Social media updates: September 2023

Your monthly roundup of the social media updates from the past month.
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Table of Contents

In the ever-evolving landscape of social media, staying informed about the latest developments and trends is crucial for both users and creators.

From Meta’s ambitious expansion of its verification program to TikTok’s venture into longer-form content, the social media sphere is continuously buzzing with innovation. In this post, we delve into the most recent updates and shifts across popular platforms, offering a comprehensive overview of what’s happening in the world of social media.

Join us as we explore the latest insights, features, and strategies that are shaping the way we connect, share, and engage online. Whether you’re a business seeking to leverage these platforms for growth, a content creator navigating the changing dynamics, or simply a social media enthusiast looking to stay in the loop, this update has something for everyone.

So, let’s dive into the exciting realm of social media, where innovation knows no bounds, and trends are set to redefine the way we interact in the digital age.

Meta expands its Paid Verification Program to business accounts

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is expanding its paid verification program. Originally launched for individual creators, Meta Verified now includes a package tailored for businesses. This move aims to offer brands the opportunity to enhance their authority on the platform by purchasing a verified checkmark. However, there is a debate about the impact of selling verification checkmarks on their perceived value. Despite this criticism, Meta and other social media companies are expanding these paid verification packages. The cost for Meta Verified for Business is $21.99 per month per Instagram account or Facebook Page on the website or $27.99 for each via mobile sign-up. A combination package for both Facebook and Instagram business pages is priced at $34.99. Unlike individual creators, business accounts can now get a combined Facebook and Instagram verification package for $19.99 per month. Meta hopes to attract businesses by offering additional exposure benefits to verified business accounts, though specific details about this feature remain undisclosed.

Threads engagement struggles as Meta continues to develop the app

Despite initial buzz, Threads, a social media platform developed by Meta, has faced challenges in maintaining user engagement. Instagram chief Adam Mosseri addressed these issues in a recent Q&A session. He acknowledged that while Threads is widely used, it does not see the frequency of use that Meta would like. Users spend an average of only 6 minutes per day on the app, compared to 21 minutes shortly after its launch. In contrast, Elon Musk’s platform, X, has users spending an average of 31 minutes daily. Mosseri identified several key areas for improvement in Threads:

  • Messaging: Mosseri expressed the need to make messaging on Threads more user-friendly. While this may not necessarily involve adding a direct messaging feature, integrating Threads more seamlessly with Instagram’s messaging system is a possibility.
  • Improved Discovery: Currently, Threads relies on a user’s Instagram activity to suggest content. However, Threads users often have different preferences, such as following industry profiles and influencers or consuming text-based content. The platform needs to fine-tune its algorithm to better cater to its specific user base.
  • Improved Recommendations: Threads struggles to recommend relevant accounts to users, often highlighting generic celebrity profiles. This issue stems from the lack of personal engagement data. As users spend more time on the app, the algorithm will have more data to work with.
  • Edit Button: Users can expect an edit button to be added in the future, allowing them to make changes to their threads post within a five-minute window after publishing.

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TikTok officially launches new in-stream labels for AI-generated content

TikTok has officially introduced in-stream labels for AI-generated content to increase transparency on the platform. Users who create posts using AI must now flag them as such to avoid content removal.

This feature includes a “Creator labeled as AI-generated” tag to prevent confusion and misinformation. TikTok acknowledges that while AI provides creative opportunities, it can also mislead viewers when not identified.

The company aims to address this by clearly marking content altered or generated by AI technology. Misinformation in AI-generated content has become a concern across various platforms, and TikTok’s move is part of broader efforts to combat this issue.

TikTok explores new in-app messaging and engagement options

TikTok is exploring new social engagement features, including messaging and in-stream chats, as indicated by recent job listings. TikTok aims to enable users to connect with their real-life friends on the platform and encourage them to share moments, regardless of their location.

This shift signals a departure from TikTok’s initial focus on highlighting content from across the app in favor of strengthening user-to-user interactions. TikTok’s decision to invest in messaging options may be driven by the observation that users are increasingly sharing TikTok content off-platform and discussing it in other apps.

Enhancing in-stream engagement could help TikTok retain user interactions within its own ecosystem.

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Instagram tests new option to hide Like activity

Instagram is testing a new privacy feature that allows users to hide their like activity from others. Users can choose to hide their likes from non-followers or limit visibility to close friends.

This feature aims to provide users with more control over their activity visibility on the platform. Instagram’s move aligns with broader privacy trends, offering users options to manage their social presence as third-party data becomes less available due to evolving privacy regulations.

Similar to Twitter’s subscription service, Instagram’s Premium (formerly Twitter Blue) subscribers can hide their checkmark and likes, reducing potential stigma associated with their interactions.

Instagram expands Reels Gifts to creators in more regions

Instagram has expanded its Reels Gifts feature to more regions, enabling creators to receive virtual gifts from viewers. Viewers can purchase and send gifts to creators in the form of Stars, Instagram’s in-app currency.

Creators receive a revenue share from the gifts they receive on their Reels, with a payout threshold of $25. To be eligible, creators need over 5,000 followers, a professional account, and compliance with Instagram’s monetization terms.

This feature provides another revenue stream for Reels creators and may encourage top users to continue posting content on the platform.

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Threads adds new desktop functionality and the ability to follow specific conversations

Meta has introduced several updates to its Threads platform, including a feature that allows users to follow specific conversations without following the user. Users can receive updates on a particular thread by tapping a bell icon, enabling better engagement with essential discussions.

Threads has also added the ability to quote posts on its desktop version, providing consistent functionality across devices. Although Thread editing is not currently available, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has hinted at its development.

Lastly, Threads remains unavailable to EU residents due to upcoming regulations, limiting its potential expansion and usability.

Threads expands Keyword Search to more regions

Meta has expanded the keyword search functionality on its Threads platform to additional regions, including Argentina, India, Mexico, the U.K., and the U.S. Threads users can now conduct keyword searches beyond user handles, enhancing the platform’s utility. Keyword search has been a highly requested feature, and its introduction may boost Threads’ adoption and relevance.

YouTube announces new creator tools, including generative AI options

YouTube has unveiled several new creative tools and features, including its first generative AI elements. Creators can use these generative AI features to add AI-generated backgrounds or other elements to their YouTube Shorts.

Additionally, YouTube has introduced various editing options, such as audio clean-up, auto captions, filters, effects, transitions, and access to royalty-free songs and sound effects. Creators can also publish content directly to YouTube, streamlining the content creation process. YouTube aims to enhance the creative capabilities of its platform by providing these tools to creators.

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YouTube launches test of new vertical live stream presentation format

YouTube is testing a full-screen viewing experience for live streams in its mobile app, enhancing the viewing experience for mobile users. The new vertical format provides an immersive experience for viewers, similar to other social media platforms like Instagram.

This test is part of YouTube’s efforts to stay aligned with the latest trends in mobile video consumption and user engagement.

YouTube moves into mobile games with ‘Playables’

YouTube is testing a new feature called “Playables,” which allows users to play simple games directly within the YouTube app. The Playables feature is available on both desktop and mobile devices and is aimed at expanding YouTube’s presence in the gaming sector.

While specific details about the feature are limited, this move could help YouTube compete with gaming-focused platforms like Twitch and Facebook Gaming by offering more interactive and engaging content to users.

YouTube introduces option for users to appeal video removals

YouTube is introducing a new feature that allows users to appeal video removals directly from the platform. This feature aims to make the appeal process more straightforward and transparent for creators.

When a video is removed, creators will receive an email notification with a link to appeal the decision. This change comes as part of YouTube’s ongoing efforts to improve transparency and communication with its creator community.

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TikTok expands video length limit to 10 minutes

TikTok has expanded its video length limit from 3 minutes to 10 minutes, allowing creators to produce longer-form content on the platform. This expansion aims to attract a wider range of content creators and offer more opportunities for storytelling and engagement. TikTok’s move follows the trend of various social media platforms, such as YouTube and Instagram, embracing longer videos to cater to diverse user preferences and content genres.

Please note that the information provided here is based on the latest available news and may be subject to change as these social media platforms continue to evolve and develop new features.

Until next time

In the ever-evolving world of social media, staying informed about the latest updates and features is essential for individuals and businesses alike. From Meta’s expansion of its verification program to TikTok’s transparency with AI-generated content labels, and YouTube’s creative tools, these developments are shaping the way we engage with social platforms.

As we conclude our exploration of these updates, it’s evident that the landscape of social media is continually shifting. To thrive in this digital ecosystem, adapting and embracing these changes is crucial. Whether you’re a creator, marketer, or simply an avid social media user, keeping a finger on the pulse of these platform updates will empower you to make the most of your online presence. Stay connected, stay informed, and stay ahead in the ever-evolving world of social media.


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