Five things worth sharing from the last week or so, brought to you by a different member of the Browser Media team every Friday.
This week’s My Five is by Ali.
1. Instagram no longer about photo sharing
Instagram is no longer about photo sharing and more about entertainment, according to Adam Mosseri, the Facebook executive in charge of the social media platform.
The platform is moving towards video in a big way to compete with the likes of YouTube and TikTok. Appropriately, via a video, Mosseri told users that Instagram will prioritise private messaging, ecommerce, and influencers, as its users want to be ‘entertained’.
Whether it’s users warm to the move remains to be seen – they currently seem pretty satisfied with the status quo: a survey by Ofcom, the UK’s media regulator found that Google and Facebook apps account for 9 out of 10 of the most popular apps ranked by time spent with nearly a quarter of 16 to 34-year-olds saying Instagram was their main social media app.
TikTok’s rise to glory was also highlighted in the report. The Chinese-owned company increased its number of UK adult users from 3.2 million in September 2019 to 11.5 million in September 2020, and this grew further during the winter 2021 lockdown, reaching 13.9 million UK adults in March 2021, so you can see why Mosseri is not taking these figures lying down!
2. China’s gaming ‘midnight patrol’
In what must be music to Chinese parents’ ears, the gaming giant Tencent is introducing time-sensitive facial recognition to its mobile games in order to prevent children from spending too long online.
The country had already introduced a gaming curfew of 10pm for under 18s and also set time limits for the number of gaming minutes allowed on weekdays and weekends.
This move by Tencent is aimed at preventing under 18s from circumventing the current system which requires children to login using a nationally-recognised ID. However many children have evaded the system by using an adult’s ID instead.
Translated, rather sinisterly, as ‘midnight patrol’, the tech has every chance of success as mobile gaming is much more popular in China than in the West and so using facial recognition technology is easier to implement there than it would be for the games console industry here.
3. BBC rebrand
Is it a rebrand? Isn’t it a rebrand? No-one seems to be quite sure.
Social media was awash with reports that the BBC had spent thousands of pounds on creating a new logo that looked so similar to the original, you could be forgiven if you hadn’t noticed.
The new logo has given a little more breathing space to the three letters and blocks which constitute the logo but other than that, not much has changed.
Much of the criticism was not about the logo itself but about the waste of tax-payers’ money.
However, the new logo may in fact have been a cost savings exercise as the BBC has been paying licensing costs for using the typeface Gill Sans. The new font, named Reith (after BBC founder John Reith) means the BBC no longer needs to pay these costs so perhaps the long term savings justify the short term cost?
4. Too many internal links can dilute value
Google’s John Mueller commented on the issue of internal link building this week and specifically whether using excessive amounts could damage a site.
Internal links are important as they highlight which pages are important for Google and also help the search engine better understand the structure and hierarchy of a site. However, when they are overdone they detract from both.
In particular Mueller says that ‘one internal link can signal to Google that a page is important to a site but it is watered down if the page contains many links’, and ‘Google will not treat many links with the same importance as one or two’.
Increasingly, Google points to the fact that over-doing anything can harm your site. A moderate approach to SEO which focuses on a good customer experience is still the really important thing.
5. Facebook town
If ever there was a manifestation of the power of the big tech platforms, this is it.
Facebook is reportedly building a town next to Silicon Valley called Willow Park. With over 1,700 apartments, hotels, office space, huge retail capacity, and a wealth of cafes and restaurants, the development is mainly aimed at enabling Facebook to grow and employ more staff.
In collaboration with its developer partners, the company has spent the last two years consulting on the project and all of the urban issues that a brand new town might create, however it looks as though they are getting much nearer an agreement.
Google is also planning a similar project near San Jose.
Is anyone else thinking Black Mirror / Truman Show / 1984, or is that just me?