TikTok’s uncertain future, Twitter’s ever-evolving policies, and Instagram’s effort to engage

Meta and TikTok News

TikTok seems to be in trouble every time we turn around. With U.S. legislators weighing a ban, most of the Western world banning it from government phones, and now major fines for mining data from users under 13, it looks like things could get bumpy. Twitter’s verification is still a moving target, and Instagram is working really hard to keep people engaged.

Here’s what we’ve got in social media platform news this week.

1. TikTok is banned from government phones in Australia, faces big fines in the UK.

TikTok’s policies do not allow children under the age of 13 to access the platform, but it looks like millions of them do it anyway. This isn’t a good look, and they’ve got a $15.9 million dollar fine from the UK Information Commissioner to show for it.

From the ICO:

“ICO has issued a £12,700,000 fine to TikTok Information Technologies UK Limited and TikTok Inc (TikTok) for a number of breaches of data protection law, including failing to use children’s personal data lawfully. The ICO estimates that TikTok allowed up to 1.4 million UK children under 13 to use its platform in 2020, despite its own rules not allowing children that age to create an account.”


Additionally, Australia is joining the list of countries around the world that have banned TikTok from government devices for national security reasons. The U.S. isn’t alone in its concerns about the app.

2. Twitter incentivizes Blue subscribers with a 50% ad reduction

The ongoing push to get people to pay for verification has a new user perk: fewer ads.

No, they won’t go away entirely, but they’ll cut the presence of ad content in half for Twitter Blue subscribers.

According to the description of the product from Twitter, “You will see approximately twice as many organic or non-promoted Tweets placed in between promoted Tweets or ads. There may be times when there are more or fewer non-promoted Tweets between promoted Tweets.”

Kind of a hard perk to quantify for users, but maybe it’ll make a difference?

3. YouTube Music will support podcasts in the US

This should be cool. YouTube Music will branch out into podcasting.

Users will also be able to create podcasts in YouTube Studio.

From PodNews:

We’re also rolling out podcast creation in YouTube Studio, making it easier for Creators to set their videos as podcasts. Podcast playlists will be eligible for current and upcoming podcast features on YouTube, such as eligibility for youtube.com/podcasts, podcast badging, and inclusion in the YouTube Music app.

4. Twitter Blue and legacy verification are impossible to differentiate now

The verification checks are proving to be tricky to switch over. Previously, you could tell who was a Blue subscriber and who had legacy verification. Over the weekend, the language changed and—in an attempt to democratize the checkmark—the two categories are now indistinguishable.

It seems like it’ll take them a while to remove all of the legacy checkmarks, so this is the stopgap they’ve decided to go with.

5. Instagram is trying to increase engagement with new features

It’s no secret that Instagram has been trying to maintain and increase user engagement on the platform. They’ve recently added a few new features toward that end.

In February, they added the Instagram Broadcast Channel. Essentially, creators can send mass messages, polls, pictures and more out to their followers.

More recently, they added a Birthday Effect to Instagram profiles. This allows people to engage with you on your birthday, just for the day.

And finally, they’re experimenting with a new discovery element that would allow you and friends to discover content together, surrounding shared interests. From SMT:

It would essentially give you more guidance on the topics that you and your friend both like, which might spark new interactive opportunities, and reveal interests in common that you weren’t even aware of. You would then also be able to share future posts from those profiles and interests, which could generate even more engagement opportunities in the app.

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