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Facebook Runs Video Tests to Make Instagram More Like TikTok

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Facebook is testing changes to its Instagram photo-sharing app that will make it more like the social video app TikTok. Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, announced the plan on Wednesday to show full-screen, recommended videos in user feeds.

“We’re also going to be experimenting with how do we embrace video more broadly — full screen, immersive, entertaining, mobile-first video,” Mosseri said. “You’ll see us do a number of things, or experiment with a number of things in this space over the coming months.”

The greater emphasis on video comes as TikTok emerges as a significant rival to Facebook. Among the top five non-game apps in May, TikTok was ranked No. 1 by downloads and was the only app not owned by Facebook, whose family of apps includes Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, according to Sensor Tower. The analytics firm estimated TikTok was installed 80 million times during the month, compared with 53 million for Facebook’s main app.

Like TikTok, Instagram will show recommended videos from accounts that people don’t follow. Though Instagram has added more video content with the launch of IGTV and its Reels feature that resembles TikTok, it mostly has emphasized square-shaped photos. Mosseri cited TikTok and Google’s YouTube as major competitors.

“We’re no longer a photo-sharing app or a square photo-sharing app,” Mosseri said. “Let’s be honest, there’s some really serious competition right now. TikTok is huge. YouTube is even bigger, and there’s lots of other upstarts as well.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has talked about the company’s transformation into a video-centric platform for years. He said in 2016 that he wouldn’t be surprised if most of the content that people see on Facebook consisted of video in the following five years, BuzzFeed News reported. Instagram’s video push is another sign that such speculation is becoming a reality.

“People are looking to Instagram to be entertained. There’s stiff competition, and there’s more to do,” Mosseri said. “We have to embrace that, and that means change.”

Socialmediatoday.com

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UK teen died after ‘negative effects of online content’: coroner

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Molly Russell was exposed to online material 'that may have influenced her in a negative way'

Molly Russell was exposed to online material ‘that may have influenced her in a negative way’ – Copyright POOL/AFP/File Philip FONG

A 14-year-old British girl died from an act of self harm while suffering from the “negative effects of online content”, a coroner said Friday in a case that shone a spotlight on social media companies.

Molly Russell was “exposed to material that may have influenced her in a negative way and, in addition, what had started as a depression had become a more serious depressive illness,” Andrew Walker ruled at North London Coroner’s Court.

The teenager “died from an act of self-harm while suffering depression”, he said, but added it would not be “safe” to conclude it was suicide.

Some of the content she viewed was “particularly graphic” and “normalised her condition,” said Walker.

Russell, from Harrow in northwest London, died in November 2017, leading her family to set up a campaign highlighting the dangers of social media.

“There are too many others similarly affected right now,” her father Ian Russell said after the ruling.

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“At this point, I just want to say however dark it seems, there is always hope.

“I hope that this will be an important step in bringing about much needed change,” he added.

The week-long hearing became heated when the family’s lawyer, Oliver Sanders, took an Instagram executive to task.

A visibly angry Sanders asked Elizabeth Lagone, the head of health and wellbeing at Meta, Instagram’s parent company, why the platform allowed children to use it when it was “allowing people to put potentially harmful content on it”.

“You are not a parent, you are just a business in America. You have no right to do that. The children who are opening these accounts don’t have the capacity to consent to this,” he said.

Lagone apologised after being shown footage, viewed by Russell, that “violated our policies”.

Of the 16,300 posts Russell saved, shared or liked on Instagram in the six-month period before her death, 2,100 related to depression, self-harm or suicide, the inquest heard.

Children’s charity NSPCC said the ruling “must be a turning point”.

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“Tech companies must be held accountable when they don’t make children’s safety a priority,” tweeted the charity.

“This must be a turning point,” it added, stressing that any delay to a government bill dealing with online safety “would be inconceivable to parents”.

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