13 major updates from Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google, Vine, Instagram & Snapchat

Major social network news from last week - Twitter tests new ‘Explore’ tab, Facebook tests ads in Groups, Facebook adds new ways to monetize Instant Articles, Pinterest hits 150M monthly users, and more


Snapchat picks Morgan Stanley & Goldman Sachs for IPO: Snapchat’s planned IPO has got a lot more serious. It has appointed Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to lead the deal, with assistance from JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, Allen & Co., Barclays, and Credit Suiss.

Twitter tests new ‘Explore’ tab: Twitter has confirmed to Mashable that it could substitute Moments with a new feature called Explore, which would put “content discovery,” front and centre for tweeters by highlighting trending topics and search alongside popular moments.

Google Photos can now turn videos into GIFs, fix sideways photos & more: Google Photos is upgrading with a bevy of new features aimed at helping you revisit your memories and generally better enjoy your photos. This update includes tools that help orient pictures correctly as well as extract shareable animations from your videos, among other things.

Facebook overhauls Audience Network: Facebook is to update its ad network in a move geared towards encouraging publishers to improve the overall user experience of their apps, instead of optimizing them solely to increase clickthrough rates (CTR) on ad placements.

Facebook now lets cast videos to your TV: Facebook wants you to lean back and watch its News Feed videos on your television with a new feature that lets you stream clips via Apple TV, AirPlay devices, Google Chromecast, and Google Cast devices. The move could help Facebook generate more video ad revenue, and increase usage time by giving people the richest possible viewing experience while at home.

Twitter’s Periscope wants to air more TV-style broadcasts: Periscope announced Periscope Producer, a program to let certain broadcasters air more TV-style live streams. ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” a local CBS news station in Florida, Fusion, Louis Vuitton, The Ringer and Walt Disney Studios are among the first companies to use Periscope Producer to pipe in professional broadcasts to Periscope and Twitter.

Pinterest hits 150M monthly users: Pinterest said it hit 150 million monthly active users, up from the 100 million it announced in September 2015. Leaked documents reviewed by TechCrunch at the time also projected that Pinterest would end 2016 at 218 million monthly active users.

Vine for iOS now lets you remix sound from other videos: Vine launched the ability for creators to remix sound from other videos. Available just for iOS users, you just record a vine as usual; in the screen where you add captions, edit the post, and more, there’ll be a soundwave icon at the bottom of the screen. Tap on that to open the soundboard, where you can incorporate audio from an existing library or record a new one.

Instagram launches for Windows 10 PCs and tablets: Instagram will now work on Windows 10 PCs and tablets as well, offering its own Live Tile that shows you new photos and notifications right from your home screen. Features you can expect include the ability to post and edit photos, get notifications, chat via Instagram Direct, and of course use Stories, Search, Explore, Profile, and Feed.

Facebook has paid $5 million to over 900 security researchers in 5 years: With more than a billion users using Facebook each day, the social network and its affiliated properties are prime targets for hackers and also prone to vulnerabilities. And try as it might, the company isn’t able to account for every gap, which is why five years ago it implemented a bug bounty program. Since then, Facebook revealed that it has paid out $5 million in rewards to more than 900 security researchers.

Facebook adds new ways to monetize Instant Articles, including video and carousel ads:Facebook has released new options around Instant Articles that lets publishers monetize their content. For those that utilize a direct sold advertising business, they can now utilize larger and more flexible ad units with an aspect ratio of up to 2:3, meaning that existing ad campaigns could be recycled into this medium.

Facebook tests ads in Groups, potentially easing ad load issue: As part of a test, Facebook is showing ads in the Group feeds of some people in Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand. The ads resemble Facebook’s news feed ads and show up only in Groups’ feeds on Facebook’s site and mobile app. Facebook is targeting the ads to the individual members of a Group based on the Group’s topic as well as information it gleans from their respective Facebook accounts, like how old they are, where they live and what they’re interested in.

Google acquires FameBit to better connect YouTube creators with brands: Google announced on Tuesday that it has acquired FameBit, with plans to leverage its technology platform to help YouTube creators better connect with brands. FameBit started out as a service that let creators network with brands in order to strike up sponsorship or partnership deals.