How many of these social media stories were on your 2023 bingo card?
Ok parents, this one is for you. A newly unsealed complaint suggests Meta knew that millions of its users were under the required age of 13, and routinely collected their data. According to this NY Times article, it was an “open secret.” However, Meta is blaming parents for not doing a better job of monitoring their children’s app downloads. Over to you, mom and dad…
In today’s newsletter:
Rewind: These Were Some Of The Biggest Social Media Stories in 2023
Social Snack: New Features You May Have Missed
Gen Z Says: Stop Using This Laughing Emoji
If you could take a few seconds to fill out the poll below and let me know what type of content you’d like to see in 2024, I’d really appreciate it!
Many of this year’s biggest social media stories were definitely not on my bingo card.
We got a new Twitter-like app (and it surprisingly gave Mark Zuckerberg a brand boost). News was banned on Facebook and Instagram in Canada. AI became an even bigger part of our lives (and in some cases, scared the pants off of us). And, of course, we said goodbye to the Twitter bird.
Keep scrolling for a recap:
It’s been one full year since Elon Musk took over Twitter. In 2023, he added to the chaos at the platform (after slashing departments) by pay walling many features through various subscriptions. He also killed off the actual Twitter brand and bird. X, as it’s now known, is currently bleeding advertisers after Musk endorsed an antisemitic tweet. And despite appointing a new CEO (Linda Yaccarino), its DAU (daily active user) stats are also reportedly down. I think we were all worried when Musk took over, but I definitely did not see most of this coming.
👉 WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU: If you’re still on X/Twitter, I suggest continuing to monitor the situation, while exploring current/other platforms.
Sensing blood in the water at X, Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg rushed to launch a new Instagram app called Threads (think of Twitter, but limited search and no hashtags). In under a week, it gained 100 million users (although, all you really had to do was claim your Instagram handle, so it wasn’t like you actually had to do much to move over). It’s still struggling to attract daily active users, but the platform is regularly updated with new features (the latest being a new way to tag topics). The biggest surprise: How much Threads users celebrated and thanked Meta’s Zuckerberg, who has typically been seen as a social media villain via Facebook.
👉 WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU: If you like text-based apps, Threads might be a good option. But you may find that many of your regular followers haven’t moved over yet, so it might not be super engaging (at least not at the moment).
3/4 Nothing to see here
Media outlets across Canada watched helplessly earlier this year when the content on their Facebook and Instagram accounts were blocked for Canadian users. Meta took this action in response to the Online News Act (Bill C-18) that requires companies like Meta and Google to pay news outlets to post their content. Bill C-18 became law in June. The restriction began in August. And there doesn’t seem to be any timeline on when this might get resolved.
👉 WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU: If you’re a publisher or a reader, you’ve probably already moved elsewhere. New research suggests more people are turning to platforms like TikTok for news. Stay tuned for my 2024 Social Media Trends issue!
4/4 AI AI…Uh oh
One of the biggest news stories of the year was the launch of artificial intelligence tools like Chat GPT. And many social media companies happily jumped on the AI train. For example, YouTube unveiled a slew of new AI-powered tools for creators (learn more: CNN), Meta introduced AI “characters” (learn more: Meta) and Snapchat released its AI chatbot (learn more: The Verge). However, some Snapchat users did get a bit nervous the chatbot had gone rogue after it appeared to post a picture of a wall/ceiling to Stories. The company said it was just a technical outage. 🤷♀️
👉 WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU: Expect more AI tools and features in 2024, and perhaps a few glitches…
🍰 SOCIAL SNACK 🍰
New features you may have missed
There were dozens and dozens of new features announced in 2023. Here is a (super) quick recap:
X/Twitter will bring back article headlines in posts, says Musk [Variety]
Instagram makes public Reels downloadable to everyone (not just U.S. users) [Engadget]
Meta’s Messenger app now has a Notes status update feature just like Instagram and Whatsapp [The Verge]
😭 Gen Z says…
Gen Z doesn’t necessarily make the rules, but they are definitely worth listening to — especially when it comes to how to use emojis.
I shared this laughing emoji update earlier this year. Gen Z says we need to stop using this 😂 or this 🤣 and instead use 💀 — but never ☠️.
It’s all explained in this TikTok video from ApplyBoard.
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