1. Instagram becomes more business-friendly with improved business tools
Instagram is a powerful business tool; 200 million Instagram users visit a business profile each day and more than 150 million engage in conversations with businesses through ‘Instagram Direct’ each month.
In order to make it easier for businesses to communicate with users and to better manage their messages, Instagram will introduce a set of features for those using Instagram Direct.
Businesses will now see their messages in their main Direct inbox, rather than in the pending folder and they will be able to mark conversations they would like to follow up on later on. Additionally, Instagram will soon test quick replies in order for the businesses to easily and rapidly respond to the user’s most common questions.
Instagram will also facilitate the step from discovery to action, providing action buttons for when users discover a business they would like to engage with. These action buttons allow users to reserve, get tickets, start order or book through well-known, third-party partners without them having to leave Instagram. The wide range of partners include Eventbrite, Reserve and Yelp amongst many more available now.
2. Facebook makes it easier to report on Messenger
In order to minimise the negative experiences that can occur in Messenger, Facebook will introduce new tools on mobile, that allow users to report conversations that violate their Community Standards.
Previously, users were only able to report through the Facebook reporting tools or Messenger Web; now users can access the reporting tool directly from their Messenger conversations by tapping the name of the person or group they are having issues with by selecting ‘Something’s Wrong’. They will then receive confirmation from Facebook that their report has been submitted for review.
3. Facebook introduces new live tools for publishers
Facebook has introduced three features in order to make it easy for publishers to go live on Facebook. The features aim to simplify the broadcasting experience, help users grow their audience, and provide the users with more flexibility when experiencing Live videos.
The features are:
- Persistent stream keys: This will simplify the broadcast experience for the publishers and creators that go live regularly.
- Live crossposting: This will allow Pages to publish a single broadcast as an original post across multiple pages, in order to increase the reach of pre-recorded videos to multiple audiences.
- Rewind live videos: For users to be able to re-watch their favourite moments or catch-up on the ones they weren’t able to view.
4. Facebook restricts data access to external apps
There is certain amount of information Apps have access to when users connect them to Facebook. In order to better protect the user’s information, Facebook has made further changes to restrict data access.
In order to understand the changes Facebook has made, let’s first understand the concept of API (Application Programming Interface). API is what allows different platforms to integrate; Facebook makes available their API to external agents in order for them to access information. However, what they are currently doing is modifying the conditions for external applications to use their API.
The most significant changes Facebook has made include the following:
- Events API: Previously, users could grant Apps permission to obtain information about events they are hosting or attending; this made it easy to add events to your calendar and other apps. But since those Facebook events also contain information about other people who will potentially attend, Facebook wanted to ensure Apps use their access appropriately. To accomplish this, apps using the API will no longer have access to the guest list or posts on the event wall. In addition, only apps that Facebook approves and that agree to strict requirements will be allowed to use the Events API.
- Groups API: Previously, apps need to be granted permission by a group admin or member to access group content. In order to better protect the information about people and conversations in groups, all third-party apps that are using the Groups API, will need Facebook’s approval and an admin to ensure they benefit the group. Additionally, Apps will no longer have access to the member lists of groups. Facebook will also remove personal information that is attached to posts or comments, that approved apps can access.
- Pages API: Previously, any app could access the posts or comments from any Page by using the Pages API. To ensure Apps don’t access more data than necessary, and to guarantee Page information is only accessible to apps that are providing useful services to the community, Facebook will need to approve all access to the Pages API.
- Facebook Login: Facebook will now need to approve – with a tight review process – all the apps that request to access information such as check-ins, likes, photos, posts, videos, events and groups. Apps must also agree to strict requirements before they are allowed to access the data. Additionally, Facebook will no longer allow apps to ask for access to personal information such as: religious or political views, relationship status and details, amongst others.
- Search and Account Recovery: Previously, users could enter another person’s phone number or email address in Facebook in order to find them. However, Facebook confirms that ‘malicious actors’ have abused these features to scrape public profile information. To prevent this from happening, the feature has been disabled.
- Call and Text History: People using Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android have access to their call and text history. Facebook has reviewed the feature to ensure they don’t collect the content of messages. In addition, Facebook will delete all logs older than one year.
- Data Providers and Partner Categories: Partner Categories, a product that allows third-party data providers offer their targeting directly on Facebook, has now been shut down.
5. Instagram adds new ‘emoji slider’ polling options for Instagram stories
Instagram has rolled out another interactive tool, a new voting option for Stories called the ‘emoji slider’ sticker.
This new feature provides another way to prompt users to respond to Stories content and has potential to help both individuals and brands better engage with their audience. Interestingly, brands will be able to use the tool to generate more engagement and interaction, which, ideally, will help them boost their reach of their content and page.
In addition to the emoji slides, Instagram has been busy announcing various new features – in the in the last three months alone, Instagram has announced:
- ‘Focus Mode’ for better selfies
- The ability to share posts in Stories
- Group video calling
- ‘Nametag codes’ for account promotion
- In-stream payment options
In addition to this, they’re also reportedly testing:
Source: Social Media Today