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Social Media News Roundup: May 2020

In social media news this month, Facebook has turned us all into cartoons, Twitter begins live testing new controls, LinkedIn is telling stories and two of the big social media apps take on ecommerce.

Facebook Avatars

Unless you’ve been on a desert island for the last month, you’ll have noticed cartoon versions of all your Facebook friends popping up all over the place. Facebook Avatars, now available worldwide, were launched to rival Snapchats Bitmoji feature. They allow you to create a miniature version of yourself to use on comments, stories, on Facebook messenger and as a profile picture.

Fully customisable, the avatars allow you to choose hair, skin and eye colour, clothing, facial expressions and complexion – even down to how many wrinkles you might have.

LinkedIn and Twitter are Telling Stories

Instagram kicked off the Stories trend, with Facebook quickly following in their footsteps. The movement has gathered speed lately, with both LinkedIn and Twitter announcing that they’re testing similar versions of the same feature.

Twitter stories, or ‘Fleets’ as they’ve been named, are similar to Instagram Stories. Users can share text and images on their profile, which are then automatically deleted after 24 hours. Unlike Instagram Stories though, users scroll up and down rather than left and right. Also, the 280 character limit from standard Tweets remains in place – so you’re still going to have to keep it brief and to the point. Images and GIFs can be uploaded, but there are no filters to choose from. The key difference is that anyone can post clickable links, which is going to be a big draw for people using social media for their business.

Still being tested internally, LinkedIn Stories are also set for release later this year. There’s no set date for the rollout, but the aim is to help businesses connect and showcase their brands more easily.

Facebook and Instagram Take on eCommerce

In a response to the Covid-19 crisis, Facebook and Instagram have begun taking steps to make small businesses transferring their shops online as simple as possible.

Facebook Shops enables a business to set up a digital store, shoppable on both Instagram and Facebook, completely free of charge. Users can choose the products they want to feature, then customise their shop with on-brand colours and images.  Customers can either pay in-app or on the company website.

The super simple shopping experience will also extend to Instagram. Starting this summer in the US, the app is enabling users to be able to browse their favourite brands, scroll through the new @shop page, and then buy everything in one place.

Twitter Tests New Controls

It’s been a busy month for Twitter. Not only are they rolling out their new Stories-style feature, they’ve also started testing settings which allow users to choose who can reply to their Tweets.

Designed to give people more control over their conversations, people who can reply fall into three categories; everyone on Twitter, only people you follow, or only people you tag in the original Tweet. They’ll still be visible to everyone who follows you – they just won’t be able to reply.