Reddit Does What Twitter Won't
Reddit is banning subreddits that incite, encourage, or glorify violence in any way. Which sounds like an obvious thing to do, but it's interesting for three reasons.
For years, Reddit leaned into its promise that it was a platform where anyone could say anything. After taking some steps to address the issue over a year ago, it appears they are doubling down on their willingness to go against their founding principles in the interest of doing what they view as the right thing.
In an effort to distance themselves from culpability in the ongoing Russia investigation, Facebook has more or less denied any responsibility for the content posted to the platform, instead insisting that they are merely a tech company that other publishers use. They have caught some flak for this, as the public has by and large determined that's a flimsy cop-out, so perhaps this is another step in Reddit's quest to reestablish, strengthen, and redefine the relationship between "social" media and traditional publishers and media outlets.
So... good for you, Reddit.
Facebook to Kill Organic Reach Entirely (Maybe)
Facebook has begun testing a new system in some countries (outside the United States) which would reduce the platform's organic reach to a flat 0.00%.
Per the new shift, non-promoted content would be removed entirely from a user's feed, instead living in a secondary news feed (which, to be clear, will almost certainly be a content graveyard).
So how dramatic is this, really? Well, per the article, "The change has seen users’ engagement with Facebook pages drop precipitously, with publications reporting a 60% to 80% fall."
Facebook claims they aren't necessarily going to roll this out globally, but there's an argument to be made that they should. By reducing the reach to 0% (rather than 0.05% or whatever it is now), agencies will have a stronger case to end organic posting to Facebook altogether for clients. It's almost become a best practice to focus entirely on promoted content, but some brands have struggled to comes to terms with it. This might actually force the hand in a way that is ultimately positive … or simply just shut out brands without paid budgets.
A new study from The Verge conducted that everyone hates Twitter. It may sound like I'm trying to be funny ... but I'm not really kidding. Their findings include damning results including:
- A third of America "wouldn't care" if Twitter disappeared
- Twitter is less popular than any other major tech company (Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc.)
- Fewer people say Twitter has a positive effect on society
- Fewer people would recommend Twitter
Obviously the platform is too ingrained in our society to just disappear entirely, but it's worth noting that the popularity of the platform seems to be in a full-on free fall at the moment.
Facebook Pushes VR
Facebook's big bet on VR made a few headlines recently. The most relevant to us would be the introduction of 3D Facebook posts, which let you rotate, zoom, and interact with graphic elements within a post or ad unit. While we’re not 100% sold the industry is quite at the point of scalable VR, the fact that these posts live within an FB stream and can be experienced (to what seems like a satisfying degree) without investing in a VR headset brings us a bit closer. The cost of VR and making a single piece of content—especially one that would only live on social media—still feels like too steep of a cost of entry for most brands, but the cool factor is undeniable.
On the note of cost, Facebook also unveiled Oculus Go, which is relevant to the extent that VR is becoming increasingly accessible. It’s not necessarily a game changer, but it’s definitely building toward a trend. It's worth noting that Facebook also hired an Agency of Record to make VR (via Oculus) a mainstream media platform.
But of course not all is awesome in the world of Facebook (more on that later). For some inane reason, Zuckerberg thought the best way to show off Facebook's VR Spaces would be to take a virtual tour of (you guessed it) disaster ridden Puerto Rico! While he cites an attempt to raise awareness of the conditions, juxtaposing the destroyed landscape with his dopey smiling cartoon avatar may not have been the smartest approach. He was swiftly criticized for trivializing the tragedy and exploiting it to show off his new tech, apologizing shortly after.