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Facebook Launches ‘Creative App Platform’ to Expand Stories Functionality

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This could be a sneaky clever update for Facebook, as it looks to win back young users, and slow the rising momentum of TikTok as the social app of choice for the next generation.

Today, Facebook has announced a new ‘Creative App Platform’ for Facebook Stories, which will enable developers to create and promote Stories-related apps direct within the Stories eco-system.

Facebook Creative App Platform

As you can see here, through Facebook’s new platform, app developers participating in the program will be able to get their tools listed within the Stories composer flow, which will enable users to access more creative apps for their Stories, without having to go find them off-platform.

As explained by Facebook:

We worked to understand how Sharing to Stories could further support the unique needs of our creative app partners. We found that app discovery is a key issue – in a competitive and rapidly expanding market, it is expensive and difficult for our partners to reach the people that continue to find joy from their apps. In response, we’ve built the Creative App Platform – a new concept that allows people to discover creative apps directly in Facebook Stories.”

The concept is a lot like Snapchat’s ‘Minis’ offering, which enables developers to share micro-versions of their full apps within Snapchat. 

That expands on the creative potential of Snaps, by providing even more tools and add-on options that you can share, via your private Snaps, Stories, etc.

Facebook’s variation is focused on Stories specifically, and creative add-ons, as the name would suggest, with various developers signing up for the first phase.

“In addition to partners that include media editing app B612 and performative music creation app Smule, we’re thrilled to partner with VivaVideo and Vita, all of which provide uniquely rich and robust experiences for story creators. We’re also thrilled to be adding new partners to the platform soon – these will include Picsart, one of the world’s best creative platforms, Camera360 and Sweet Selfie.”

The most significant advantage for Facebook here is expanded creativity, one of its key weak points at present, with the vast majority of its Stories features, along with tools for Instagram Reels, being replicas of options already available on TikTok and Snapchat, which leaves it constantly playing catch-up.

Even today, Instagram announced two new features for Instagram Reels, in text-to-speech translation and voice changing filters, both of which have been available on TikTok for literally years.

If Facebook, and Meta more broadly, is truly serious about winning back younger audiences, it’ll take more than a few trend-jacking tweets and sponsored videos from TikTok influencers – the company will need to commit to finding the next big things, the next big tools and options that will catch on with audiences, and make Instagram and Facebook the apps that people need to come to for the latest trends and features.

Meta should be able to do this. It has far more resources at its disposal than any of its rivals, while it also has a much larger cumulative audience, which should be a valuable lure to potential partners. No doubt many apps will be keen to tap into the reach of Facebook Stories to promote their tools – and if Facebook’s able to stumble across the next big trending function or tool as a result, and build that directly into Stories, without much effort on its part, that could be a major win for the platform’s youth push.

Which is why this new platform is likely of more value to Facebook than Minis are to Snap. Snapchat’s audience is much smaller, and more specific, demographic-wise, which will likely mean that Facebook’s ‘Creative App Platform’ will garner more interest – and if Facebook then looks to promote these new functions to more users, in order to boost Stories usage, the potential for its partner apps is significant.

It’s only the early stages, with the platform currently in limited beta, but Facebook has put out the call for potential partners to join up, with a view to the next stage.

It may not seem like much now, but this could end up being a significant update for Meta’s efforts.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Snap making changes to direct response advertising business

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Snap making changes to direct response advertising business

The company posted a net loss of $288.5 million, or 18 cents a share, including $34 million in charges from its workforce restructuring. That compared to a profit of $23 million, or one cent, a year earlier.

Snap ended the fourth quarter with 375 million daily users, a 17% increase. In the first three months of the year, the company estimates 382 million to 384 million people will use its platform daily.

Snap has become a bellwether for other digital advertising companies. Last year, it was the first to raise concerns about the slowdown in marketer spending online and to fire a significant number of employees—20% of its workforce—to cut costs in the face of falling revenue.

The company has spent the last two quarters refocusing the organization, cutting projects that don’t contribute to user and revenue growth.

In the first quarter, Snap expects the environment to “remain challenging as we expect the headwinds we have faced over the past year to persist.”

Investors will get additional information about the state of the digital ad market when Meta and Alphabet report earnings later this week.

—Bloomberg News

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Twitter Outlines New Platform Rules Which Emphasize Reduced Reach, as Opposed to Suspensions

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Twitter Outlines New Platform Rules Which Emphasize Reduced Reach, as Opposed to Suspensions

After reinstating thousands of previously suspended accounts, as part of new chief Elon Musk’s ‘amnesty’ initiative, Twitter has now outlined how it will be enforcing its rules from now on, which includes less restrictive measures for some violations.

As explained by Twitter:

“We have been proactively reinstating previously suspended accounts […] We did not reinstate accounts that engaged in illegal activity, threats of harm or violence, large-scale spam and platform manipulation, or when there was no recent appeal to have the account reinstated. Going forward, we will take less severe actions, such as limiting the reach of policy-violating Tweets or asking you to remove Tweets before you can continue using your account.”

This is in line with Musk’s previously stated ‘freedom of speech, not freedom of reach’ approach, which will see Twitter leaning more towards leaving content active in the app, but reducing its impact algorithmically, if it breaks any rules.

Which means a lot of tweets that would have previously been deemed violative will now remain in the app, and while Musk notes that no ads will be displayed against such content, that could be difficult to enforce, given the way the tweet timeline functions.

But it does align with Musk’s free speech approach, and reduces the onus on Twitter, to some degree, in moderating speech. It will still need to assess each instance, case-by-case, but users themselves will be less aware of penalties – though Musk has also flagged adding more notifications and explainers to outline any reach penalties as well.

“Account suspension will be reserved for severe or ongoing, repeat violations of our policies. Severe violations include but are not limited to: engaging in illegal content or activity, inciting or threatening violence or harm, privacy violations, platform manipulation or spam, and engaging in targeted harassment of our users.

Which still means that a lot of content that these users had been suspended for previously would still result in suspension now, and it leaves a lot up to Twitter management in allocating severity of impact in certain actions.

How do you definitively measure threats of violence or harm, for example? Former President Donald Trump was sanctioned under this policy, but many, including Musk, were critical of Twitter’s decision to do so, given that Trump is an elected representative.

In other nations, too, Twitter has been pressured to remove tweets under these policies, and it’ll be interesting to see how Twitter 2.0 handles such, given its stated more lax approach to moderation, despite its rules remaining largely the same.

Already, questions have been raised on this front – Twitter recently removed links to a BBC documentary that’s critical of the Indian Government, at the request of India’s PM. Twitter hasn’t offered any official explanation for the action, but with Musk also working with the Indian Government to secure partnerships for his other business, Tesla, questions have been raised as to how he will manage both impacts concurrently.

In essence, Twitter’s approach has changed when it chooses to do so, but the rules, as such, will effectively be governed by Musk himself. And as we’ve already seen, he will make drastic rules changes based on personal agendas and experience.

Twitter says that, starting February 1st, any previously suspended users will be able to appeal their suspension, and be evaluated under its new criteria for reinstatement.

It’s also targeting February for a launch of its new account penalties notifications.



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4 new social media features you need to know about this week

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New social media features to know this week


Social media never stands still. Every week there are new features — and it’s hard for the busy comms pro to stay up-to-date on it all.

We’ve got you covered.

Here’s what you need to know about this week.

LinkedIn

Social media sleuth Matt Navarra reported on Twitter that LinkedIn will soon make the newsletters you subscribe to through the site visible to other users.

This should aid newsletter discovery by adding in an element of social proof: if it’s good enough for this person I like and respect, it’s good enough for me. It also might be anopportunity to get your toe in the water with LinkedIn’s newsletter features.

Instagram

After admitting they went a little crazy on Reels and ignored their bread and butter of photographs, Instagram continues to refine its platform and algorithm. Although there were big changes over the last few weeks, these newer changes are subtler but still significant.

 

 

First, the animated avatars will be more prominent on profiles. Users can now choose to flip between the cartoony, waving avatar and their more traditional profile picture, rather than picking one or the other, TechCrunch reported, seemingly part of a push to incorporate metaverse-esque elements into the app.

Instagram also appears to have added an option to include a lead form on business profiles. We say “appears” because, as Social Media Today reports, the feature is not yet listed as an official feature, though it has rolled out broadly.

The feature will allow businesses to use standard forms or customize their own, including multiple choice questions or short answer.

Twitter

In the chaotic world of Twitter updates, this week is fairly staid — with a useful feature for advertisers.

The platform will roll out the ability to promote tweets among search results. As Twitter’s announcement points out, someone actively searching for a term could signal stronger intent than someone merely passively scrolling a feed.

Which of these new features are you most interested in? That LinkedIn newsletter tool could be great for spreading the word — and for discovering new reads.

Allison Carter is executive editor of PR Daily. Follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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