Snapchat releases new lenses teaching ASL basics
To celebrate the International Week of the Deaf, Snapchat released exclusive stickers and three augmented reality lenses that teach users the basics of fingerspelling in American Sign Language.
The lenses were created with the development company SignAll, which designs AI technology for sign language recognition, translation, and education, in order to connect the Deaf community with hearing people.
The initiative was spearheaded by Jennica Pounds, a deaf software engineer who works for Snapchat’s Snap Lab. She said the lenses were inspired by the experiences of her son, who has struggled in the past to learn ASL.
“I’m passionate about this technology because I truly believe it’s going to break so many applications wide open. It’s tech like this that will help families like mine communicate and grow together”.
TikTok reaches 1 billion users
TikTok has hit 1 billion monthly active users, years earlier than Facebook and Instagram reached that milestone, making it one of the most-used and one of the fastest-growing social media platforms a year after its fate seemed unsure after a ban was imposed by President Trump.
TikTok has only taken five years to reach the 1 billion user mark, a shorter period of time than many of its competitors. Facebook, which said this year it has 2.8 billion monthly active users, crossed the billion mark in 2012 – eight years after it launched in 2004.
Last year, TikTok faced some stern competition over at Instagram with the launch of Reels with Youtube also launching Youtube Shorts, short-form video-sharing functions meant to directly compete with TikTok. However, users are still choosing to lean towards TikTok as the go-to platform for short-form video content.
Instagram launches new global branding campaign, highlighting the benefits of community connections
Instagram has announced the launch of its latest global branding campaign, called ‘Yours to Make’, which aims to showcase the benefits of community connection in the app, and finding your people through shared interests and trends – Yours to Make showcases how you can explore who you are with Instagram.
For young people, identity isn’t always the easiest thing to find and is something that is constantly explored through the world that is social media. Instagram believes that, when people have a place to collectively explore who they want to be, that change can be made within the communities they surround themselves in.
The campaign’s hero film aims to take the viewer on a journey of discovery featuring a wide range of products within the Instagram platform. The film spotlights real creators and everyday users who are using our platform to push the boundaries of creativity and experimentation including hip-hop artist Topaz Jones, gymnast Morgan Hurd, Native American Makeup Artist Madrona Redhawk, and digital creator Justin Yi.
Facebook experiments with additional business context elements in ad display
Facebook is testing another way to provide more context on paid promotions, this time via a horizontal scrolling display of additional information below the ad image display. Some users are now seeing additional advertiser info – like business location, user check-ins, and Page followers – below the ad visual.
This could be particularly beneficial in discovering scammers who are looking to misuse Facebook ads. You can buy fake followers, for example, but it’s harder to create fake business check-ins, while the additional location data, which is now compulsory for advertisers in certain categories, could also highlight potentially misleading ads directly in your newsfeed.
TikTok has new mental health resources for its users
TikTok has announced a set of features to help users struggling with mental health issues. The features include guides on wellbeing and support for people who are struggling with eating disorders.
There is also a search intervention feature that directs users to support resources if they look up terms such as “suicide”. The move comes as rival platform Instagram comes under fresh scrutiny over its impact on users’ wellbeing.
TikTok, like its rival social media platforms, has come under intense scrutiny over the impact it can have on the mental health of its users, especially teenagers.
In the announcement, TikTok said: “We care deeply about our community, and we always look for new ways in which we can nurture their well-being. “That’s why we’re taking additional steps to make it easier for people to find resources when they need them on TikTok.”