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 May Soon Hide Like Counts
Facebook may soon be taking the lead of Instagram in hiding Like counts from user posts.
For its part, Instagram has been testing the approach in seven countries as a method to ease social pressures around engagement related to social posts. Users can self-censor if they feel a post won’t get a certain threshold of engagement, or they may feel envy when they see others get more engagement than they do. Hiding Like counts prevents users from comparing themselves to others or even deleting posts they feel don’t meet their ideal. Authors of posts can see their own Like counts, but they can’t see the counts of other users.
Currently, Facebook is testing the approach with some Android users. Facebook wants its users to share freely, and clearly it sees self-comparison as one of the reasons people hold back. Part of the reason may be because Facebook has become a repository for major life events, such as weddings and vacations. Most of our day-to-day doesn’t live up to a major life event, so when users see what they could potentially post on a daily basis, it doesn’t live up to what they’re seeing in their feeds. That leads to self-censorship, which Facebook seems to hypothesize may be exacerbated by public like counts.
The results of the test will be something to watch, especially in regards to its effects on ad engagement.
News Quick Hits
30 U.S. state attorneys general are getting ready to investigate Alphabet for antitrust violations. For its part, Google says it's working and cooperating with state officials. The central argument from the officials is that Alphabet has so much data, it makes it nearly impossible for new companies to effectively compete. There are other probes looking into Amazon and Facebook.
Speaking of Google, YouTube reached a $170 million settlement with the FTC for privacy violations around kids. While YouTube didn’t admit any wrongdoing, the settlement was sparked by findings that YouTube was collecting children’s info without permission from parents. Then it used that information to market its advertising services to children’s brands. It learned that you can’t say you weren’t collecting children’s information and then use that information you supposedly aren’t collecting to market yourself. YouTube will implement new efforts to identify content aimed at children and will remove ads from videos aimed at kids. It will also spend more to promote its kids app.
Facebook Dating has launched in the United States. The service lets users set up a dating profile that’s separate from their Facebook profiles. From there, they’ll receive suggested matches based on their interests, groups and friends of friends on Facebook. Users can add their Instagram feeds to their profiles and soon Stories will be able to be added too. Users will not see suggestions from their current Facebook friends unless they have Secret Crush turned on. Secret Crush lets users choose nine friends from existing friends. They’ll receive a notification if one of their listed friends has them on their lists as well. This may be an overstatement, but… it’s pretty romantic.