Every week the Insights Team at The Goat Agency pull together the latest news from the social space in a weekly Industry Round-Up. This week we cover Meta launching Wendyverse, TikTok being sued by two previous moderators, Instagram testing a full immersive feed and so much more!
Two TikTok Moderators Suing ByteDance
Two former TikTok moderators have filed a lawsuit against ByteDance, alleging they suffered psychological trauma and insufficient mental health support during their time reviewing content that was highly toxic and disturbing.
The two moderators filing the lawsuit are working with the Joseph Saveri Law Firm, which dealt with a similar lawsuit on behalf of Facebook moderators in 2018 – which ended in Facebook handing over a $50 million settlement in 2020.
According to the lawsuit, TikTok broke California labor laws by putting employees in an unsafe work environment. The two moderators were employed as contractors working for third-party firms – which is commonplace for social platform moderators.
TikTok reportedly works with around 10,000 moderators and could see this lawsuit turn into a class action.
Influencer E-commerce Platform Raises $10 Million
ShopThing is a platform that allows users to purchase clothes and items they see during in-app and Instagram Stories flash sales. In most recent news the company has just announced $10 million in new Series A funding led by Origin Ventures.
The founder of ShopThing, Maggie Adhami-Boynton, was inspired to create the platform after finding a streamer who used Instagram Live to help her followers shop for clothes. ShopThing essentially operates with a community of more than 100 personal shoppers and influencers who choose items to recommend to viewers.
Users of ShopThing can purchase featured items and check out through the app – with the platform adding a 20% fee to all orders submitted in this way. Interestingly, the platform already works with brands like Nordstrom to offer exclusive discounts for users.
The platform currently has around 500,000 users on the consumer end, whilst also having a team of personal shoppers who recommend products. This new funding is looking to be invested into international expansion.
Vlogbrothers Launch ‘Awesome Coffee Club’
Hank and John Green, also known as the Vlogbrothers, with a YouTube subscriber count of over 3.4 million, have launched a coffee brand named ‘Awesome Coffee Club’.
The new brand is built around a subscription model where customers will receive a 12–ounce bag of coffee each month costing $22. More importantly, all profits will be donated to charity, as stated in the initial launch by the brothers.
The Awesome Coffee Club beans are all sourced using an ethical process, profits will then go directly to organizations in Sierra Leone, that are aiming to reduce maternal and child mortality rates in struggling communities.
This is one of many creator coffee brands we’ve seen in the last few years, with the likes of Emma Chamberlain launching the hugely successful ‘Chamberlain Coffee’. The Awesome Coffee Club has also experienced fast success with Hank Green tweeting that 60% of the available brands have already been claimed in the first 24 hours.
New Data Agreement In Europe Saves Facebook & Instagram
Last month Instagram and Facebook’s future in Europe was in question after a preliminary order sent in 2020 from the EU privacy regulator reached a crossroads where Meta was forced to take action.
Meta has been working on a solution ever since the initial order and things looked uncertain for some time. However, the president of the EU Commission has now announced a new, preliminary agreement on transatlantic data flows in the US.
This new update will ensure Facebook and Instagram continue to operate in the EU with the new deal bringing about predictable and trustworthy data flows, balancing security, the right to privacy and data protection.
Meta Is Cracking Down On ‘Watchbait’ Videos Across Facebook
Meta will not be recommending ‘watchbait’ videos to users, with videos of this nature receiving a limited ranking. In addition, If accounts continually post ‘watchbait’ videos, it may result in a page’s overall distribution being reduced.
Meta has a system that can detect trends in videos that lure viewers into watching the entirety of a video through text, thumbnails or content matter. Meta has deemed this type of tactic negative for the user experience and has since decided to limit the reach of content that tricks/misleads viewers about the true nature of a video.
So how do you avoid posting content that falls under the label of ‘watchbaiting’? Well, Meta advises avoiding withholding information to create curiosity to entice users to watch the video in full, avoid sensationalising content and avoid misleading expectations of viewers or deception about the video content. ‘Watchbait’ titles that are flagged by Meta could include “his reaction was priceless” or “this was the worst way to wake up”. Essentially avoid what the likes of Jake Paul did across YouTube during Team 10 days – yes we’re referencing the pranks and sensationalised video titles that never got the payoff.
Meta has showcased what a branded space will look like within its VR Horizon Worlds platform. Wendy’s has partnered with Meta on a VR creation named ‘Wendyverse’, enabling VR users to explore and interact with the space via their headset.
On April the 2nd, Wendy’s will launch the virtual space in collaboration with Horizon Worlds and Horizon World’s creators. Users with a Meta Quest 2 device will have access to the virtual Wendy’s restaurant.
This stands as the first example of what Meta plans to do with brands in its future metaverse. Branded social interactions will play an important role in ushering in a new digital experience where users can engage in-world with brands and friends, whilst also shopping and making real-world purchases with items that can be tried on and viewed in a virtual setting.
Instagram Tests A Full Immersive Feed
Instagram is testing a full immersive feed according to app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi. This has been in planning for a while with Instagram, but now a test is apparent which sees Instagram test a fully-integrated home feed that removes the top Stories bar and presents all content in a full–screen swipeable user experience.
The new experimental Instagram feed combines feed posts, Stories and Reels within a singular home feed flow. Stories appear with a frame bar to indicate multiple story frames while videos have a progress bar.
This update could enhance the algorithm based on user responses to content over the current format that presents content in different ways. This integrated feed has benefited TikTok, with the algorithm having the ability to measure the response of specific content and serve hyper-relevant videos very quickly to users based on reactions to specific elements within clips.
This test is still occurring back-end so there is no evidence of a wider user test of this new integrated immersive feed as of yet.
Instagram’s New Prompts For Charitable Causes
Instagram is highlighting social causes in the app with an additional pop-up on hashtag search pages of select movements. When a user searches for a certain cause hashtag, a pop-up will ask if the user would like to share the hashtag page with followers or create a fundraiser. Importantly, 100% of donations through fundraisers on the platform will go to the relevant organization.
This is a move to position the app as one that drives social change, which is important following reports that Instagram can be a damaging app for young users.
Instagram has stated that users have requested more ways to support charities directly through the app. The first rollout of movement hashtags will include #BlackLivesMatter, #womensrights and #climatecrisis, helping to highlight these causes and promote a charity relevant through Instagram’s charitable donations feature.
The prompts are currently being tested, and we should expect to see more movements added following a positive response to the new feature.
New Twitter Spaces Analytics
Twitter is testing new analytics for Spaces for selected hosts. Those with access can see metrics including the number of people that tuned in, total speakers in the sessions, replays, duration and more!
More than ever, platforms are realizing the importance of analytics to aid creators in optimizing content and understanding the value of certain formats. We’ve seen this with Instagram updating creator insights to be more extensive and other platforms are following suit.
Hosts of Spaces with access to the full analytics simply tap on the graph icon on their live audio room display to be taken to performance stats.
Twitter recently added metrics for creators to track monetisation for tickets spaces, showing a trend in a creator-led approach to new features.
Twitter & Collaborative Tweets
App researcher Alessandro Paluzzi has spotted yet another platform feature in testing, this time across Twitter with a new collaborative tweet option. This new feature in testing appears in a ‘collaboration’ icon in the tweet composer. This new feature allows users to include two authors in a single tweet.
The tweet, once adding collaborators, will appear with author names and multiple profile images as per different iterations of co-authored tweet appearances. Twitter is clearly testing various visual arrangements of collaborative tweets but this feature will certainly facilitate new opportunities for creators.
Collaboration tools are something Facebook and Instagram apps have rolled out in the past, either for transparency on branded content deals or to highlight collaborative projects with other users.
The feature at this point in time still remains in testing with no word on a confirmed rollout by Twitter.
Pinterest Expands The Creator Fund
Pinterest is expanding its Creator Fund program, which was set up to support Pinterest creators, whether that be through platform presence building or monetising their Pin content.
The fund launched in April last year, helping to boost the presence of Pin creators. Participants in the fund saw a 2.9x increase in Idea Pin impressions on average and an increase in overall monthly views by 72%.
Next up for Pinterest is expanding the fund to more creators to provide cash grants, ad credits and equipment to support underrepresented creators in fashion and beauty verticals, then expanding to wellness, lifestyle/home and food creators. The new initiative for fashion and beauty creators is sponsored by L’Oreal USA, with an overall $1.2 million investment being created in the latest fund expansion.
Pinterest is taking a topic-based approach to ensure a deep understanding of chosen creators in each field, the platform is also extending the program from four weeks to five, to enhance the support in the new round.
Pinterest is also looking to expand the fund to more markets this year, with the fund only available to US creators at present. This fund also feeds into the platform’s overall goal of making a more inclusive and representative platform which has been reflected in new feature rollouts, including a hair pattern search tool that recently got expanded to more regions.
TikTok ‘Watch History’ Feature
TikTok is testing a new feature named ‘watch history’ located in some users’ account settings. This new feature allows users to locate videos they’ve recently watched but may have not liked.
Interestingly, a similar feature already exists on YouTube, and with TikTok upping content duration to 10 minutes, the platform is looking to directly take on YouTube and that means replicating similar features that users find useful to discover video content.
This feature has not got an official nod on a rollout by TikTok but we could expect this feature soon, with more users finding the feature being tested on their TikTok accounts.
TikTok’s GIF Library Tool
TikTok has added the ability to add a GIF to content with a new GIF library tool. This new content creation option will enable TikTok users to engage in meme trends which could further enhance engagement on the platform.
The new tool is built in partnership with GIPHY, allowing GIFs to be added to videos so users can film reactions, and responses, among other uses. The new GIF tool will no doubt be popular due to the dominance of reaction content on the app.
What is particularly interesting is the fact that GIPHY was purchased by Meta in 2020, so it is surprising that Meta has entered a partnership with one of its biggest rivals. However, the acquisition of GIPHY by Meta has been challenged in the UK which has delayed a full integration of the platform – but Meta does technically own the platform at present.