Despite dozens of new exciting features such as Instagram Focus, Snapchat AR Lenses and Facebook live crossposting, the story of April social media changes was all about data and privacy. Facebook launched a slew of new products and features that give users more authority over the data Facebook tracks and shares, and other platforms are making moves such as limiting API access as the GDPR deadline approaches at the end of May.
- Instagram now allows you to upload and edit multiple photos and videos to Instagram Stories simultaneously, rather than editing and adding segment-by-segment.
- Facebook rolls out “article context features” on link posts that surfaces a publisher’s Wikipedia entry, related articles on that topic, and information about how many times the article has been shared on Facebook. It will also include “more from this publisher” and an option to follow the publisher’s Page.
- Facebook is testing trailers for Watch shows in the News Feed. These “preview trailers” will appear as News Feed posts and click over to a Watch Show Page when tapped. At the moment, preview trailers are only available for Watch shows with pre-roll ads.
- Instagram introduces two new features for Stories: Focus, which blurs the background while keeping your face sharp for a stylized, professional photography result; and @mention Stickers, which allows you to directly tag users in your Stories.
- Twitter is now pushing links tweeted by your network into your home timeline and grouping the tweets mentioning the link underneath it.
- Snapchat has unveiled interactive lenses that use augmented reality called “Snappables,” which users can select to play games with friends and can control with motion, touch and facial expressions.
- Google is rolling out its subscription tool “Subscribe with Google.” The tool allows Google users to subscribe to publications in a two-step process and highlights results from those publications in search results.
- Snapchat introduces an option for a button on AR Lenses that can carry out a number of actions, such as website click, short video play, or app install.
- Facebook’s new “Premieres” feature is in beta, and will allow Pages to livestream prerecorded videos such as film trailers or TV promos.
- Snapchat adds a group video chat feature, where up to 16 participants can chat together and use face lenses during the videos.
- In the same month as Instagram, Snapchat adds an @mention feature to Snap Stories, allowing users to tag friends and other users directly in the snap.
- Facebook enables live crossposting across multiple pages, for Live API broadcasts. This feature is only available for verified Pages for now.
- Facebook extends its pre-roll ads tests to News Feed posts and search results. Previously pre-roll was only applied to video in Facebook Watch.
- LinkedIn allows GIFs to be integrated directly into messages.
- Pinterest debuts a new look for business profiles, with dynamic cover images and a public-facing tally of monthly viewers to the account.
- YouTube introduces an option for parents who would like assurances that the programming being surfaced for their kids is safe. The new option includes only handpicked content by YouTube staff, for the YouTube Kids app. The algorithm-driven version will still be available by default.
- Hashtags and profile links in Instagram bios are now live links that lead to a hashtag page or the tagged profile.
- Reddit has redesigned, offering users three different ways to experience the platform: “Card” view surfaces pictures up top, “Compact” view crunches everything horizontally without rich media, and “Classic” view keeps things as they were before.
- Snap releases seven new templates and a GIPHY integration for its Lens Studio, and lets creators build their own face filters for the first time.
- Pinterest has added features to allow visually impaired users better navigate the platform, including screen reader support, clear focus indicators and sharply contrasting colors.
- Facebook is testing a new feature that gives users access to an AR layer by pointing their devices at still images. One launch example was an AR animation over the movie poster for “Ready Player One” and “A Wrinkle in Time.”
- Facebook beefs up features for Stories, adding stickers, the ability to tag other users, local weather, and more. They also added a drawing brush to the Stories Camera that allows users to add AR drawings to their videos.
- Snapchat has developed a new feature for broadcaster Tegna to integrate newsworthy Snapchat images and videos in their broadcasts, using a third party platform Tagboard. This is part of Snapchat’s new “Stories Everywhere” initiative that distributes Snapchat content outside the app. The Tegna experiment is being used in 39 markets nationally.
- Facebook launches a “Custom Audiences certification tool” that requires marketers to guarantee email addresses used for ad targeting were rightfully attained. Facebook has also stopped the sharing of Custom Audience data across Business accounts.
- In a similar move around data sharing and privacy, LinkedIn has cut off third party access to in-depth information on personal profiles. They have also closed off LinkedIn Groups to all partners and integrated services, meaning users of social media management platforms will no longer be able to schedule content to LinkedIn Groups.
- Instagram limits API access for developers and third party platforms, decreasing the number of times a developer can use the API to ping Instagram for updated information.
- Facebook launches a new authorization process for ads run by Pages with large follower numbers and with advertisers who place ads related to political issues. The authorization process requires the Page admins to disclose their locations and identities. Moving forward, ads that are political or related to elections will include a “Political Ad” label and disclosures about who paid for the advertising.
- WhatsApp raises the minimum age for users in Europe from 13 to 16.
- Snapchat is testing a “revamped” version of the redesign that rolled out last month, featuring user Stories in Discover in an attempt to get more users to swipe to Discover.
- Instagram is testing “Nametags,” scannable images that would make it easier for people to follow users. Nametags (like Snapcodes) could be posted in physical locations, as an easy way to increase followers.
- Facebook is testing “upvote” and “downvote” buttons.
- Facebook is testing a Messenger app for high school networks, meant for students connecting to peers at the same school or taking the same classes.
- Snapchat is trialling six-second unskippable ad units called Commercials that will feature in certain Snapchat Shows.