Check out the weekly buzz on our favourite social media platforms, including new features and what’s trending!


4 New Social Updates

Instagram hides the number of ‘likes’ from Australian users

Instagram has rolled out its first trial update this week of removing the total numbers of likes on a user’s post in an attempt to remove the pressure of posting on social media. Instead of seeing the total amount of likes, users will now be able to see a list of likes on their post. This update, however, would not affect the measurement tool for business and creators on Instagram – all likes and engagement data are still reviewable in those tools. As one of the fastest-growing, highly engaged community on social media, the success of this trial update in Australia will decide if the update will be made permanent.

Facebook now shows you more reasons why you’re seeing an ad

Facebook introduced tools like “Why am I seeing this ad” to provide greater transparency and control. Now, Facebook is adding two new changes to show users how to use them effectively. The first addition is to show people more reasons why they see an ad on Facebook, which includes detailed targeting, including the interests or categories that matched you with a specific ad, and where that information came from. The second addition is an update to Ad Preferences via two new sections to show users more about the businesses and advertisers who upload lists with your information, such as an email address or phone number.

Google’s New Social Networking App ‘Shoelace’

Google is testing a new social networking app that seeks to help people “supercharge” their social life. ‘Shoelace’ is described as a mobile app that helps connect people with shared interest through in-person activities and it’s an app that helps people to meet up in real life within the same city. As with the name, the whole premise of the app is to tie people together based on their interests through activities called ‘Loops’, which is similar to two laces on a shoe. While this is currently an invitation-only app, anyone can join Shoelace in the future as all you need is a Google account.

New Revenue for YouTube Creators

YouTube’s Super Chat is a feature that allows fans to purchase messages that stand out within a live chat during streams and Premieres. Now, YouTube has announced new opportunities for creators to monetise their content through their new feature – Super Stickers. With this new addition, fans can purchase animated stickers during live streams and Premieres to stand out or support a creator’s live stream. These stickers come in several designs in different languages and categories like gaming, fashion and beauty, sports, music, food and others. YouTube has also announced five new price tiers for its Channel Memberships, where creators can set up different perks for their fans based on the price points.


4 Things Trending On Social

Australian Red Cross Blood Service donation ad causes a stir

A Facebook ad from Australian Red Cross Blood Service which intended to encourage more blood donation during winter has backfired. The ad, which features two men in Christmas jumpers, has been blasted by the LGBT social media community who can’t give blood. The Red Cross Blood Service has defended the post, saying it was sponsored to reach people in areas where the Blood Service has donor centres. While many users question whether the ad was targeted towards the LBGT community, the ad has been widely interpreted as featuring a same-sex couple. According to a spokesperson, the post would not be deleted as “deleting it would result in the loss of more than 200 valid comments and questions around our deferrals and eligibility criteria.” As gay men are still restricted from blood donation, this imagery seems like an inappropriate and insensitive reminder of the policy.

A 17-year-old girl was murdered and photos of her death went viral on Instagram
A 17-Year-Old Girl Was Murdered And Photos Of Her Death Went Viral On Instagram

Bianca Devins, a 17-year-old girl from New York, was brutally murdered last week. Her alleged killer uploaded photos of her body to Instagram, 4 Chan and Discord, kicking off a viral set of graphic imagery that social media platforms are still struggling to control. Users and journalists quickly reported these graphic images, however, many remained live on the sites for up to 12 hours. Soon after, hundreds of users began flooding social media using hashtags related to both Clark and Devins, asking others to follow their pages to see images from the murder scene. Overnight, #ripbianca began to trend on Twitter as photos from the scene of the murder made their way to yet another platform. On Instagram, people began tagging Devins’ account on uploaded photos of puppies and cats in a concerted effort to overwhelm graphic images of her death. Social media platforms should be able to prevent such issues by raising the bar for sensitive and violent content, however, it is also up to the community to keep the platform safe.

Here’s what’s happening to the photos you submit to that app which turns everyone old

You’ve probably seen the viral aging transformation photos going around on social media. This is done through FaceApp, a free-to-download app which uses AI to transform your face. While there are many filters in the app, it’s the aging filter that has captivated many social media users. However, there’s a catch: your photo (yes, your biometric data) has been sent to Russian developers. The photo is first uploaded to Amazon services in the US and Australia and from there, it can be accessed by developers from the app’s Russian parent company, Wireless Labs. While FaceApp can only access the photos you’ve actively submitted to the company server, Wireless Labs can do whatever it wants with your images, thanks to the broad-ranging terms and conditions you’ve hastily signed. While most social media users are now freaking out, it is unlikely your face will pop up in a billboard ad. Instead, there are speculations that your face, along with 100 million others, will be fed to an AI-algorithm to train facial recognition software.

How the Area 51 Meme became the biggest joke in the galaxy

People organise Facebook events all the time. But rarely, do 1.5 million people RSVP to attend. This happened when three pseudonymous users created an event to “Storm Area 51”, the secretive military base in southern Nevada that has been long associated with extraterrestrial activity in the pop-culture imagination. Now, the Area 51 raid has become a meme, inspiring celebrities to jump on the bandwagon and even the Air Force itself was forced to share a response. The meme took a life of its own over the next few weeks after the event was created, where the internet began sharing animations and illustrations of all kinds with scenes with added aliens – or plans on how to care for and live with said aliens. While most people seem in on the absurdity of the event, at least two small hotels in the area were reportedly fully booked for Sept. 20.