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The Social Short: Week 15

Snapchat’s Testing New ‘Status’ Location Check-ins, Passport and Mention Stickers

Jane Manchun Wong, social app researcher who gained worldwide recognition for reverse-engineering social media apps, uncovered Snapchat’s plans to develop a new UI for its Snap Map, which would include the ability to check-into locations with a chosen Bitmoji character. These changes could facilitate real-life meet-ups and could also potentially gamify location tracking, leading to greater participation and engagement within the app. This would also be beneficial in terms of ad targeting as it would provide Snapchat with additional audience data.



The ‘Status’ option would, therefore, allow users to display what they’re doing on a map, enabling their Snap connections to see where they are and what they are up to in real time, as well as mentioning with whom. This would be an opt-in service, where users could choose to remain invisible on the map as well as being able to select which friends they share their status. In addition, Snapchat is also developing its own version of Instagram’s @mention stickers, which would allow users to mention friends in their stories. Snapchat is also working on a passport listing which would only be viewable to the individual, displaying all the places they have checked into.



There is no word on whether these features will be rolled out and as of today, they have only been made available to a few people in Australia.


Snapchat Held Its First Ever Partner Summit and Announces New Products

Last Thursday, Snapchat held its first-ever Partner summit, where they unveiled a number of new products. This was an equivalent to the larger and more established developer conferences that are held each year by tech-giants like Apple or Facebook. At the event, it was announced that Snapchat will be building stories for other apps, launching their own games and providing more AR features that aren’t face filters.

Snapchat is looking to expand the capacity of its StoryKit by enabling developers to facilitate Story sharing into their apps. Tinder will soon be able to allow users to share their latest Snap Story, which will allow users to provide more information about who they are.
In addition, Snapchat has crafted a new game experience, which will focus on in-game communication and interaction, including live audio chat in-game. The games will be available via a new rocket ship icon in the messaging stream. ‘Bitmoji Party’ will be the first game to be launched.




In terms of AR, there are various developments and tools coming to the app. Since its launch in 2017, Lens Studio has continued to grow in popularity, which is why Snapchat is focusing on encouraging its usage even more, rolling out creator profiles that will be “dedicated spaces for Lens creators to showcase their work and connect with their audience”. Snapchat also announced a new ‘Landmarkers’ option for Lenses, which will enable these creators to build Lenses on top of global landmarks. This will showcase the buildings and monuments under a different light, building new experiences and stretching beyond the generic tourist photos.



Given Snapchat’s popularity among younger users, these new opportunities to connect and create, show there is a lot of future potential.


Twitter Hopes to Cut Down on Spam by Reducing the Number of Accounts Users can Follow per Day

In an effort to cut down on spam, Twitter has decided to change the number of accounts you can follow per day. This is another big step towards booting scammers off the platform; cutting down the number from 1000 accounts a day to 400. On why they chose to change it to that number, a spokesperson said that they had looked “at follow behaviour at various thresholds, and selected 400 as a reasonable limit that stopped most spam while not affecting legitimate users.”

Twitter is hoping that this new limit will help prevent spammers from rapidly growing their networks, which isn’t the only change Twitter has taken in recent months to tackle the spam problem. The company has also updated its reporting tools, allowing users to report fake accounts, alongside introducing new security measures around account verification and sign-up.



WhatsApp Makes its Business App Available on iOS, and in More Regions

WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, launched WhatsApp Business for Android in January of last year in an attempt to help enterprise owners have a more direct communication channel with their customers. Given the good response from enterprise users across the world — within the span of a year, it registered more than five million business owners — the company finally decided to make this option available to iPhone users.
As explained by WhatsApp:

“Today we’re introducing the WhatsApp Business app for iOS. Like the Android version, the WhatsApp Business app for iOS will be free to download from the App Store, and will include features to help small businesses and customers communicate.”



In addition to being available for iOS, WhatsApp Business is now reaching even more regions, being reported that the app is now available in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and France.

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