18 Major Updates From Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, & Snapchat

Social network news of the week - Facebook is shutting down its news reading app, Google+ turns 5, Twitter Introduces Stickers, LinkedIn starts programmatic ads, and more

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1. Facebook is shutting down its Paper newsreading app on July 29th: Facebook is shutting down Paper, a bold reimagining of the company’s flagship app for iOS that impressed critics but failed to attract a large audience, the company said today. The app transformed the core Facebook experience into a kind of newsreader, with customizable sections for politics, technology, food, and other subjects. Visitors to the app received a message saying the app would no longer function after July 29th.

2. As Publisher Reach on Facebook Goes Down, Video Is Going Way Up: According to data compiled by SocialFlow, a social analytics company used by many major publishers, video content posted by publishers on Facebook is gaining quite a bit of traction. The company—which posts more than half a millions stories a month to Facebook and other social media channels on behalf of publishers—analyzed 30 days of video content to determine the total reach, likes and shares.

3. Google’s new My Activity and Ads Personalization seek to make ads better, provide more user control over data: Roughly a year ago Google introduced “My Account,” a centralized privacy and security center where people could manage their data and information used by Google. Yesterday the company began a global rollout of a new panel within My Account, called My Activity.

4. YouTube Is Beefing Up Its Live Video Game to Compete With Facebook and Periscope: Last night during its keynote at VidCon, the annual confab for online video creators, YouTube took a major step towards fending off competition from Facebook and Twitter-owned Periscope. Kurt Wilms, YouTube’s product lead for immersive experiences, reminded the audience that YouTube has been in the livestreaming game a lot longer than its competitors. “We’ve been offering livestreaming since before it was cool,” he said.

5. Facebook plays favorites with publishers: Three indisputable platform darlings are The New York Times, CNN and BuzzFeed. All are regularly tapped to launch major initiatives including, variously, Facebook Instant Articles, Google Accelerated Mobile Pages and Snapchat Discover, and reportedly were the most highly paid by Facebook to produce live video. They have audiences (all are top news properties in terms of monthly direct traffic) and have resources to spare.

6. Facebook is getting closer to putting ads in Live videos: Some publishers and creators are already making money from using Facebook Live. Facebook pays them. But Facebook isn’t going to pay everyone. So if Facebook wants everyone — especially digital celebrities and publishers that are used to making money from their YouTube videos — to be using Facebook Live, then at some point, Facebook will need to find a way to help them generate their own revenue. And it’s getting closer to that point.

7. The winners and losers of Facebook’s news feed change: For the second time in three months, Facebook tweaked its algorithm, this time to favor posts from friends and families over publishers. It’s bad news for publishers that have been increasingly building their audience development strategy around Facebook, some getting upwards of three-fourths of their traffic from it.

8. Instagram Distinguishes Itself in Social Commerce by Touting Product Discovery: Over time, Instagram has upped its ad offerings for retailers, from unveiling Shop Now buttons about a year ago to rolling out call-to-action buttons as recently as this month. Its ecommerce promos let visitors click through to an advertiser’s home page or specific product page. But the Facebook-owned platform has been reluctant to offer end-to-end commerce, complete with a shopping cart and users’ stored credit card information.

9. Google+ turns 5 and is somehow still alive: People who love Google+ sure love Google+. That hasn’t changed since Google first launched what at the time seemed like a credible Facebook competitor back in June 2011. If you’re a Google+ fan, today is a day to celebrate: Against all odds, your favorite social network turned five today. For everybody else, the fact that Google+ is still online may come as a surprise.

10. Facebook says it’s not making friend suggestions based on your location after all: Does Facebook suggest new friends based on your location? The answer seems to change day by day. Yesterday, Fusion reported that Facebook uses location data to make friend suggestions and pointed out that this could lead to unfortunate privacy mishaps.

11. LinkedIn starts officially auctioning off its desktop banner ads: LinkedIn has decided it will officially start auctioning off its desktop-only display ads because it will be easier for brands to buy those banners and more cost-effective for the social network to sell them.

12. Facebook reveals a redesigned Like button for websites: Facebook’s ubiquitous Like button is finally getting a modern look. Facebook is ditching the social network’s “F” and replacing it with a thumbs up button in an attempt to boost engagement and load quickly more on mobile.

13. Pinterest Adds a Shopping Cart and Visual Search to Challenge Amazon: Pinterest has long positioned itself as the go-to platform for social shopping, and today it announced a number of new features that will make buying from the site easier and will also separate itself from competitors Facebook and Twitter.

14. New ‘Dashboard’ tool from Twitter gives businesses a simple, all-in-one management suite:One of the biggest knocks on the Twitter platform has contently been the complexity of the platform and the inability for businesses to adapt. ‘Dashboard’, a new tool from Twitter aims to lower the required learning curve by giving businesses a straight-forward location they can use. Furthermore, Twitter provides digital hand-holding to guide you along the way and optimize the setup from the start.

15. Snapchat is slashing its ad prices for brands, sources say: Snapchat’s ads API — application programming interface — could cost advertisers $100,000 at minimum, which is significantly lower that Snapchat’s minimum of $500,000 when it first opened the platform to ads, according to sources familiar with Snapchat.

16. Twitter Introduces Searchable, Emoji-Like Stickers for Photos: In the next few weeks, Twitter will begin letting users add stickers to photos that can be resized, rotated and placed anywhere on photos posted in tweets. The feature will be available on iOS and Android apps and also on the platform’s website.

17. Facebook introduces Slideshow feature, a new way to share photos and videos: To make sharing your life even better, Facebook is rolling out a new feature called Slideshow, an easy way to make and share photo and video slideshows to show off your weekend trip or BBQ hangout.

18. Facebook launches human-curated Featured Events list: Approximately 550 million people use Facebook Events each month, with 60 percent of connections to events happening serendipitously in the News Feed. But Facebook is giving hardcore extroverts seeking more parties a new Featured Events list full of hand-picked gatherings.