April 7, 2017
In a momentous decision, Twitter has decided to drop its default ‘egg’ avatar. The micro-blogging site said they would be aiming to ‘prompt more self-expression’ and break free of the association with trolls by ditching the egg. Instead new users will be given a greyed out human form by default. RIP Egg… you were kind of cute but mostly pesky.
Another big change you may have noticed on Twitter this week is the exclusion of @names from the 140 character count when you reply to someone. Instead, the handle of the user you’re replying to appears in a new field above the message, making it more similar to an e-mail.
In an attempt to reach new regions, Twitter has launched Twitter Lite – a stripped down version of the site that works on slower mobile networks, including 2G. The new version supports 42 languages and is currently only available in India, but will soon be launched in Indonesia and other developing regions.
Following reports from TechCrunch, Facebook has acknowledged that it is testing a new feature that displays ‘recommended’ content from sources that users haven’t liked or followed – the displayed content has a small rocket ship icon underneath it. Hmm, could this be the beginnings of a second newsfeed? Stay tuned.
As it continues its crackdown on fake news, Facebook will be offering users tips for spotting false information on the platform. Over the next three days, users in 14 different countries will notice the ‘education tool’ at the top of their news feeds, with messages including tips for identifying misinformation.
Facebook fought another worthy battle this week, taking fresh action to prevent ‘revenge porn’ from being spread across its platforms. Thanks to the new measure, it will be impossible to share or repost intimate images of revenge porn victims once that content has been identified and removed. The change will apply to Facebook, Messenger and Instagram.
Use of the LinkedIn mobile app has soared in recent months, so it makes sense that the networking site has aligned their ad offerings with this trend. This week, LinkedIn announced the addition of lead generation forms, which enable advertisers to collect information from users more easily with auto-populated data pulled from their profile.
Snapchat is fighting back against the copycats, introducing a handy new search bar feature that allows users to search for Stories by keywords, making it easier for people to discover more content on the app. Keep rallying Snap, we believe in you.
There’s a cool new social media on the block and it has Twitter nervous. Mastodon allows users to create accounts, follow others and post updates called ‘toots’. Sound familiar? Well, the main thing that differentiates it from Twitter is its superior privacy controls and smooth, intuitive interface. Watch this space.
Oh wow… No points for guessing this week’s social loser. Social media erupted with a mixture of disgust, mockery and outright disbelief when Pepsi released (and then quickly pulled) their protest-themed ad featuring Kendall Jenner, a bunch of ethnic-looking extras and a barricade of police officers. We daresay this will go down as one of the year’s biggest advertising flops.
Leaving Twitter, Facebook and YouTube in a cloud of dust, Amazon Prime has swooped in and bought the live-streaming rights for NFL Thursday Night Football. Under the $50 million (£40.2m) deal, Amazon’s premium users will be able to view NBC and CBS footage of the 10 games as part of their package.
April Fools’ Day often brings out the worst in people… But the best in corporate creativity. The tech sector, always keen to jump on the prank bandwagon, came up with a few pearlers this year – among them, Amazon’s Petlexa, Snapchat’s Insta filter and Google Gnomes. Check out the full list of top tech pranks here.