Social Media News | The Professor’s Pick

Instagram reaches 400 million active monthly users

Facebook-owned photo-sharing app Instagram has revealed that its monthly user base has now reached 400 million. That’s an increase of 100 million in the past nine months alone and much faster rise than anticipated. International users from countries such as Brazil, Japan and Indonesia account for 75% of this figure.

The results are bound to create further pressure for rival platform Twitter, which has been struggling financially due to disappointing user growth this year. Twitter currently boasts just 316 million active users, meaning that Instagram is now propelling past the micro-blogging platform.

In addition to the positive user numbers, analysts at eMarketer have estimated that Instagram’s global ad revenues are projected to be in the region of $600m this year. It is also predicted that this revenue will grow to $1.48 billion and $2.81 billion in 2016 and 2017 respectively. If correct, these figures mean that Instagram will have higher mobile ad display revenues than both Google and Twitter within two years.

Twitter introduces new emojis

Last week, Twitter revealed a new customised Coca-Cola icon; making it the first brand ever to benefit from its very own emoji. The image appears in any tweet using the hashtag #ShareACoke. According to Twitter, Coke was chosen for the trial as it was a “perfect opportunity to work with a nimble and smart marketer to make this happen”.

With emojis benefiting from growing popularity and use, it is likely that Coke will be the first of many brands looking to capitalise on this trend.

To celebrate Pope Francis’ visit to the US, Twitter has also rolled out a new series of emojis. The emojis appear when a user tweets the hashtag #PopeinUS, #PopeinDC, #PopeinNYC, or #PopeinPhilly, and consist of images of the Pope in front of the US flag, the US Capital, the Statue of Liberty, and the Liberty Bell.

Google charges for fake YouTube video views

According to a recent report, Google has been charging advertisers for YouTube video views, even when it believes the viewer to be a robot rather than a human. The European study found that while efforts have been largely successful when it comes to understanding fraudulent activity in more traditional online advertising – such as search and banner ads – video ads are still open to abuse.

Responding to the claims, a Google spokesperson said: “We take invalid traffic very seriously and have invested significantly in the technology and team that keep this out of our systems. The vast majority of invalid traffic is filtered from our systems before advertisers are ever charged”. Google is also understood to be contacting the researchers to discuss their findings and investigate further.

Facebook ‘dislike’ invites a scam

Last week, we revealed that Facebook is planning to introduce the long-anticipated ‘dislike’ button. This week it appears that scammers have already found a way to exploit this revelation with invites to “early testing” of the dislike functionality popping up over recent days.

Facebook is, however, not currently ready to test the dislike button, and the invite is nothing more than a scam. The scammers in question hope to trick people into filling in online surveys, investing in get-rich-quick schemes, or disclosing their mobile numbers so that they can be signed up to premium rate services.

FBI counts retweets as endorsements

The FBI, (which has an 83 page manual on Twitter acronyms!) is apparently viewing retweets of extremist propaganda as endorsements.

The findings come after a 22-year-old man, who was already being investigated by the FBI, was arrested for sharing tweets that encouraged terrorist behaviour. While this example took place in the US, it is worth noting that The Crown Prosecution Service in the UK can also use social media as evidence in cases it is pursuing.

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