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My weekly annotated summary of significant social web platform developments from the previous week, with links and carping marginalia as needed . . . Posted every Monday morning or thereabouts. CANADIAN THANKSGIVING EDITION!
FacebookProud that its ‘Marketplace’ feature has turned two years old, Facebook marked the anniversary with a few updates to make the shopping, selling and buying experience more fluid. (By the way, Marketplace is “a place where people around the world can discover things they love, connect with people locally, launch a business, and earn a living.”) Being added are new features that use AI for price range suggestions and auto-categorization, camera features (in beta) that “could use AI to recommend products you might be interested in”, and some reporting, rating and content removal features to “create a safer and more trusted community.” Facebook also “announced the global launch of Premieres, its new interactive video format that allows creators to pre-record a video for fans, then release it during a viewing window they choose, as more of a live event. On the same day, Facebook also rolled out “interactive video polls to more Pages, and making its Top Fans (badging) feature available to all Facebook Pages worldwide.” Facebook is testing a redesign of its little used Nearby Friends features that would see it replace “the list view of the neighborhoods and cities friends are in with a map that groups friends together by city. A ‘view list’ button opens up the former homescreen, though in both views you still can only see a friend’s approximate location in a neighborhood or city, not their exact coordinates.” In other words, very much the mirror image of Snapchat ‘Snap Maps.’
InstagramPrivacy pundits, and those who believe social platforms are mismanaging user data to push ads, will kvetch about this news. Josh Constine at TechCrunch says: “Instagram has been spotted prototyping a new privacy setting that would allow it to share your location history with Facebook. That means your exact GPS coordinates collected by Instagram, even when you’re not using the app, would help Facebook to target you with ads and recommend you relevant content. Instagram has released its version of Snapchat’s QR code calling it ‘Nametag’, “a customizable identification card that allows people to find your Instagram profile when it’s scanned.” Nametags can also be shared with others using text messages or on other Facebook-owned platforms.
TwitterSome minor tweaks to Twitter last week will see easier controls to manage group chats, improvements in VoiceOver support for polls, better labels for some types of ads, and an option to reduce data usage.