Welcome to Rose Media’s monthly social media round up for September! Buckle up everyone, it’s been another busy month in the social media stratosphere.
TikTok – Top Charts and Trouble
It’s been a mixed bag of news when it comes to TikTok this month. On the positive side, they have collaborated with Billboard to launch the official TikTok Billboard Top 50 Chart, which is a brand-new weekly chart of the most popular songs on the platform in the United States.
This new feature is the first official chart in the U.S. to record the most popular songs on TikTok every week, using the number of videos made using the song, user engagement and view count to measure. The chart is updated every Thursday morning, and is only monitoring U.S. trends (for now).
The addition of this new feature is a pretty big deal when you consider the impact that TikTok has been having on music discovery and promotion, with different songs and artists becoming viral sensations over the last few years!
A new tool has also been released to label AI content within the app, to help prevent the spread of misleading information and contextualise content. TikTok had already previously updated its policy to address synthetic media, and this new tool will make it far easier for creators to comply with this policy.
TikTok have also recently been testing the display of Google search results within its own search feature. App researchers have spotted the new feature on the TikTok search results page where a link to search Google for the same query being searched for within the app appears; a pop-up disclaimer reading ‘TikTok does not endorse or take responsibility for search results from Google’ has also been reported.
Additionally, TikTok’s Creativity Program Beta has launched in the UK, Brazil, Korea, France, Japan and Germany. This program is the latest development within TikTok’s monetisation tools for rewarding creators, and is designed to help creators harness their creativity to access more exciting real-world opportunities and generate higher reward potential. Users need to meet a certain criteria to be eligible for the Creativity Program Beta, including having an account in good standing i.e. adhering to Community Guidelines and Terms of Service (no history of repeated violations), no fraudulent activity etc.; and meeting the minimum follower and video view requirements (10,000 followers and 100,000 video views in the last 30 days).
If a creator is already enrolled in the TikTok Creator Fund, they can switch to the Creativity Program if they would prefer. James Stafford, General Manager of Operations & Marketing at TikTok UK & Nordics has reported that they “are already seeing [the program] have a meaningful impact” and that “we are always listening to feedback from our community so we can continue to evolve the platform to better serve their needs.” It’s positive to see TikTok invest more in their creators and user-generated content, and it’s worth watching along to see what this means for UGC in general.
However, there has been some negative press amongst these developments, most notably TikTok being fined almost $400 million for not protecting children’s data. The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) declared that the app had committed multiple breaches of GDPR rules in its handling of children’s accounts, including:
- Placing under-13s’ accounts on a public setting by default;
- Allowing adults accessing children’s accounts via the ‘family pairing’ setting to enable direct messaging and other settings, but it was found that these accounts could be linked to profiles that are not verified as parents and/or guardians;
- Failing to provide child users with transparent information about privacy settings.
A spokesperson for TikTok said that it “respectfully disagree[s] with the decision, particularly the level of the fine imposed”, and hit back at the above claims, stating that they had previously tightened privacy settings for users aged 13-15 in 2021 and that the original investigation that this fine is concerning took place in 2020. The app now has 3 months to bring its practices into compliance, including a recent change extending default private accounts to 16–17-year-old users.
X – Potential Paywalls, Link Limitations and Unsuccessful Rebranding
X (Twitter) has still been causing quite a stir in September, with the latest controversy being Elon Musk revealing plans to put the entirety of the X platform behind a paywall. This subscription will allegedly only cost “a few dollars” per month, and the main ideas behind it are to try and minimise the amount of bots on the platform (something that has been a consistent problem in recent years), and to generate revenue in place of X’s lost advertising venue, which has dropped by 60% in the wake of Musk’s takeover. Industry experts have heavily vetoed this idea, with social media expert Matt Navarra arguing that a paywall would be “a risky strategy that may only speed up the deterioration of a platform in chaos.” The idea is also unpopular with plenty of existing X users, with many posting that they would not want to pay for this service and planned to move to alternative platforms instead.
Other factors that won’t help X’s cause are the allegations of reducing link reaches to publications such as The New York Times and The Guardian (both of whom Musk has criticised in recent times), and being caught running unlabelled ads in user’s ‘Following’ feeds. Whilst it’s not clear whether this was a glitch or not, it only serves to stack up the odds against X and Musk even more.
Oh, and 69% of the platform’s U.S. users are still calling it Twitter, according to a mid-September poll from AdAge. Musk has certainly had his work cut out with trying to make the X rebrand stick, but he is still determined to maintain this new branding despite the resistance from users and dramatic drop in consumer loyalty.
These last few months with X have been quite the ride, and yet we still can’t quite tear ourselves away as we watch the descent into chaos. All we can say is, watch this space and see what’s happened by October’s round-up!
Threads – Still Gradually Making Improvements
Despite the ongoing public struggles of its main competitor, Threads has been a little quieter recently. The main update from September is the introduction of a feature that allows users to set notifications for a Thread for 24 hours without needing to follow the user posting the Thread. This makes it easier to keep track of conversations happening within the app, which is another small improvement for functionality. Meta has also updated Threads with the highly-requested feature of keyword searching, rolled out to most English and Spanish-speaking countries at the beginning of the month, as well as a much easier way of switching between accounts within the mobile app (similar to Instagram’s account switching feature).
There’s a couple of other features that are allegedly in the works but no official updates have been released yet, including the ability to delete your profile without having to remove your entire Instagram account, and the ability to edit posts within five minutes of publishing.
It’s promising that Threads is still gradually adding these features to improve the app, but given the immense decline in users that was seen last month, they may want to think about adding more vital features with more urgency to entice people back to the platform.
Instagram – Broadcast Channels and Reels Updates
Instagram officially rolled out Broadcast Channels to UK users midway through the month. Broadcast Channels were originally introduced for U.S. users back in February, but Meta has been gradually rolling this feature out globally throughout the year. So, if you’re confused by the incessant ‘@username invites you to join their Broadcast Channel’ notifications, here’s the key points that you need to know:
- Broadcast Channels are an easy way for creators to send direct messages to followers. They operate in a similar manner to a mass WhatsApp group chat or a Discord server, except receivers can’t reply to any messages.
- Creators can only reach followers who have actively joined – hence the onslaught of notifications!
- The only way in which channel members can respond to messages is reacting with emojis.
- It’s a great way for creators to gain an indication of engaged followers; provide a group of people with exclusive access to content, and communicate in a more streamlined manner with followers (useful for collecting feedback).
Meta have announced a wealth of upgrades that will be coming to Broadcast Channels in the near future, such as collaborations with other creators, channel moderators and more. Hopefully we will have more to update you on next time!
Instagram have also been working on Reels updates this month, including the introduction of a ‘Following’ feed within the Reels tab (potentially linked to recent changes made to comply with the EU’s Digital Services Act), testing Reels-specific search capability (good news for higher rankings in IG’s search engine results page), and allegedly developing the ability to create long-form Reels – up to ten minutes long to be precise.
Other Instagram-wide testing has included the option to share feed posts with your Close Friends list (much like the existing capability with Stories), and the ability to hide your ‘Like’ activity in the app, be it from non-followers, everyone bar close friends, or just from everyone full stop. We’re a bit baffled by this one, but at least it’s only a test (for now)!
Facebook – Deprecating Facebook News and Logo Change
The biggest news from Facebook of late is the plan to deprecate Facebook News in the UK, France and Germany. According to Meta, news makes up less than 3% of the average user’s Facebook feed, and the company are “focus[ing] time and resources on things people tell us they want to see more of on the platform”. Links to news articles will still be available and European news publishers will remain able to use Facebook in the usual manner. Meta also wanted to emphasise that this will not impact their commitment to combat fake news.
Facebook also subtly updated their logo this month, tweaking the shade of blue and the lowercase ‘f’. There’s been a few aesthetic refreshes alongside the logo, including the Facebook wordmark and the Reactions icons. A much less dramatic approach than other social platforms refreshing and rebranding, that’s for sure!
Other miscellaneous updates for September include:
- LinkedIn offering FREE coding courses and adding a new Brand Partnerships Search feature
- CapCut (a popular video editing app, particularly with TikTok users) have released a new free graphics editor – a potential competitor for Canva?
- Adobe Premier Pro has released a Beta feature to automatically remove ‘ums’ from video content – pretty game-changing for video production!
Spotify – AI Voice Translation for Podcasts
Lastly, whilst this is not strictly a social media update, it’s certainly topical as we have just marked International Podcast Day! Spotify are piloting Voice Translation for podcasts – essentially using AI to translate podcasts into different languages, whilst also mimicking the original speaker’s voice. This is a great step in breaking down growth in podcasting’s biggest barrier (language) – only 5% of the world’s population are native English speakers, meaning that language alone is a hugely significant barrier to podcasts alone, let alone any other factors.
We are delighted to see AI being used for progression and positivity, and making different content more accessible worldwide!
If you’re feeling a bit lost with your business’ social media profiles, why not get in touch with us here at Rose Media Group? You contact our Rosy team at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 01444 241 341 to find out more about how we can help you.
We look forward to hearing from you!