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Facebook Tests New Animations When Sharing a Post in the News Feed

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Facebook is testing a new way to make your shared Feed posts stand out, with animated graphics that appear on the post as users scroll by.

As displayed in this video from social media expert Matt Navarra, through this new process, when you go to share a Facebook post to your News Feed, you’ll have the option to add a colorful animation and/or background to add to your shared update.

As you can see, there’s a range of different animations and backgrounds to choose from. 

Once you’ve added your chosen animation (if you choose to), it will then be displayed to other users as they scroll over your update in their feed.

The feature appears to be in limited testing – you can see in the first video above that when it is available, you’ll see a new ‘Share Your Reaction in a Post’ notifier at the bottom of the main visual.

It’s sort of like a Stories-style response option for regular Feed posts, adding another element to the process to ideally help increase engagement. And definitely, it will make posts stand out – but then again, if everyone starts using them, it could get a bit overwhelming to have all these smiley face emojis and confetti animations spewing out at you as you scroll by.

But Facebook would have the data on the rate of post sharing, and it would know that shared posts only contribute a small amount to most people’s overall Feed activity. As such, the risks in this sense are likely low, but still, any generic additions run the risk of getting old fast once every other user has access.

For brands, the option could also provide a means to help boost your promotions through UGC. By collaborating with the right people, you could get them to re-share your latest updates with their followers, with these new animations attached, which could help to bring more attention to your initiatives.

That is, of course, if it gets a full launch. We’ve asked Facebook for more detail on the option, and the test/launch pool for it, and we’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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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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