Social media enjoyed a supreme hike in usership in the early part of 2020. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and the up and coming TikTok applications managed to support more than 3.2 billion users during the COVID-19 crisis. Engagement increased more than 61% over normal usage rates across markets. More impressive than connecting so many users on a regular basis (who often go between at least 2-4 apps per day), these platforms have also managed to introduce several social media updates in 2020, alongside some not so amazing legal updates.
Before we dive into these exciting new features and rollouts, let’s take a quick look at the current state of social media usership for some of the world’s leading social media platforms:
Social Media is Taking Off
Facebook is still at the lead of the pack with more than 2.3 billion users and about 74 % of those users actively using the platform at least once a day. Of course, as one of the first social media platforms to really take off, diverse products like Facebook News and Facebook Dating, and as the parent to Instagram and WhatsApp, it is bound to have a leg up on the competition.
Instagram is not too far behind with more than 1 billion users, mostly between the age ranges of 18-24 (30%) and 25-34 (35%). LinkedIn continues to pride itself as the niche platform dedicated to the professional community with 61% of its users as senior level influencers.
Twitter proudly announced its first year of profit in 2017 and is still making headlines as one of the most influential social media platforms, considering former President Barack Obama has the most followers on the platform at a whopping 118 million. It’s influence is enough to make Donald Trump threaten to limit its protections through executive order – but we’ll get into that later.
Finally TikTok. TikTok has emerged as a growing powerhouse surpassing SnapChat (launched five years prior to the release of TikTok in 2011). Since 2018, TikTok has boasted more than 1.9 billion downloads in 154 countries, namely 470 million in India alone. In March 2020, TikTok was downloaded more than 115 million times.
Wow! Social media is here to stay we suppose. Now without further ado…
Here are five recent social media updates that you should know about:
1. Twitter Now Offers Native Scheduling on Desktop.
On May 28, 2020, Twitter announced its launch of native scheduling, which will allow users to draft, save, and schedule tweets on desktop and web only, for now. Twitter worked on the development for almost a year before releasing it to the public. Many social media brands, like LinkedIn, are still without native scheduling functions.
2. LinkedIn Stories Launched in Brazil, the Netherlands, and the UAE
LinkedIn launched its stories feature in select markets including Brazil, the Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates. LinkedIn Stories will launch in a similar format as competitors Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Individuals and business page admins will have the ability to create and watch stories in the mobile app. While there is some criticism of the launch given the professional nature of LinkedIn, the stories feature will support the communication style of nextgen users and could potentially have valuable impact on user engagement.
3. Facebook Messenger Rooms
On April 24, 2020, Facebook announced its Messenger Rooms feature – no doubt a response to the rise in video conferencing during the pandemic. Soon users will be able to host a Messenger Room with up to 50 people and no time limit. The feature functions like other video conferencing tools and is open to Facebook users or external users who have received a link to the room. Facebook users can “create a room” from their Home page and invite participants during a scheduled time or at will.
4. Facebook Creator Studio for Mobile
In February 2020, Facebook launched Creator Studio on mobile. The desktop version was launched in August of 2018 with the ability to add and schedule up to 50 posts including video and graphics into the Creator Studio at once. The Creator Studio allows users to manage cross-posting, monitor analytics and engagement, and leverage monetization for eligible pages, along with other capabilities. The mobile version is limited to viewing scheduled content and basic level functions such as connecting to Facebook Messenger.
5. TikTok Will Launch Augmented Reality for Ads
Coming soon, the growing social media platform will introduce AR for ads into its platform like its SnapChat counterpart. TikTok currently allows users to add visual effects to videos that can be triggered by face and hand movements. The AR effect will soon be available for advertisers who wish to target the 13 to 30 crowd with animated and AR lenses that interact with the physical environment.
What’s new with legal in social media?
Blurred lines continue to be a problem with social media and free speech as major platforms grow with more than 3.2 billion active daily users. Recently, talk of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act resurfaced as Donald Trump began feuding with Twitter since his reckless, violence-ridden tweets were banned.
Two of Trump’s tweets were blocked because they went against the social platform’s policies on inciting violence, making history as the only time a social network censored a United States president. As a result, Trump has threatened to add rules to or completely revoke Section 230 of the Communications Act to take away websites’ protection against lawsuits.
Talk about a Twitter beef. Yikes!
Facts About Section 230
Passed in 1996 it protects websites from lawsuits if a user posts something illegal, although there are exceptions for copyright violations, sex work-related material, and violations of federal criminal law.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA) wrote Section 230 into law.
Donald Trump announced plans to revise the law in August 2019, but it quickly fell under radar.
Trump’s tweets about shooting peaceful protesters quickly made talk of the executive order resurface.
Beyond Trump’s Twitter beef, the California Consumer Privacy Act will still be enforced on July 1, 2020. Social media strategists should be aware of how to prepare.
Social media can be a bit much to handle unless you’re working with a consultant or leveraging the right resources. Yet, organizations that manage it correctly can get first dibbs on the rewards that stem from innovative social media updates.