Five significant Facebook updates you need to know about
Though the Cambridge Analytica controversy drama has certainly placed Facebook in a bad light, the social giant isn’t taking the controversy lying down. In fact, the number of updates and significance of news coming out of Facebook headquarters show how aggressively Facebook is fighting to address concerns — and introduce new features — to shift the conversation to anything else other than its recent failures.
So, what has Facebook done to try to change the conversation? Here’s a brief explanation:
Restricting data access
Restricting data access had to be at the top of Facebook’s list for managing the fallout after the Cambridge Analytica news. In a blog post this week, Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Scroepfer detailed what Facebook has done and will do to restrict data access. The blog details nine changes, including Facebook providing a link at the top of all users’ news feeds so they can see which Facebook apps they are using and what information those apps have about them.
Improving ad and page transparency
According to another blog post this week from Rob Goldman, VP of Ads, and Alex Himel, VP of Local and Pages, any page that wants to target ads to individuals about politics or other sensitive issues will have its ads identified as “political ads.” The blog post also explains that any page with a large number of followers needs to have admins who are verified by Facebook. Individuals who do not clear the verification process would no longer be able to post on behalf of the page.
Clarifying terms of service and data privacy
Erin Egan, VP and Chief Privacy Officer, and Ashlie Beringer, VP and Deputy General Counsel, wrote in a blog post this week that Facebook had rewritten its terms of service policy to make it more clear to users about exactly what kind of information is being gathered about them in simplified language. Part of the reason for this is to accommodate for some of the new features Facebook has added since the last time the terms of service were last updated three years ago.
Helping people better determine the validity of articles in their news feeds
Another blog post from Facebook details that how Facebook started a test last year to help users see more background information about the articles they see in their news feeds. This feature is now being rolled out to every Facebook user in the United States. Facebook has now also added two more features to this update, including a “More From This Publisher” link that allows users to see other types of articles that were recently published by the same page.
Reiterating what is being done to connect people in news feeds
Facebook announced in January that it would be making changes to the news feed to encourage interaction with others and deemphasize consuming media in isolation. In a video released by Facebook this week, Mark Hull, Facebook’s Director of Product Management, said the following of the news feed updates:
“People come to Facebook to connect to the people who matter to them,” Hull said. “And over the next year, our team’s mission is to help you have deeper, more meaningful interactions with people you care about.”
In the video, Hull goes on to explain that Facebook’s ranking process will prioritize more engagement opportunities for users with their friends and family, rather than with pages or celebrities.
Digital insights company, Decibel, has launched a digital experience score. The score, which ranges from 1-10, is said to be able to measure engagement, frustration, and confusion among web and mobile app users.
A new study indicates that digital ads are growing in relevancy. Nearly three out of five respondents between the ages of 20-36 said digital ads are more relevant to them now than they were two years ago.
A series of “new” 8-bit ads are showing the power of nostalgia in marketing. The ads — meant to help promote the movie “Ready Player One” — feature pixelated versions of ‘Friends’, ‘Fresh Prince’, and ‘Full House’ opening themes.
Snapchat’s updates allow users to tag friends and engage in group video chats. Up to 16 people can participate in the group video chats — which, yes, include face filters.