This Week in Social is a weekly digest of some of the biggest stories in social media marketing news. These stories are the show notes for the Brave Ad World Podcast. Each story is discussed at a deeper level on the podcast.
Facebook Testing New App to Compete with Snapchat
Facebook hasn’t given up on creating a Snapchat clone, and this time around it’s leveraging something Snapchat doesn’t have—Instagram.
Facebook just started testing a new app called Threads, which promotes “constant, automatic sharing between users.” Essentially it's a single feed with updates from a user’s “close friends” list from Instagram. Updates can include manually generated posts but also automatically generated updates like location or how fast someone is traveling when they’re on the move.
Facebook’s made plenty of attempts to copy Snapchat, but other than Stories and the accompanying filters, its efforts have largely been unsuccessful. They may be onto something with this one, however.
Snapchat gives its users a place to message their closest friends, but Instagram has played a growing role in the lives of Snapchat users. If Instagram can give users the reasons and means to move those relationships that are most meaningful to them to Threads, that would be a win for the platform. But Snapchat shouldn’t be ruled out. Most efforts by Facebook to copy Snapchat have failed, and Snap Inc. just reported their strongest quarter in some time. The wind is at their back, for now at least.
News Quick Hits
TikTok may soon be offering advertising opportunities outside of its app with the launch of an audience network. The network would be akin to what other platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn offer in that it would allow advertisers to target TikTok users across third-party apps with their ads. They would no longer be limited to reaching users only when they’re using TikTok.
Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency is far from being a sure thing, but they’re proceeding forward as much as they can. They just launched the Libra Bug Bounty Program to invite researchers to look for bugs and other vulnerabilities in Libra’s code. Libra still has a lot of regulatory approval needed and concerns to be addressed, but progress is progress.
Facebook is rolling out an ad verification process for political ads pertaining to elections, politics or social issues. To advertise, advertisers must submit their organization's tax ID number or other government ID. The name associated with that identification will appear in the “paid for by” disclaimers. Small grassroots efforts and local leaders can run ads without going through the process, which leaves a bit of a loophole in the effort.
YouTube is launching a new site for kids that will serve as a website version of the YouTube Kids app. The site will categorize content based on different age groups, but it launches at a time when YouTube has come under fire for serving up problematic content to kids because its content is reviewed algorithmically, not manually. With the launch of the site, YouTube noted that this will continue to be the case in a statement that said, "Our systems work hard to exclude content not suitable for each of these age categories, but not all videos have been manually reviewed. If you find something inappropriate that we missed, you can block it or flag it for fast review.”