Social Media News | The Professor’s Pick

WhatsApp jumps to 800 million monthly active users

According to its own figures, WhatsApp has become one of the world’s most popular messaging platforms, boasting 800 million active users every month. A Facebook post by WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum revealed that, the service – which was previously acquired by Facebook for $19 billion – has seen its user base increase by 100 million since January this year. In comparison, earlier this year Twitter reported a user base of just 288 million active users.

Twitter changes direct messaging options

Twitter has made some changes to its direct messaging functionality, allowing users to message people they don’t follow. Stating that “Communicating with people you may or may not know in real life just got easier”, the changes are effective immediately.

Changes include:

  • A setting that allows you to receive Direct Messages from anyone, even if you don’t follow them
  • Updated messaging rules so you can reply to anyone who sends you a Direct Message, regardless of whether or not that person follows you
  • A new Direct Message button on profile pages on Android and iPhone, visible on the profiles of people you can send Direct Messages to.

Twitter creates homepage for non-subscriber users

Last week Twitter launched a categorised feed on its homepage, allowing non-Twitter users to view tweets. Commenting on the move, Twitter product manager, Gabor Cselle said: “Starting today, when you go to the twitter.com homepage, you’ll find interesting topics to explore like politics, pop artists and even cute animals. Click on the topic and you’ll see a timeline of Tweets from some of the most popular accounts in that topic.”
Currently only available to desktop users in the U.S, Twitter is expected to roll out the new homepage over time.

Google to stop displaying longer display web addresses in mobile search results

Google is to replace URLs with a “breadcrumbs” format in mobile search results. The move by the search engine is part of wider plans to favour mobile-friendly sites and award them higher search placements.

According to a blog post by Google: “Well-structured URLs offer users a quick hint about the page topic and how the page fits within the website”. It went on to add that the change will be rolled out gradually and only affects mobile results.

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Facebook winning against ‘like’ sellers

According to Facebook, the amount of fake likes it has detected and blocked has tripled since last October. Committed to removing fraudulent activity on its platform, Facebook has used pattern recognition technology to crack down on fake-like scammers who sell followers. In addition, Facebook has been proactively working with businesses that have received fake likes, helping them to build a legitimate and engaged audience. Commenting on the crackdown a Facebook spokesperson said: “This work has made it extremely difficult for the people selling fraudulent likes to actually deliver their promised likes to paying customers.”

Facebook’s Zuckerberg defends internet.org

Mark Zuckerberg has used a blog post to refute claims that internet.org doesn’t follow net neutrality guidelines.

Founded to connect the two-thirds of the world that don’t currently have internet access, internet.org operates in partnership with various mobile operators and governments. However, critics had attacked the initiative, claiming that that it goes against the principles of net neutrality. In particular, criticism has been directed at its “zero-rating,” policy, through which large telecom companies agree not to charge consumers for data handling. Detractors believe that this is unfair to mobile companies who aren’t signed up with internet.org.

Zuckerberg has, however, blasted these attack stating that: “We’re open for all mobile operators and we’re not stopping anyone from joining. We want as many internet providers to join so as many people as possible can be connected”. He also said that that: “Arguments about net neutrality shouldn’t be used to prevent the most disadvantaged people in society from gaining access or to deprive people of opportunity.”

Instagram clarifies community guidelines

Following a similar move from Facebook earlier this year, Instagram has clarified its community standards. Specifically tackling the issue of nudity, pictures of breastfeeding are acceptable, whereas more sexually explicit content including “sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks” are banned. In addition, the image sharing site has clarified that users can only post content they legally own to the platform.

LinkedIn vice president of marketing to depart

Last week it was revealed that LinkedIn’s vice president of marketing, Nick Besbeas will be leaving the company at the end of next month. The reason for his departure is still unclear. He will, however, be replaced by the current senior vice president of corporate communications, Shannon Stubo. According to reports, the news was announced via an internal company email, sent by LinkedIn’s chief executive, Jeff Weiner.

HBO unhappy over Game of Thrones leak

Following the leak of pirated Game of Thrones episodes on Twitter’s live-streaming app, Periscope, HBO has issued the site with take-down notices. While Twitter claims that Periscope abides by copyright laws, HBO is reportedly unhappy that the social media company’s anti-piracy plans are not up to scratch. Commenting on the issue an HBO spokesperson said: “In general, we feel developers should have tools which proactively prevent mass copyright infringement from occurring on their apps and not be solely reliant upon notifications”.

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