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February 2023 Social Media Platform Updates

Thursday 2nd March 2023

Blog Author Beth Perrin by Beth Perrin

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February 2023 Social Media Platform Updates

Thursday 2nd March 2023

February may be the shortest month of the year, but that didn’t stop it from being jam-packed with updates and new features from all of our favourite social media platforms! As expected, Twitter is still dominating industry headlines as Elon Musk and his team continue to implement both large and small-scale changes, but we’ve seen plenty of fresh releases from Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn and more too. Whether you’re a casual user or a brand marketer looking to spice up your strategy, read on to discover some of our top picks from last month.


Twitter Cancelled API Access

At the start of February, Twitter cut off free access to its API (Application Programming Interface), causing many third-party tools such as analytics apps, management platforms and content schedulers to stop working. In order to continue functioning, these platforms must now pay $100 per month to access a basic tier of the API. Elon Musk explained that this decision was made because the “free API is being abused badly right now by bot scammers & opinion manipulators. There’s no verification process or cost, so [it’s] easy to spin up 100k bots to do bad things”. Thankfully, larger SMM platforms such as Hootsuite and Sprout Social already pay for full access to the API, meaning they have been unaffected by the change - but it could be bad news for smaller apps who previously benefited from the free access.



Strike-Based Penalties on TikTok

TikTok has reported that its current restriction process for users who violate the Community Guidelines has become less efficient against repeat offenders, with almost 90% of them abusing the same feature consistently, and over 75% violating the same policy category repeatedly. Because of this, the platform is rolling out a new strikes-based system whereby an account will be permanently banned if it meets the strike threshold within each product feature or policy. However, for severe violations such as promoting or threatening violence and showing child sexual abuse material, a permanent ban will be issued immediately on the first strike. A new ‘Account status’ section will be added to the Safety Centre where users can view their recent strikes, find out if they’re on the verge of account deletion, and submit appeals.


4,000 Character Tweets

Twitter Blue subscribers in the US can now post tweets up to 4,000 characters in length - a huge jump from the current 280 characters available to regular users! These longer tweets will be displayed in the feed at standard length, with a ‘Show more’ button at the end that can be clicked to expand the full post. However, despite this update, Elon Musk claimed that “Twitter will continue to recommend brevity in tweets”, so users should still aim to keep their content brief and to the point.



Longer Idea Pins on Pinterest

Previously, Pinterest users could only upload Idea Pins (Pinterest’s version of Stories) up to 60 seconds in length, but thanks to a recent update, they can now include up to 5 minutes of video, opening up more opportunities for creativity and storytelling. How-tos and instructional guides are among the top forms of content shared via Idea Pins, so this longer format will allow more detail to be provided, hopefully resulting in higher engagement.



YouTube Shorts as Replies

YouTube is launching a new option which is similar to TikTok’s video reply feature, enabling users to reply with a Short in the comments feed, instead of just text. YouTube hopes that this will give creators “a new opportunity to interact with your audience and make it easier to directly transform comments from your most engaged community members into content”. So, for example, if a user comments on a fashion influencer’s video asking for outfit ideas, the influencer can now respond with a Short showing their suggestions, rather than simply typing them out in a regular reply. The user’s comment will also be overlaid on the Short as a sticker, so other viewers can see which comment the Short is responding to. The update is currently being rolled out to iOS users and will be available on Android in the coming months.


Instagram Channels

A new feature is being rolled out on Instagram called Channels, a one-way messaging tool that allows users to receive direct updates from their favourite creators, brands and celebrities. Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has described it as a ‘broadcast chat’. Once you join a channel, it will be added to your DM inbox. You can then read and react to messages posted in the conversation, but you can't send them yourself. Instagram’s chief Adam Mosseri stated last year that users tend to interact via Stories and DMs a lot more than via the feed, so Channels could be a good way for the platform to lean into this private messaging trend.



Meta Verification Scheme

Following in the footsteps of Twitter’s paid subscription services, Twitter Blue and Verification for Organisations (and Snapchat’s Snapchat+), Meta has announced that it will be testing its own version called Meta Verified over the coming weeks. Much like Twitter’s system, Meta Verified will give accounts a verified badge, heightened protection from impersonation, increased visibility and reach, plus other exclusive features - across both Facebook and Instagram. The scheme will cost $11.99 per month on the web and $14.99 per month on iOS and Android. The trial is currently only available in Australia and New Zealand, but you can sign up to join the waitlist here if you want to receive updates about when it will be coming to your region.


Twitter Alerts for Community Notes

Twitter’s Community Notes feature, which allows users to add annotations to tweets they think are missing context or are misleading, has been given an update. From now on, users will be notified if a tweet they’ve previously engaged with has received a new Community Note, meaning they can go back to it and see what’s been added. This update could help reduce misinformation on the platform and will enable users to re-assess their initial response, such as unliking a tweet if the context has changed from what they originally thought it was about, or if false facts have been brought to light.



Native Scheduling for LinkedIn Newsletters & Articles

The ability to schedule content natively on LinkedIn was first launched in November last year, making it easier for users to plan their posts in advance and get organised without having to use a third-party content calendar - and now, the feature is being extended to include newsletters and articles too! This is great news for any businesses and individuals who use these two tools, as it will allow them to plan ahead and distribute their content at optimal engagement times for their audiences. When you’re ready to publish, simply tap the ‘schedule’ button on the share box as you would with a regular post, then select the date and time you’d like your newsletter or article to go live.


Bluesky Beta

To round off the month - there’s a new social media platform to keep an eye on! Bluesky, founded by Twitter’s former chief Jack Dorsey, is being described as a “decentralised alternative to Twitter”, and is currently available as a private Beta version for selected users. This decentralised approach essentially means that more control is put into the hands of users in regards to algorithms, moderation and UX, setting it apart from other social platforms. Initial screenshots of the app show that it looks very similar to Twitter at the moment, with likes, reposts (aka retweets!), profiles, a home feed, a search facility and a notifications tab. You can join the waitlist here to try it out before it becomes publicly available, or learn more about the platform’s unique AT Protocol here.

Bluesky app screenshots



Have you or your business tried out any of these new features yet? Which social media platforms do you think are releasing the most exciting updates lately? Tweet us @3sixfivepro to share your thoughts and let us know if you’ve found a better way to connect with your online community, or a tool that’s helped you create more engaging content.