This week in social media, Facebook's Safety Check came in handy after the Nepal earthquake, and the company introduced a new social-powered Caller ID app called Hello after posting impressive mobile growth in its first-quarter.

Meanwhile, Twitter introduced another new feature that tinkers with your timeline, called Highlights, and Pinterest's programmers just made the Pinterest iOS and Android apps 10 percent smarter and faster.

It's time for Social Media Sunday!


News Feed Algorithm Update

As Google updated its search algorithm last week to favor mobile-friendly sites (let us know in the comments how your experience with Latin Post Mobile is!), Facebook updated its all-important News Feed algorithm around the same time to favor friends over pages.

Simply put, the News Feed will still give you a mix of everything Facebook thinks you'll find interesting, but updates from real flesh-and-blood friends will appear more prominently in New Feed than Facebook Pages -- businesses, celebrities, news sites, and organizations that you've liked.

Also in the update, according to Forbes, is a tweak that will lower the visibility of friends' micro-interactions like when they like or comment on another friend's post.

Safety Check in Nepal Earthquake

A few months ago, Facebook launched Safety Check, a feature that let users send notifications to friends who may be in crisis areas asking "Are you safe?" Those friends can quickly respond to those queries with the click of a button.

That feature came into play for some in Nepal after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit the country this weekend, causing a death toll in the thousands, according to Slate. Safety Check is especially useful if cellular voice and old-fashioned telephone landlines are down.

Safety Check's Achilles heel is if data networks are down as well (or if a survivor of an incident lost or broke his smartphone). Though cellphone networks were indeed out in many parts of Nepal, Slate at least found some anecdotal evidence that a few Nepalese in the U.S. had received updates from friends and family back in Nepal through social media.

Big on Mobile, and More to Come

Facebook's first-quarter earnings was a mixed bag, with overall revenues up 42 percent on the year, 17 percent more active users (almost a billion now log in every day), but a 20 percent drop in profit compared to last year. The earnings report failed to meet investors' high expectations, according to Time, but the big takeaway was that Facebook's mobile footprint has grown significantly.

The number of active daily users on mobile grew by 31 percent over the last year, while the monthly figure also grew by 24 percent. Even more noteworthy, Facebook's mobile ad sales accounted for a staggering 73 percent of Facebook's ad revenue for the quarter.

So it comes as no surprise that Facebook is doubling down on mobile, seemingly with plans on adding some interesting new features to the mothership smartphone app and beyond. According to Mashable, Facebook is testing an update to its mobile app's Notifications tab to add more relevant content based on location, trending news, past posts, and events.

And following its multi-app strategy, the social media company released a new app this week that may be the company's first step in turning every phone into a "Facebook phone" -- of course, without a (failed) partnership with HTC. According to The Register, the new app is called Hello, but you might as well call it Facebook Caller ID.

Introducing Hello from Facebook on Vimeo.

Hello, which was released so far for Android only this week, uses Facebook friends' shared user data to identify who's calling you, even if you don't have their number saved in your phone.

It also provides additional information about your caller (if he's shared it on Facebook first) that may come in handy -- like if today is your caller's birthday.

You can also block unwanted calls through. Finally, part of the app is the beginnings of a whitepages function, where you can search for people and businesses through Facebook and call them through the app.

Of course, none of this is new technology. Google introduced Hangouts and Google+ integration with the phone app in Android KitKat and local business contact search and call through Maps what feels like ages ago.

But Facebook may find more success with this kind of feature, since the network itself is already something of a public directory, even for those who may not have joined the billion people who logged into the site this month.


A New Timeline Tweak Called Highlights

Twitter has turned its algorithm that automatically spots and squashes abusive tweets and turned it into a feature that looks for tweets you might actually want to see.

The feature (still in testing) is called Highlights, and it serves a digest of Twitter-picked tweets that the algorithm thinks users will want to check out twice a day.

(Photo : Twitter)

It's coming to Android first, according to The Verge, where it will send push notifications for users that, when clicked, takes them to a new page featuring about 12 tweets that may be of interest, ordered not by chronology (Twitter vets will hate this), but by "importance."

Hardcore Twitter users will like this though: According to Twitter, Highlights is an opt-in, app-only feature you can find in the Settings of the Android app.


Ten Percent Smarter, Ten Percent Faster

Pinterest, as the name implies, is all about "pinning" and "repining" pictures onto (virtual) boards organized by category, keyword, or just users.

Now, the company just made it 10 percent faster for users to pin things up on the mobile app (which represents 80 percent of Pinterest's userbase) by using metadata and a smart algorithm called "predictive board picker." The feature leads people to Pin content on the right boards faster by analyzing metadata on user re-pins and suggesting which boards you might want to use.

Pinterest has a long detailed story behind the development of the new feature on their engineering blog here, but suffice it to say, they worked hard to make their app smarter.

Follow Robert Schoon on Twitter.