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September 2023 Social Media Platform Updates

Thursday 5th October

Blog Author Beth Perrin by Beth Perrin

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September 2023 Social Media Platform Updates

Thursday 5th October 2023

Plenty of new features and updates were released by the top social media platforms throughout September, which will not only improve individual users’ experiences but will also help brands and businesses connect with their audiences and enhance their marketing strategies. Let’s take a look at a selection of them below so you can learn which ones might benefit your content or customer service.


Threads Keyword Search in More Regions

In August, Threads began testing its long-awaited search feature in Australia and New Zealand - and now this tool has been expanded to more regions, including Argentina, India, Mexico, the UK and the US, meaning more users can now search for keywords and phrases on the app. Previously, the search function only showed usernames containing your chosen terms, but the new version brings up posts too, allowing users to find the specific content they’re looking for.


Post by @mosseri
View on Threads


Vertical Live Streams on YouTube

YouTube has rolled out a new full screen, vertical viewing experience for live streams for some mobile viewers, which includes a scrollable stream feed, chat overlaid on top of each stream and easily accessible fan funding features. The platform hasn’t yet confirmed if this experiment will turn into a fully-fledged option for all users, but considering the popularity of Shorts (and of course, the ongoing popularity of vertical videos in general across social media platforms), it seems highly likely that this feature will become widely available in the future.

Smartphone screens showing YouTube's new vertical live stream format


Hide Your Likes on Instagram

Instagram is testing a new privacy element which allows users to hide their like activity from others on the app. Users that have been selected for the test are being alerted with a pop-up notification which lets them know that they can now hide their likes either from everyone, no-one or anyone outside of their close friends list. So, if you want to like a post or Reel without anyone knowing, this could be the option for you.



AI Creative Guidance for Google Ads

Google has built a new tool called Creative Guidance into its ad platform to help advertisers optimise the performance of their video ads. It automatically provides dynamic best practice assessments for all of your videos, and notifies you when an important best practice is missing - so, if an ad lacks what Google considers critical elements, the AI will then provide specific recommendations to help improve the ad’s effectiveness.

For example, it checks whether the video contains the brand’s logo in the first 5 seconds and whether it has a voiceover, as well as assessing the video’s length based on specific marketing objectives. All of the suggested actions will appear in the ‘Ideas to try’ section of Video Analytics below the retention curves or in the Recommendations tab, from which you can implement changes to your ad and see if they improve your results.


WhatsApp Channels in More Regions

WhatsApp Channels, which were originally launched in selected markets back in June, have now been rolled out across more regions, meaning users in 150 countries can now use the feature. Similar to the Broadcast Channels option on Instagram, WhatsApp Channels are topic-based groups where brands, creators, celebrities and even local officials can send text, photos, videos and more to anyone who signs up to receive them. They’re different from regular WhatsApp chats as they are a one-way form of communication - only the admin of the Channel can send updates, and followers can’t reply to messages. Channels are stored in a separate tab from standard conversations in the app, and each Channel’s members are not visible to other followers.



Follow Specific Threads

Threads has added a new option that will enable users to follow a specific Thread on the app without having to follow the person that posted it, which could be a good way to keep up with interesting conversations and stay on top of the latest trends. Plus, if Threads ends up becoming a key source of breaking news coverage, this feature could be especially valuable in staying informed about current events. To follow a Thread, simply tap on the three dots in the top right corner, then tap on the bell icon. You’ll then receive a notification whenever somebody replies to that Thread for the next 24 hours.


Post by @mosseri
View on Threads


Quote Sharing on Desktop Threads

On the recently-released web version of Threads, users can now quote other posts, which has always been possible in the mobile version, but wasn’t part of the initial desktop site. Simply click on the ‘repost’ icon under the post you want to quote, then select ‘quote’ to add your own comments above it.


Instagram Following Reels Tab

Up until now, Instagram has only offered a single Reels feed, which displays a combination of videos from accounts you follow as well as recommended clips from those you don’t. But now, like TikTok’s ‘For You’ and ‘Following’ tabs, you can choose to switch between Reels from people you follow and ones from other users. When on the Reels tab, simply tap on the word ‘Reels’ in the upper left corner of the screen, then choose ‘Following’ from the dropdown menu. You can easily switch back to the main Reels feed by tapping the back arrow at the top left of the screen.


ID Verification for X Premium Users

X has launched a new ID verification element for X Premium (formerly Twitter Blue) subscribers, which will enable paying users to confirm their identity using an official government-issued ID. Verifying with their ID will give users an ID-verified badge on their profile, prioritised support from X Services in case of impersonation and a range of future benefits. These will include a faster review process to obtain a blue checkmark after signing up for Premium, and greater flexibility in making changes to your profile (such as your profile picture, display name and @username), which currently causes users to temporarily lose their blue checkmark.



TikTok AI Label

TikTok has introduced a handy new label for AI-generated content, which will provide an extra level of transparency for viewers. Anyone who has used AI to create (or significantly edit) a post in the app must now flag it with the label, otherwise they risk having their content removed from the platform. Explaining the tool, TikTok said: “AI enables incredible creative opportunities, but can potentially confuse or mislead viewers if they’re not aware content was generated or edited with AI. Labelling content helps address this, by making clear to viewers when content is significantly altered or modified by AI technology.”

Smartphone screens showing TikTok's new AI label


Meta Verification for Businesses

After originally launching its Meta Verified program for individual creators back in February, Meta has now announced a new Verified Business package which will be coming soon. While verification for individuals costs $11.99 USD per month on mobile or $14.99 USD per month on desktop, the business equivalents will cost $21.99 USD and $27.99 USD respectively (per Instagram account or Facebook Page).

Verified businesses will receive a blue verified badge, protection from impersonation, extra account support and improved discovery on Facebook and/or Instagram (depending on whether they choose to get verified on both platforms). Those who choose to get verified on Facebook will also have their blue checkmark displayed on Messenger, and those who choose to get verified on Instagram will also have theirs displayed on Threads if they have an account.


WhatsApp Business Tools

During its global ‘Conversations’ event in Mumbai, WhatsApp unveiled a range of new tools for businesses:

Firstly, a new feature called Flows will allow businesses to offer more experiences to customers within the app other than just chatting - such as letting them choose a train seat, order a meal or book an appointment without having to leave the conversation.

Secondly, the platform is expanding its in-stream payment options, making it easier for shoppers to complete purchases directly within their business chats. WhatsApp says it will be working with partners like Razorpay and PayU to make paying for something as simple as sending a message.

As mentioned above, now that Meta is rolling out verification for businesses, this will tie in with WhatsApp too. The platform will soon begin testing verification with a selection of small businesses that use the WhatsApp Business app, before making it widely available on the WhatsApp Business Platform in the future.


Create Multiple Facebook Profiles

Meta has launched a new multi-profile option which enables users to create multiple Facebook profiles if they want to explore different interests and share varied content with different audiences. Using the new ‘Create another profile’ option, users can essentially build custom, interest-based profiles so that they can engage in a broader range of interests, form separate friend lists and see a wider variety of feeds.

Outlining why people may choose to use this option, Facebook said: “You may want to keep your personal and professional relationships separate, or you may want to keep one profile tied to a community you’re a part of and another profile just for friends. Creating multiple personal profiles lets you easily organise who you share with and what content you see for the various parts of your life.”

Users can create up to four additional personal profiles in the app, each with their own username and feed, and can easily switch between their profiles, with no login/logout process required.

Smartphone screens showing Facebook's new multiple profile option


Updated Facebook Logo & Colour Palette

It’s fairly subtle, but Facebook’s logo has been changed to a deeper shade of blue and the ‘F’ has been made slightly bigger within the circle. Explaining their reasons for the update, Facebook said they wanted to “elevate the most iconic elements of our brand to create a distinctive, refreshed [design]”. The platform’s reaction emojis have also been upgraded slightly to “evoke more dimensionality and emotion”.

Updated Facebook logo and reaction emojis



As always, September was another busy month in the world of social media and the ongoing battle between Threads and X has continued to dominate industry headlines. Have you tried out any of these updates over the last few weeks, either for your business or as an individual user? Reach out to us on X @3sixfivepro to let us know which ones you’re planning to incorporate into your marketing strategy throughout October and whether you’ll be signing up for Meta verification for your brand.