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Social Media Roundup: Time Spent On Facebook Feature, Music For Instagram Stories, LinkedIn QR Codes

Social Media Roundup: Time Spent On Facebook Feature, Music For Instagram Stories, LinkedIn QR Codes

“Social Media Roundup” is a weekly roundup of news pertaining to all of your favorite websites and applications used for social networking. Published on Sundays, “Social Media Roundup” will help you stay up-to-date on all the important social media news you need to know.


Your Time On Facebook

Facebook has confirmed to TechCrunch that it is testing a “Your Time on Facebook” feature in an unreleased version of its app. The “Your Time on Facebook” feature would show users how much time they spend using the service over the last week and the average time spent for the total week.

And you will be able to set time limits. Then Facebook will send you a notification once you hit the time limit.

Facebook-owned Instagram is also testing a similar feature. And Instagram is also adding a “You’re all caught up” indicator to suggest users when to take a break.

Partially Reinstating Cryptocurrency Ads

Facebook has decided to partially reinstate certain types of cryptocurrency ads, according to Forbes contributor Emma Woollacott. The banning of cryptocurrency ads was applied back in January. Advertisers that set up cryptocurrency promotions will have to be “pre-approved.”

“Advertisers wanting to run ads for cryptocurrency products and services must submit an application to help us assess their eligibility — including any licenses they have obtained, whether they are traded on a public stock exchange, and other relevant public background on their business,” wrote Facebook product management director Rob Leathern. “Given these restrictions, not everyone who wants to advertise will be able to do so. But we’ll listen to feedback, look at how well this policy works and continue to study this technology so that, if necessary, we can revise it over time.”

Facebook is going to continue prohibiting ads that promote binary options and initial coin offerings (ICOs).

New Fundraising Features

According to USA Today, Facebook is going to be expanding upon its fundraising features. This news comes on the heels of a noteworthy fundraising campaign where a California couple sought to raise $1,500 on behalf of the migrant children separated from their parents due to the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy at the U.S.-Mexico border.

That campaign — which was set up by the Texas-based refugee nonprofit RAICES — ended up raising $20 million through Facebook’s fundraising feature. And as a result, this was the largest single fundraiser in Facebook’s history.

Facebook is going to allow users to automatically set up recurring monthly donations to nonprofit organizations. And Pages will also be able to donate directly to nonprofit fundraisers directly going forward.

“It’s been a pretty inspiring set of weeks,” said Facebook’s head of product for social good via USA Today. “It’s been amazing to see the movement that’s been building.”

Patent For Listening Through Your Phone Mic

Recently, details about one of Facebook’s patents surfaced where it describes technology that could be used for activating the microphone of a user’s device to listen as TV ads are being watched. The patent — which is called “Broadcast Content View Analysis Based On Ambient Audio Recording” — was discovered by Metro.

And the concept is that there would be secret messages embedded in TV ads to be used for activating the device microphones, but it cannot be heard by the human ear. In a statement to Engadget, Facebook VP and Deputy General Counsel Allen Lo said that the company filed the patent “to prevent aggression from other companies.” And Lo said that the technology in this patent has not been included in any of its products and “never will be.”

Back in April at a congressional hearing, CEO Mark Zuckerberg was actually asked whether Facebook listens to conversations through a device’s microphone. Zuckerberg denied it and said it was a “conspiracy theory.”

This past week, Facebook announced that it is testing a keyword snooze feature to help users avoid spoilers about TV shows, movies and sports matches. Essentially, this feature temporarily hides posts from the News Feed or Groups that contains the keywords that users pick.

This feature is being tested with a small number of users and it is expected to roll out to more users sometime in the near future. Users who have access to the feature now will see an option that says “Snooze keywords in this post” in the drop-drop menu of a post.


This past week, Instagram rolled out the ability to add music to Stories for Android and iOS users across 6 countries. This was made possible through Facebook’s partnership with several music labels. Some of the most popular artists that you can choose music from include Bruno Mars, Calvin Harris, Demi Lovato, Dua Lipa, Maroon 5 and Guns N’ Roses.

When you tap to add a stick to a photo or video in Stories, you will see a music icon. And then tap on it to open the song library and search for a “specific song, browse by mood, genre or what’s popular and tap the play button to hear a preview. When you’ve selected your song, you can fast-forward and rewind through the track to choose the exact part that fits your story.”

You will also be able to choose a song before capturing a video. And when you open the Camera, swipe to the “Music” option under the record button. Then search for a song, select the portion you want to use and record a video as the song plays in the background.

As your friends watch the story, they will hear the song playing as they view the photo or video. And they will see a sticker showing the song title and artist name.

Instagram told TechCrunch that the musicians will receive compensation for the use of the songs, but it is unknown how that would work. And when Facebook users add copyrighted music to their own videos before upload it, they will not be taken down as was done before. Separately, Facebook is testing a Lip Sync Live feature.

Recently, Instagram announced it hit 1 billion monthly users and Stories was seeing 400 million daily users itself.

Lite Version

Instagram has launched a new app for Android called Instagram Lite. Instagram Lite was designed to consume less storage space and mobile data on devices in order to accommodate users in emerging markets.

The size of Instagram Lite is only 573 KB and users will be able to post photos to their feeds and Stories. And Instagram Lite users will also be able to view photos and videos shared by users. And the ability to message friends and share videos will be added to Instagram Lite soon.

Video Chat, New Camera Effects And Topic Channels

This past week, I wrote about how Instagram has rolled out video chat, new camera effects and topic channels on Explore for the Android and iOS apps. These features were previewed at the Facebook F8 conference in May.

Video Chat – Instagram added video chat through the Instagram Direct Messaging service. You can set up video chats with individuals or groups by swiping in the Direct inbox, opening a message thread and tapping on the camera icon at the top right. You can also minimize the video chat window as you multitask within the Instagram app. The group video chat supports up to four people at a time.

Topic Channels – As there are more than two hundred million users that visit the Instagram Explore tab every day to discover interesting content, Instagram now has topic channels as a way for people to discover additional content around their interests. After you tap on the Explore tab, you will see a tray at the top with personalized channels. One channel is called “For You,” which has a mix of posts personalized for interests. And Instagram also has channels on topics like Fashion, Beauty, Sports and Art. Plus you will see hashtags so you can find additional trending topics. You can “Mute” topics by pressing and holding the channel.

More Camera Effects – Instagram has added several camera effects to the app, designed by singers like Ariana Grande and Baby Ariel, YouTube personality Liza Koshy, Internet media company BuzzFeed and the National Basketball Association (NBA). You may have to follow the accounts of those users to see the camera effect.


Translation Feature

Professional social network LinkedIn now has a dynamic translation service for posts in the news feed. The translation service is powered by some of Microsoft’s artificial intelligence technology. LinkedIn said that this has been one of the most requested features.

If you see posts that are in a different language, then you will see a “See Translation” button within the LinkedIn Feed, recent activity section on a user’s profile and the post detail page. The “See Translation” feature is available in over 60 languages including Spanish, German and Japanese to a majority of global users on desktop and mobile web. And it will be rolled out to the LinkedIn Android and iOS apps in the next few weeks. Plus LinkedIn is planning to constantly grow the languages supported.

“We show you the ‘See Translation’ option based on signals such as your language setting, the country you’re accessing LinkedIn from, the languages on your profile, and other factors. We then compare it to the language we’ve identified a post as having to see if you might need it translated,” said LinkedIn in a blog post. “These translations are powered by Microsoft Text Analytics API, an Azure Cognitive Service, which also powers translations for Bing, Skype, and Office. And since Microsoft is continually improving translation quality, you can expect translations to get better and better over time.”

QR Codes

LinkedIn has also added QR codes to its app called LinkedIn Code. This makes it easier for users to add each other on the professional social network. You can pull up the QR code by tapping on the icon in the mobile app search box that says “LinkedIn Code.” From there, you can share it through email and other apps. Or you can save it as a photo that can be added to business cards.


3 Hour 16 Minute Outage

On Wednesday, team chat service Slack had a major outage due to “connectivity issues.” The outage was fixed within a few hours, but it caused quite a disruption.

“On June 27th between 6:33 a.m. and 9:49 a.m. PDT Slack experienced an outage where people could not connect to their workspaces. The network problems were caused by a bug included in an offline batch process of data, which resulted in unexpected network spikes and led all of our customers to become disconnected and unable to reconnect,” said Slack in a status post. “Once we identified the problem, we restricted new connections and provisioned extra capacity. At 9:24 a.m. PST, production was healthy enough to remove restrictions and by 9:44 a.m. PST, all customers had reconnected to Slack once again.”


Game Platform Rumor

Snapchat is preparing to launch a gaming platform this fall, according to sources with The Information. Snap has also reportedly partnered with one gaming publisher company for making a title for the Snapchat gaming platform.

Snapchat may even launch its own internal app store for the gaming platform. And it is believed that Snap will be utilizing technology it acquired from PlayCanvas to develop the mobile gaming software.


Lite Version

Spotify has rolled out a lightweight version of its mobile app for Android called Spotify Lite. The user interface looks very similar to the main app, but it is only 15 MB in size.

Unfortunately, the Lite version does not have offline playback. There isn’t a high-quality playback option in the Lite version. Spotify Connect (streams audio from wireless audio devices) is also not supported in the Lite version. And Premium subscribers cannot play specific songs in the Lite version either.


Photo Encryption

In a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tinder said that it is now encrypting photos sent between its servers and apps as pointed out by John Hopkins University cryptography teacher Matthew Green via The Verge. Tinder applied the change back in February following revelations that there was a vulnerability which could allow hackers to see the profile photos and swipe actions of users.


New Group Admin Feature

WhatsApp has added a new setting for admins of Groups. The new feature allows only admins to send messages out to Groups. This feature facilitates “important announcements and information, including parents and teachers at schools, community centers, and non-profit organizations.”

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