Headlines & Stuff December 13, 2013

Written by: Christy Wise
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Instagram Launches Direct Messages
This week, Instagram launched Instagram Direct.  The feature allows users to capture moments using the app and send directly to friends as opposed to broadcasting them on their feed to their entire network. Though many are claiming this is Facebook’s version of SnapChat (which it recently tried to purchase for $3 billion), there are differences. You cannot mark up photos with avatars or text and the images do not disappear.

Twitter “See It” Button Adds More TV Networks and Cable Companies
Comcast is expanding its See It Platform, which essentially turns Twitter into a remote control, by adding several broadcast and cable networks as well as rival pay-TV providers. ABC, A&E, AMC, Crown Media Family Networks, Discovery and Fox Networks will soon promote certain programming via See It, while Cablevision and Time Warner Cable will make the functionality available to their subscribers.

Facebook Videos Now Auto-Play on Mobile
Facebook is bringing auto play for native videos to all users after testing the feature in September. Previously, any video uploaded and posted to the News Feed would appear the same as YouTube videos — locked behind a play button. The auto-play feature is available to most iOS and Android users and will reach all of them soon. Facebook is also currently testing the feature for desktop users.

YouTube Expands Live Streaming to All Channels
YouTube announced its expanding its live streaming service to all YouTube channels provided your account is verified and in good standing. The update also adds the option to launch a Google+ Hangout On Air directly from the YouTube Live Events Manager.

Google+ Extends Reach Across the Web With New Social Ads
Google has been testing new social ads composed of posts published by brands to Google+, which they can now promote and target across the Google Display Network.  Dubbed +Post ads, these new units have already launched with Toyota, Ritz Crackers and Cadbury UK.

Twitter Releases Tailored Audiences Ad-Targeting Tool
Twitter recently released an ad targeting tool that allows advertisers to reach users who have shown interest in specific brands or categories, even off the site, by bringing their own audience data from a long list of third-party providers. Tailored Audiences requires brands to share with Twitter browser-related information through an advertising network partner. Twitter then matches that information with the user’s account to serve a Promoted Tweet.

Global Social Media

Saudi Arabia’s War on Twitter
Saudi Arabia loves Twitter. 41% of online users  in the country are active on the platform. This has renewed interest in the potential for social media to facilitate mobilization in the kingdom. Indeed, The Saudi Twittersphere reveals significant public discontent with the government.  This has caused the religious establishment and the Saudi government to take a closer look at the platform in an effort to ban its use in the country and punish those that use it to express their dissent. The Saudi Ministry has ramped up their  monitoring efforts on Twitter, paying close attention to users with influence. The government has also been recruiting experts to work on intercepting encrypted data from mobile apps including Twitter and WhatsApp. The government also has plans to link Twitter accounts to national ID numbers to keep track of citizens using the platform.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Sprint Hijacks Fans Twitter Feed in Latest Ad Stunt
For Sprint’s latest ad featuring actors James Earl Jones and Malcolm McDowell reading everyday texts out loud, the network is exclusively debuting it on one fan’s Twitter feed. The video launched via a tweet from Sprint to Danielle Gray’s Twitter account.  After tweeting her support for TV ads, Gray was contacted by Sprint and was asked if she wanted to get involved in the “Thinking About You” spot.  Watch the ad here.