JULY 2020 – Facebook Updates
Taking Action With Anti-hate Measures
Welcome back to another edition of Facebook updates!
In response to feedback from the civil rights community, Facebook is making policy and communications changes to reflect more transparent systems — and hopefully more just.
Facebook engaged in a civil rights audit as part of this and published a Diversity Report.
They have also expanded their voting suppression policies to prohibit any ads that interfere with or intimidate voters, and have launched a robust policy of census interference.
Facebook is also planning to go “above and beyond” current hate speech legislation with more detailed anti-hate advertising prohibitions.
See all of Facebook’s anti-hate measures here.
Expanded Markets for Instagram Shop and Facebook Pay Launch
Companies in supported markets can now sell goods directly to Instagram with the Instagram Shop (check out the full list here).
Integrate your pre-existing e-commerce website, or build a catalogue in Facebook Business Manager. When you have your items linked to your Instagram account, submit your shop for review and wait for the thumbs up.
When you have activated the shopping feature, you can use Shopping tags or stickers in your feed or stories to highlight your products. Let the shopping spree begin.
Find full details about setting up your shop here.
New Emoji Upgrades in Messenger
Messenger has offered its default sticker pack (Moodies) a makeover in celebration of World Emoji Day (July 17). It is not a big update, but it’s a cute one.
The little faces that you know and love — the cool one, the sleepy one, the entire gang — have a stylish new look and animated expressions.
App Lock for Facebook Messenger
To ensure your group chats are safe and protected, Facebook has created the option of adding another layer of fingerprint protection or face authentication via App Lock.
When your phone is unlocked itself, when App Lock is on, Messenger looks illegible — with a frosty overlay — until you unlock it with your face or fingerprint.
This creates a level of certainty that when your sibling scrolls through your phone. They won’t get a glimpse of the messages on your phone.
It’s now available for iOS users and is set to come to Android this fall.
Screen Sharing Now Available in Messenger Mobile App
In a time of social distancing, we have never been more appreciative of technology, keeping us closer. With so many video chat applications available at our disposal, everyone is racing to deliver the best way to connect.
For this reason, Facebook has just added a “Share Your Screen” feature to its mobile and web apps for Messenger.
Now, side-by-side activities can be translated into the computer as you continue to talk. Visit an online store together, look through different recipes, or take a look at travel pictures from those glorious days.
Screen sharing is available with the newest app update.
Choose Your Layout for Posts with Multiple Images
Next time you upload a set of images, you will be given a choice to select their layout, as Facebook gradually pushes out new photo post options.
Since October, the platform has been developing this visual method. At this point, it looks as though this new composer feature is unrolling en masse.
With that being said, it doesn’t seem to have appeared for users of Pages, yet. You may have to keep your imagination for your personal account for now.
Create Custom Audiences Out of Interested or Previous Customers
You can now target advertising in Facebook’s Ad Manager specifically for people who have browsed or purchased your products.
Tap on the choice “Custom Audience,” and you’ll now see the category “Shopping.” Under this, you will find people who have seen your items, people who have added your products to their basket, or people who have made a purchase.
You may target the audience of shoppers who are most likely to follow through or return to your page with this data in hand. This speeds up engagement.
Make Live-broadcast Video Calls with Up to 50 Participants
Do you have a video call you want the world to see? By merging its video chat features in Messenger Rooms with its live stream services, users can now broadcast video calls with up to 50 participants.
Think of it as a mix of video chats and live streams, and the possibilities for a company are pretty interesting. It might mean exciting opportunities for television show reunions, networking, live interactive seminars or courses, and more.
Such calls may be transmitted on a Facebook page, inside a group, or an individual profile. The call creator can accept or block participants, or they can lock calls.
Zoom is already shaking in its boots. When Messenger Rooms was introduced in April, stocks dropped by 5%, so who knows what this increased capability could do to Zoom.
The key takeaway from these Facebook updates is that they feel very reactive. Facebook is trying to be in sync with what is happening around the world and now are listening to the desires and needs of its users.
Facebook recognizes that they are under pressure to step up their efforts and do their part to minimize disinformation and manipulation that can occur on the platform. They are looking at both major compliance measures to shut down coordinated policy violators.
To see the companies, such as Facebook, adapting to the times, and encouraging people to strive, is encouraging.
What are your thoughts on these new updates? What new features would you like to see Facebook add? Let us know in the comments below!
JUNE 2020 – Facebook Updates
Financial Support for Gamers
Facebook is increasing its streaming subscription options to attract gamers away from Twitch and Youtube.
Fans can now encourage gamers with tips and donations as they live stream, and gamers can now take ad breaks in-stream. These ads may be pre-roll, mid-roll, or a picture under the stream.
Any streamers that see at least 250 regular weekly viewers will be able to register for these features (and the nice paydays that come with them) with the Level Up program.
Learn more about the Level Up program and fan subscriptions here.
Facebook Collections Are Now Sharable (at least in the U.S.)
Facebook’s Collections feature allows users to store links, images, pages, and posts to access later. This month, Facebook introduced a new networking feature that allows such lists to be made public. This could bring some interesting business collaboration opportunities. (sadly, this is a feature only available in the U.S. market at the moment.)
Watch out, Pinterest. Influencers could create sponsored lists to share with followers (“My Favorite Paris Restaurants”), or businesses could share on-brand content (such as an alcohol company’s “Best Cocktail Recipes”).
Privacy Setting Makes CCPA Compliance Much Easier
Any company that sells products located in California is probably aware of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CPPA). This gives residents the ability to control their data.
The new “Limited Data Use” feature on Facebook makes CPPA compliance relatively simple. Enabling this feature allows companies to send data to Facebook and restrict how Facebook uses the data.
Once applied, Facebook will technically operate as a service provider to a business when processing California customer details, complying with the specific privacy laws of the state. This keeps both the company and user data secure.
New Email Marketing Tools Mow Available for Small Businesses
A small number of small businesses are exploring the latest email marketing tools available on Facebook.
You will be able to send group emails and monitor results, all inside the Facebook framework if you’re one of the fortunate few picked to be a Facebook guinea pig.
Upload contact details for subscribers (with permission, of course) and then change the demographics of your audience and customize your design.
If the test runs prove to be beneficial for companies, we may see the option rolled out widely. There are so many other email marketing tools out there, it’s not clear that this method can stand the test of time.
Facebook To Warn If An Article Is Over 90 Days Old
Facebook also introduced a new pop-up function to warn users if an article is over three months old in another effort to counter false or out-of-date news.
The purpose is to highlight the timeliness (or rather, the lack of it) of news outlets. Also, to try and help minimize out-of-context reports that could muddle the understanding of current events.
The Facebook context button added in 2018 may not have accomplished much to neutralize the spread of hoaxes, but hopefully, this will have an impact.
Watching Facebook’s priorities and usage change over the last year is interesting. There have been calls for greater transparency and more ethical business practices, but at the same time, we see some fantastic monetization and selling features launch for creators and businesses as well.
Which tools are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below!
MAY 2020 – Facebook Updates
Facebook Launches Mobile-friendly Native Shops
It may not be Facebook’s first attempt at in-platform shopping, but Facebook Shops is undoubtedly the best yet.
Like previous versions, product pictures and reviews can be uploaded into your digital store, but users can now convert and checkout right in the app.
You’ll be able to chat with customers through WhatsApp, Messenger, or Instagram Direct messaging with Facebook Shops to provide help or personalized shopping guidance.
In addition, companies can customize e-shop looks with on-brand fonts and colors.
Group Chat App “CatchUp” Launches for Group Calls
CatchUp seeks to help bridge the gap in a time when keeping connected is harder than ever. Think of it as a voice-only version of Messenger Rooms, allowing people to make one-on-one or group calls with up to eight people.
CatchUp indicates when users are available and “Ready to Talk” (similar to HouseParty). It’s an effort to resolve people’s hesitation of the old fashioned phone call: you don’t want to interrupt.
Facebook is only testing it in the United States at the moment; we will see if it sticks around.
The new shop feature on Facebook is the big highlight of the updates this month. The feature has begun to roll out slowly, so many of you will start seeing it very soon! That’s always something to be excited about, particularly because the better the user experience, the more we get to connect on the platform.
What do you think? What new features do you want to see next? Let us know your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
APRIL 2020 – Facebook Updates
Hey readers! Glad to have you back for another edition of the Facebook updates.
With all the craziness of the coronavirus, we weren’t too sure what to expect from Facebook. A slow down would have been understandable, but we’ve got some neat new updates for you.
New Messenger desktop app, a “Quiet Mode”, new accessibility tools for live streaming, a download data tool… They should all improve user and marketer experience so without further due, let’s get down to business.
The new Desktop Messenger App has (finally) arrived
This is one of our favorite Facebook updates for the last month. It’s been a while since we’ve waited for the Desktop Messenger App to be rolled out.
Like its mobile counterpart, it allows users to engage in group chats and group videos (particularly useful during the Covid-19 confinement), but on laptops and computers.
If you don’t like separate apps, don’t worry, you can still use Messenger on Facebook directly in your web browser.
This is what the app looks like:
Facebook rolls out new “Quiet Mode”
If you have trouble focusing on the task at hand because of social media, this will be very useful.
With this Facebook update, you’ll be able to silence all notifications whether you’re on desktop or phone.
We personally feel this is an amazing feature. It’s easy to get stuck in the social media loop and mindlessly check your phone for new useless stuff. There has been a lot of mental health concerns and in times of crisis, like the current one, phone times are absolutely through the roof, and those concerns are even more warranted.
By doing this, Facebook also ensures that users have a better experience on the platform. If you’re spending 4h per day on Facebook, it’s likely that absolutely nothing phases you. If you’re more controlled in your usage, there’s a good chance you’ll actually enjoy what you see a lot more.
This could mean longer answer times from users in general, so be prepared.
Live Streaming Accessibility Tools
Live streams have contributed to making content more engaging and content creation has been at the top of its game for a while on social media.
But this update might make it even better.
As of now, live streams have only been video only, which makes it less accessible for certain people and prevents creators from getting the most out of their audiences.
But all of this changes as Facebook has announced they are releasing an all-new “audio-only” live mode. The feature will come with an option for automatic subtitles which will be a real time-saver for creators.
They also stated that there will be a possibility to access the live streams outside of Facebook, though we don’t know much about this yet.
This should be a great addition to Facebook’s arsenal, although automatic subtitles can be iffy, especially if there’s noise in the background of the video or the speaker isn’t articulating properly. But they’ll still provide hard-hearing people to follow the gist of the video.
With how popular podcasts have been in recent years, this is definitely something to try in your Facebook strategy!
Data Download Tool Updated
Facebook is continuing its white knight quest by giving even more transparency to its users, giving ability to know even more in-depth why they’re seeing certain ads in their feed.
With this update, Facebook allows users to download three new sections of data on their own activity they did not have access to before.
This is how you can find it:
The new sections include:
- User interactions on Facebook and Instagram, including their own profile updates, Page content, post likes, comments, and more.
- Inferences used to improve your experiences and how Facebook determines what it shows you.
- Categories of Instagram accounts you interact with that show you what types of content Instagram thinks you’re interested in and how it determines what to show in the Explore section.
Just like the last few months, the updates Facebook is rolling out is benefitting users a lot more than brands. But this should benefit brands in the long run as Facebook is focusing on giving trust back to its users.
As an agency, we’re often scrolling through our feeds to find inspiration, so this could still be useful for us to find new related accounts and content to what we’re already observing.
To conclude this month’s Facebook updates
In these current times of crisis, it’s not surprising to see social media platforms shifting their focus towards their users and giving more support to brands.
As a business, keep in mind that users have more transparency than before and adapt your social strategy in consequence: stay connected to them, give more empathy and value.
What do you think about these new updates? How do they impact you as a user of your business?
See you next month!