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Social Feed: Messenger adds shortcut for group calls, Instagram expands privacy


Social media is a fluid technology — nearly every day, the major social media networks are announcing a big change, coming under fire for the latest controversy or moving forward in smaller ways. Social Feed is a collection of those smaller changes that you may have missed with this week’s biggest news — like Twitters’ bot purge, Facebook’s enhanced 3D support and Snapchat beginning to respond to user complaints on the new design. Find Social Feed every weekend for the latest social news tidbits.

Facebook Messenger makes group calls easy

Starting a group voice or video call on Facebook Messenger no longer requires hanging up the current call to add more friends. A seemingly small update to Messenger is making the process of starting group calls much simpler. Now, while on a video or voice call, all users have to do is tap the “Add person” and choose the friend you want to join. No more hang-ups and new group messages in order to start a video chat. The update is now available for iOS and Android worldwide.

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Ephemeral chats on Instagram now have privacy options

Like one message to disappear, but another to stick around? Instagram Direct now has three privacy options when sending messages using the app’s built-in camera. Now, before sending a Direct message from the camera, users have access to allow the recipient to view once, allow replays, or keep visible in the chat. The options are located at the bottom before sending a message in the camera mode. The send button changes with the privacy settings to make it easier for users to remember the type of message they are sending.

Facebook allows users to share videos with music without getting into legal trouble

ICE Services, a licensing company based in Europe, has joined the growing list of record labels that now have deals with Facebook. The deal means Facebook users can share videos that use music from an ICE artist, which includes several different record groups, on Facebook, Instagram, Oculus, and Messenger while the artist will still receive royalties. The deal joins an earlier agreement with Sony/ATV and Universal Music Group — leaving many to wonder if Facebook is working on a streaming service, or if all that trouble is really just for Facebook users to lay popular tracks over their videos before sharing.

Twitter continues to strengthen policies against self-harm

After adding the ability to report tweets, direct messages and profiles for making a self-harm statement or encouraging others to harm themselves last week, Twitter updated its self-harm policies. Twitter will continue to reach out and support users expressing thoughts of self-harm. Users encouraging self-harm can be temporarily locked out for a single violation while continuing to ignore the new guidelines could get the account suspended. The change comes after Twitter made a several-month overhaul of rules against harassment after #womenboycotttwitter last year.

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You can now use the Add Yours sticker on Reels for Facebook and Instagram
A series of three mobile screenshots on a gray background showing the new Add Yours sticker for Facebook Reels.

As of today, Facebook and IG creators have six new features they can use for their Reels content. But of the six, the most intriguing feature is support for a sticker prompt that was first used and popularized in Instagram Stories.

Meta announced via a Facebook video post that, in addition to all of its other new Reels-focused features, it would now offer support for its Add Yours sticker prompt in Reels for both Instagram and Facebook.

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Meta wants you to use its creepy Portal as a secondary monitor
A woman is standing at a table and using a laptop with a Meta Portal display next to it

Do you remember when Facebook gave us the creepy Portal displays? These were screens with built-in cameras so we could ostensibly talk to loved ones. Well, Meta (the company formerly known as Facebook) now hopes you'll use a Portal device as a second monitor.

Meta has revealed that its Portal devices, which include the 2nd-generation Meta Portal Plus and the Meta Portal Go, can be used as a second display for productivity thanks to integration with the Duet Display app. So now even your monitor can spy on you, in case your smartphone and smart TV weren't enough.

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Facebook Messenger finally starts testing end-to-end encryption for all chats
facebook messenger testing end to encryption all chats default

Meta has announced it will be testing default end-to-end encryption on Facebook Messenger. The social media company said in a press release on Thursday that testing has already begun "between some people" earlier this week, and that it will be working to make the privacy feature default for all messages and calls in 2023.

If you're part of the test group, your frequent chats will be automatically end-to-end encrypted, thereby rendering end-to-end encryption non-optional. This means that any conversation between you and a friend or family member can't be accessed by Meta or anyone else. The only way Meta will see your messages is if you report them to the company if they threaten your safety in any way.

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