Connect with us


Instagram’s Testing a TikTok-Like Vertical Feed Presentation for Explore



If you needed reminding that TikTok has been the most downloaded app for essentially all of the past 18 months, and is still surging in popularity and usage amongst younger audiences, this is probably a good prompt.

As spotted by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi, Instagram appears to once again be looking to nullify its video rival with a new test of a TikTok-style vertical content feed for Explore, which, once entered, would enable you to swipe through Instagram’s content recommendations, and swipe across on multi-image posts.

As Paluzzi notes, within the test, the Explore section remains as normal until you tap on a post. When you do, the post then expands to the new full-screen, Reels-like display. You can then either tap the back arrow in the top left of screen to go back to the regular Explore listing, or instead, you’d be able to then swipe up to move onto the next post in your Explore feed. You would also be able to swipe across on multi-image carousels, indicated by grey dashes along the bottom of the screen.

Which, as noted, is very TikTok-esque. But at the same time, it’s actually kind of brilliant. 

A big advantage that TikTok holds over Instagram at this stage is in content discovery, and highlighting personally relevant, entertaining public posts to each user based on their engagement behaviors, which are then fed to them via their ‘For You’ page, the default home feed in the app (as opposed to your ‘Following’ feed).

See also  YouTube Adds New 'Shorts' Shortcut Button to User Home Screens in India

Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has even acknowledged TikTok’s lead on this element, noting that, right now, TikTok is better than Instagram at providing ‘reliable entertainment’.

As Mosseri said last month:

“You know that you can tap on TikTok and you’re going to immediately smile and be entertained.”

Instagram is not as good at this, because Instagram is still largely confined by who you already follow and the content that they create, which appears in your home feed and within Stories. That limits the amount of great, engaging content that Instagram’s algorithm can show you, while the design of Instagram is also not as implicit as TikTok, which presents every clip in a full-screen display, one at at time.

That not only means that TikTok has a broader selection of content to choose from for its ‘For You’ feed, helping to keep you engaged, but it also means that every action that you take within the app relates to each individual clip that you’re shown, as opposed to, say, Instagram or Facebook, which will often have multiple posts displayed in the feed at a time, as well as captions, ads, Stories, etc.

Tech analyst Eugene Wei provided an in-depth overview of this element, and how it powers TikTok’s algorithm, in this post, which basically comes down to its presentation style, and what TikTok can then glean from every users’ engagement with every clip.

As Wei notes:

Everything you do from the moment the video begins playing is signal as to your sentiment towards that video. Do you swipe up to the next video before it has even finished playing? An implicit (though borderline explicit) signal of disinterest. Did you watch it more than once, letting it loop a few times? Seems that something about it appealed to you. Did you share the video through the built-in share pane? Another strong indicator of positive sentiment. If you tap the bottom right spinning LP icon and watch more videos with that same soundtrack, that’s additional signal as to your tastes.”

Instagram doesn’t have these same indicators with general content, though it has tried to incorporate them into Reels. But even then, the main focus of Instagram is on people and profiles that you follow, not on broader exploration and content exposure.

See also  YouTube Previews Upcoming Improvements for YouTube Studio, Including Auto-Generated Title Suggestions

But if it can build a similar process into Explore, with full-screen presentation, honing in its focus, and helping its algorithms more specifically register similar engagement behaviors, maybe Instagram could also become more responsive in the same way, thereby enabling it to show users more of what they like, and less of what they don’t, and making Explore better aligned with each user.

It also aligns with evolving consumption behaviors, in swiping up, and seeing each post take-up all of your attention on a single screen. And if you don’t like that presentation style, you’d still, theoretically, be able to go back to Explore as you know it, minimizing disruption.

That could actually be an excellent approach to the TikTok conundrum facing the app – and while it’ll still open to your main feed, showing posts from users that you follow (though I’ve speculated before that this will change at some stage), if it can make Explore a more engaging, more relevant feed, with a more engrossing, engaging presentation style, that could be a big step.

It seems like a positive experiment, which also seems to be fairly well-developed, based on Paluzzi’s example clip. We’ve asked Instagram as to whether this is being tested in the live environment, and what the plans may be, and we’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

Continue Reading


Meta’s Developing and ‘Ethical Framework’ for the Use of Virtual Influencers



Meta's Developing and 'Ethical Framework' for the Use of Virtual Influencers

With the rise of digital avatars, and indeed, fully digital characters that have evolved into genuine social media influencers in their own right, online platforms now have an obligation to establish clear markers as to what’s real and what’s not, and how such creations can be used in their apps.

The coming metaverse shift will further complicate this, with the rise of virtual depictions blurring the lines of what will be allowed, in terms of representation. But with many virtual influencers already operating, Meta is now working to establish ethical boundaries on their application.

As explained by Meta:

From synthesized versions of real people to wholly invented “virtual influencers” (VIs), synthetic media is a rising phenomenon. Meta platforms are home to more than 200 VIs, with 30 verified VI accounts hosted on Instagram. These VIs boast huge follower counts, collaborate with some of the world’s biggest brands, fundraise for organizations like the WHO, and champion social causes like Black Lives Matter.”

Some of the more well-known examples on this front are Shudu, who has more than 200k followers on Instagram, and Lil’ Miquela, who has an audience of over 3 million in the app.

At first glance, you wouldn’t necessarily realize that this is not an actual person, which makes such characters a great vehicle for brand and product promotions, as they can be utilized 24/7, and can be placed into any environment. But that also leads to concerns about body image perception, deepfakes, and other forms of misuse through false or unclear representation.

See also  UK competition watchdog launches investigation into Facebook’s $400M acquisition of Giphy

Deepfakes, in particular, may be problematic, with Meta citing this campaign, with English football star David Beckham, as an example of how new technologies are evolving to expand the use of language, as one element, for varying purpose.

The well-known ‘DeepTomCruise’ account on TikTok is another example of just how far these technologies have come, and it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where they could be used to, say, show a politician saying or doing something that he or she actually didn’t, which could have significant real world impacts.

Which is why Meta is working with developers and experts to establish clearer boundaries on such use – because while there is potential for harm, there are also beneficial uses for such depictions.

Imagine personalized video messages that address individual followers by name. Or celebrity brand ambassadors appearing as salespeople at local car dealerships. A famous athlete would make a great tutor for a kid who loves sports but hates algebra.

Such use cases will increasingly become the norm as VR and AR technologies are developed, with these platforms placing digital characters front and center, and establishing new norms for digital connection.

It would be better to know what’s real and what’s not, and as such, Meta needs clear regulations to remove dishonest depictions, and enforce transparency over VI use.

But then again, much of what you see on Instagram these days is not real, with filters and editing tools altering people’s appearance well beyond what’s normal, or realistic. That can also have damaging consequences, and while Meta’s looking to implement rules on VI use, there’s arguably a case for similar transparency in editing tools applied to posted videos and images as well.

See also  YouTube Adds New 'Shorts' Shortcut Button to User Home Screens in India

That’s a more complex element, particularly as such tools also enable people to feel more comfortable in posting, which no doubt increases their in-app activity. Would Meta be willing to put more focus on this element if it could risk impacting user engagement? The data on the impact of Instagram on people’s mental health are pretty clear, with comparison being a key concern.

Should that also come under the same umbrella of increased digital transparency?

It’s seemingly not included in the initial framework as yet, but at some stage, this is another element that should be examined, especially given the harmful effects that social media usage can have on young women.

But however you look at it, this is no doubt a rising element of concern, and it’s important for Meta to build guardrails and rules around the use of virtual influencers in their apps.

You can read more about Meta’s approach to virtual influencers here.

Source link

Continue Reading


Meta Publishes New Guide to the Various Security and Control Options in its Apps



Meta Publishes New Guide to the Various Security and Control Options in its Apps

Meta has published a new set of safety tips for journalists to help them protect themselves in the evolving online connection space, which, for the most part, also apply to all users more broadly, providing a comprehensive overview of the various tools and processes that it has in place to help people avoid unwanted attention online.

The 32-page guide is available in 21 different languages, and provides detailed overviews of Meta’s systems and profile options for protection and security, with specific sections covering Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

The guide begins with the basics, including password protections and enabling two-factor authentication.

It also outlines tips for Page managers in securing their business profiles, while there are also notes on what to do if you’ve been hacked, advice for protection on Messenger and guidance on bullying and harassment.

Meta security guide

For Instagram, there are also general security tips, along with notes on its comment moderation tools.

Meta security guide

While for WhatsApp, there are explainers on how to delete messages, how to remove messages from group chats, and details on platform-specific data options.

Meta security guide

There are also links to various additional resource guides and tools for more context, providing in-depth breakdowns of when and how to action the various options.

It’s a handy guide, and while there are some journalist-specific elements included, most of the tips do apply to any user, so it could well be a valuable resource for anyone looking to get a better handle on your various privacy tools and options.

Definitely worth knowing either way – you can download the full guide here.

See also  YouTube Adds New 'Shorts' Shortcut Button to User Home Screens in India

Source link

Continue Reading


Twitter bans account linked to Iran leader over video threatening Trump



Twitter bans account linked to Iran leader over video threatening Trump

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets with relatives of slain commander Qasem Soleimani ahead of the second anniverary of his death in a US drone strike in Iraq – Copyright POOL/AFP/File Tom Brenner

Twitter said Saturday it had permanently suspended an account linked to Iran’s supreme leader that posted a video calling for revenge for a top general’s assassination against former US president Donald Trump.

“The account referenced has been permanently suspended for violating our ban evasion policy,” a Twitter spokesperson told AFP.

The account, @KhameneiSite, this week posted an animated video showing an unmanned aircraft targeting Trump, who ordered a drone strike in Baghdad two years ago that killed top Iranian commander General Qassem Soleimani.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s main accounts in various languages remain active. Last year, another similar account was suspended by Twitter over a post also appearing to reference revenge against Trump.

The recent video, titled “Revenge is Definite”, was also posted on Khamenei’s official website.

According to Twitter, the company’s top priority is keeping people safe and protecting the health of the conversation on the platform.

The social media giant says it has clear policies around abusive behavior and will take action when violations are identified.

As head of the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Soleimani was the architect of its strategy in the Middle East.

He and his Iraqi lieutenant were killed by a US drone strike outside Baghdad airport on January 3, 2020.

Khamenei has repeatedly promised to avenge his death.

On January 3, the second anniversary of the strike, the supreme leader and ultraconservative President Ebrahim Raisi once again threatened the US with revenge.

See also  12 Digital Marketing Trends All Business Owners and Marketers Should Know in 2022 [Infographic]

Trump’s supporters regularly denounce the banning of the Republican billionaire from Twitter, underscoring that accounts of several leaders considered authoritarian by the United States are allowed to post on the platform.

Source link

Continue Reading

Subscribe To our Newsletter
We promise not to spam you. Unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address