Social Media News | The Professor’s Pick

Twitter launches video auto play

This week, Twitter announced that it will introduce auto-playing videos and animated GIFs. The changes, which will initially be implemented on the iOS app and web-based versions of the platform, will see all native videos, GIFs and Vines play automatically on a user’s timeline.

Commenting on the development a Twitter spokesperson said that the changes will make it “even easier to enjoy video on Twitter”.

With the option to turn off auto-play to stop it eating vast amounts of data, sound will also be muted by default. When a user clicks on a video, it will expand, and the sound will turn on.

With Facebook’s auto-play video feature a tremendous success for the social media giant as it bids to become the multimedia platform of choice, Twitter, it seems, is stepping up its game in the video space.

Facebook ordered to stop monitoring non-users

Earlier this year, a report commissioned by the Belgian data protection agency claimed that Facebook’s privacy policy breached European law. The violation, it alleged, is made as the company tracks the web browsing habits of everyone who visits the site. Even if the user does not have a Facebook account or has explicitly opted out of tracking.

This week, the Belgian Privacy Protection Commission (CPP) made the decision to take Facebook to court over the breach. Describing the move as “theatrical action”, Facebook has expressed surprise and disappointment, stating that a meeting had already been set to discuss the concerns raised by the CPP.

The Irish Data Protection Commissioner, which regulates Facebook in Europe, has issued an immediate order banning Facebook from monitoring non-users.

Messenger reaches 700 million monthly active users

Facebook’s standalone ‘Messenger’ app has now reached 700 million monthly users. That’s up 200 million from November last year. The app was effectively ‘forced’ on mobile users who wanted to continue using Facebook to send private messages last year.

Despite the increased user numbers, Messenger still has some way to go when it comes to competing with rival messaging apps. WhatsApp, for example, which is also owned by Facebook, currently boasts 800 million users. And the competition sees no signs of slowing down. Only this week Facebook introduced a further app that will make it easier for users to share photos privately. The ‘Moments’ app has the same facial recognition capabilities as Facebook tagging, and will group photos on phones based on the date they were taken and the people that are in them.

Moments is currently available in the US on Apple and Android devices.

UAE man faces £45,000 fine for swearing on WhatsApp

WhatsApp users who swear at each other via the app in Dubai or Abu Dhabi could face a £45,000 fine, a jail sentence or deportation.

The Federal Supreme Court based in Abu Dhabi has already ordered the retrial of a man convicted of swearing over the messaging app, as it believed the £523 fine imposed was overly ‘lenient’.

According to legal experts, using the middle finger emoji could also lead to such penalties, with the gesture illegal in the UAE.

Facebook makes further tweaks to its News Feed algorithm

Facebook has revealed the latest tweaks to its News Feed algorithm. In an attempt to help more “meaningful” stories appear at the top of people’s feeds, the platform will look beyond metrics such as likes, shares, and comments.

Quoting Facebook market research as the driver behind the changes, Facebook will now also start to consider the amount of time people look at a news story.

In a Facebook blog post, a spokesperson for the company wrote: “We’ve discovered that if people spend significantly more time on a particular story in News Feed than the majority of other stories they look at, this is a good sign that content was relevant to them”.

WhatsApp rolls out voice calling to Windows 8 users

WhatsApp is to roll out its voice calling service to Windows 8 users. The feature, which allows users to make internet-based phone calls without using any valuable carrier minutes, has currently only been available to Android and iOS users.

According to reports, Windows Phone users first need to register to the WhatsApp beta testing program. Once done, they will be able to download and install the latest beta version of WhatsApp with the voice calling capabilities.

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