Social Media News | The Professor’s Pick

It’s been a busy week for Facebook, with the social media giant announcing a number of key developments…

Facebook to restrict violent videos and photos

Last week, Facebook pledged to police access to violent and graphic videos and photos. To do this, a series of restriction measures have been introduced. Primarily, Facebook will:

  • Regulate adult content on the site, restricting access to those under 18
  • Alert all viewers to footage that may “shock, offend and upset”
  • Prevent auto-play on all flagged videos

The British advertising trade body ISBA welcomed the move, which it believes will reduce the risk of brands having their advertisements appear alongside improper content. Brand safety has been an ongoing issue for Facebook advertisers over the last few years. Nissan and Nationwide, for example, have both previously pulled ads from the site after they appeared next to campaigns condoning domestic violence.

Facebook’s LinkedIn rival goes live with test partners

Facebook has unveiled ‘Facebook at Work’, a work based social networking platform that is set to rival LinkedIn. Launching on iOS and Android initially, a number of select ‘pilot partners’ are now trying out the platform.

With all the features users have come to expect from Facebook, it is believed that employees will be able to engage in conversations and information sharing via a new professional account while keeping their personal profiles separate.

If successful, Facebook at Work could deliver a new revenue stream to the company, although no plans have as yet been revealed on if, or how, Facebook plans to charge for the service.

Facebook donates artificial intelligence tools

In a bid to accelerate its own artificial intelligence (AI) product development, Facebook is to donate some of its AI tools to software project Torch. By making the tools available via the Torch open-source library, developers will be able to utilise Facebook’s deep learning algorithms to create smarter, quicker AI. Torch is currently used by a number of tech giants, including Google, Microsoft, and Twitter.

Facebook to increase headcount by 14%

Facebook is in the midst of a hiring spree, with plans to employ another 1,200 employees. The company is looking to fill a vast variety of new posts, from sales people, managers, procurement specialists and software engineers.

Attributing the move to Facebook being “an ambitious company run by an ambitious CEO”, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said: “our users are growing and our business is growing and we want to support that”. Facebook had 8,348 full-time employees at the end of September 2014.

Facebook to translate voice clips sent by Messenger

Facebook is rolling out a new feature that will transcribe files sent as voice recordings via the Messenger app. The latest development is currently being tested by a small group of people. The audio clips will be automatically transcribed, with a typed version sent to the recipient.

It is not known when the new tool – which will let people send voice clips to their friends without having to type – will be rolled out more widely.

Snapchat to charge $750,000 for disappearing ads

According to reports, Snapchat is asking brands to pay up to $750,000 a day to have their ads appear in users’ ‘recent updates’. The ads, which are not targeted at specific users, disappear just 24 hours after they are viewed.

While Snapchat is a relatively new player in the social media space, it was recently valued at $10 billion and boasts 100 million users a day. Most of who fall into the prized 18-24 age bracket. And, with a survey of 600 users, finding that ads placed in user updates have a 44% approval rate (far higher than the 17% norm), Snapchat advertisers have access to a sizeable and engaged audience.

Whisper editor-in-chief leaves company

Neetzan Zimmerman has left his job as editor-in-chief of Whisper, just a year after he joined the secret-sharing social network.

Whisper, which previously dubbed itself the “safest place on the internet” reportedly broke its promise of anonymity after it was uncovered tracking the location of users, including those who had opted-out of geolocation services. Following the scandal, a number of the Whisper editorial team, including Zimmerman, were suspended over concerns about the app’s privacy practices.

Zimmerman, vigorously defended Whisper against the claims and, despite an internal review finding no wrongdoing, he is now no longer with the company.

Twitter buys Indian mobile marketing start-up ZipDial

Microblogging site Twitter has made its first Indian acquisition with the purchase of value added services (VAS) firm ZipDial. The value of the deal, which has not been disclosed, is believed to be between $30 – $40 million.

Founded in 2010, ZipDial has built a mobile platform that combines SMS, voice, mobile web, and access to mobile apps, letting people follow and engage with content across interfaces.

ZipDial, which was already working in partnership with Twitter, allows users to make a ‘missed call’ to a brand, following which they will then receive inbound content and further brand engagement. ZipDial boasts a number of big named clients such as Procter & Gamble, Disney, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Nestle.

Twitter’s acquisition of ZipDial comes at a time when the rise of VAS in India is expected to grow rapidly following an increase in mobile adoption over the last five years.

Commenting on the deal, Twitter Market Director (India and Southeast Asia) Rishi Jaitly said: “Millions of people are coming online for the first time in countries like Brazil, India and Indonesia. For many, their first online experience will be on a mobile device – but the cost of data may prevent them from experiencing the true power of the Internet. Twitter, in partnership with ZipDial, can make great content more accessible to everyone”.

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