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Facebook Warns EU Users of Impacts to Messaging Due to Changes in Privacy Laws

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Facebook has outlined the latest messaging changes for European users as a result of new data security and privacy laws in the region.

Europe’s Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive – also known as the ‘ePrivacy Directive’ – is being expanded from this week in order to incorporate more forms of digital communication. The Directive relates to how user data is stored and used, and how businesses can use platforms, including messaging tools, to distribute marketing material. The latest changes relate to how long data can be kept, and what types of information can be gathered via messaging apps.

Facebook outlined coming changes to Messenger API usage for European businesses earlier in the month, and now, it’s looking at the consumer side, and how everyday users will be impacted.

As explained by Facebook:

People using our messaging and calling services in Europe or interacting with friends and family in Europe may notice some changes to features on Messenger, Instagram and Facebook. In order to comply with the law, we needed to adjust the way our services work, such as further segregating messaging data from other parts of our infrastructure.” 

Facebook specifically highlights that polls, for example, could be problematic, due to the way in which polls utilize user data.

“We prioritized core features, like text messaging and video calling, and have made sure the majority of our other features are available. We’re working to bring back features that we can as quickly as possible, and our Help Center has updates for some of the features that are affected.”

It’s not clear how much of Facebook’s messaging tools will be impacted by the change, but as noted, Facebook has already outlined impacts to API usage for businesses, so there will be evident changes to the in-app process. 

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Europe is working to evolve its privacy protections in line with rising consumer demand, following on from the implementation of the GDPR back in 2018.

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And it’s not done yet – in September, the European Union privacy regulator sent a preliminary order to Facebook which called for the company to suspend data transfers about EU users back to the US. According to the order, EU officials are increasingly concerned about potential surveillance practices by the US Government, and are now looking to limit such by restricting the flow of user information.

If that gets implemented, that could have wide-ranging impacts, not just for Facebook, but for how all digital platforms operate, and their obligations to store data locally. 

Data privacy is set to remain a key focus in 2021, and you can expect to see more discussions and shifts along these lines throughout the year.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Twitter Adds New Spaces Recording and Management Tools as it Continues to Focus on Audio Options

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Twitter Adds New Spaces Recording and Management Tools as it Continues to Focus on Audio Options

I remain unconvinced that Twitter Spaces will ever become a thing, but Twitter itself seems certain that there’s major growth potential there, as evidenced by its continued push to add more elements to its Spaces offering, in order to lure more listeners across to its Spaces tab, and maximize listenership within its audio broadcasts.

This week, Twitter has rolled out another set of Spaces updates, including permanent recordings (as opposed to them deleting after 30 days), the capacity to save recordings after broadcast, and new details within the Spaces bar at the top of the app.

First off, on permanent recordings – after initially launching its Spaces recording feature to all users back in January, Twitter is now extending the life of those recordings beyond the initial 30 day period.

That’ll provide more capacity to attract listeners over the longer term, and keep your conversations alive in the app.

In addition to this, Twitter’s also adding a new listing of your recorded Spaces within your app settings menu, where you’ll be able to play each session back, delete those that you don’t want to keep, or share a recording direct from the list.

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That’ll enhance the functional value of Spaces chats, making them more podcast-like, and more of a vehicle for ongoing promotion and audience building – though it does seem to also maybe go against what made audio platforms like Clubhouse so attractive to begin with, in that they were live, in-the-moment chats that you had to be there to catch.

But podcasts is clearly more of the angle that Twitter’s now going for, based on these example screens of another new test in the back end of the app.

Twitter Spaces Stations test

As you can see in these images (shared by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi), Twitter’s also developing ‘Stations’ within the Spaces tab, which would incorporate podcasts into its audio stream, providing even more options for tuning into on-demand audio content within the app.

That could make Spaces recordings even more valuable, and potentially help Spaces broadcasters translate their work into a monetizable podcast process – but do Twitter users really want to tune into podcasts from the app? I mean, we have Spoitify and Apple Podcasts and various other options available.

Could Twitter really become a key hub for audio content like this?

In some ways, it seems unnecessary, but then again, the real-time nature of tweets lends itself to topical discussion, and that could make it a good hub for all of these types of discussions and content, including Spaces, Spaces recordings, podcasts, etc.

And again, that would better facilitate connection between Spaces and recorded audio. It just depends on whether Twitter users will actually come to rely on the app for their latest podcast content.

On another front, Twitter will now also enable iOS users to record a Space when the broadcast is over, even if they didn’t hit ‘Record’ during the session.

Twitter Spaces recordings

Which also means that the ‘REC’ marker would not have been present during the session, alerting participants to the fact that this was being recorded, which could be problematic for some contributors.

In some ways, it seems like Twitter didn’t offer these options initially because it thought that it wouldn’t be able to facilitate the data storage required to keep all of the many recordings in its data banks, but now, with so few people broadcasting, it’s maybe found that this won’t actually be a problem.

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A sort of ‘glass half full’ element, I guess.

Finally, Twitter’s also adding new details into the Spaces bar on Android, including additional, scrolling insights into who’s hosting, the topics being discussed, who’s shared a Tweet in the chat and more.

Twitter Spaces info

That could entice more users into the session – or at the least, bring even more attention to the Spaces bar at the top of the app by providing more, bigger info.

Though again, I don’t know. It doesn’t seem like Spaces is really catching on, going on the participant numbers in the Spaces stream. And while the addition of podcasts could be interesting, I don’t see Twitter becoming a key app for audio content, especially as the Clubhouse-led audio trend continues to die down.

But maybe the engagement numbers are better than it seems. I mean, you’d have to assume that they are, given Twitter’s ongoing investment in the functionality – through Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal did note last month, that the company had not hit intermediate milestones on its growth plans, based on its investment in new functionalities like Spaces, Communities and Twitter Blue.

Twitter hasn’t shared specific data, so maybe there’s more to it, and that’s why it’s so keen to push ahead with more Spaces tools. But either way, it’s giving it its best opportunity to succeed, and it’s seemingly not done yet with its Spaces development.

Will that, eventually, result in Spaces becoming a thing? Only time will tell.



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