This week we have a social media special, here’s what’s been happening that’s caught our eye!
Social media site Twitter is trialling longer character limits to help users “easily express themselves”. Twitter currently limits tweets to 140 characters, but has doubled that to 280 characters for a small group of users. The current character limit was “a major cause of frustration” for some users, the firm said in a blog post. But it’s decision to double its character limit to 280 has not been received with universal acclaim. Even – make that especially – on Twitter. Not every Twitter user will have access to the new character limit just yet. In a social divide, Twitter has selected only a small number of accounts to test the new long tweet feature. And in a matter of seconds, Twitter users inevitably took to Twitter to quip with the much wordier messages.
Facebook has climbed the ranks to become the world’s eighth most valuable brand, breaking into the top 10 for the first time. The results are part of Interbrand’s 18th annual Best Global Brands report, which has been released this week. The report shows technology is the dominant sector, with tech giant Apple securing the highest rank as the world’s most valuable brand for the fifth year running, while Google retains its second place for the fifth year in a row. The top 100 brands have a combined total value of $1,872bn, an increase of 4.2% from 2016. Apple’s brand value grew by 3% to $184.2bn, and Google’s brand value increased by 6% to $141.7bn. Microsoft has traded places with Coca-Cola and secured the third highest ranking and is one of just 16 brands to achieve double-digit growth. Coca-Cola is at number four, followed by Amazon, Samsung, Toyota, Facebook, Mercedes-Benz and IBM.
A set of jargon-busting guides that teach children about their rights on social media sites has been published. Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield said Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp and YouTube had “not done enough” to clarify their policies. She simplified the websites’ terms and conditions with privacy law firm Schillings. But Instagram said the simplified version of its terms contained “a number of inaccuracies”. The slimmed-down guides are a response to the Commissioner’s Growing Up Digital report, which found that most children do not understand the agreements they sign when they create social media accounts.
Instagram has a new solution to halt abuse from online trolls: filter them out. The photo and video sharing app rolled out a new feature the week called “Comment Controls” that allows users with public accounts to block certain accounts from commenting on their posts. Users will be able to limit comments to certain groups of people, such as people you follow and/or your followers, while preventing the rest from having access to the comment section. Even if you have a private account, you can also block specific accounts who follow you from commenting on your posts. Additionally, a feature launched in June that blocks certain offensive language in English has now been expanded to Arabic, French, German and Portuguese. Instagram in a blog post said that the filter will “improve over time, enabling the community’s experience of sharing to improve as well.”
YouTube is launching a range of new tools for advertisers as it looks to convince more marketers to spend their budgets on the video platform and put the brand safety controversy behind it. As Advertising Week New York kicks off, YouTube is courting brands with updates that it claims will make advertising on the platform more relevant and personalised, and make it easier to measure their offline impact. The first update brings ‘Custom Affinity Audiences’ to YouTube, meaning brands can use intent signals from search or the types of apps users have downloaded to make their video ads more effective. So, for example, a consumer that searches for local ski resorts could see an ad for ski clothes on YouTube. It claims that in tests the change drove 20% higher ad recall and 50% higher brand awareness.