Instagram Launches Messaging App ‘Threads’
The Instagram messaging app first discussed in early September launched last Friday to iOS and Android users. Threads was built to service smaller groups of friends rather than a larger network, much like Snapchat does, by connecting to Instagram and allowing you to add a list of your close friends. It then opens right to your camera where you can send single-use or permanent images to your close friends that will live both in your direct messages and your Threads app. You can also set a status with an emoji that your close friends will be able to see within the app. Should you set this option to auto-status, Threads will automatically populate a status based on what you are doing. For example, if the app detects you are driving, it will share to your friends that you are “On the move” with a car emoji.
Instagram Rolls Out New Tool to ‘Restrict’ Cyberbullying
In its continued effort to make the platform a safer place for all, Instagram is releasing a “Restrict” tool. You can turn on this option for a particular user by clicking on his or her comments or profile, or editing your settings. Restrict will allow comments on your posts by that user to only be seen by that user; however, you will have the option to see the comment by clicking on it and from there you can approve, delete, or ignore it. The user you have restricted will not know that he or she is restricted, and you will not receive notifications when the user comments on your posts.
Instagram Releases Responsive Dark Mode
With iOS 13, Apple is allowing third-party developers to tap into its Dark Mode API to optimize apps in a similar way. While several apps, such as Twitter, Messenger, and Pinterest, have already capitalized on this capability, Instagram is the latest to update its visuals. The feature is responsive to users’ phone-wide system settings, meaning users won’t be able to toggle the dark mode on and off within the app, only on the overall phone. It is compatible with both Android and iOS phones (Android already had dark mode). Facebook is rumored to be testing dark mode as well, though it has not yet announced a date for release.
Instagram to Drop “Following” Tab
By clicking on the heart icon at the bottom of their screens, Instagram users are taken to their notifications. However, if a user then selects “Following” at the top of that screen, he or she is able to review the activity of those users whom he or she follows. The tab has often been dubbed “creepy”, as it has allowed users to view the likes of other accounts, giving way to celebrity secrets or friends’ hidden interests. There is not a specific benefit to this tab in the Instagram experience, besides stalking someone, so Instagram has announced that it will get rid of the tab starting today. Rollout of the removal will continue through the week.
Last Wednesday, Twitter users were experiencing outages for several hours, affecting their view of the timeline and their ability to tweet. The outage hurt both Twitter and TweetDeck, making it hard for users in Asia and Europe to access the platform at all. Thankfully, about seven hours after it was first reported, Twitter tweeted that the issue was fixed. Happy tweeting!
Instagram Launches a ‘Creator’ Account to Assist Influencers
Instagram launched a new account called “Creators” as a hub for influencers to interact as a community, sharing insights and best practices. The purpose is to get creators excited about posting and maximizing their presence on Instagram, including IGTV. IGTV hasn’t taken off as much as Instagram would like it to, which is where this initiative comes in. It will also share Instagram data and updates that would be relevant for creators. The account was quick to say it will not help with verification, with its bio reading “Helping you create on Instagram, and no we can't get you verified.”
Facebook Adds New CTA for Stories: ‘Click to Message’
Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger will all be getting a new call to action option across their Stories ads. Facebook has had “Click to Message” as one of its ad options since 2016, but now is expanding it to its other ad platforms. In addition, this update will allow users to send a message without ever having to leave the app in which the ad has been served.
YouTube Testing New Blur Tool
Jane Manchun Wong spotted a new tool in the YouTube Studio Editor that may allow creators to blur objects in their videos. YouTube has not yet commented on the find, but the tool appears to be an “oval and rectangle shape” blur tool. The platform is currently testing the tool with no release date scheduled.
Instagram Testing New AR ‘Try-On’ Ad Feature
Augmented reality has been one of the biggest trends of 2019 on social media, and Instagram is jumping on the bandwagon with a new advertisement feature utilizing the tool. This advanced ad option would allow users to actively engage with advertised products by trying them on virtually. The new feature will initially only be available to cosmetics and eyewear brands, with plans to make it more widely available. It appears to be an extension of Facebook’s own AR try-on feature, which launched earlier this year.
LinkedIn Launches New Tool with Improved Targeting Features for Ads
LinkedIn is releasing some new tools for marketers to help choose their ad audience. The forecasting tool is getting better, showing more specifics on who you will reach with your set options. The old tool gave an estimate of target audience size, but the new version breaks it down by industry. In addition, “and/or” options have been offered to continue to target specific audiences. LinkedIn is also improving its reporting, allowing users to see more demographics on those who responded to their ads.
Instagram Tests Group Stories
Facebook recently got rid of its Group Stories feature, but now the feature is reportedly being tested on Instagram. Jane Manchun Wong discovered this in one of Instagram’s test builds. The feature appears to let users upload a Stories post to a particular group to view, similar to the close friends feature, except multiple users can contribute. It is unknown if or when this feature will go public.