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When Snapchat released their highly publicised redesign back in February, the overhaul drew a lot of criticism from some of the app’s most prominent celebrity figures such as Kylie Jenner and Chrissy Teigen, as well as platform’s the larger user base. The primary reason for this outrage? Snapchat had made the decision to separate stories posted by friends from those posted by celebrities and brands.
Img: Snap Inc.

Well after insisting ever since that the redesign would be granted some longevity, Snapchat have now reportedly backtracked and are testing another new redesign which will put stories from friends back on the Discover page alongside those from known personalities and brands. There will still be some level of separation however, with friends’ stories appearing on a different horizontal slider in a fitting compromise between the two approaches.

 The update was first reported by Recode, who speculate that the overhaul is most likely either an attempt to get the average user creating and sharing more stories, or an effort to get their users engaging with more publisher content by directing them to the same page for all types of content. The truth is likely a combination of the two.

A Snap Inc. spokesperson confirmed the test in an email to Business Insider, telling the publication, “We are always listening to our community and will continue to test updates that we hope will give Snapchatters the best possible experience on our platform.”

The app is currently being tested with a small number of users as has become the norm within the industry, and there is no word as of yet on whether it will ultimately be rolled out to all users.

Instagram’s Stories feature has done rather well since its launch and has arguably become one of the most-favoured features of what is by all accounts a highly popular and dare I say influential app. Users have long had one major bugbear with the feature however, namely the inability to upload multiple media files at once.

Well that’s about to change with the release of Instagram’s latest update, which finally allows users to upload up to ten photos or videos simultaneously. This enhanced ease-of-use will be of particular interest to those who like to carefully curate their stories as they will be able to preview the media as a whole beforehand, and for those who are often forced to wait for a stronger internet connection before uploading.

In a blog post announcing the update, Instagram explained exactly how the new feature will work:

“Go to upload media and you’ll see a new icon at the top right corner of your screen. Tap it to begin selecting up to ten photos or videos from your gallery. On the edit screen, you’ll see a preview of all the media you’ve selected lined up at the bottom, you can tap each one to edit individually with stickers, text and all the other creative tools in Instagram Stories. When you’re done, all of the photos and videos in your preview will upload at once in the order you selected them.”

That’s not all however, as the new update also makes it quicker and easier to add location stickers to a photo or video when uploading them to your story. Say you’ve had to wait a while to upload and have now strayed a little from the location in question’; the new update will allow Instagram to suggest location tickers pertaining to places near where the media was captured, rather than your location at the time. As Instagram say, this makes it “easier to tag that great taco spot, even if you didn’t exactly remember what it was called.”

It’s fairly safe to say that Twitter’s position among the leading social media platforms is not quite as secure as their rivals over at Facebook for example, at least from a financial perspective. The company often fails to post a profit, and so when Twitter did post their first profit in 12 years for the final quarter of 2017 it was seen as a highly promising sign; nonetheless the company were still expected to return a net loss in the following quarter, largely due to the ongoing abuse and overabundance of bots on the platform.

However it would seem these predictions were made in error as Twitter bucked expectations throughout the first quarter of 2018 and instead reported a net income of $61m. Though this figure is down from $91m for the same period of the previous year, it is still well above expectations and has already had an impact on the company’s prospects with share prices rising by more than 6% in pre-market trading.

The number of monthly active users on the platform also increased over last quarter, rising by 2%. This, along with a 21% increase in revenue as compared with the same period last year, peaking at
$336m, will do much to reassure both investors and advertisers alike.

“The first quarter was a strong start to the year,” commented, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. As for what Mr Dorsey believes prompted this period of growth, he says it’s all down to their brand new framework for thinking about the “health” of online conversations in the wake of repeated and ongoing scandals. He states, “This holistic approach will help us more effectively address these challenges by viewing them through the broader lens of the health of the public conversation, and we’re encouraged by our initial progress in this area.”

We’ve spoken many a time recently about all the criticism directed at Facebook, not only in regards to user privacy, data handling and all the hot-topic subjects of the moment, but also their long-running battle to find the right balance in regards to what content should and should not be allowed on the site. All too many times Facebook have ended up in the headlines for failing to remove hateful, extremist or otherwise inappropriate content, and the same is also true of the reverse; the company are just as often accused of over-censoring the platform and removing content that in no way violates their terms.

In an effort to alleviate this issue once and for all, Facebook have provided further clarity on the policing process used to decide what’s allowed on Facebook by publishing the internal guidelines used to enforce their Community Standards.

Monika Bickert, VP of Global Product Management at Facebook, explained the reasoning behind the guidelines’ publication, writing in the official announcement, “We decided to publish these internal guidelines for two reasons. First, the guidelines will help people understand where we draw the line on nuanced issues. Second, providing these details makes it easier for everyone, including experts in different fields, to give us feedback so that we can improve the guidelines - and the decisions we make - over time.”

In addition, Facebook are also making it easier to appeal a decision when you feel that content has been mistakenly removed for nudity/sexual activity, hate speech or graphic violence when no violations were in fact made. Basically if your photo, video or post has been removed because it violates Community Standards, you will be notified and given the option to request additional review. This will lead to a manually-conducted review of the content in question and if a mistake is then deemed to have been made, you will again be notified of this and the removed content will be restored.

“We are working to extend this process further by supporting more violation types, giving people the opportunity to provide more context that could help us make the right decision, and making appeals available not just for content that was taken down, but also for content that was reported and left up. ,” Ms Bickert explains, “We believe giving people a voice in the process is another essential component of building a fair system.”

Cision, a leading global provider of earned media software and public relations services, today released the results of their 2018 State of the Media Report. The global survey of 1,355 journalists reveals the biggest trends and challenges facing journalists today against a backdrop of increasingly volatile political and social public opinion, and provides some rather interesting insights in the process.

Key findings from the study include:
  • 56% of global respondents said fake news is making readers more sceptical about the content they read than ever before
  • 71% said they thought the public had lost trust. However, this is an improvement on last year, as this figure saw a 20% decrease from 91% in last year’s survey
  • 75% globally said ensuring content is 100% accurate is most important to their organisation - more so than being first to publish a story
  • 34% of media believe updated social media algorithms will be the most impactful technology on their profession while 21% cited AI and machine learning on the back-end
Cision CEO Kevin Akeroyd commented, “It’s been both an extraordinary and challenging year for journalism - with the constant accusations of fake news and anti-media sentiment coming from many of the world’s politicians and a seemingly overwhelming supply of competing content, the profession has never been under such stressful times.

“As tested as the industry has been,” he continued, “it’s both surprising and hopeful that this year’s findings show signs that many in the industry feel that the public is slowly but surely supporting mainstay journalistic institutions again. In order to continue this positive momentum, brands and journalists must work together to tell engaging, credible and accurate stories that will resonate with the public and continue to help regain trust.”

The annually conducted report features findings and responses from a pool of 1,355 journalists and influencers, with the aim of tracking their evolving perception of the media and communications industries. Cision’s annual report highlights the key issues facing journalists today in the hope of helping communications and PR professionals drive better media engagement and results.
Click here to read the Cision 2018 State of the Media Report in full.

Arvinder Gujral, Managing Director for South-east Asia, Twitter Asia-Pacific 
The Singapore 1000 Family of Rankings, which incorporates the Singapore 1000, Singapore SME 1000, Singapore International 100, and Fastest Growing 50 Awards, is a prestigious corporate accolade which aims to honour the nation's top 1000 most valuable corporations and SMEs by annual financial performance. The annual event is in its 31st year, and now analyses more than 70,000 audited financials each year in order to ascertain the top 1000 corporations and SMEs in Singapore.

DP Information Group (DP Info), the official ranking body of companies in Singapore responsible for organising the event, recently announced the winners of the Singapore 1000 Sales/Turnover Growth Excellence Awards, and in a sign of changing times announced Twitter Asia-Pacific Pte Ltd as their winner for the Information and Communications category.

A first-time entrant to the Singapore 1000 Awards, Twitter were recognised for their remarkable growth in the region over the past 12 months. Arvinder Gujral, Managing Director for South-east Asia and Senior Director of Business Development at Twitter Asia-Pacific, thanked DP Info for the inclusion and said he hoped the award would help them to further establish themselves as a known brand in the region.

“Asia is a growth region for Twitter and we're pleased to be recognised as a part of the Awards organised by DP Info this year,” said Mr Gujral. “We see the annual S1000 rankings as a step to help us establish our footprint in the region and we appreciate the opportunity to connect with local business leaders through the Awards.

“We will continue to prioritise the highest impact work that makes Twitter faster and easier to use, improving our core ad offerings, and further expanding our business across new channels of demand to grow the region,” he concluded.

Amid the recent wave of criticism directed at Facebook regarding the Cambridge Analytica Scandal and general fears concerning user privacy, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has thrown his hat into the ring by calling upon social media companies to do more to protect the wellbeing of children, insisting that if they failed to do so then the government would force their hand with new legislation.

In a letter penned to several prominent social media companies including Facebook, Google and Apple, the health secretary slated the “extremely limited response” to concerns previously raised. He gave said companies a rough deadline of the end of April to resolve widespread issues such as underage use and cyber-bullying, before the publication of the government’s response to the Internet Safety Strategy consultation in May.

In his letter to leading online groups and corporations, Mr Hunt wrote, “I am concerned that your companies seem content with a situation where thousands of users breach your own terms and conditions on the minimum user age.

“I fear that you are collectively turning a blind eye to a whole generation of children being exposed to the harmful emotional side effects of social media prematurely.

“This is both morally wrong and deeply unfair to parents who are faced with the invidious choice of allowing children to use platforms they are too young to access or excluding them from social interaction that often the majority of their peers are engaging in.”

This is not the first time that Mr Hunt has attempted to publicly address this problem. The health secretary in fact met with many social media companies six months ago to discuss matters relating to the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people. The response offered by these companies however appears to be lacklustre, as Mr Hunt told the Sunday Times, “There have been a lot of warm words - and a few welcome moves to improve children’s online protection - but the overall response to my challenge has been extremely limited, leaving me to conclude that a voluntary, joint approach has not been sufficient.

“None are easy issues to solve I realise, but an industry that boasts some of the brightest minds and biggest budgets should have been able to rise to the challenge,” he added.

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