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Facebook Adds New Prompts to Urge Mask Use in the US as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

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With COVID-19 cases rising fast in the US, Facebook will display new, top of feed prompts, in both Facebook and Instagram, urging US users to wear face masks when they leave their homes.

Facebook mask prompt

As per Facebook:

With the rise in COVID-19 cases in the US, we’re putting an alert at the top of Facebook and Instagram to remind everyone to wear face coverings and find more prevention tips from the CDC in our COVID-19 Information Center

The US reported 52,000 new COVID-19 cases in a single day on Wednesday, a record high for any region, and infectious diseases expert, and advisor to the White House, Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that the US is “going in the wrong direction” with the virus. Fauci has warned that infections could soon reach 100,000 cases per day. 

There’s been some debate over mask use, and even conflicting information from official sources at different times.

In the early stages of the pandemic, health officials advised the public not to wear masks – but that, at least in part, was designed to ensure that there wasn’t a sudden rush on mask buying, and that there would be enough supply for essential service workers primarily. But now, the advice is clear. Even US President Donald Trump, who had been largely dismissive of the need for masks, has now come around, and is urging mask use. 

The hope, of course, is that a vaccine will save us, and eliminate coronavirus once and for all. But that could still be some months off, and we don’t know how long we’ll have to live in a situation where COVID-19 remains present. It had felt, at one stage, like we had crossed a crucial threshold in the virus’ spread, but that’s seemingly lead to a level of complacency, in several nations, with China, the US and Australia all seeing a resurgence in cases over the last week.

As such, wearing a mask makes sense. Not everyone will like it, but based on the official health advice, it could be the best way to limit the spread – and Facebook’s prompts will hopefully help to boost awareness. 

Socialmediatoday.com

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Twitter Moves to Next Stage of Testing for its New ‘Status’ Indicators

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Twitter Moves to Next Stage of Testing for its New ‘Status’ Indicators

Do you struggle to provide adequate context within the 240 characters allowed for tweets?

If so, then you’re in luck, as Twitter’s developing a range of tweet status indicators, which will eventually provide a simple way to add another element to your tweeted message, which could help to better communicate meaning and intent.

Or not. As shared by app researcher Jane Manchun Wong, this is the current listing of Twitter status options in testing:

Pretty unique combination of possible status alerts here – a mix of trending sayings and popular activities. Users won’t be able to create their own status, you’d have to use one of these presets – which is a little restrictive, but it could be handy? Maybe.

Twitter’s been testing out its Status indicators for a while, with the original list of status options, which Wong also tweeted back in July, including a few that have been culled as part of this expansion.

Twitter Status

As you can see, when you add a Status, it will be displayed above your tweet, and below your username, adding immediate context to your message.

Status indicators would also be searchable, with users able to tap on a status indicator, which will take you through to a listing of all the tweets that have applied the same activity.

Twitter Status

Really, Twitter’s actually been testing Status markers out since 2018, when it previewed this format for the option.

Twitter Status indicator

The idea, at that stage, seemed to be to help people list events that they were attending, which users often do already by adding the event hashtag to their username. A status indicator would make this easier, while also helping people connect around said event – but since then, Twitter’s revised its approach to the markers, making them more of a topical sorting option to help users find relevant activity and engagement opportunities.

Which, I guess, they could facilitate.

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Maybe, by tapping on ‘Picture of the Day’ that could become another engagement and discovery element, or by tapping ‘Hot Take’ you could find more tweets to interact with, and add your own opinion.

It could be a handy way to sort tweets by topic, which could be beneficial. Maybe, though I’m not sure that it’s going to have much of an impact on overall tweet engagement.

Twitter’s been working to add in more content sorting and discovery tools over the past couple of years, including Communities, Circles for private chats, and topics in the Audio tab. Twitter also added and the capacity to follow Topic streams back in 2019, which it had hoped would give users more ways into Twitter discussions, and to find interactions more relevant to their interests.

For more regular users, those probably aren’t particularly useful – but for new users coming in, they could be important, as Twitter isn’t overly intuitive for people when first starting out. This has been an issue for the platform since forever, and these types of additional discovery measures could help to address this. 

If Twitter can integrate them in an effective, engaging way.

The problem on this front is that Twitter’s topics algorithms are still fairly basic, with the tweets shown to users within topic streams often being off-topic, even offensive, because they’re being displayed based on basic keyword mentions and total engagement with each tweet, not on relevance.

Which is why the Spaces/Audio tab isn’t attuned to your interests, based on usage, why the ‘Who to Follow’ display is never locked into users you might be interested in. It’s all too basic, and in this sense, Twitter has fallen behind other platforms on algorithmic sorting and alignment.

Which is why it’s now seeking more manual intervention, by letting users add status markers to categorize discussion.

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Which seems like a backwards step, given that other platforms are becoming increasingly good at showing you more content based on your interests, without you needing to do anything other than use each app.

But maybe, it’ll become a thing, and provide another way for Twitter to boost engagement.

There’s no official release plan in place for Twitter’s status updates as yet, but they’re likely coming very soon.   



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