May 2018 Edition: The Social Media Updates You Need to Know

We all know the social media space is constantly changing, but our monthly updates can keep you in-the-know!

Let's get started with the social media news you need to know this May...


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Under fire, Facebook is making changes

Ever since the Cambridge Analytica story first broke in March, data privacy and potential government regulation has been on everyone's mind. (Need a refresher? Check out our recap in last month's post.)

On top of that, the EU's GDPR privacy rule went will be enforcable as of May 25. (Check out Social Media Examiner's explainer for info on GDPR implications for social media marketers.)

Despite tons of negative press (this Wired article about CEO Mark Zuckerberg's "14-Year Apology Tour" is especially 🔥), Zuck testified to Congress—and emerged victorious. He made more than a few Senators look pretty foolish, and thanks to stock increases he even managed to make more money during the hearings than most people will make in their lifetimes:


Meanwhile, a wide array of answers to privacy concerns have been steadily trickling out of the Menlo Park-based HQ. Even more updates came out when Facebook's annual F8 Conference was also held a few days ago.

There are a LOT of 'em, but here are some of the most interesting developments we've been seeing:

  • There are more updates being made to the Newsfeed. These updates continue to focus on building more person-to-person engagement.
  • A new "Clear History" feature is coming. It's still a few months from rolling out, but it sounds like a step in the right direction:
"This feature will enable you to see the websites and apps that send us information when you use them, delete this information from your account, and turn off our ability to store information associated with your account going forward. Apps and websites that use features such as the Like button or Facebook Analytics send us information to make their content and ads better. We also use this information to make your experience on Facebook better."
  • A new "Groups tab" is coming, in another effort to make Groups more central to the FB experience.
  • The company is focusing on Stories in a big way. They’re working on a way to “make a story out of a profile picture.” There are also mentions of stories for birthdays, for groups, for events… Expect to see more efforts to make this style of sharing more successful in Facebook (and perhaps even more prominent in apps like Instagram).
  • VR is also a huge focus. The company's Occulus GO headset is now on sale for $199. It comes with "1,000+ apps, games, and experiences."
  • "Large pages" are now required to be verified. No word on how many followers makes your page "Large," but if it applies to you you'll be required to get that blue check-mark verification, otherwise the page won't be able to publish any posts. 

Instagram "Focus" mode and Stories updates

Here are some of the exciting new Insta-features rolling out now:

Focus mode

Ever wished you could just scroll through your Instagram camera modes to a setting that would make the background of your selfie super blurry? Well, this is feature for you:


Note: Focus is available on iPhone SE, 6S, 6S+, 7, 7+, 8, 8+ and X and select Android devices. Not as cool as the built-in Portrait mode on iPhone X, but...

Upload Multiple Pieces of Content to Stories All At Once

This small change could save you a lot of time:


In the Upload screen, tap the new icon in the top right corner to get started. Tap each piece of media to add filters or stickers. When you're done, they'll all be published simultaneously. Cue applause from happy social media managers everywhere.

Share to Stories from Spotify and GoPro

Ever shared your current fave Spotify song in an Insta story? This update will save you a screenshot:


The Group Video Chat wars are coming

There's a battle being waged: If you want to hang out with dispersed friends in a virtual environment, which platform will you turn to?

Instagram announced a new Group Video Chat feature is being tested and will soon roll out globally:


Snapchat also announced a similar feature. In a group chat, tap the video icon to get started. It supports up to 16 people.


If that's not enough, don't forget VR environments. As we mentioned above, Facebook is now selling the Oculus Go headset. Some apps will have a group hangout feature, such as the Hulu integration:


This is a space brands should keep an eye on. Stay tuned!

Instagram announced a new "Wellbeing Team"

Remember that study that came out last May about Instagram being the worst social network for mental health? Well, it sounds like it struck a nerve with the IG folks.

The new Instagram Wellbeing Team is dedicated to making people feel better on the platform.

“Making the community a safer place, a place where people feel good, is a huge priority for Instagram. I would say one of the top priorities.” —Eva Chen, head of Fashion Partnerships at Instagram

A number of studies have now shown that the platform negatively impacts body image, revealing a negative connection between Instagram use and poor mental health, particularly among young females. 


Along with a new version of Snap's Spectacles product, a new feature called Snappables was introduced in April. Falling into the universe of "Lenses," these fun animations let users play Augmented Reality (AR) games with friends using touch, motion—and facial expressions.

The current lineup of games includes fighting aliens, starting a rock band and playing basketball. New Snappables will be released weekly.

Coming soon: A new Pinterest profile

A new profile design was announced by the Pinterest business team and will be rolling out over the next few months. Check it out:


Notice the biggest change: There's now a cover photo. (Seems like every platform has one now!)

A slightly-less-obvious change is the inclusion of a monthly viewers metric. This will now appear on all profiles. Read the explanation below—and notice the way they subtly (but not-so-subtly) plug the Promoted Pins ad product as a way to move this number up (brilliant).

"At the very top of your profile, you’ll see a new helpful stat—monthly viewers. This tells you the total number of people who saw your Pins in the last 30 days, so you and the people who visit your profile can see how far your influence extends on Pinterest.
And remember, you can always promote your Pins so they’re seen by people who are actively looking for products and services like yours."

More Updates to Check Out

Will LinkedIn soon require hashtags on all posts? – Some members of the dooley media team recently noticed an inability to post on LinkedIn unless you include a hashtag. As you type, it will automatically recommend hashtags. TBD on if this rolls out globally. 


Is Twitter trying to get ahead of the data privacy debate? – A modest update to the channel's Privacy Policy prompted us to explore some tools for understanding how Twitter uses our data—and what controls we have. For instance, the Twitter team recently published a list of Partners with whom they share data. There's also a hidden tool in Account Settings that lets you "Download Your Data."

The Age of CGI Influencers is coming – If you haven't heard of Lil Miquela, be sure to read up on how this bot is taking over Instagram. (We could all be paying AI bots for specialized influence in the near future.)

YouTube clarifies how Flagging works – Ever since that crazy Logan Paul "suicide forrest" scandal, YouTube has been trying to get ahead of user concerns around video removal and censorship. The video in this post is an attempt to explain how humans and machines work together to review content published on YouTube.

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