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media update’s Taylor Goodman is here to keep you clued up on your favorite social media platforms’ latest advancements.

WhatsApp group admins may be criminally liable for sharing fake news in South Africa

The news: WhatsApp group administrators can now face jail time if they knowingly share fake news on the platform. As sharing fake news in relation to COVID-19 is a crime according to South Africa’s disaster regulations, violating this law could lead to six months in jail. This penalty may also apply to admins that are aware that false information is being shared on their group. 

According to Business Insider, it has to be clear that this misinformation is being spread with malicious intent — and the administrator needs to be conscious that this information is false. 

Why it’s making headlines: WhatsApp is a breeding ground for fake news and most people know someone who shares spam on Whatsapp on a daily basis — that misinformation spreads, and it spreads fast

The spread of fake news can be detrimental to us all during this pandemic, so it is commendable that the South African government and WhatsApp are enforcing serious measures to prevent this.  

Instagram launches media sharing feature: Co-watching

The news: Instagram has been making a serious effort to promote social distancing and staying in quarantine — from its stay-at-home and donation stickers for Instagram stories to its latest update, co-watching. This update will allow users to browse their Instagram feeds with their friends while on a video chat.

Why it’s making headlines: As people will be self-isolating this will be a fun and interactive way for users to pass the time.

As video communication has skyrocketed with apps like Zoom and Hangouts, Instagram decided to roll out their version sooner than planned. Co-watching will make a routine activity like scrolling through your Instagram feed more engaging as users will be able to share content with their friends.


Pinterest’s CEO plans to launch a self-reporting COVID-19

The news: Pinterest’s co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann has teamed up with CRISPR gene-editing pioneer and MIT/Harvard Broad Institute member Dr. Feng Zhang to build the How We Feel App.

This app is free to download for Android and iOS users and makes it easy for users to report on their current state of health daily. If they are feeling unwell, they are asked about the symptoms they are experiencing, whether they have been tested for COVID-19 and if they are self-isolating. This information is then shared with doctors, healthcare professionals and scientists.

Why it’s making headlines: With many people working to flatten the curve, any attempt to ease the blow of COVID-19 is making headlines. How We Feel has the potential to track the progression and spread of the pandemic, allowing experts to gain insight into Coronavirus and identify any infection hotspots.

The project is also independently built and a non-profit that promises to donate a meal to Feeding America every time someone downloads the app for the first time.

LinkedIn makes recruitment tools free for essential businesses

The news: Popular business and employment app LinkedIn is doing its bit in lending a helping hand during the COVID-19 pandemic by offering free job posts to those working in essential services.

Those working in healthcare, supermarkets, warehousing and freight delivery services are eligible for free job listings on the platform and additional promotion to candidates that are highly qualified through an ‘urgently hiring’ category.

Why it’s making headlines: As LinkedIn generates most of its revenue through job posts, it is bound to make headlines that they are sacrificing this capital for the greater good.

Hospitals, healthcare organisations and essential workers worldwide have been overwhelmed by the demand for their services since the surge of COVID-19, and LinkedIn is working to ease their burden and reduce the stress placed on these frontline service workers during this trying time.


According to SocialMediaToday, making these job listings free will “help expedite efforts to fill roles, providing key support” and in turn, will help us fight back against COVID-19.

Facebook launches Community Help internationally

The news: Facebook has made its Community Help feature accessible to users on a global scale. This feature has been rolled out as a part of Facebook’s digital strategy to ease the burden of COVID-19.

The feature allows users to connect with each other to request help or lend a hand to those struggling at the hand of coronavirus. It also enables users to donate to non-profit organisations aimed at aiding Coronavirus victims. It has previously been used during terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

Why it’s making headlines: This is the first time Facebook will be launching Community Help internationally, making it available in the US, Canada, France, UK and Australia. This is also the first time that the feature will be used to support users during a health pandemic.

Facebook’s Community Help feature will be accessible via their COVID-19 information center found on top of the news feed. Here, users are able to access verified health information and curated, informative posts.

Google donates $6.5-million to fact-checking organizations to prevent spread of misinformation on social media

The news: In the fight against COVID-19, the spread of misinformation is public enemy number one. In order to combat this pandemic, society needs to know exactly what the virus is, how it is spread and how to prevent catching it. Despite this, the spread of fake news is still rife on social media.

This makes Google’s donation to outlets like The International Fact-Checking Network, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and First Draft so meaningful.

These organisations are fact-checking and nonprofits that prevent the spread of misinformation relating to the Coronavirus. According to Social Media Today, this donation will assist in boosting the capacity of fact-checkers and amplifying authoritative voices.


Why it’s making headlines: As Google is usually the first place people go to verify information, it is meaningful that they would go to these lengths to ensure that the information their users receive is verified.

The implementation of this fact-checking system will also be particularly useful on social media, where fake news and misinformation is too easily accessible and spreads like wildfire.

Are there any breaking social media news stories that you think we missed out on? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Want to catch up on more important social media news? Be sure to check out Social media news you missed: March recap

*Image courtesy of Vecteezy

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Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster



Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”



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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.



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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.


But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.


One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.


Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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