15 major updates from Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, Twitter & Instagram

Social network news from last week - Facebook Trends to be algorithmically generated, Snapchat to introduce behavioural targeting, Instagram Stories to suggest who to follow, a redesigned Google+ and more

Facebook interest based ads

Facebook’s trending content to now be algorithmically generated: Facebook will no longer task editors to write descriptions for posts in its Trending section, which was mired in controversy over allegations of political bias. Topics that appear in the section will now be shown as short, algorithmically selected posts. Human editors will no longer play a role in picking the topics featured other than for verifying quality.

Inside Backstage: YouTube’s plan to bring photos, polls, and text to the video service: Amid competition from Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter, YouTube is developing a feature internally called Backstage where users can share photos, polls, links, text posts, and videos with their subscribers. Akin to a Facebook Timeline or Twitter profile, Backstage will live alongside the Home and Videos tabs within individual YouTube channels.

Snapchat is set to introduce behavioural targeting: Advertisers will be able to tailor campaigns based on the type of content Snapchat users consume, by utilising data collected from users within the app. Snapchat will begin to roll out the behavioral targeting capabilities in the third quarter of 2016.

Facebook now officially showcases vertical videos in mobile news feeds: Previously vertical videos were cropped into squares when displayed in people’s news feed, and people had to click to see the vertically oriented version. Not anymore. Now vertically formatted videos, including ads and Live broadcasts, will appear as vertically formatted videos in iOS and Android users’ news feeds.

Instagram Stories diverges from Snapchat by suggesting who to follow: Atop the Explore tab, Instagram will start showing some users a bar of Stories from accounts you could follow, with the feature rolling out to everyone soon. Based on who you follow and the topics you care about, the tailored recommendations will make it easy to add someone new to your Home feed’s Stories section.

Google starts rolling out redesigned Google+ to all: Google today announced a slew of Google+ updates. The redesigned Google+ is now rolling out to all users, a few new features have been added to the social network, and it is becoming a core Google for Work service. If you didn’t try preview, you’ll be upgraded to the new design “over the next few days.”

Snapchat makes it easier to design geofilters with customizable templates: Snapchat is making it easier for anyone to create on-demand geofilters through the launch of templates you can customize right through the company’s website. For those that just want something quick and more “do-it-yourself,” this eliminates the need to use image editing software such as Photoshop to create a geofilter around events.

Twitter is now sharing ad revenue with video creators: Twitter will be selling ads with creator videos and will share the ad revenue with those making the video content. Its revenue sharing policy is more lucrative for the content providers than YouTube, offering 70 per cent to the creator and 30 per cent back to Twitter. YouTube currently only offers 55 per cent to creators while 45 per cent goes back to YouTube.

Facebook Offers gets revamped for mobile: Facebook’s goal of tracking ads all the way through to a customer’s purchase at point-of-sale is getting a big boost today with a makeover of the Facebook Offers program. Now designed to be more mobile-friendly, Facebook is allowing businesses to create two kinds of offers – those customers can redeem online and those they redeem in-store – while also making it easier for customers to pull up the coupon they need at the register.

Facebook is pushing advertisers to make their mobile experiences faster, or face being penalised: Facebook wants brands to build better mobile experiences that load quicker in order to stop visitors abandoning advertisers’ sites within Facebook’s own in-app browser.It will be “pre-fetching” advertisers’ mobile sites before users click on an ad to reduce mobile-site load times.

Instagram photos and videos get pinch-to-zoom: Instagram announced today that it’s rolling out an update to iOS that lets you zoom in on photos and videos in your feed, on profiles, and in the Explore section of the app. The feature is also coming to Android “very soon,” Instagram tells VentureBeat, but there are no plans to bring it to mobile web users.

Pinterest will target ads to people who click on, save brand-related pins: After adding the ability for brands to retarget people who visit their sites and use their apps with ads on Pinterest, the company is now introducing a way for brands to advertise to people who click on or save brand-related pins that are posted to Pinterest.

Facebook starts testing stabilization for 360 video: Facebook is developing a new system for stabilizing 360-degree video and it’s starting to test the system before rolling it out to all users on Facebook and its Oculus virtual reality platform. The stabilization software reduces the bit rate by 10 to 20 percent while maintaining video quality, and it takes just 22 milliseconds per frame.

Twitter adds new ways to monetize live video via Periscope: Twitter announced a new monetization option today, adding live Periscope content to its monetization options, which lets approved creators and brands earn a share of ad revenue on their media posts.

Facebook clones Snapchat once again with new ‘instant video’ feature for Messenger: Messenger is now getting a very Snapchat-like new feature: instant video. Messenger already includes video calling, but, acknowledging that this is often saved for “special occasions,” Facebook has added a new broadcast option that sits above a text conversation inside the messaging app.