media update's Emma Beavon dives into the most important social media happenings over the past month.

Change is coming: Whatsapp edition

The news: South Africa’s most popular messaging app, Whatsapp, is going to see big changes — including a new name. The owner of Whatsapp, Facebook, announced that the app's name will be changed to 'Whatsapp from Facebook'. Other changes include adding adverts, cryptocurrency, multi-device support, Facebook and QR code integration as well as the ability of users to edit media and voice commands.

The changes are set to be implemented will include:
  • Adverts will begin showing in the Whatsapp status page at the beginning of 2020
  • Calibra cryptocurrency wallet will be available allowing you to send Libra, a new global currency powered by blockchain technology, to anyone as easily as sending a message.
  • You will soon be able to access one WhatsApp account across multiple devices at the same time.
  • Whatsapp users will be able to share their statuses to Facebook — just like Instagram. 
  • A media editing feature is planned to be available within the next few app updates. 
  • A new feature has been introduced allowing Android users to read and reply to Whatsapp messages by using voice commands. 
Image sourced from MyBroadband

Why it's making headlines: It's unclear how people will react to these changes since the platform is so popular. But, Facebook has said these changes are being introduced for both the user’s and the company’s benefit. It has given the following reasons for the change:
  • The app's name will be changing to make it clearer about the products and services that are part of Facebook.
  • The adverts are being introduced to increase the money Facebook can make from the messaging app much like the adverts seen on Instagram Stories.
  • The addition of cryptocurrency will offer strong security measures to ensure that user funds are protected, and dedicated live support will also be available.
  • The multi-device support feature will allow users to use their WhatsApp accounts on iOS and Android devices simultaneously and through an upcoming standalone WhatsApp app for desktop that will not require your phone to be connected to the Internet.
  • The ability to share your Whatsapp status to Facebook is another way to show that the apps are linked and make actively using both apps easier for users.
  • The editing feature will allow users to edit media they have either sent or received from within the WhatsApp app again making life easier for Whatsapp users, rather than using a completely different app for photo editing. 
  • The introduction of the voice command feature is in line with recent trends towards smart assistants as a way of consuming content and performing digital tasks.

Facebook adds more page badges to encourage engagement

The news: Late last year, Facebook introduced its group badges — little pictures and notes that appear next to members' names in the comment section of group posts. Facebook has now decided to further this by slowly adding badges into normal comments as well. This can be seen when people who engage with a pages posts actively have the ‘top fan’ badge. Other badges include follower, anniversary follower and milestone follower. 

Image sourced from SocialMediaToday
Image sourced from SocialMediaToday

Why it’s making headlines: Badges serve as motivation for ‘fans’ to interact with pages more. This also helps brand ambassadors and businesses to track and give recognition to people who actively engage with their content. This could therefore lead to more one-on-one interactions between brand ambassadors, businesses and users, as well as offer incentives for user’s to become ‘top fans’. This could have a ripple effect with more and more customers wanting to be noticed and rewarded.  

Snapchat’s bold new logo change

The news: Snapchat has made a change to its logo, putting a dark bold line around the iconic ghost logo. This change has been made because Snapchat says it makes the logo more visible and eye-catching to draw people to open their Snap app.

Image sourced from FastCompany

Why it’s making headlines:
Many users are unhappy with the new logo as they say the bold line makes the logo look aggressive. Many people have threatened to delete the app over this small change saying that it doesn't ‘match’ the other apps on their phone.

It would appear that Snapchat’s ‘visibility’ reasoning wasn’t too well thought out, but it wouldn’t be the first time that the platform made changes their users didn’t like....

Are there any other social media updates you’ve read about this month? Share them with us in the comments section below.

Want to stay up to date with the latest news? Subscribe to our newsletter.

So now that you’re clued up on all of the social updates, be sure to check out article all about Social media sentiment: What is it and why you should care.
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy