Instagram’s new anti-bullying features, the future of Internet ad spend, security flaws in some of your favourite tech, Gen Z’s thoughts on social media platforms, that viral #BottleCapChallenge and much more: are you ready for The Weekly Download?
Instagram Introduces New Anti-Bullying Features
Instagram has announced they’ll be taking steps to combat bullying on the platform, starting with a test of two features: comment warnings and a restrict option.
— Instagram (@instagram) July 8, 2019
The comment warning feature can reportedly detect offensive content as a user is typing, then prompt them to reconsider before posting.
The restrict feature will allow users to identify their personal bullies on the platform without banning them — something that Instagram’s research has shown is important to teens.
When a user sets an account to “restricted,” they have the ability to screen comments from the restricted account, choosing to approve it, delete it, or leave it as visible only to the poster. These comments will also show up behind a “sensitivity screen” that requires the user to tap in order to see it. Messages from restricted accounts will show up in the “message requests” section of a user’s DMs rather than the main inbox.
Essentially, Instagram is testing a “shadow ban” feature that’s as old as forums — users are prevented from posting publicly, but left to believe their content is actually being seen by all.
Will the feature work? It’s hard to say. It will be easy to learn if your account has been restricted. According to Vox, the restrict option’s embedded tagging feature is the tell. When tagging users in a photo, Instagram typically suggests users based on your previous interactions and autofills usernames once you start typing a couple of letters. If you’ve been restricted? You’ll have to key in their entire username, letter by letter, and bingo, you know that user has you restricted.
Do you think that Instagram’s new anti-bullying features will help to reduce offensive content and victimization on the platform? Let us know in the comments below.
Zoom Flaw Lets Sites Hijack Your Mac’s Webcam
As avid Zoom users, Spodek & Co. were certainly interested in this story this week!
A major vulnerability was discovered within Zoom video conference software for Mac that allowed a user’s webcam to be hijacked by simply clicking on a link. The flaw works because Zoom installs a web server on the Mac when a person installs the desktop app.
This web server leaves Zoom vulnerable to a potential breach: any other website can simply post a link that, when a person clicks on it, will activate their webcam, allowing that site’s owners to launch a video call and view them without their permission.
The good news: Zoom’s July 2019 update will give users more control over their video permission settings. Apple has also stepped in to silently remove Zoom’s hidden web server software in order to protect users. Back to our regularly scheduled meetings, Spodek & Co. team! 😉
Apple Disables Walkie-Talkie App on Apple Watch Due to Privacy Concerns
And speaking of tech vulnerabilities, Apple is dealing with one of their own this week.
After learning of a bug in their Apple Watch that could allow users to listen in on each other without the other person’s knowledge, Apple has disabled the Walkie-Talkie app on the platform until a fix is issued.
Although there’s no evidence that the flaw has yet been exploited by users, Apple is erring on the side of caution in order to protect user privacy. Good call.
Snapchat is Launching Creator Shows
In an effort to keep users engaged on the platform, Snapchat will be launching Creator Shows featuring stars and influencers. The shows will be roughly 10 episodes of five-minute shorts with themes like beauty, fitness, fashion and more.
Celebs like Serena Williams, Kevin Hart and Arnold Schwarzenegger and creators like Loren Grey, Emma Chamberlain and Rickey Thompson will be starring in the shorts, set to air this summer on the Discover page.
Snap is also offering new product updates for official accounts, rolling out Highlights, a collection of photo and video content for creators to add to their profiles. Highlights will show up on the redesigned official accounts profiles, which will also have a link to Creator Shows when they launch.
The Social Media Platforms Teens Are Ditching in 2019
A new survey conducted by Business Insider reports that teens and young adults continue to move away from Facebook in favour of platforms for YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat.
While roughly 30 percent of 1,884 Gen Zs surveyed said they’ve flat out abandoned Facebook, a significant number of also said they still have their accounts, and check in on a daily basis.
Apps like Kik, Skype and Twitter were also identified as “abandoned” by survey participants.
Construction Worker Dad Parodies Influencers on Instagram
Have you been following @justaconstructionguy?
The Instagram account features a peek at the life of a construction-worker dad from Texas named Omar. The carefully curated shots feature him sipping espresso, showing off his favourite eats, and shooting pool.
Omar’s rise to Instagram fame can be attributed to his daughter, whose tweet about her dad’s new Instagram account went viral. The original backstory was that Dad was poking a little fun at his “influencer obsessed” daughter, and at the time of writing, his account has amassed over 542k followers.
Sweet story, right? Hold on a second. What at first was presented as a hilarious take on influencer culture, “Dad spoofs daughter and accidentally goes viral online” – it turns out there’s more to this story.
In fact, the entire thing was a well strategized and planned out marketing stunt, created by an ad agency to sell coffee. Sigh. This is why we can’t have nice things.
Internet Ad Spend Will Exceed 50 Percent of All Global Expenditure by 2021
Internet ad spend is set to surpass the 50 percent milestone as a proportion of global ad spend for the first time this year, according to a new report by Zenith.
Jonathan Barnard, head of forecasting at Zenith, says that while this milestone has been approaching for quite some time, this is the first it has appeared in the company’s forecasts.
While the rate of growth is expected to slow dramatically, the report also forecasts internet advertising will account for 52 percent of total ad spend by the year 2021 — that’s up from just 44 percent in 2018.
Another interesting point of note: a recent Zenith report demonstrated mobile internet usage has now hit an incredible 800 hours per year — that’s the equivalent of 33 days of continuous consumption.
Mariah Carey Might Have Won the #BottleCapChallenge
The #BottleCapChallenge has taken over Instagram, and celebrities are getting in on the fun. After taekwondo fighter Farabi Davletchin posted a video to IG showing him effortlessly kicking the top off a bottle cap, it wasn’t long before John Mayer, Diplo, Justin Bieber, Kendall Jenner and other famous names got in on the fun.
One of the latest celebs to show off for the ‘gram is Mariah Carey. Her spin on the challenge (pun not intended) might be one of our faves.