Bonded Bitesize – Bringing you your midweek roundup of the latest in digital and media.
Stay connected with recent updates from Meta, Google, TikTok & many more!
The BBC has called for staff to remove TikTok from all corporate devices due to security concerns
Following the UK government’s ban of TikTok on all government devices, the BBC has issued a directive to staff to remove the app from corporate devices unless it is needed for business reasons. Whilst the BBC’s TikTok account has over 4.4million followers and posts every other day, the BBC is partly funded by the UK government and therefore shares the same interests regarding security of data. Under Chinese cybersecurity laws, any Chinese-owned company must share data on its users at the request of the CCP - something that the BBC and the UK government, alongside the EU and the U.S. government are all keen to avoid.
Meta has rolled out its paid verification program for Facebook and Instagram in the U.S.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, has announced that paid verifications are now available in the United States. Subscriptions to the new program, Meta Verified, cost $12 per month via the web, and $15 per month via the app in order to bypass app-store fees. Paying users will receive a blue verified badge, as well as ‘proactive impersonation protection’, direct access to customer support and Stars that can be used to tip Facebook creators. Meta Verified was initially tested in Australia and New Zealand last month, and will likely be rolled out to more regions if successful in the U.S.
LinkedIn is expanding its generative AI assistant to draft recruitment ads and writing prompts
Earlier this month Microsoft-owned LinkedIn began integrating AI-powered conversation starters into news feeds. Now the platform has announced it is expanding its generative AI features. Firstly, personalised writing suggestions will help users craft better headlines and about-section summaries based on their experiences. These will be written in the same tone of voice as the rest of a user's profile, helping to make a better first impression in search results. Secondly, a new AI-powered job description generator will help employees develop better job descriptions based on people in a user's networks whose skills and experience match their ideal candidate. Finally, LinkedIn is offering over 100 free AI courses until June 15th, to help users get to grip with everything AI.
TikTok is adding a dedicated feed for STEM content in the U.S.
Moving even further from the dancing video that helped it rise to fame, TikTok has announced that it is introducing a dedicated STEM feed in the U.S in the upcoming weeks, in honour of Pi day. The new feed will give users a space to explore videos related to science, technology, engineering and maths - according to the platform STEM related hashtags have received over 110 billion views. TikTok has also expanded its partnerships with Common Sense Networks and Poynter to bring high-quality STEM content to its users.
Our Takeaway… The change in content suggests TikTok is hoping to reach a more defined audience, and help it better align itself with its competitors.
Google is now rolling out its March 2023 core algorithm update, which should take two weeks to complete
Google has confirmed it is beginning to roll out its latest core algorithm update for March 2023, which can have significant implications for search rankings. These core updates tend to happen every few months, and normally take around 2 weeks to complete. Google has not yet released any specific information on what the update will affect, but as with any update it is key to keep an eye on how your ranking is affected so that you can quickly act on any changes.
YouTube TV is launching early access to its multiview feature that allows viewers to watch up to 4 streams at once
Why watch just one stream when you could watch 4? YouTube’s new multiview feature allows viewers to watch up to 4 different preselected streams at the same time. This feature is only being offered on sports content to begin with, giving U.S. subscribers the ability to switch audio and captions between streams as well as jump in and out of fullscreen view. Whether this format will work as well for other forms of TV content, it certainly helps set YouTube apart from its competitors within the saturated streaming service market.
Meta has confirmed that it is exploring a ‘standalone, decentralised social network’, similar to Twitter
With many unhappy with Musk’s way of doing things, it appears Instagram may be using this time to develop a decentralised Twitter alternative. Described by the company as a ‘standalone, decentralised social network for sharing text updates’, Meta believes there is “an opportunity for a separate space where creators and public figures can share timely updates about their interests’. Reportedly titled ‘P92’ and led by Instagram Chief Adam Mosseri, the new platform is still very much a work in progress - however Meta will have to work hard to create a decentralised structure that doesn’t hit the same pitfalls as overly-complicated Mastodon.
Snapchat has added new parental controls that block ‘sensitive’ and ‘suggestive’ content from teens
Snapchat is introducing content controls on Family Centre, allowing parents to limit the type of content that their teens can watch on the platform. A new ‘sensitive content’ toggle, for example, will assure parents that their kids are not exposed to offensive material. Snapchat is also increasing its transparency by publicly publishing its content guidelines for the first time, providing insights into how it moderates content in Stories and Spotlight. And finally, Snap has also stated that it will soon be adding a way for parents to oversee their children's use of its new AI chatbot after several reports that the bot was providing information about drugs and alcohol to teens.
Microsoft may replace Bing Search answers with Bing Chat responses to update ‘old technology’
With all the success of Microsoft's ‘new Bing’ chat powered by an upgraded version of OpenAI’s ChatGPT technology, it appears the company is also keen to use this technology to update its Search results too. Mikhail Parakhin, who leads both Bing Search and Bing Chat, took to Twitter to announce that the ‘old technology and crowdsourcing’ of Bing Search will be replaced as soon as possible. Several users have already reported seeing changes to their search results already, with one reporting seeing summarised content with footnotes and sources within featured snippets, similar to that of the new Bing Chat.
Pinterest has announced an exclusive video partnership that will bring nearly 200 original branded videos to the platform
In its bid to push video content on the platform, Pinterest has announced another exclusive video partnership, this time teaming up with Dotdash Meredith. The new partnership will bring nearly 200 original videos to the platform, aligned with the annual moments that audiences engage with the most - including wedding season and the holidays. Dotdash Meredith is already one of Pinterest’s largest content partners - with over 20 profiles averaging over 90 million monthly views.
Google is bringing ChatGPT-like prompts to its workspace suite to help users draft Docs and emails
Google is slowly bringing generative AI to its Workspace Suite, starting with Gmail and Google Docs. New ChatGPT-like prompts will help users in brainstorming, proof readings, writing and rewriting. New ‘Help me write’ prompts in Google Docs can help users with the wording and format of documents such as job descriptions. Similarly, Gmail prompts will help users rewrite emails with highlighted notes and a ‘Formalise it’ tool. However, Google has warned, “AI is no replacement for the ingenuity, creativity and smarts of people. Sometimes the AI gets things wrong”.
TikTok is rolling out a new feed refresh option to renew algorithmic recommendations for future use
TikTok is introducing a new feature that will enable users to refresh their For You feeds if their recommendations no longer feel relevant - updating the algorithm for future use. The platform is also trying to improve the viewing experience for users by removing more content that violates their rules, minimising the amount of repeated content as well as filtering out mature content from teen accounts.
Twitter has added a Tweet bookmark count to the metrics displayed below Tweets, showing how many users have saved each post
Twitter’s latest update has seen the addition of a bookmark count to Tweets, showing users how many times a Tweet has been saved by others for future reference. Although a minor change, some have complained that this clutters the details display, which already shows statistics on the Tweet views, retweets, quotes and likes. Musk also previously stated that bookmarks will be counted as a ‘quiet like’, increasing the likes counter. Musk is likely making these changes to emphasise the reach of Tweets to advertisers, to encourage them to buy more ad space upon the platform.
Meta is winding down support for NFTs on Instagram and Facebook, less than year after expansion
Meta has announced that it is sunsetting its NFT and digital collectibles features on Instagram and Facebook in order to “focus on other ways to support creators, people and businesses”. Meta spokesperson, Stephane Kasriel, further explained that whilst creating opportunities for creators and businesses to connect with fans remains a priority, the company is specifically focusing on areas that they feel they can make impact at scale - such as messaging, monetisation for Reels and fintech tools like MetaPay.
TikTok Shop UK is set to launch a parent and baby product category, selling products from nappies, cots and car seats
Home to a growing community of new parents, TikTok is launching a parent and baby product category. The new category will bring popular baby brands, as well as small businesses to the platform, selling everything from nappies to cots and car seats. TikTok’s UK ecommerce manager, Patrick Nommensen, describes the new category as a natural fit on the platform, "helping brands tap into the growing parenting community already sharing in the joys and challenges of parenthood”. Hashtags such as #DadsofTikTok, #FamilyTime, #MumsLife and #Parenting pull in billions of views on the platform.