media update’s Jenna Cook uncovers the biggest headlines in social media this February.

Instagram plans to release its new fundraiser sticker

The news: Earlier this month, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook and its growing number of apps would be making 2019 the year that they really take on e-commerce. And one area of focus will be the launch of Instagram's new fundraiser sticker.

In case you need a refresh – Instagram stickers are the eye-catching graphics that users can add directly to their image or video Stories. These stickers have a number of functions – from adding a location or hashtag to an interactive poll.

Stickers have been wildly successful because they inspire engagement between users. How? Thanks to stickers, users don’t have to make a comment or send a message in order to engage, they can literally just tap a button and BAM there's the engagement. And with the introduction of the fundraiser sticker, users will be able to do more than simply check ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on a poll; they’ll be able to make donations.

The fundraiser sticker hasn’t been released just yet, but what has been released is pieces of the coding behind it. And thanks to the efforts of reverse–engineering specialist Jane Manchun Wong, we have a glimpse of how this sticker works.

Basically, Instagram user A will search for a non-profit organisation and add a ‘donate’ button (the fundraiser sticker) for the organisation to their personal story. Then, when user B views user A’s story, they’ll be able to click on it, enter their personal credit card information and make a donation.

Why it’s making headlines: It sounds like a very sweet idea, right? An easy way for Instagram users to make a difference in the world! And while it is all of that, it’s also a sneaky way for the company to get a hold of your credit card information.

Wait, what?! Yup, you read that right. What they haven’t yet spilled the beans on is that once you make a donation, Instagram saves your credit card information without asking for permission. And why would they do that? To streamline your e-commerce experience by offering an instant check out on future purchases or donations – remember what their focus for 2019 is?

This has made people a little skeptical – and you can’t exactly blame them. Facebook has been more than sketchy in the past when it comes to private information. And while it is pretty cool that they’re looking into making it easier for users to make purchases online, I think we’d all agree that the best thing to do is ask our permission before storing our information.

LinkedIn Live – the platform’s new video broadcast feature

The news: LinkedIn debuted it’s real-time video broadcasting feature earlier this month. If you’re a regular on the platform but you haven’t seen the live-video capability – don’t fret! It’s still in its testing phase and that means that only a few users have access to it right now.

The platform hopes that this feature will be used to cover conferences, do Q&As with thought leaders, showcase product announcements and even give viewers an inside peek into the daily operations of organisations. So, basically everything you’d usually see on your LinkedIn newsfeed – but LIVE.

Why it’s making headlines: In comparison to other social media platforms, LinkedIn has always been behind the curve. And if live-video is what users are the most excited about, then in the true spirit of social media – give the people what they want.

Video is the fastest growing format on our platform right now, and the one most likely to get people talking,” says Pete Davies, the director of product management at LinkedIn. With that in mind, the move to incorporate live-video is a step further in the right direction for the networking platform – and so far, it’s proven to be a highly successful one.

‘Clarify’ comes to Twitter

The news: On Thursday, 14 February, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey spoke at an event in San Francisco. He said that Twitter is thinking about introducing a feature that’ll allow users to clarify their tweets.

What exactly does that mean? While there’s no official plan in place for this feature just yet, Dorsey says that this feature could allow a user to attach a comment to their original tweet in the hopes that it would provide more context – thereby avoiding any misunderstandings or unnecessary scrutiny.

“The thing that we’re seeing more broadly within the culture right now, in this particular moment, is people ‘being cancelled’ because of past things that they’ve said on Twitter or various other places in social media,” Dorsey says.

“There’s no credible way to kind of go back and clarify or even have a conversation to show the learning and the transition since.”

Let’s take a closer look at what he’s saying: As the need for transparency becomes even more important in our online society, more brands, influencers and social media users are going to be called out for things they’ve posted in the past.

And if what was posted, no matter how old, is deemed unacceptable by the platform’s users, the person or brand could face huge consequences, i.e., ruined reputation or loss of clientele, etc. The point is, something a user could’ve said on social media 10 years ago could come back and destroy their lives now.

Why it’s making headlines: While there’s no cure for tweeting something rude, untrue or just plain ridiculous, a tool users can resort to if they want to own up to their original tweet does sound cool. But it does make one wonder: Wouldn’t it be easier to allow users to simply edit their tweets instead?

Are there any other features you’d like to see added to your favourite social media platform? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Turning to social media as a trustworthy news source has become quite a norm these days. The only question is … where does this leave traditional news outlets? Read about it in our article, What to trust: Traditional news outlets or social media.
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy