Social Media News | The Professor’s Pick

WhatsApp has 600 million monthly active users

According to a tweet from WhatsApp cofounder and CEO Jan Koum, the messaging app has now reached over 600 million monthly active users. That’s up a whopping 150 million on February this year when Facebook revealed it was purchasing WhatsApp for a reported $19 billion (including stock units). Impressively, in April, WhatsApp hit the 500 million active user mark, demonstrating a staggering growth rate over the past four months.

WhatsApp, which is loved by teens, is already hugely popular in India, Brazil and Mexico. These latest figures solidify its position as the fastest-growing messaging app in the market.

Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp recently received regulatory approval in the US when the Federal Trade Commission agreed the deal, albeit with some strong privacy obligations. The deal still needs to be sanctioned by European regulators, however Facebook representatives have stated that they expect the acquisition to be finalised later this year.

Twitter adds Tweets from people you don’t follow to timeline

In yet another controversial move by Twitter, the micro-blogging platform has updated its definition of timelines to include popular or relevant tweets that it believes may be of interest – even if made by someone you don’t follow. Tweets will be selected using a variety of indicators, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it.

Last week, Twitter caused upset by adding tweets favourited by friends into timelines. With Twitter’s goal to make the timeline “even more relevant and interesting,” this latest development is part of larger plans to widen its scope and use among existing users.

Vine launches new camera

Vine, the video sharing app that creates six second looping video clips, has unlocked a new camera to make it easier for users to shoot and edit videos from their smartphones.
As well as powerful new video editing tools, which Vine states will provide users with “total creative freedom” the most significant change to the Twitter owned app, is the ability to import existing videos from smartphones and turn them into Vines. Something that users have been demanding since the app was launched in 2012.

Interestingly, Vine has also confirmed that over 100 million people watch Vines every month and that Vine loops play more than a billion times every day. Having previously faced criticism for failure to confirm monthly active user numbers, these stats prove that Vine has a robust and loyal audience, and that claims that its popularity is diminishing may have been premature.

The new Vine is available for download on iOS and will be released on Android in the coming weeks.

SlideShare premium features to become free

Presentation and file sharing platform SlideShare will soon be completely free to use. LinkedIn, which owns SlideShare announced that it will be making many of its Pro level features including analytics, profile customisation and private uploads, accessible to all. Rolling out one new feature every month, starting in September.

Current Pro subscribers will still have access to the features but will no longer be charged for their use. Other premium features are being stripped out or discontinued.

With the news that SlideShare is moving away from a subscription revenue model, it seems likely that it may instead look towards increased advertising and sponsorship opportunities.

Instagram launches time-lapse app

Popular photo and video sharing service Instagram has launched a new app called Hyperlapse. The app will capture high-quality time-lapse videos using built-in stabalisation technology.

Hyperlapse will allow users to record up to 45 minutes of footage. They will then be able to edit the speed of the footage and share their videos with others. The technology does not as yet enable users to add time-lapse to existing videos.

Hyperlapse is currently available for Apple devices on iOS 7.0+ with plans for an Android version in the pipeline.

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