October 2023 Social Media Platform Updates
Thursday 2nd November
by Beth Perrin
October 2023 Social Media Platform Updates
Thursday 2nd November 2023
October was another busy month for all of our favourite social media platforms, with many new and useful features being introduced on Threads, X, WhatsApp, TikTok and more. Whether you’re a casual user or a brand marketer looking for some fresh tools to incorporate into your strategy, read on to discover some of our top picks from the last few weeks.
New Link Preview Format on X
X has rolled out a new display for link previews, meaning headlines and preview text are now no longer shown when posting links on the platform. Only the main image from your linked page is displayed, with the domain name overlaid on the bottom left of the image.
You see how this link preview doesn't include a headline or preview description? This is now the way on X https://t.co/eDmoAMqWiX— Social Media Today (@socialmedia2day) October 7, 2023
Elon Musk isn’t a fan of links being posted on X, saying: “Our algorithm tries to optimise time spent on X, so links don’t get as much attention, because there is less time spent if people click away”, which may explain the decision to make links less visible on the platform. He also said: “[The] best thing is to post content in long form on this platform”, suggesting that instead of sharing links to external sites, he would prefer people to post the content of that page directly on X.
Because links aren’t as obvious now, you may want to consider adding a prompt such as ‘Click on the image to learn more’ to clarify to viewers that you’ve posted a link, not just a plain image.
Gmail Emoji Reactions
Most likely influenced by social media usage behaviours, Google has announced that it’s adding emoji reactions into Gmail, giving users a quick and creative way to acknowledge emails. Users with personal Gmail accounts will now see a smiley face icon below their messages on both mobile and desktop, which when clicked or tapped, will bring up an emoji menu. Simply choose one from the menu and click or tap on it to send, or if another recipient has already responded with the perfect emoji, click or tap on it to react with the same one as them.
Express yourself in just one click with new emoji reactions in Gmail — like thanking your partner for forwarding the reservation info 🙏, reminiscing over a childhood photo from your sister or voting for dinner options with friends 🍣🌮. Learn more ↓ https://t.co/bH3sYFdJdK— Google (@Google) October 30, 2023
Limit Replies to Verified X Users
X has launched a new audience control option, which will enable users to limit their post replies to verified accounts only. This is in addition to the platform’s 3 existing reply control options, which it first added back in 2020: ‘Everyone’, ‘Accounts you follow’ and ‘Only accounts you mention’. Considering that verification on X still hasn’t taken off as much as Elon Musk originally hoped, this option may not be super beneficial for everyone - but for those who only want to engage with other paid users, it could be a good way to ensure that you only hear from like-minded people in response to your posts.
you can now limit replies to verified users pic.twitter.com/E2KStVd69B— X (@X) October 9, 2023
Threads Edit Button
One of the most highly requested features is finally being rolled out on Threads - the ability to edit posts after publishing them. Now available to selected users, the tool enables you to edit your posts for up to 5 minutes after they go live (and unlike the equivalent feature on X, you don’t have to pay for it!). The option is accessible via the three dots menu at the top right of your post, and once you’ve hit the edit button, you’ll see a timer counting down your 5 minute time slot. This time limit will hopefully prevent people from changing posts that have gone viral hours or days after publishing them to say something completely different, therefore giving the impression that the people who have liked and reposted it are endorsing something they’re not.
If a post has been edited, you’ll see a new pen icon beside its timestamp, which when tapped on, will bring up a pop-up message saying ‘This post has been edited’. However, you won’t be able to view its edit history.
Post by @mosseriView on Threads
Threads Voice Posts
As you can see in Adam Mosseri’s post above, Threads is also rolling out audio messages called ‘Voice Threads’, which will appear as a soundwave attachment within a Thread. If you see an audio post in your feed, simply tap on the play button and you’ll be able to hear the sound snippet published by that user. To record your own Voice Thread, tap on the microphone button when drafting a new post to access the recording interface, and then press the red button to record your audio.
Default Auto Captions on TikTok
In order to improve accessibility and ensure that more users can engage with content in the app, TikTok is implementing auto captions by default on all videos. Previously, adding captions was optional, but now they’ll be automatically enabled on every video - however, you can choose to turn them off during the upload process if you don’t want them on your video for any reason. Not only will this update benefit users with hearing difficulties and those who speak different languages, it will also be handy for any users that are watching TikToks with the sound off (for example, on public transport).
TikTok's Caption Updates: pic.twitter.com/s5OxK8JpVL— Jonah Manzano (@jonah_manzano) October 13, 2023
WhatsApp Passkey Access
WhatsApp has added passkey access for Android users, providing a more secure way for people to log in to the app. Instead of having to deal with SMS two-factor authentication, users can now choose between Face ID, fingerprint or a PIN code to unlock their account, making the sign-in process safer, faster and less susceptible to hacking. WhatsApp has not yet confirmed if this feature will be launching on iOS.
Android users can easily and securely log back in with passkeys 🔑 only your face, finger print, or pin unlocks your WhatsApp account pic.twitter.com/In3OaWKqhy— WhatsApp (@WhatsApp) October 16, 2023
Tag Instagram Profiles on Threads
Threads has introduced the ability to tag Instagram users in your posts who don’t yet have a Threads account, so that you can follow them if/when they do. The tag will show up with an Instagram icon instead of the regular @ handle, and other users will then be able to follow that user in advance, so if they do activate a Threads profile later on, they’ll already be following them. Users can also tap through to the tagged person’s Instagram, providing more interconnectivity between the two apps.
Post by @quillmatiqView on Threads
Broadcast Channels on Facebook & Messenger
Instagram’s Broadcast Channels feature has taken off in popularity since its release earlier this year, so as a result, Meta is now extending the tool to both Facebook and Messenger, providing more ways for creators to share updates with their audience. Just like the Instagram version, Broadcast Channels on Facebook and Messenger will essentially be one-way group chats, where creators, brands and high-profile figures can keep their fans updated on their latest updates via DM, without them being able to reply. On Facebook, Channels will be highlighted on creator pages in the app, and creators will be able to promote their Channel in the feed. They’ll also be able to share voice notes, text, photos, videos and GIFs within their Channels, which could help to further enhance community connection and engagement.
WhatsApp Account Switching
It’s a relatively small (but highly requested) update - the ability to switch between different accounts on WhatsApp. Android users can now be logged in to two accounts at the same time, making things easier for those who use the platform for both work and personal conversations and meaning they’ll no longer need to log out each time they want to switch. To set up a second account, you’ll need a second phone number and SIM card or a phone that accepts multi-SIMs. Then, simply open your WhatsApp settings, click on the arrow next to your name, and choose ‘Add account’.
2️⃣ is better than 1️⃣ we’re rolling out the ability to add a second account to your WhatsApp on Android. pic.twitter.com/tYvuUPWjsv— WhatsApp (@WhatsApp) October 19, 2023
Instagram Comment Polls
Instagram users can now add interactive polls in the comment section on their posts and Reels. Story polls are already popular on the platform, so it makes sense for them to be made available elsewhere on the app too. They can also be a good way for brands and creators to gather feedback and boost their engagement rates, as it’s very quick and simple for users to add a response to a poll, which makes it easy to rack up a lot of interactions.
Suggested Threads on Instagram & Facebook
Seeing as they’re all part of the Meta family of apps, content from Threads is now being shown to some users on Instagram and Facebook as part of a cross-promotion test. People have spotted a new module in the Facebook feed titled ‘For you on Threads’, containing recommended posts from Threads users you may be interested in, while on Instagram, a side-scrolling ‘Threads for you’ carousel is showing up for selected users within the feed.
This feature could be handy for brands and creators who have similar audiences across platforms and want to maximise the reach of their Threads content - however, for users who want to keep their Threads presence separate from their Facebook or Instagram network, it could be a disadvantage. Because of this, it’s likely that an opt-out option will be released for this shortly.
Post by @parkerortolaniView on Threads
Polls & GIFs on Threads
The Threads updates just keep on coming! This time, it’s the arrival of GIFs and polls - two more highly anticipated features. Users will now see a GIF icon in the Threads composer box, which when tapped will bring up the GIPHY library, where you can then search for a relevant GIF to add to your post or reply.
A chart icon will also now appear when composing a post, which is the poll button. Tap on this to add a poll to your post, where you can include up to 4 response options for viewers to choose between. Polls also include a timer, which counts down to the poll’s closure in real-time, which could help to inspire urgency and drive more engagement. Anyone who votes in a poll will also be sent a notification when it ends so they can check back to see the final results.
Post by @mosseriView on Threads
Collab Carousels on Instagram
Instagram has launched a live test of a new collaborative posts option, which will enable multiple users to contribute to carousel posts, providing a new engagement option in the platform. For example, after a party, group outing or any other type of community event, users will be able to add their own images and videos to a post in order to create a collaborative collection. The main creator will have the ability to approve or reject any submissions, and unlike Instagram’s other collab posts feature, where the post shows up on both contributors’ pages, these collaborative carousels will only exist on the main creator’s page.
Post by @mosseriView on Threads
Instagram Product Tagging on Third Party Apps
Meta has expanded the functionality of its Instagram Marketing API to enable third-party content publishing platforms to facilitate product tags, meaning brands and marketers who don’t post their content natively on Instagram can now tag items in feed photos, carousels and existing feed videos. Explaining the update, Meta said: “This new process alleviates unwanted friction for third-party platform users and allows advertisers to more easily utilise Ads with Product Tags.”
Community Notes Demonetisation on X
In order to prevent people from sharing and profiting from sensationalised, divisive and sometimes fake content, X has announced that any posts that have been corrected by a Community Note will no longer be eligible for the platform’s creator ad revenue share program, a scheme that enables X Premium subscribers to make money from their posts, by giving them a percentage of the ad revenue earned from ads shown in the post’s reply section. This could be a positive step towards discouraging what Elon Musk describes as “over sensationalism” - aka, over-the-top news stories and clickbait-style posts that are designed solely to spark controversy. However, Musk also added that: “Any attempts to weaponize Community Notes to [purposely] demonetise people will be immediately obvious, because all code and data is open source”.
Making a slight change to creator monetization:— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 29, 2023
Any posts that are corrected by @CommunityNotes become ineligible for revenue share.
The idea is to maximize the incentive for accuracy over sensationalism.
Have you tried out any of these new features over the last few weeks, either for your business or as an individual user? Are you still enjoying Threads, or do you think the initial buzz around this platform has died down already? Share your thoughts with us on X @3sixfivepro to let us know which ones you’ve benefited from and whether you’re planning to incorporate any of them into the remainder of your Q4 marketing strategy.
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