Social Media Sunday: Facebook 'Real Name' Changes, Uber Through Messenger & More
This week was a busy one for Facebook. The largest social media company in the world launched a new collaboration with Uber through its Facebook Messenger platform, it announced some changes to how people report fake profiles under its controversial "real name" policy, it launched its fast-loading Instant Articles for Android, and finally, Facebook was named the most popular smartphone app of 2015 by a Nielsen report. Meanwhile, Twitter hit an all-time low on Wall Street.
It's time for (a particularly Facebook-intensive) Social Media Sunday!
'Real Name' Reporting/Verifying Changes
This week, the "real name" policy at Facebook got a little tweak -- not in the controversial policy itself, which has previously faced criticism by Native American and LGBT advocates -- but in the ways users report fake names, as well as the way reported users are able to defend their names.
In its announcement on Tuesday, Facebook said it will give flagged users more options to explain special circumstances behind their chosen name, which will trigger Facebook review teams to provide personal support, rather than a reported user's request only being processed by software.
On the other hand, reporting a "fake name" just became a more involved process. "In the past, people were able to simply report a 'fake name,'" explained Facebook's announcement, "but now they will be required to go through several new steps that provide us more specifics about the report."
"This additional context will help our review teams better understand why someone is reporting a name, giving them more information about a specific situation," concluded Facebook. Not to mention hopefully cutting back on the anonymous bullying of drag queens and others has happened before with "fake name" reporting.
Making Uber More Social Through Messenger
Another change at Facebook this week is the expansion of Facebook's fastest growing platform: Messenger. As Mashable reported, Facebook partnered with Uber on Wednesday to begin offering ride-sharing services that users can call up directly from within Facebook Messenger.
While still in limited testing phases, the move represents an effort to make it easier for Facebook users to actually share rides through Uber's service, by arranging transportation while making plans with each other in Messenger.
Instant Articles Rolls Out to Android
As Latin Post previously reported, Facebook has been testing a new publishing platform with media company partners that promises to simultaneously make articles load faster on mobile, share revenues with online publishers, and keep Facebook users from leaving the platform when they click on an Instant Article post.
Now, after beta testing with a small group of Android users, on Wednesday Facebook announced it was rolling out Instant Articles to everyone on the Facebook app for Android. Apple's iPhones, as this kind of thing usually goes, have had the feature for months.
Facebook Most Popular, Messenger Fastest Growing
A new year-end report by Nielsen shows that the Facebook app is, by far, the most popular smartphone app of 2015. At the same time, Facebook's Messenger app wins the title of fastest growing app for the year.
According to Nielsen, Facebook's flagship app "had more than 126 million average unique users each month, a growth of 8 percent from last year." Meanwhile, YouTube won second place with over 97 million average unique per month.
The highest year-to-year improvement, though, went to Facebook's own companion app, Facebook Messenger. Nielsen said there was a 31 percent increase in users over last year.
Apple Music, mid-year for iPhone and also (in a rare move) Android in the fall, took second place in highest growth, adding about 54.5 million average unique users by the end of the year.
As TechCrunch noted, while Messenger grew the fastest, it grew an order of magnitude less than in 2014, when Facebook essentially forced every mobile user to download its messaging app. Apple Music's growth, then, remains quite impressive, given that it only had half a year on iOS and a quarter-year on Android to grow.
A New Low on Wall Street
Not much happened with Twitter this week, but in a case of "no news is bad news," the company's stock fell four percent to a new low on Thursday, finishing at $23.31. That's the lowest price Twitter has ever closed at, according to Re/Code. There's always next year, Twitter!
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