Weekly Search and Social Media Highlights

We’ve started a new weekly series through which we’ll be sharing selected search industry and social media news that grabs our interest. Here’s some of what happened in the search engine and social media industries from 1st to 10th January 2020.

1. Facebook will ban ‘deepfakes’

In a recent blog, Facebook’s Vice President for Global Policy Management Monika Bickert announced her company’s decision to strengthen policy against manipulative videos known as ‘deepfakes’ which negatively impact ordinary viewers. She also explained the context to this development and shared the criteria through which deepfakes will be controlled such as editing or synthesis beyond routine adjustments or if it is AI-generated content.


2. Google Assistant will be able to read websites

At the recent 2020 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, it was announced that Google Assistant will be able to read out websites to you and translate them, optionally. To activate, users would simply have to open a site on Chrome desktop or Android phone and say “Hey Google, read it” or “Hey Google, read this page“. Initially upon rolling out, this feature will only be available to Android users.


3. Pinterest stocks will likely surge in 2020

Ian Bezek of Investorplace wrote an article in which he predicated that Pinterest has a more ‘monetisable’ user base compared to rival social media networks. The company tripled video ad revenues year-over-year, witnessing promising growth. He said that Pinterest might emulate Facebook’s strategy of yielding increased returns on investment once shares were public.


4. Twitter to track and combat coordinated campaigns

Twitter’s Trust & Safety Department recently posted ads for recruiting a Senior Information Operations Domain Specialist who can lead investigation and response efforts against campaign manipulation, election interference and also nation state/ Advanced Persistent Threat activity. These openings are available at San Francisco (US) and Dublin (Ireland).


5. Snapchat quietly buys the company behind Cameos feature

Snapchat has quiely purchased AI Factory for $166 million, a computer vision startup with which the app introduced the Cameos animated selfie feature. AI Factory’s core developer team is based in Ukraine and the company’s LinkedIn profile says they provide “multiple AI business solutions based on image and video recognition, analysis and processing”.


6. Instagram takes down fake Voice of America Persian account

An account posing as the official account of the American government’s news agency in Iran, Voice of America Persian, was taken down by Instagram for violating the platform’s impersonation policies. Instagram was tipped off through an enquiry by The Associated Press.


7. LinkedIn will move to Azure

Three years after its acquisition by Microsoft, LinkedIn is moving over to the Microsoft Azure cloud, which will likely take three and a half years to complete. Azure will reportedly allow LinkedIn to benefit from Microsoft’s global footprint, storage and computing power along with a robust security infrastructure.


8. Tumble’s new awareness initiative to combat fake news

Tumble recently launched campaign called World Wide What aiming to educate users on how to detect and beware of fake news. Called ‘Fake News and Skewed News‘, Tumblr laid out three tiers of fake news: Satire, Misinterpretation and Misinformation.


9. WhatsApp will stop working on millions of phones next month

Beginning February 1, WhatsApp will cease support for iPhones running iOS 8 or older and Android 2.3.7 or older. The move is part of Facebook’s effort to stop supporting older mobile platforms. WhatsApp had recently stopped supporting Windows phones from December 31, 2019 after Microsoft ended support for its Windows 10 Mobile OS.


10. Facebook Messenger Desktop (Beta) enabled voice clips

Recently, Facebook Messenger Desktop (Beta) added a new feature through which you can send voice clips directly from the desktop app. This feature will only be available to those using the Messenger Desktop Beta version. Also, they just introduced a Dark Mode feature.



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