Instagram Enables Its Users to Upload Longer Video Stories

Photo- and video-sharing social app Instagram is introducing the option for users to upload longer uninterrupted Stories of up to 60 seconds in duration, without automatically converting the video content into 15-second mini-clips as was previously the norm. The Meta Platforms-owned network began testing the update with select users in December 2021 and just announced that the feature is rolling out to all global users. Allowing content creators to share 60-second Stories in one slide is expected to be a welcome change for both users and viewers. Continue reading Instagram Enables Its Users to Upload Longer Video Stories

Facebook, YouTube Among Top Social Apps for News in U.S.

Among American adults who regularly look to social media for news, Facebook outpaces all other sources, according to a study from Pew Research, which found 31 percent of U.S. adults claim to “regularly get news” from the Meta Platforms site. Google’s YouTube was second, with 25 percent, followed by Twitter (14 percent), Instagram (13 percent) and TikTok (10 percent). Examined as a percentage of each site’s total adult users seeking news there, news-seekers, Twitter popped at 53 percent, followed by Facebook (44 percent), Reddit (37 percent) and TikTok (33 percent). Among that subset, TikTok was the fastest-growing, up from 22 percent in 2020. Continue reading Facebook, YouTube Among Top Social Apps for News in U.S.

California Governor Signs Online Child Protection Bill into Law

Governor Gavin Newsom signed the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act into law last week, making his state the first in the nation to adopt online child safety measures. The bipartisan legislation requires online platforms to default to privacy and safety settings that protect children’s mental and physical health. The new law, cosponsored by Assemblymembers Buffy Wicks (D-15th District) and Jordan Cunningham (R-35th District), prohibits companies that provide online services and products in California from using a child’s personal information and forbids collecting, selling, or retaining a child’s geolocation, among other things. Continue reading California Governor Signs Online Child Protection Bill into Law

Annual YouTube Music Payments Up 50 Percent to $6 Billion

YouTube global head of music Lyor Cohen announced that the platform paid $6 billion to the music industry between July 2021 and June 2022, a 50 percent increase over the $4 billion distributed in the same period in the prior frame. The amount includes monetization across all formats — short and long form video, audio only, live, user-generated content and more — on all platforms (desktop, tablet, mobile, and TV), in over 100 countries. For the second consecutive measurement period, UGC drove more than 30 percent of the payouts for artists, songwriters and rights-holders, according to the company. Continue reading Annual YouTube Music Payments Up 50 Percent to $6 Billion

Internal Meta Study Shows Reels Struggling Against TikToks

Instagram seems to be having a hard time gaining traction against TikTok, whose users collectively spend 197.8 million hours daily on the platform, compared to the 17.6 million hours a day Instagram users spend viewing Reels, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal sourcing Meta Platforms internal research. The August report, “Creators x Reels State of the Union 2022,” indicates that Reels engagement was down 13.6 percent “over the previous four weeks — and that ‘most Reels users have no engagement whatsoever.’” Of about 11 million U.S. creators on Instagram, only 2.3 million, or 20.7 percent, post Reels monthly. Continue reading Internal Meta Study Shows Reels Struggling Against TikToks

Big Tech Lobbying and Midterms Could Impact Antitrust Bill

This past year, Big Tech has invested more than $95 million in lobbying initiatives designed to kill the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which seeks to rebalance the power between consumers and major technology companies such as Amazon, Alphabet, Apple and Meta Platforms. In two years, the bill has advanced further than any similar U.S. legislative effort, but time is running out before midterm elections and the unknown of a potential shift in control of the House and/or Senate. Supporters of the measure say they currently have the votes needed for passage. Continue reading Big Tech Lobbying and Midterms Could Impact Antitrust Bill

Meta Explores New Monetization Features for Its Social Apps

Meta Platforms is assessing “possible paid features” for its social apps, including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, according to an internal employee memo. The initiative, under a freshly minted division called New Monetization Experiences, led by Pratiti Raychoudhury, represents Meta’s first coordinated move into paid features across social platforms serving an estimated 3.65 billion monthly users worldwide, per Statista. It comes at a time when Meta is under pressure to increase revenue, which has taken a hit from Apple’s ad-tracking changes and a general softening in digital ad spending. Continue reading Meta Explores New Monetization Features for Its Social Apps

Instagram Users Customize Recommendations in Latest Test

Instagram is testing a new way users can personalize feeds based on their own input rather than relying exclusively on algorithms. Parent company Meta Platforms is inviting select users to mark posts in Explore as “Not Interested,” and plans to soon add ways to stop seeing posts with certain words, phrases or emoji in the caption or hashtags by adjusting filter settings. The Explore tab lets users discover new content and accounts they aren’t currently following. “By tapping Not Interested, it removes the post from your feed immediately, and we’ll suggest fewer posts like it in the future,” Meta said. Continue reading Instagram Users Customize Recommendations in Latest Test

Snap Canceling Projects and Cutting 20 Percent of Workforce

Snap Inc. announced plans to cancel ongoing projects such as Snap Originals, in-app multiplayer games, HTML mini-apps built by outside developers, and future development of its Pixy selfie-camera drone — all part of a corporate restructuring that will include laying off about 20 percent of its more than 6,400 employees. The company, which operates the popular social media app Snapchat, is taking cost-cutting measures as it faces growing competition from TikTok and other rivals and challenges to its core digital advertising business. Continue reading Snap Canceling Projects and Cutting 20 Percent of Workforce

California’s Online Child Safety Bill Could Set New Standards

A first of its kind U.S. proposal to protecting children online cleared the California Legislature Tuesday and was sent to the desk of Governor Gavin Newsom. The California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act will require social media platforms to implement guardrails for users under 18. The new rules will curb risks — such as allowing strangers to message children — and require changes to recommendation algorithms and ad targeting where minors are concerned. The bill was drafted following Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s 2021 congressional testimony about the negative effects of social media on children’s mental health. Continue reading California’s Online Child Safety Bill Could Set New Standards

Meta Tentatively Settles the Cambridge Analytica Privacy Suit

Meta Platforms has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by users who accused its Facebook platform of improperly sharing personal data with third parties including, most notoriously, the now-defunct Cambridge Analytica. Financial details were not disclosed, but on Friday both Meta and the plaintiffs said in a joint filing in San Francisco federal court that the parties reached a tentative settlement. The UK-based Cambridge Analytica shuttered in 2018 after a scandal involving use of Facebook data to influence voters in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Continue reading Meta Tentatively Settles the Cambridge Analytica Privacy Suit

Meta Adding a Customer Service Unit for Content Complaints

Based on feedback from its Oversight Board, Meta Platforms is creating a customer-service division that will help users of its social networks who have experienced issues with accounts being unexpectedly locked or posts being removed. In addition to Facebook and Instagram, Meta operates WhatsApp, Messenger and Horizon Worlds, collectively serving more than 3 billion global users. The early-stage initiative has reportedly been escalated as Meta’s use of artificial intelligence for content moderation has resulted in increased customer frustration over content removal with little notice or explanation. Continue reading Meta Adding a Customer Service Unit for Content Complaints

Researcher Says TikTok Can Track User Data via Keystrokes

Popular short-form video platform TikTok is garnering more unwanted attention, this time for tracking users’ keystrokes via a the ByteDance-owned video app’s browser. The feature was discovered by privacy researcher Felix Krause, a former Google engineer, who reported the Chinese company embeds the tracking capability within the in-app browser that opens when someone clicks an external link. Krause noted his research is limited to the Apple iOS platform. Krause did not speculate as to how TikTok is using the capability, but suggests he finds it troubling because it indicates TikTok is able to track users’ online activity if it so chooses. Continue reading Researcher Says TikTok Can Track User Data via Keystrokes

TikTok Stories Can Now Be Shared via Facebook, Instagram

TikTok is launching a new sharing feature that allows TikTok Stories to be published on competing social networks like Facebook and Instagram. The move may increase exposure for TikTok content on Meta Platforms media as the social giant has been taking steps to downgrade recirculated TikTok videos in Reels. Meta recently advised creators it is prioritizing original Reels content on Facebook and Instagram that are programmed to flag third-party watermarks. Piloting since last year, TikTok’s reposting feature recently began rolling out more broadly to TikTok users. Continue reading TikTok Stories Can Now Be Shared via Facebook, Instagram

Australia’s Highest Court Rules Google Links Not Defamatory

In a major reversal, Australia’s highest court found Google not liable for defamatory content linked through search results, ruling that the Alphabet subsidiary “was not a publisher” of the objectionable content. Google was sued for defamation for a 2004 article appearing in its search engine results, and both the trial court and a circuit court of appeals held Google responsible as a “publisher” because it was instrumental in circulating the contents of the offending article. The lower courts rejected Google’s reliance on the statutory and common law defenses of innocent dissemination and qualified privilege. Continue reading Australia’s Highest Court Rules Google Links Not Defamatory