This Week In Social: Facebook Video Ads, Twitter Archives, Instagram T&Cs, Facebook Messaging Update

By Rob McNair

Facebook Page For NRA Halted

The National Rifle Association is backing away from social media apparently, although no doubt this’ll only be for a short period of time (Update: Page Now Accessible). In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, when an armed man stormed a Connecticut elementary school and killed 26 people, including 20 children, gun control has now become a major talking point from both lawmakers & citizens.

The National Rifle Association, who champions the rights of gun ownership in the USA has stayed well clear of the debate across social media. So much so, they’ve taken down their Facebook page and the group has also refrained from posting a single tweet since December 14th, which was the day of the massacre. One of the most recent tweets was announcing they reached 1.7million ‘likes’ on Facebook. However, the NRA’s official Facebook page has completely disappeared, although surely they’ve simply unpublished the page. Although they took it down voluntarily, it is unclear how long it will be like this.

Facebook Bringing Video Ads To News Feed

In April next year Facebook plan to unveil 15-second video ads with both mobile and desktop news feeds, according to several advertising executives. The ads will start playing automatically, and Facebook has reportedly not decided whether to mute audio from the ads. Ad Age reports that the ads will take over the whole page, spreading across the left and right hand rails of the page.

On one hand they’ll be great for the social network to cook up even more revenue, but videos ads that will play automatically will annoy the majority of users. And let’s be honest after all the other changes that have occurred in 2012, photo-licensing changes, policy voting to name a few, user patience is wearing thin. Most recently the change in Instagram’s policy has resulted in huge backlash, along with Facebook cutting Instagram photos from rival site Twitter. The big question is how much more can users take.

Twitter Offers Users To Download All Tweets In Single File

As the saying goes, you are what you tweet. If you want to recall your reaction & tweets to certain events you now can, by exploring your whole Twitter past. On Wednesday, Twitter introduced the ability to download your entire Twitter archive, allowing to you get all your Tweets (including ReTweets) going back to the beginning. Once you have your Twitter archive, you can view your tweets by month, or search the archive to find tweets with certain words, phrases, hashtags or @usernames.

In order to do this go to ‘settings’ and scroll down to the bottom to check for the option to request your archive. If you don’t see it, go ahead and click the button. You’ll then receive and email with instructions on how to access you archive. And if you don’t see that option in settings today, know that it’s on the way!

Instagram Terms & Conditions Backlash

On Monday, Instagram the Facebook-owned photo-sharing service rolled out some changes that would be taking effect from mid-January. Amongst the changes was the following:

“… a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.”

The instant presumption from many readers was that Instagram would be selling users photos to advertisers (yes, someone may actually want that picture of your lasagne). Obviously this resulted in major backlash and users used several hashtags to display their disgust:  #instafraud, #instascam, #deleteaccount, #leavinginstagram, #byeinstagram, #f*ckyouinstagram to name a few. By Tuesday, Instagram were trying to asses the current damage, and announced via a blog post that, “it is not our intention to see your photos” and that “we do not have plans for anything like this.” Kevin Systrom, Instagram CEO and co-founder wrote that the ‘confusing’ language of the T&C’s would also be soon replaced with more precise wording. Although people state their intentions to leave, ultimately will they? No doubt this will be all forgotten next week. Oh & don’t forget to put a filter over your Christmas turkey.

Twitter Passes 200 Million Active Users

It was announced on Tuesday, that the micro-blogging service now has more than 200 million active users around the world, with 10 million of those in the UK. According to Twitter, the number shot up to 140 million in May, with major events such as the Olympics & the presidential elections in the US, which paved the way for users converting from passive to active users.

Although this seems like a huge milestone for Twitter with more than 500 million registered users worldwide, more than half of those with a Twitter account prefer not to tweet. There’s also no surprise that Twitter has seen huge growth from mobile, with 60% using their smartphone app. Tony Wang, general manager of the social networking giant, stated:

The UK is now the fourth biggest Twitter nation, beaten only by Brazil, Japan and the US. We also have claimed one of the top three cities across the world, which are Jakart, Toyko and London. Manchester also came in second place as the most active city in the UK.

Facebook Testing Service To Allow Strangers To Message You For A Fee















Another change for the social network! They’re planning on introducing a new set of filters for their in-house messaging service that will help users communicate more effectively, including changes to the ‘poke’. Part of the overhaul, is a test that will allow some users to ping people they’re not friends with, although only if you’re willing to spend some money.

At the moment the trial is only available to a limited number of US Facebook users. They’re not announcing the costing, but people familiar to Facebook say it will start at a dollar a message, and Facebook will tweak the fee over time. This option will only affect individuals users, not brands, and Facebook will only allow users to receive one single paid message per week… so make it a good un’. Here’s Facebook’s rationale:

“This test is designed to address situations where neither social nor algorithmic signals are sufficient. For example, if you want to send a message to someone you heard speak at an event but are not friends with, or if you want to message someone about a job opportunity, you can use this feature to reach their Inbox. For the receiver, this test allows them to hear from people who have an important message to send them.”

Ultimately, users will feel Facebook is selling access to your inbox, which you previously could have kept closed anyone you don’t know. LinkedIn have been allowing this a while now, called ‘InMail’, although it doesn’t seem quite the same.

Facebook Ads Can Now Target Children Under 13

Children under the age of 13 can now be shown ads targeted to them when they’re online. A change in the Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) has paved the way for this change. This could essentially allow Facebook to lower its age of admission. Facebook has been pushing for changes to COPPA for a while, despite opposition from privacy groups. Facebook will probably hold off on announcing anything soon to reduce further backlash from changes which you’ve probably read above!

This post was written by Rob McNair

Rob has experience advising some of the worlds most iconic brands. He thrives on helping improving social media knowledge within organisations with the ultimate goal of making theirs brands more social, transparent and accountable.