your events and invitations.
As if this set of updates wasn’t enough to keep you connected to the world of Facebook, Zuckerberg and his team have begun to test and roll out a shiny new notifications tab that provides users with all daily content that the social media platform deems relevant to that user. This content includes, but as of yet we are not sure if it limited to, the following: Birthdays, Life Events – events and milestones from your friends, Events that you have joined or are attending, Trending topics, a timehop-esque ‘Today in the Past’, News Shared Locally – trending topics in your city, Nearby Places – a suggestion of nearby restaurants/cafes etc, Nearby Friends – only those who have this feature enabled.
Twitter has changed the privacy limitations on Direct Messages. Earlier this week, Twitter announced that all users will now have the option to adjust their ‘Security & Privacy’ settings, and opt to receive direct messages from any user. In the past, direct messaging was much more limited; you could only send messages to users who followed you, and you could only receive messages from any user you followed. This may only be a small tweak, but it promises big things for generating engagement on Twitter – just look at the rapid expansion of Facebook’s Messenger in recent months. This new feature gives businesses the opportunity to send out exclusive offers and create an air of elitism that often works so well in creating things like brand advocates.
However, given Twitters recent string of moves to reduce abuse within the platform, this appears to be a slightly rogue move from the social media platform. Whilst this update opens up scope for communication, it opens users up to all types of communication, including abuse and spam. Twitter does have some measures in place in the instance of abuse or spam; Twitter will block direct messages from another user if a user deletes the direct message thread between themselves and said other user, as the network will treat this as a sign that they don’t want further private communication from that person.
Twitter’s update has sparked a lively debate on social media with some thinking that this could be beneficial, whilst others are pointing out the obvious flaws, such as spam and abuse, and the potential risk of these things driving people away from the platform.
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