As TikTok continues to grow, Facebook continues to look for new ways to limit its expansion, and stop users from migrating away from its own apps.
A key weapon for Facebook on this front is scale. It may not be able to compete with TikTok in terms of fun, nor with the personalization of TikTok’s algorithm. But Facebook can offer creators more reach, by showcasing their Reels clips to Instagram’s billion-plus users.
And it can actually provide significantly more reach potential than just that.
Back in December, Facebook began testing a new option which would enable Reels creators to also share their Reels clips into the Facebook News Feed and to Facebook Watch, facilitating a potentially huge expansion of Reels exposure.
And now, it seems that Facebook’s advancing on this front, with a new, more polished prompt spotted in testing.
As you can see in this new, full-screen explainer, posted by user @VarunBanur (and shared by social media expert Matt Navarra), Facebook is now prompting some Reels creators to share their Reels clips to Facebook, where they can be recommended to any of Facebook’s 2.8 billion users, greatly expanding reach.
That could prove to be a powerful lure for Reels creators – though interestingly, this test appears to currently be being pushed in India, where Instagram initially launched Reels as a replacement for the banned TikTok.
TikTok reportedly had around 200 million Indian users at the time of its banning in the nation, and Instagram swooped in to launch Instagram Reels within days of TikTok’s removal, seeking to capitalize on this newly orphaned audience. Instagram says that Reels has seen steady growth in the Indian market, and by adding an option to share your Reels clips to Facebook, that would expand its audience potential, and likely put its reach on par with YouTube, which is also trying to gather up former TikTok users in India via its own ‘Shorts’ option.
Given this, the Facebook integration may not necessarily be about beating out TikTok, as such, as TikTok isn’t even present in the test region. But still, it would provide Facebook with another powerful lure for Reels, which could help negate competitors, while also, potentially, boosting the revenue potential of its short video option.
Right now, the option is not functional, so it’s not at the full live testing phase as yet. But it’s an interesting consideration – by providing more audience potential, Facebook could look to win over TikTok creators by giving them more opportunity to build audience, and generate income from their efforts.
TikTok is yet to establish a solid structure for creators to make money from the platform – but with projections that the app will reach a billion users in 2021, it’s evolving fast, and it likely won’t take long for TikTok to establish a more sustainable revenue-generation process.
Which probably means that Facebook needs to work quickly to win more creators over. There’s no word on if or when this new option might go live, or be released to more regions. But it once again underlines the rising influence of TikTok, and how it’s spooked The Social Network with its rapid growth.
Taking a swipe at social media: More safeguard controls are needed
Social media – © AFP/File SAUL LOEB
Today, June 30th, is ‘World Social Media Day’. Does the world need a social media day? World Social Media Day was launched by Mashable on June 30, 2010. It developed as a way to recognize social media’s impact on global communication and to ‘celebrate it’.
Given the prevalence of social media, whether further publicity is needed is debatable. Also, not everyone is celebrating the contribution of social media for there are some who reman deeply concerned about online safety.
According to Miles Hutchinson, Chief Information Security Officer of Jumio, the event serves as a reminder to consumers and organizations of the importance of securing social media platforms to protect children from potentially harmful products and people online.
Hutchinson explains to Digital Journal about what the aims and objectives of the event are: “World Social Media Day reminds consumers and organizations of the importance of safeguards to protect children from potentially dangerous people, content and products on social media platforms.”
In Hutchinson’s view, a regulatory framework is needed: “Social media organizations, in particular, have an ethical obligation to protect children, and they can do so by leveraging age and identity verification methods to keep children from accessing mature content, purchasing age-restricted products, encountering predatory individuals or being exposed to privacy policies designed for adults.”
But do social media providers deliver? Are they meeting this ethical obligation? The view of consumers suggests they are not.
Hutchinson finds: “Recent survey data shows that 83 percent of consumers want social media platforms to verify their users and hold them accountable for their online activity.” This high number requesting support from social media firms suggests that this support is not forthcoming.
Hutchinson finds that there are too many threats on social media: “Federal investigators estimate that there are over 500,000 online predators active every day, that they have multiple online profiles, and that more than 50 percent of their victims are ages 12 to 15.”
This means social media firms are failing. Hutchinson continues: “It is evident that crucial safeguards are missing from these social media platforms, which are failing to protect children in the digital age.” What Hutchinson recommends is a series of measures, such as: “By utilizing identity verification, biometrics and multi-factor authentication to verify the age and identity of their users, social media platforms can offer children a safer internet experience while allowing for the adaptability and flexibility to meet new threats, regulations and challenges as they arise.”
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