Celebrities vow to clean up social media endorsements
Social media celebrities with tens of millions of followers have promised to be more upfront about their relationships with third parties and stop plugging brands without revealing they were paid to do so.
Advertising watchdog The Competition and Markets Authority revealed it had secured formal commitments from 16 celebrities it was investigating, including Rita Ora, Ellie Goulding and Alexa Chung.
New industry guidelines stated that writing #ad, #spon or vaguely thanking a brand was not enough to indicate a sponsored post. Instead, the watchdog said, it requires influencers to unambiguously indicate a paid partnership. Failure to do this is a breach of consumer law and could result in an unlimited fine or a two year prison sentence.
It remains to be seen if this crack down will have a lasting effect on the credibility of social influencers. Smaller micro-influencers, who often have only a few thousand followers, are seen as more approachable and relatable than top level influencers whose reputation will be the most damaged by the investigation.
Facebook to integrate Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp
Facebook has revealed plans to integrate Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger apps.
The three platforms will continue as standalone apps, however the underlying technical infrastructure will be unified. This would allow the 2.6 billion users across the three apps to communicate across platforms.
Facebook has stated that the project will require thousands of staff many months of work to reconfigure the apps at the most basic levels. As such, the project is not expected to be completed until the end of 2020.
The integration plan raises many privacy questions. Whereas Instagram and Messenger require real identities, to create a WhatsApp account users only require a phone number.
Twitter tests Original Tweeter tag
Twitter is currently testing a new tag called ‘Original Tweeter’ which indicates the first user who started a thread.
The new feature, which is rolling out across some iOS and Android users, makes it easier to find the original instigator of a conversation as well as distinguish them from accounts masquerading as them.
In a statement given to TechCrunch, Sara Haider, director of product management at Twitter stated: “Twitter’s purpose is to serve the public conversation. As part of this work, we’re exploring adding more context to discussions by highlighting relevant replies – like those from the original Tweeter.”
Netflix lets users share their favourite titles direct to Instagram Stories
Netflix users are now able to share their favourite films and television programmes direct to their Instagram Stories from the Netflix mobile app.
After clicking ‘share’ on certain titles within the app, users will have the option to add a custom title card to their Instagram story that will remain visible for 24 hours. The image can also be customised in the same way as other Instagram stories by adding text, gifs, stickers etc…
The new function follows Facebook’s introduction of an option last year that allows third-party apps to share their in-app content to Instagram. This was introduced to provide users with an alternative to screenshotting content from other apps they wanted to share on their Stories, such as songs, playlists or videos.
Instagram debunks growing conspiracy around post restrictions
Instagram has addressed a growing rumour people have been sharing across the platform.
Thousands of Instagram users have been posting a text image which explains that Instagram has been restricting the reach of their posts to just seven per cent of their followers. They then ask users to confirm they have seen the post by commenting ‘yes’ which will apparently restore their reach levels.
The number of users posting this has grown to such an extent that Instagram addressed the reports and clarified how its algorithm works.
Through Twitter, the company explained ‘what shows up first in your feed is determined by what posts and accounts you engage with the most, as well as other contributing factors such as the timeliness of posts, how often you use Instagram, how many people you follow, etc. We have not made any recent changes to feed ranking, and we never hide posts from people you’re following – if you keep scrolling, you will see them all.’