We’ve pulled together the latest news from the social space in our weekly Industry Round Up. Explore the top headlines below and get up to speed with the latest news, including the rise of NFT platforms and this weeks platform updates!
Spotify Removes Episodes Of The Joe Rogan Experience
Following ongoing controversy from Joe Rogan’s podcast which is exclusive to Spotify, the platform has made the move to remove 70 episodes.
Only last week Joe Rogan was facing backlash due to spreading Covid misinformation on the platform, resulting in some artists pulling music catalogs from Spotify. However, in recent updates a video is circulating the internet which includes a compilation where Rogan is using racially insensitive terms, spanning past episodes of his show.
Rogan issued yet another apology, stating that it was not his word to use and that he felt shame that he ever talked about certain topics and used specific terms on a public platform.
Snapchat Reaches 319 Million Daily Users
Following quarterly reports that Pinterest and Facebook have experienced a drop in users, Snapchat has reported strong Q4 performance. The platform has risen to 319 million daily active users.
This growth in daily active users illustrates a 20% increase year-over-year. Snapchat users have also grown significantly in India, as connectivity improves within this market.
Snapchat has also reported that Spotlight viewers are going on to subscribe to more creators, which is doubling overall quarter-over-quarter. The Spotlight feature (which is Snaps TikTok-like competitor product) has also helped drive uplift in AR Lens usage- with 65% of Spotlight submissions now utilising a Snapchat AR Lens. Revenue wise, Snapchat also brought in $1.3 billion in Q4, an increase of 42% year-over-year.
NFT Platform Pixel Vault Raises $100 Million
NFT development platform, Pixel Vault has recently closed a $100 million funding round. Pixel Vault’s first NFT launch was with Punks Comics, creating a series of digital and physical comic books featuring characters from CryptoPunks – which was another NFT project.
Pixel Vault has since secured comic book artists to create a collection of superhero NFTs. The collection consists of 146 core superhero character NFTs, owned by the community and thousands of generative characters. A core character NFT is currently selling for around $300,000.
Platform Spotlight: RareCircles
RareCircles is an NFT startup that recently raised $7.5M in seed funding. The platform enables brands and entrepreneurs to build NFT membership experiences.
RareCircles supports the creation of NFTs and the primary sale, whilst also connecting creators with their communities. The platform enables minting across blockchains and accepts payments in crypto and fiat.
The new investment will be used to roll out new membership features to enable deeper engagement. We are seeing a rise in investment in NFT startups, as we continue to experience hype around Web3 and digital ownership.
Cameo Is Getting Into NFTs
Cameo, the video-sharing app that blew up during the pandemic has announced a new venture into NFTs. Starting February 17th, Cameo is allowing users to buy an NFT called a Cameo Pass, providing exclusive access to celebrity Q&As, meet and greets, launch parties at the Cameo House in L.A and more.
Passes will go on sale on OpenSea, starting at 0.2 Ethereum each.
Coachella Selling Lifetime Festival Passes as NFTs
Coachella has partnered with FTX US to build and launch its own NFT marketplace where it sold three collections of NFTs on February 4th, providing its first-ever lifetime festival passes. In addition to passes for every future Coachella festival, the owners of each token will be given lifetime access to Coachella-produced virtual experiences.
When asked why they had decided to enter the NFT universe, Sam Schoonover – Coachella’s Digital Innovation Manager – explained:
“We’ve all seen how NFTs enable true ownership of art and media on the internet. We wanted to take it one step further and use NFTs to enable ownership of experiences in the real world too. Only blockchain can give us the unique ability to offer tradable lifetime passes to Coachella for the first time ever.”
FaZe Clan Partners With NASCAR
The gaming organization FaZe Clan is partnering with racing brand NASCAR on new limited-edition clothing and headwear. The collection is currently being sold online and debuted at Nascar’s season opener.
The merch in the collection was designed by FaZe Blazzy, and will retail for $30 to $70. According to reports, NASCAR has been tracking the evolution of gaming culture and the power of gaming organizations such as FaZe in connecting brands and consumers authentically.
FaZe have been known for interesting merch collaborations with NFL and fashion brand Champion in the past – and speaks to a trend of gaming organizations building lifestyle brands.
Personal Boundary Zones Added To The Metaverse
Meta has updated their Horizon World’s universe by adding personal boundary zones that prohibit users to move within close proximity of another user.
This development has been issued to combat a number of complaints emerging from the world, with two women claiming they were sexually harassed when playing in the virtual realm.
These complaints identify a major problem for Meta, who look to shift towards VR for its metaverse development, which is why the organization have been forced to implement boundary zones within the space.
Twitter’s Super Follows Updates
Twitter is looking to enhance its subscriber tools with the dominance of subscription-based models within the creator economy. The platform recently added a separate ‘Super Followers’ notification tab for creators, segmenting notifications from ordinary alerts. This will help creators to engage with an audience paying for their content, improving their connection with such audiences to help incentivise sign-up and retaining current super followers on the platform.
In addition, Twitter has added the ability for subscribers of creators who pay to switch on notifications for Super Follower tweets. This update will help improve engagement with paid content and ensure content doesn’t get missed in the sea of other content on the platform.
The Super Follows subscription feature only launched last year, allowing creators with a following over 10K to pay up to $9.99 for content. Upon launch, the feature received mixed feedback and Twitter is facing an uphill battle to ensure the offering can actually add value for users who at one point could get the content for free.
Instagram’s New Features To Improve Safety In-App
To coincide with Safer Internet Day, Instagram has announced new features to improve the user experience on the app, focusing on new safety tools.
First, Instagram is releasing an updated activity dashboard, allowing users to bulk delete, see information on time spent, interactions and on-platform searches. Users can manage their content, removing posts and clips through a checkbox process as well as archiving content.
Instagram is also adding an updated security checkup feature, providing resources for users to understand how best to secure accounts, including checking login activity, reviewing profile information, updating account recovery and more. Originally this resource was released to those who had been hacked, but now the new checkup will be available for all users.
Finally, the platform is also adding a new way for users to regain access to locked accounts, allowing friends to confirm user identities in the app.
Facebook & Instagram Shutting Down In Europe?
Conversations have surfaced over the possibility that Facebook’s parent company, Meta may shut down its services within the EU. This news follows the ongoing issues and legal challenges over how it handles EU user data.
Back in 2020, a European Union privacy regulator sent the company an order to suspend data transfers to the US about EU users – due to US surveillance concerns. This was off the back of concerns from the U.S or most specific Trump, who had issues with Chinese-originated apps having data on Americans.
Meta’s trouble regarding EU user data is still a lingering concern, Meta states an official ruling on this case could be coming soon, which may cause the company to re-assess how it stores user data. This could in turn cause the removal of Facebook and Instagram from the region.
However, it seems unlikely that Meta will completely pull the plug on EU users, with an agreement being more plausible on how user data is transferred.
TikTok Updates Community Guidelines
The platform has added new updates to its Community Guidelines to improve user safety and counteract harmful content trends.
The recent updates stem from reports of injuries as a result of TikTok challenges and the influence content trends have over young children on the platform. Firstly TikTok is reducing the reach and exposure of trends that feature challenges of a dangerous nature or content around suicide hoaxs. The platform will reiterate that content that encourages or promotes suicide or self-harm hoaxs is not allowed. This new update will see TikTok remove more of this content with trends such as the ‘Blue Whale Challenge’ and ‘Momo’ popping up across the platform.
TikTok is also developing its approach to eating disorder-related content, picking up on related concerns such as over-exercise or fasting which can contribute to issues with eating. Furthermore, TikTok is also updating rules around misgendering and misogyny along with conversations around conversion therapy programs. Finally, TikTok is adding elements to limit unauthorized use of the platform including rules against spamming and crawling TikTok for user info.