Social Media News | The Professor’s Pick

Instagram reveals UK active users

For the first time, Instagram has broken out its monthly user figures by a particular location. According to the platform, 14 million people in the UK are now using the service at least once a month. Worldwide, Instagram boasts 300 million active users, with 70% of these coming from outside the U.S. The UK numbers were revealed at a press event at Facebook’s London HQ earlier this week.

Should the numbers be taken literally, they would indicate that almost one in five people in the UK has an active Instagram account. However the company declined to divulge information about the demographics of this user base, leaving commentators none the wiser as to how many of these users are in fact brands.

According to a Facebook spokesperson, the rapid rise of the platform reflects how “intent-based search” isn’t enough for brands trying to cut through the “tsunami of content for a thimbleful of attention” and that “intelligence-based feeds that help people discover new things” are essential.

The timing of Instagram’s decision to share its user numbers comes as it looks to attract advertisers through the delivery of more targeted marketing tools.

Ironically, only this week a new bug hit the image sharing site, giving users thousands of new followers. According to an Instagram blog post, the bug has been identified, and the company is in the process of fixing the problem. Any counts impacted by the glitch will be restored when the issue is resolved.

What’s next for Reddit?

It’s been a difficult few weeks for Reddit. While interim CEO Ellen Pao’s departure from the company was claimed to be by ‘mutual agreement’, it came following mass outrage from users. Outrage that resulted in moderators shutting down parts of the site in protest over how Pao handled the dismissal of a former employee.

A controversial appointment from the start, Pao was already unpopular with a high percentage of Reddit users after the company shut down controversial “subreddit” communities including FatPeopleHate earlier this year.

However, since her departure, former Reddit CEO Yishan Wong has said Pao was made a scapegoat by the company. Likewise, chief engineer Bethanye Blount has also quit, stating that she has lost confidence in the new direction of the business.

The continued unsettled situation at Reddit highlights the difficulty of managing a large and opinionated community, particularly when trying to monetise the platform. Time will tell whether Reddit can survive the upheaval, but certainly there are some big challenges ahead.

Facebook reaches $250bn market cap

Facebook’s market capitalisation has crossed $250bn (£161bn). Having gone public in May 2012, the social media giant’s shares ended trading up 2.4% on 13 July, taking the company just three years to reach the valuation. According to Bloomberg data, Facebook is now the first in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to breach the market cap so quickly.
The previous record holder was Google, which took approximately eight years to reach the valuation. Only last month Facebook entered the Wall Street top ten for the first time, knocking out Walmart to win the coveted spot.

Facebook denies imminent music streaming

Facebook has denied media reports that it is on the brink of launching a music streaming service. The rumours, should they be true, would see the social media platform go head-to-head with the likes of Apple Music and Spotify.

However, despite reports that it is to launch an own-brand music service “within months,” Facebook has issued a statement claiming that it has “no plans to go into music streaming”. This doesn’t mean, of course, that Facebook isn’t looking at other music related services.

Snapchat intensifies focus on Discover

Snapchat has updated its mobile app with a redesigned Stories screen that includes a highly prominent shortcut to Discover.

Prioritising select media partners over updates from friends, the move, is undoubtedly designed to bolster the app’s ambitions to be a major media organisation. However, it has resulted in a backlash from some users.

While users are taking to Twitter to criticise Snapchat for trying to force Discover on them, the company is clearly committed to the functionality stating that: “We’re very excited about where we are today and making Discover accessible on our Stories page feels like a natural fit.”

The latest update is currently available on iOS.

Outrage over the Snoopers Charter intensifies

Criticism of the planned ‘Snoopers Charter’ has intensified this week following reports that the government intends to have the bill in place by the end of the year. The bill, should it go ahead would allow the government to ban instant messaging services such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. With almost all the major messaging apps using encoded end-to-end communications, the Investigatory Powers Bill would provide the powers to ban such services unless the encryption were removed.

While the bill has been in the pipeline for some time, the news that it could soon be enforced has led to a strong public backlash across social media channels.

Social Media Conference comes to the UK

The Big Social Media Conference came to a close last week after two jam-packed days of social media information sharing and networking.

The first of its kind in the UK, the event was hosted by the team at Social Media Experts and featured a number of the world’s foremost online specialists, entrepreneurs and businesses.

The event hashtag, #BigSocial, hit the number two trending topic in the UK during the conference, demonstrating the reach of the inaugural event.

If you missed the Big Social Media Conference, you can still purchase a virtual ticket to access to all the keynote presentations and panels online here

You can also purchase an early bird ticket for the 2016 Big Social Media Conference at

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