Monday Mashup Blog #8 - 'Fake news', Facebook Video Advertising and Snapchat Updates

Happy Blue Monday everyone! Today has been labelled the ‘most depressing day of the year’, how grim? We’re fully back into the swing of things at Sunshine Communications after Christmas break and have been watching the recent social media news closely. To brighten up your Blue Monday have a read of our round up of social media news this week:

‘Fake news’

Facebook have just announced that they will roll out new identification tools to try and combat ‘fake news’. Facebook will be rolling out fake news tools in Germany, a country where the company is currently facing two lawsuits.

Fake news has been extremely controversial recently, with claims it was responsible for swaying the outcome of the US Presidential election in November. In Germany it is feared that fake news may also be able to influence the parliamentary election this year.

The new feature will allow German users of the platform to ‘flag’ anything it sees as false which will then be passed to third-party fact-checkers. If the information is thought to be untrue, it will appear as ‘disputed’ in the users timeline. Facebook Germany will be looking to penalise publishers that deliberately try to mislead users.

This is an important step in the right direction for Facebook, and reassuring for users and publishers to see Facebook trying to combat the problem. It has been criticised however for not going far enough, for example many users could still view the content and not notice the ‘disputed’ label. I know myself when scrolling quickly through my timeline, sometimes it can just be the headlines that capture your attention and not the detail.

Facebook to launch ‘ads within videos’

Facebook advertising is just getting bigger and bigger, and won’t be slowing down anytime soon. In 2016, Facebook’s ad revenue was bigger than TV for the first time in the US.

Screen Shot 2017 01 16 At 10 42 14
Graph via Business Insider

Facebook are monetizing their huge video audience this week with new mid-roll advertisements. This move sees the social media giant beginning to really compete with YouTube for video views.

Facebook will offer advertisers the opportunity to place advertisements 20 seconds into a video, that can be played for up to 90 seconds. This differs from YouTube where ads are only placed at the beginning of the video and can be skipped after 5 seconds.

This is a similar approach to how Facebook offered advertisers with Facebook Live, and will now be trialling it with videos. Publishers will receive 55% of the revenue generated from these ads, which is the same as YouTube making them highly competitive.

Although we are excited about this change for advertisers, we worry it may somewhat detract from users experience on the platform. Facebook will allow for mid-roll ads to be 90 seconds in length and the user is required to view at least 20 seconds. Users could become irritated with this and completely turn away from viewing videos on Facebook.

Snapchat launches universal search feature

A major downfall of Snapchat has always been how difficult it is to find new friends and groups on the app. Snapchat has now simplified the process with a universal search bar that will always be accessible at the top of the app.

This a welcome addition, with the “Quick Chat” feature now making it easier to contact a friend and access the message thread. Advertisers have previously turned to Instagram rather than Snapchat because of the typically larger audiences users have and the simplicity to use.

Snapchat Search Features
What the new search function will look like Image via Tech Crunch

This change could mean that businesses, brands and influencers now find it easier to build their audiences on the network. It is also speculated that Snapchat will offer brands the opportunity to pay to come first in the ‘search’ function. Whether this would detract from user experience is yet to be seen.

With Instagram stories now totalling 150 million users – the same as Snapchat, it is crucial for Snapchat to continue to keep things interesting and fun. This change is an important step in the right direction to ensure users aren’t just viewing the same stale Snapchat stories from the same group of contacts every day.