It really is amazing how many BIG social media updates can happen in just one month. Case in point, here are some of the top updates that rolled out in November 2020:
- Twitter launched its own version of Stories
- Snapchat unveiled a new in-app feature that looks a lot like another popular app
- Instagram updated the home screen navigation for the first time in a long time
- And Facebook made messages disappear
In lighter news…
Harry Potter fans were likely delighted to learn that Rupert Grint had joined Instagram. Although, David Attenborough left his millions of followers, departing the app after just a few weeks. Meanwhile, Instagram is conducting an investigation into exactly who mistakenly liked a “lingerie post” from the Pope’s official account. 😰
Now let’s dig into the top headlines from November 2020.
LOOKING BACK AT NOVEMBER 2020
(Even) More Stories
In November, Twitter announced the global launch of its Stories features, called “Fleets.” This is the biggest update to the social media platform since it doubled its 140-character limit to 280 in 2017. And this latest launch was a big success. Fleets was so popular that Twitter had to slow down the rollout after many reported the feature was lagging or causing the app to crash. Other than that, there were some privacy and security concerns that Twitter responded to, such as whether Fleets actually disappear after 24 hours (true).
Another potential issue pointed out by Mashable is that any message sent via Fleets goes directly into your DMs. And for many women, that means so-called “reply guys” have a new way to send a message. Hopefully a fix is coming for that. In the meantime, Twitter is testing a voice-chat room that it hopes will curb harassment on the site, according to The Verge. The first people to get access to testing: women and those in marginalized communities.
(Even) More Copycats
Snapchat is used to being copied (ahem, Instagram Stories), but now it’s the one copying — and the main target is TikTok. Following the October launch of Snapchat Sounds, which allows people to add music to their Snaps (just like TikTok), it recently went a step further and launched an in-app TikTok competitor called Spotlight. The feature is currently available 11 countries, including the U.S. and Canada. And to help build buzz, Snapchat is encouraging creators to submit their best Snaps for a chance to win big money.
Focusing on Reels, Shop
In November, Instagram announced a major update to the home screen navigation to include Reels and Shop tabs. That means some of the other options — such as notifications and content creation — have also moved.
“We don’t take these changes lightly – we haven’t updated Instagram’s home screen in a big way for quite a while. But how people create and enjoy culture has changed, and the biggest risk to Instagram is not that we change too fast, but that we don’t change and become irrelevant,” Instagram said in a blog post. And while some aren’t too happy about the change, to be fair, it may just be that Instagram realizes this is the future.
We get the message
Facebook rolled out several messaging-related updates in November, including disappearing messages in WhatsApp. Right now, you can set the timer for seven days. Why? “We’re starting with seven days because we think it offers peace of mind that conversations aren’t permanent, while remaining practical so you don’t forget what you were chatting about,” FB said in a post. Here’s how to enable disappearing messages. It also started rolling out a new Vanish Mode for Messenger and Instagram DMs. That means that anything you send as a one-to-one chat, including text, photos, videos, GIFs and emojis, will vanish as soon as they are viewed or when the chat window is closed. To activate it, just swipe up on an existing chat thread. Swipe up again to go back to regular chat mode.
- Twitter will soon reopen its verification process, but it wants feedback first
- Instagram announced three updates to Live Streams, and updated the search function to include “Interests”
- TikTok was so thankful after three creators successfully convinced a judge to issue a preliminary injunction blocking a series of proposed U.S. government restrictions
- Snapchat is now showing subscriber counts
- Pinterest announced new tools for merchants
- YouTube launched a ‘My Mix’ feature – similar to Spotify’s ‘Daily Mixes’
Short-looping video app TikTok continued to hold onto the No. 1 spot for most downloaded non-gaming app worldwide in October 2020, according to mobile app analytics firm, Sensor Tower. It had close to 66 millions installs, mainly in China and Brazil. It was followed by Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp, at 57 million installs. By comparison, WhatsApp was No. 4 on this list in September 2020. The country with the most WhatsApp installs: India. Perhaps this has something to do with the new payments feature?