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Social Feed: Pinterest glams up, Facebook tests ‘live’ prerecorded premieres


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 more data nightmares (and another and another) for Facebook and custom masks inside Snapchat’s Lens Studio. Find Social Feed every weekend for the latest social news tidbits.

Pinterest glams up business profiles with dynamic covers, new stats

Pinterest is a platform for finding ideas — and now when users visit a business profile, they’ll be greeted by a header made up of the top posts. On Tuesday, April 17, Pinterest began rolling out new profile pages for businesses, along with new insights.

Business profiles are now capped by a dynamic header made up of highlighted pins. Businesses can choose what images automatically appear in that header, including options on displaying the latest pins, a specific board or the most recent activity. The images from those pins then make up the new header image, though the header doesn’t appear to be interactive.

The new header graphics are followed by a stat even followers can see — the number of monthly viewers. The stat tallies up the number of users that saw pins over the last 30 days, Pinterest says.

The change comes after Pinterest launched a new feed called the Following Tab that includes only pins from followed users. Pinterest says this new feed also includes tools to help find new boards and pinners to follow, which in turn helps businesses on Pinterest find new followers.

YouTube addresses creator complaints — but some ads are still slipping through

On Tuesday, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki updated the creator community, responding to complaints from users after monetization saw stricter guidelines earlier this year. Wokcicki shared tests for tools that allow users to classify their video to help speed up the process of getting a video ad-approved, while sharing that the company also began testing sponsorship options earlier this year. The CEO also shared data on how tools are improving on the platform — including increasing replies by 600 percent to creators.

While YouTube says the new guidelines are helping keep more ads from controversial videos, a report by CNN suggests that ads are (still) being placed inside videos with conspiracy theories, propaganda and others, including ads from government organizations and large companies such as Amazon and Adidas. In a statement, YouTube says that ads appearing in such content are immediately removed and that the company is committed to “getting this right.”

Facebook adds independent music labels to agreements too

Earlier this year, Facebook signed agreements with several major labels to allow users to legally share content with songs from that label. Now, Facebook is branching into independent labels too, announcing several partnerships on Friday. Facebook inked deals with Merlin, Beggars, [PIAS], and Ingrooves. The agreement adds some independent artists under those labels to the list of music that’s OK to share on the network.

Facebook faces yet another investigation — this one for housing discrimination

As Facebook faces scrutiny for privacy practices, the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Employment Opportunity has reopened an investigation examining the network’s practices on housing. A ProPublica study initiated the original case in 2016 when Facebook allowed housing advertisers to target or exclude ads to the “ethnic affinity” category. Facebook says it has since updated its ads system, including removing certain categories from the exclusion tool on ads.

Will Facebook design its own chips? Job postings suggest the possibility

Job listings and anonymous sources suggest that Facebook is looking to design its own chips, according to Bloomberg. The social network could be looking into the possibility in order to use the chips for artificial intelligence, along with possibilities for hardware as well as on servers. Custom chipsets, Bloomberg suggests, could be used in the company’s future Oculus headsets as well as the rumored smart speakers. Facebook hasn’t commented on the job posting, however, leaving the possibility of a Facebook-developed chip as only a possibility for now.

Facebook tests ‘live’ movie premieres, playable game ads, high school networks

Facebook in the past has tried to downplay “Live” videos that aren’t actually live — but a new test suggests the social media network could be creating a new category for prerecorded videos premiered live. Premiere is a video format for prerecorded videos with Live-like features, including live chats and a set time for the video to roll out, not too unlike waiting for a favorite show to come on TV. The test would bring several live features to prerecorded videos intentionally and could be used to supplement the platform’s Watch space for original videos. Twitch has a similar premiere tool. For now, however, Facebook Premieres are only in the testing phases.

Premiere is only one of the Facebook tests revealed this week — the platform is also testing playable ads. The ads are designed to advertise a mobile game, only instead of displaying a traditional ad, this ad lets you try the game for free.

Another report suggests that Messenger is testing a high school network, a platform that would let students chat with others in the same school. Screenshots show Messenger allowing users to choose a school in order to see classmates inside the messaging app. Facebook hasn’t confirmed the test.

Facebook’s fact checks launch in India

Facebook is now bringing fact-checking parnerships to India. On Monday, April 16, Facebook announced a partnership with Boom, an independent journalism initiative, to create a pilot program to fight fake news. Stories that fact-checkers deem false will be shown lower in the News Feed, and Facebook says that publishers continually sharing false news will see reduced distribution along with removing advertising and monetization, an effort to negate the financial incentive to publishing fake news.

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