In social media this week Twitter promises more character space and Facebook continues to defend Trending Topics.
If you sometimes find Twitter’s character limit frustrating you’ll be pleased to know that Twitter have announced some important changes that will make tweeting easier. In a long awaited move, Twitter will be changing what counts towards your 140 characters. When replying, @names will no longer be included in the count and nor will attachments including photos, videos, polls and the recently improved GIFs.
Alongside this you will also be able to Retweet or Quote Tweet your own tweets allowing you to add a comment or bringing it back to your followers attention. You will also no longer need to use .@ to broadcast a reply widely as any Tweets that begin with a username will be seen by all of your followers or you can Retweet a reply.
Twitter have also stated that there will be more changes to existing uses and the introduction of new ones but have promised that they will be done “without compromising the unique brevity and speed that make Twitter the best place for live commentary, connections and conversations. ”
The updates will be rolled out over the coming months. The changes should be well received by Twitter users as they keep the network moving fast, it keeps Twitter unique compared to other platforms but still allows users to share the things they want to. Making it simpler may also encourage users to return or for new users to get involved.
In the wake of recent criticism and allegations made anonymously by a former employee, Facebook have announced that they will be making changes to Trending Topics. Earlier this month, Facebook were accused of manipulating the Trending Topics to deliberately suppress conservative views.
At the time they were accused, Mark Zuckerberg responded very quickly and started an investigation and they have provided their findings in a 12 page letter to Chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee John Thune. The internal Facebook investigation found that there was no bias and that liberal and conservative views were equally displayed but that they “could not fully exclude the possibility of isolated improper actions or unintentional bias.”
Trending Topics are prioritised using a combination of algorithms and Facebook staff. Amongst other changes Facebook have confirmed that they have clarified their guidelines and that reviewers have had refresher training to emphasise that decisions should not be made based on ideology or politics. Other changes will also be implemented in the future to safeguard against it.