social Platform news

Instagram shares insights on how their algorithms work

Instagram is determined to do a better job explaining how their app actually works and clear up possible misconceptions.  

“Instagram doesn’t have one algorithm that oversees what people do and don’t see on the app. We use a variety of algorithms, classifiers, and processes, each with its own purpose. We want to make the most of your time, and we believe that using technology to personalize your experience is the best way to do that.” 
~ Instagram 


Instagram is using a number of parameters to form their algorithms. Here are the main ones across the Feed and Stories: 

  • The post’s popularity and information 

    • Instagram is looking into the post engagement, the time it was posted, its format, and location. 

  • The profile’s activity and relevance 

    • This helps identify how interesting this profile is for the audience. It includes signals like how many times people have interacted with that profile in the past few weeks. 

  • The user’s behavior 

    • Instagram is trying to understand what the user’s interests are and match those with the relevant content. 

  • The history of interacting with other users. 

    • The social network wants to determine how much the user cares in general in seeing posts from a particular person/brand. One of the main signals is how often you comment on each other’s posts. 



“In Feed, the five interactions we look at most closely are how likely you are to spend a few seconds on a post, comment on it, like it, save it, and tap on the profile photo. The more likely you are to take an action, and the more heavily we weigh that action, the higher up you’ll see the post.” 
~ Instagram 

Source: Falcon.IO, July 12 2021, Roza Tsvetkova

More Tok on the Clock: Introducing longer videos on TikTok

There's so much that can happen in a TikTok minute, from crowdsourced musicals and sea shanty singalongs to feta pasta recipes, roller skating revivals, and more. Now we're introducing the option for our global community to create longer videos – paving the way for even richer storytelling and entertainment on TikTok.

Creative expression brings people together. It's how we connect with our communities. It's how we entertain, educate, inform, and inspire each other. This is also why we've focused on providing our community with a range of tools to help unleash their creativity – longer videos are now one more tool people can use to captivate the community with their creative expression.

Some of you might have come across a longer video on TikTok already – we’ve been letting creators around the world experiment with the expanded format. Creators are already well-versed in weaving multi-part stories together on TikTok (we all know the phrase, "like and follow for part 3”) but we often hear from creators that they'd love just a little more time to bring their cooking demos, elaborate beauty tutorials, educational lesson plans, and comedic sketches to life with TikTok’s creative tools. With longer videos, creators will have the canvas to create new or expanded types of content on TikTok, with the flexibility of a bit more space.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be rolling out the option to create longer videos to everyone on TikTok, giving our global community the flexibility to film, upload, and edit videos up to three minutes in length directly within TikTok. Once ready, you'll get a notification that longer videos are now part of your creative toolbox.

With all the ways our community has redefined expression in under 60 seconds, we’re excited to see how people continue to entertain and inspire with a few more seconds – and a world of creative possibilities.

Source: TikTok, July 1 2021, Drew Kirchhoff

Facebook, Google, TikTok and Twitter pledge to improve women's safety online

Facebook, Google, TikTok and Twitter have committed to battle online abuse and improve women's safety on their platforms. The four tech giants made the promises during the UN Generation Equality Forum in Paris.

The pledge follows four consultations arranged by the Web Foundation that took place over 11 months. The organization then ran a few policy design workshops in April to "develop prototypes that center the experiences of women most impacted by online abuse." Two core themes emerged: Curation, with a broad recommendation to "build better ways for women to curate their safety online," and Reporting, with a call to "implement improvements to reporting systems."

The tech companies promised to offer users more granular settings over who can see, comment on, reply to or share posts. Easier navigation and access to safety features, simpler and more accessible language across the user interface and "proactively reducing the amount of abuse" that women encounter are also among the commitments.

As for reporting, Facebook, Google, TikTok and Twitter say they'll enable users to have the option of tracking and managing the reports they file as well as having more ways for women to access support and help as they go through the reporting process. The other commitments include "enabling greater capacity to address context and/or language" and "providing more policy and product guidance when reporting abuse."

According to the Web Foundation, the companies pledged to implement their solutions within a certain time frame. They'll provide insights and data on how they're carrying out those commitments. The Web Foundation will publish annual reports on their progress as well.

More than 200 prominent figures have signed an open letter to the CEOs of the four companies, urging them to take action based on the promises. Among those who have signed the letter are actors Emma Watson and Gillian Anderson, UK Members of Parliament Diane Abbott and Jess Phillips, Creative Commons CEO Catherine Stihler and ex-Australia prime minister Julia Gillard.

The Web Foundation says 38 percent of those who identify as women have experienced online abuse. The figure rises to 45 percent for Gen Z and Millennial women. Women of color, and those in LGBTQIA+ and other marginalized communities often experience much worse abuse.

Meanwhile, Facebook just opened a Women's Safety Hub that explains the platform's tools for bolstering privacy and security. It will also run training sessions to help people harness those tools. In addition, the hub has resources for victims of abuse. Facebook developed the hub with the support of nonprofit partners around the globe. The hub's resources will soon be available in 55 languages.

Source: Engadget, July 1 2021, Kris Holt