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Talk Social: 26 July, 2016

Celebs get power to block trolls


Instagram has handed high profile users the power to block digital trolls.

The social network is reported to have given pop star Taylor Swift’s team access to an algorithm that automatically blocks derogatory words, phrases and emojis.

Swift has been subject to online abuse following a row with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.

Regular users of Instagram have to manually remove comments that it considers offensive or derogatory by reporting them to a moderator.

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Snapchat gets personal to target ads


Snapchat is moving to increased targeting for advertisers.

The social network is developing artificial intelligence software to examine the content of users’ snaps – and serve them appropriate ads based on their behaviours.

This kind of visual scanning is similar to the text analysis that already exists across the internet to serve ads based on user behaviour. However, Snapchat users have already raised privacy concerns about their accounts being scanned in this way to serve a commercial purpose.

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Grown ups getting snappy


The increasing penetration of Snapchat is coming from older users getting Snap happy, according to new research.

GWI data showed that in the first half of the year, 25-44 year olds were the fastest growing user group of the channel. In contrast, 16-24 year olds now account for just four in 10 accounts, a drop of more than 10 per cent this year.

This broadening of appeal will make Snapchat mass market, however, it also risks diluting the youth appeal that made it a unique proposition in the first place.

Meanwhile, Facebook Messenger has now passed more than 1 billion monthly active users, according to Facebook’s own data. As it becomes a customer service channel for some big brands and a replacement for SMS for others, this news of such blanket usage is big news in the digital world.

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Quick post trial from Facebook


Facebook is still trying to mimic the best bits of Snapchat, with the testing of another new feature called Quick Updates.

This ‘Stories’ style update will not show in a user’s news feed and disappears after 24 hours.

It’s signposted by a smiley face in the corner of a user’s profile and while it might not make it to be a regular part of the Facebook experience for everyone, it’s proof that Facebook is trying to find a formula for quick, non-permanent digital messaging that its users will like.

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New features for FB live streams


Facebook has also announced three new features for live streaming on the platform.

First, is the ability to display horizontal streams in full screen, rather than the picture being shortened to a square when the device it was playing on was tilted.

Second, streaming can now last for up to four hours, a massive increase on the previous 90 minute cap.

Third is the ability for viewers and broadcasters to hide comments on a live stream to prevent them disrupting the live experience. This is especially relevant when broadcasting serious stories or issues live.

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