August 2020

August 2020 Roundup

Summer is winding down, but the digital updates are as hot as ever – here are the Sparks that were flying in August!


Twitter – Reply Controls

Let’s start off with Twitter, who recently rolled out tweet reply controls to all users. In a previous blog post we mentioned that Twitter were trialing this, and now the feature is launched to all users. So, what does this mean for brands? You can keep your posts clean and controversy-free by not allowing trolls or other argumentative users to weigh in if you’d rather keep it all about the original tweet! The new Twitter controls allow brands select who can respond to their tweets. Your three options for replies are:

  • People mentioned in the tweet
  • Only those who follow you
  • Everyone

TikTok – Tutorials Mini-Site

Next up we move over to TikTok, who have created a new tutorials mini-site for brands to help teach them how to maximise their TikTok presence. The tutorials appear to be limited to certain regions currently, but hopefully will be available to everyone soon. On another note, TikTok are pursuing legal action against the US government over the recent executive orders that a) banned transactions from American-owned companies with TikTok, and b) ordered the Chinese company ByteDance, who own TikTok, to divest of its American assets and any data from US users. This is just something to keep an eye on for future: if the US ban is successful, fewer (if any, depending on how the ban is rolled out) American content creators and users will be on the app, meaning a huge market will be removed for the platform and the brands who advertise on it. The knock-on effects could be very serious for TikTok, although its massive non-US audience is showing no signs of any slowdown.

Facebook – Video Options

Facebook is next up, where the powers that be have been testing something very similar to TikTok. In India, TikTok is currently banned. Facebook have introduced a short form video option for users in that market. This video option mimics TikTok’s interface and features, although it’s not as feature-rich as the platform. Facebook could be using this as a test like that run by Instagram with its Reels. If America bans TikTok, could Facebook be positioning itself as the alternative to TikTok? And, since they’re owned by the same company, why not simply push Reels?

Facebook also recently announced the implementation of a new machine learning process to improve the accuracy of Community Standards Enforcement. The system, known as CLARA (Confidence of Labels and Raters), will supposedly be able to detect whether something is a scam, misinformation or simply abusive, and therefore speed up the process of getting these types of content removed from the network. The system attempts to eliminate the uncertainty of human-generated decisions – but, in very human fashion, we’re uncertain whether or not this is a good thing! We’ve all seen how difficult it is to ensure algorithms are bias-free, and the bizarre things that machine learning Ais can come out with! However, this is a very welcome attempt from Facebook, as more effort is being put in across the board by various social networks trying put out the ‘fake news’ fire they were largely responsible for enabling.

Instagram – Reels

Speaking of Reels – where to start?! Reels probably hasn’t made the impact it had desired to make when first launched. With fewer features than TikTok and primarily content creators using it (rather than Instagram’s everyday user base), it hasn’t hit the ground running as expected. Most of the Reels we’ve been seeing on our feeds are, in fact, just TikTok videos cross-posted to Reels. So, should you be using Reels? The answer, despite the caveats above, is yes. Why? Because Instagram are still going to push it, which means Reels are going to keep getting ‘reel estate’ on the platform (see what we did there?). If you are a trying to push your brand, try out a few Reels. At least you know that Instagram are going to show it to as many people as possible!

Make sure to keep an eye out for our next blog! We’ve got our fingers crossed for fewer lawsuits to report on during the month of September.

Let Us Know About Future ‘Sparks’

If there’s anything in particular you want us to cover in our future Sparks Roundups, or if you need help planning and implementing your digital marketing campaigns, just pop an email and we will be happy to get back to you.

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#HC hun