The Social Short: Week 22

Facebook May Launch ‘GlobalCoin’ Cryptocurrency Next Year

Facebook is finalising plans to launch its own crypto-currency next year. This digital payments system, called GlobalCoin, will reportedly be set up in about a dozen countries by the first quarter of 2020.

As per BBC News:
“Facebook wants to create a digital currency that provides affordable and secure ways of making payments, regardless of whether users have a bank account. The social networking site, which owns WhatsApp and Instagram, is hoping to disrupt existing networks by breaking down financial barriers, competing with banks and reducing consumer costs.”

Only 30 million people use cryptocurrencies today, a number that could increase significantly if Facebook launched its own, for the platform has 2.4 billion monthly users. In addition, GlobalCoin could further Instagram’s efforts towards eCommerce, and while still far in the future, potentially change the digital landscape. For now, it seems that it is considered a ‘cryptocurrency’ because of its reliance on blockchain technology rather than its similarities to Bitcoin.

Snapchat to Enable Users to Add Songs to Their Snaps

Snapchat is reportedly discussing the possibility of making music catalogs available to users. By letting users embed licensed music into their stories, Snapchat is setting out to rival both Instagram and TikTok. Just like Vine back in the day, TikTok’s posts are centred around music. The app took advantage of low-cost licensing deals that were worked out with, and has since risen at an unprecedented pace. Snapchat on the other hand, has lost popularity and needs to keep competitive, not just against TikTok, but also Facebook and Instagram. Diversifying its offerings with music-related tools could be just what they’re looking forward to position itself, once again, as one of the top networking apps.

It is unclear at this point in time how far along the talks with major music groups such as Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music are, or when users can expect to have licensed music available to them within the app.

Apple Launched a New iPod


Apple has launched its first new iPod in four years. Greg Joswiak, Apple’s Vice President of Product Marketing, has said the following: “We’re making the most affordable iOS device even better with performance that is twice as fast as before, Group FaceTime and augmented reality starting at just $199. The ultra-thin and lightweight design of iPod touch has always made it ideal for enjoying games, music and so much more wherever you go.”

Instagram Adds Support for Landscape Videos in IGTV


As explained by Instagram: “We’ve heard from creators who want to upload landscape videos for IGTV. Similarly, we’ve heard from viewers who come across landscape videos in IGTV but want to watch them in a more natural way. That’s why we’re announcing support for landscape videos in addition to vertical.”

Creators and viewers have asked for it and Instagram delivered, but at what cost? IGTV tapped into the rising consumption of vertical video, popularised by Snapchat and although understandable for the app to want to cater to audience demand, the platform seems to have compromised what differentiated them. As noted by The Verge’s Ashley Carman: “Vertical video was IGTV’s thing, and this is basically saying that they realise everyone wants to just port their YouTube videos over to Insta and not make exclusive Insta content.”

Instagram, however, feels this will drive creativity and engagement. “In many ways, opening IGTV to more than just vertical videos is similar to when we opened Instagram to more than just square photos in 2015.”