Facebook Dating, Instagram And Whatsapp Stories Soar And More In This Week’s Friday Download
Every year, Facebook throws a big get-together where the company gives a sneak peek at the shiny new features in the pipeline for the coming 12 months. This year’s F8 Facebook Developer Conference had a few particularly interesting developments, and we thought it only right to run you through the highlights.
The big headline from the two-day conference was the news that Facebook plans to offer a dating feature, looking to drive “meaningful connections” among its 2.2bn users. Users reveal only their first name, and dating profiles will not be visible to friends (so fewer uncomfortable swipes); users will be shown potential matches based on mutual interests, friends, and other data Facebook holds. Investors seemed to approve – Match Group, the holding company Match.com, Tinder, and OKCupid, saw its share price plummet 18% on the day of the announcement. It has yet to recover.
Also on day one, Facebook responded to recent privacy and data security concerns by announcing Clear History, giving users the option to erase information that Facebook keeps about them and their activity on the platform. A clear response to a recent area of concern, and a move that certainly had the future operations of the social network in mind.
Finally, Mark and team are supercharging the Stories feature on Instagram and Whatsapp. It was announced that there are now 450m daily active users on Whatsapp Status (the messenger app’s Snapchat simulacrum), and building on that success with added features. You and I will now be able to share GoPro footage and Spotify suggestions directly to your Instagram Story. Facebook’s chief product officer Chris Cox even went as far as to say that Stories “is on a path to surpass feeds as the primary way people share things with their friends sometime next year”. Punchy stuff, and all in all a good week for Zuckerberg and Co., answering lots of questions about the future of the platform, and showing a clear roadmap for future developments. At the other end of the spectrum, however…
We haven’t written about Snapchat for a while, so thought we’d check in. Last time we said hello to 2016’s tech darling they were wading through months of public outrage at a chronically unpopular platform design.
Significant body blows have come from Kylie Jenner (Snap lost $1bn in value) and Rihanna (close to $1bn lost), but two days ago they announced they were buckling to public opinion and redesigning the platform. Again.
Chris Cox’s comments (points if you can remember who he is without scrolling back up, and if you can remember the comment) show the astonishing popularity of disappearing content, so why is Snapchat struggling? It may be that other platforms have nabbed the idea, and are incorporating it more successfully into daily online footfall. Instagram put their Stories feature right at the top of the homepage, not hidden away on profiles; it is front and centre of the app, and for some businesses even represents the most significant channel for sales.
If you read one thing this weekend (and honestly we hope you’re out enjoying whatever’s left of the sun) then do read this very, very good Atlantic article on the reasons for the rise and popularity of stories as a format. It’s where audiences are, and should be central to how organisations communicate to them.
Also This Week
More young Americans would struggle parting with social media than TV – Quartz
Twitter urges all users to change their password after bug discovered – Guardian
FTI’s digital practice in EMEA operates as a centre of excellence for digital communications within the firm and is staffed by a team of practitioners with industry experience of consumer, corporate and financial communications. The team runs an active portfolio of multi-sector brands and partners with FTI’s teams and clients to provide a wide range of online reputation management services.