Mid-year social media news update
As a company that deals heavily with social media, it’s important to us to stay in the loop in terms of the latest social media news. With companies constantly making new changes and innovations, there’s often a lot to talk about!
Reddit is currently in the middle of an online protest that has changed the way many people are using the platform. What began as a change made by Reddit’s management led to a more than 6% drop in traffic on the platform. Reddit decided to start charging for API pulls on the platform, which could mean third party companies having to pay $12,000 per every 50 million requests. Reddit users have accused Reddit management of using these exorbitant API costs to kill off third party Reddit apps, ensuring people use the official Reddit app.
To put the costs into perspective, one of these third party apps called Apollo made 7 billion requests in May, which would put it at about 1.7 million dollars per month, or 20 million US dollars per year.
A lot of Reddit users took issue with this new costing format, because there are many popular third party Reddit apps, which use API pulls to show Reddit posts on their app. People like to use these third party Reddit apps because they think the default app isn’t very user friendly.
The protests were started by the moderators of many of the most popular subreddits, which are like forum topic pages. The most popular subreddits have a huge following, and they used this to help with the protest. The initial protests started with the mods making the subreddits private, which means that no one could search for them or browse the subreddits. The aim here was to lower Reddit’s traffic.
Following this, Reddit management said it would replace mods with their own moderators if these popular subreddits didn’t un-private themselves, so mods have taken to some interesting and creative methods to continue the protest.
The current situation is that the Reddit CEO has said that they won’t be budging on the cost, the third party apps have decided to shut down, and Reddit management is trying to replace mods on non-complying subreddits with their own complying mods. Things are changing day by day.
California is trying to advance a bill that would make large social media platforms, like Facebook, pay news publishers to feature news on the platform. In response, Facebook has threatened to remove news from Facebook and Instagram altogether if the bill passes, which could impact what would be able to be shared on the platforms.
A Meta spokesperson on Twitter said that they “will be forced to remove news from Facebook and Instagram, rather than pay into a slush fund that primarily benefits big, out-of-state media companies under the guise of aiding California publishers.”
WhatsApp now allows you to edit messages within 15 minutes of sending them. It shows an “edited” notice on the message so that it’s clear, and the function is in the process of being rolled out to its 2 billion users over the next few weeks.
New features in beta
WhatsApp is also looking at a few new features, which are being tested on the beta versions. Some of these include video messages, the ability to share higher quality photos, and things like editing and screen sharing functions in the desktop version of the app.
- The difference between a normal video and a video message is that the video message can’t be forwarded to a new person.
- The HD photo option is quite exciting as well, since WhatsApp’s image compression is particularly aggressive. This means that we’d be able to get images from our friends, family, and clients in good quality over Whatsapp as opposed to having to ask for them over email.
Multiple WhatsApp accounts
Another thing WhatsApp is working on is supporting multiple accounts per user. Currently the only way to have multiple accounts on WhatsApp is to have multiple phone numbers, which isn’t possible for phones like iPhones which only allow one sim card.
This would be quite a nice function for people who speak to clients or coworkers over WhatsApp – you can have a work and personal WhatsApp and be able to switch between the two, helping keep your work-life balance.
Instagram has just recently released their Twitter-like app called Threads, which is mostly text based. It seems like they’ve been working on this platform to snag users who aren’t happy with what’s happening on Twitter.
The platform saw a staggering 10 million sign ups in its first seven hours, but be warned – deleting your Threads account means deleting your Instagram account as well.
Twitter is now worth only a third of what Elon Musk paid for it, according to a valuation from Fidelity. Musk paid 44 billion dollars for it in 2022, and now it’s sitting at about 15 billion dollars.
Musk has mentioned that he’s hoping for the company to break even or even make a profit soon, but it’s looking tricky. Especially seeing as Twitter apparently lost half its biggest advertisers when he took over.
Twitter Blue was one of the services he wanted to start offering so that he could make up for the losses. There’s also another Twitter subscription option just called Subscriptions, where you pay a fee to see tweets and other content that are locked behind a paywall. Apparently Musk let it slip that there are only 25 000 people subscribed to this, out of about 370 million Twitter users.
In good news for Twitter, they have Linda Yaccarino (former ad exec with NBCUniversal) replacing Musk as the CEO in a few weeks.
Twitter is also coming under fire for some financial decisions. They’ve apparently not been paying their Google Cloud bills. The contract, prior to Musk, was a multi-year contract which helped combat spam and protect accounts.
This seems to have come from Musk cutting costs, which includes employee costs, as we’ve seen in recent layoffs. He has stated that he’s wanted infrastructure costs like cloud services cut by 1 billion dollars.
Because of the spam protection services from Google Cloud, it would be interesting to see how this affects the user experience, if they’re cut off from the protections.
Twitter employees in California are also being evicted from their Boulder offices for having not paid rent since March.
New accessibility update for Chrome
As part of Google Chrome’s accessibility improvements, they’ve introduced a feature to correct any typos made when someone misspells a URL in the browser.
Chrome will give suggestions for URLs when it detects you might’ve spelled something wrong. The purpose of this is to help people with dyslexia or language barriers, or if you just make a typo.
Deleting of inactive accounts
Google has announced that they are going to start deleting Google accounts that have been inactive for two or more years, although this excludes accounts with YouTube video uploads.
They are being deleted for security reasons – older accounts are more likely to get hacked, and also less likely to have security features enabled.
The purge will start after December 2023, but they will send notifications to the main email and the recovery email ahead of an account being closed.
Montana TikTok ban
The state of Montana has banned TikTok, and TikTok is suing, saying that the ban violates the company and the user’s first amendment rights.
The reason for the ban is because of allegations that TikTok shares user data with the Chinese government, since they’re a Chinese-owned company, despite TikTok denying that they have or ever will share any data with the Chinese government.
The ban is supposed to come into effect in 2024, and would ban the app from featuring on the App Store and Google Play store within the state.
Mental health resources
As part of a growing idea that the app has a negative impact on younger users, TikTok has decided to implement a mental health awareness hub, which would allow users to read about well-being, connect with advocates, and support organisations that provide mental health resources.
You’ll be able to access the hub by going to the #MentalHealthAwareness hashtag page and clicking the link in the description.
Along with this, TikTok is donating 2 million dollars to various mental well-being organisations, and they’re holding training sessions for TikTok partners so they can provide resources and talk about the topic with users in a sensitive way.