BY Nina Aghadjanian
This week in social media news, Twitter is testing an edit button, TikTok launches a virtual course to help creative agencies become platform experts, Instagram Reels creators say the app changed its payout system without notice and more.
Twitter announced it’s working on an edit feature, a decision that’s sparked fierce debate on the internet. The platform says it’s been working on the button since last year.
Why it matters: As Fast Company notes, some have argued that an edit button on Twitter will disrupt democracy, giving malicious users like former President Donald Trump the ability to rewrite history. On the other hand, many are in support of the decision, as evidenced by 75 percent of the 4 million people who voted yes when Elon Musk ran a poll on his Twitter profile—before Twitter ever announced its plans to test the function—asking his followers, “Do you want an edit button?”
The button is a double-edged sword for brands. As Paul Stamatiou, who previously spent nearly a decade designing at Twitter, told Fast Company:
“One thing that gets lost in the discussion of edit is the purpose. There are distinct customer needs and use cases (fixing minor typos and grammatical errors is one, but there are others such as a news organization clarifying a previous statement but wishing to preserve the context of the original to prevent continuous spread of potential misinfo). And depending on which need you prioritize, you’ll have a different set of solutions and constraints.”
The details: Twitter said it “didn’t get the idea” for an edit button from Musk’s popular poll and that it’s kicking off testing with Twitter Blue Labs, a perk of its premium subscription service that gives subscribers early access to new features it’s testing.
TikTok’s Creative Agency Partnerships (CAP) team has debuted CAP University, a program designed to offer agencies who want to become TikTok experts a custom learning program.
Why it matters: The program is an incentive to attract traditional marketers to the platform, whose ad revenue is expected to triple this year to $11.64 billion—more than Twitter’s and Snapchat’s sales combined. TikTok says after completing the five-week program, hosted as live webinar sessions, agencies will be able to lead conversations with their clients, concept and create for the platform and continue driving clients’ business forward.
The details: Here’s an overview of the five courses CAP University’s first semester will offer:
TikTok 101: A lesson fueled by foundational statistics and data that all creative agencies should know as well as examples of best-in-class creative work.
TikTok: From Briefing to Pitching: Given TikTok requires a strategy different from other markets channels, this lesson will explain how to think about and communicate ideas made just for the platform.
Concepting and Creating for TikTok: The app says this course distills all the trends, patterns and learnings from the past year down to best practices to inform concepting and creating.
Trends and Music Listening: This class will explain how to lean into trends and answer the most frequently asked questions about music licensing.
Collaborating with Creators: This course will teach the basics of working with creators and highlight TikTok’s creator marketplace.
Payments to creators monetizing Instagram Reels content are down as much as 70 percent per view and videos need millions more views for creators to earn money, according to the Financial Times and as reported by The Verge.
Why it matters: Instagram launched its Reels Play Bonus program in July last year as a way to lure creators away from TikTok and onto its TikTok-like clone Reels. But if Instagram can’t meet creators’ demands financially, there’s good reason to believe Reels’ usage will plummet and creators will continue investing more time in TikTok.
The details: Creators say Instagram didn’t explain the changes in the payout system. One creator told the Financial Times that their personalized threshold for receiving payment up to $35,000 had jumped from 58 million views to 359 million views. Meta told the Financial Times that the company was testing Reels bonuses on Instagram and Facebook, which may cause payouts to “fluctuate” as pricing models are refined.
Four former employees of Flipagram, a predecessor of TikTok, told BuzzFeed News that in 2017, TikTok’s parent company ByteDance scraped short-form videos, usernames, profile images and descriptions from Instagram, Snapchat and other sources then uploaded them to Flipagram without users’ knowledge or consent.
Why it matters: BuzzFeed sent ByteDance a comprehensive list of the allegations it planned to print in the article detailing the allegation, in response to which a spokesperson glossed over the situation, saying:
“ByteDance acquired Flipagram in 2017 and operated it, and subsequently Vigo, for a short time. Flipagram and Vigo ceased operations years ago and aren’t connected to any current ByteDance products.”
ByteDance also didn’t answer BuzzFeed’s questions about where and how it stored any data it allegedly scraped from Instagram and other platforms. This isn’t the first time ByteDance has been in hot water about its handling of user privacy. Over the past year, TikTok has gone to great lengths to isolate its US users’ data after its data practices came under fire.
The details: BuzzFeed said it viewed internal documents that indicate the scraping was run by an engineering team in China and started soon after ByteDance acquired Flipagram in January 2017. The former employees described the project as one of several “growth hacks” used by the company.
In one document, an employee details the reasons the company used “fake accounts” and scraped content. Among them were that the accounts could be used to test which content performed best and that current users could mimic the scraped content to improve their own popularity.
Another document shows how the company tried to curate content that was “not too Chinese” and would resonate with US users. Three of the former employees say this content still didn’t perform well with Flipagram’s user base.
One of the former employees also said the scraping affected hundreds of thousands of accounts and that the team’s goal was to scrape more than 10,000 videos a day in the highest priority countries.
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BY Nina Aghadjanian