June was another busy month for social media platforms. We’ve seen the usual tweaks to user-safety features, along with the – now expected – chaos that is Twitter.
But perhaps Reddit has been having the most to deal with this month.
The Reddit Blackout impacts Google Search
Reddit’s decision to charge people to access its API – which means apps people use to browse Reddit will either have to pay the cost or lose access to Reddit and shut down.
It prompted a massive backlash from many subreddit moderators as two of the most popular apps have said they’re shutting down. Some of these third-party apps make it easier for people to access Reddit content – such as people with dyslexia and visual impairments. (r/Dyslexia is just one of the subreddits that “went dark” to protest the decision.)
The blackout was scheduled for 12th June, when thousands of moderators set their subreddits to private for the day, but many chose to keep their subreddits private for longer – and some still haven’t been set back to “public”.
Leaked audio from an internal meeting showed that internet users were getting frustrated with inaccessible search results coming back from Google when they searched for Reddit via the search engine, but Google execs are hopeful that the new Perspectives feature (which sources content from various social platforms) will help direct users to other places while the blackout continues.
LinkedIn uses AI to detect fake profiles
LinkedIn has developed an artificial intelligence tool with a 99% success rate for detecting fake profiles.
In 2022, CNBC reported that LinkedIn deleted 21 million fake profiles in the first half of that year. Fake profiles are often set up to get people’s information and win their trust.
Of course, a site like LinkedIn depends on the authenticity of its users, so the timely identification and removal of any fake profiles is essential to keeping user confidence in the platform.
Instagram introduces more safety measures
Instagram is testing a feature that will stop users from sending people multiple DM requests with explicit images. DM requests will change from allowing users to send multiple requests to the same person – with images, to one text-only request.
It’s also adding a message to teen users suggesting that they add their parents as “supervisors” of the account after they block a user and have the app notify them whenever they block someone.
Meta’s introducing a parental supervision hub for Messenger and Instagram that will preemptively block DMs on the apps.
Both apps will now remind users to take a break, and Instagram’s “quiet mode” has been rolled out to all users.
Another chaotic month on Twitter
While Twitter has agreed to comply with the EU’s anti-disinformation rules, it’s also being threatened with fines in Australia due to the app’s hate speech problem.
Many users have noticed that the app has been flooded with shopping ads – all from similar-sounding Twitter Blue accounts with similar-looking branding. Perhaps in an effort to tackle spam and spam accounts, Twitter suddenly started mass restricting users for spam – even though they had done nothing wrong.
Twitter ended the month by extending the character limit for Twitter Blue posts to a whopping 25,000 characters.
There are now several apps looking to scoop up disgruntled Twitter users. As well as Mastodon, we now have:
- Bluesky – which is still invite-only and currently struggling to work out an approach to moderation.
- Spill – which is an image-based app founded by ex-Twitter employees that’s just launched its Beta version on iOS (and is also invite-only)
- Threads – Meta’s answer to Twitter has just gone live and has seen ten million sign-ups in its first seven hours!
While some commentators are saying it’s not that easy to replace Twitter, it’s clear that we’re heading for a much more fractured social media landscape, with people joining multiple micro-blogging sites for different reasons (or avoiding some altogether). Brands will need to consider how they’ll factor these new apps into their social media strategies.