We’re back with our latest edition of news and insights from the world of digital. Whether you’re one to stay on top of the trends, or are here to see what you’ve missed flying around the Twitterverse this last month or so, you’re in the right place. So sit back, relax, and feast your eyes on the latest happenings and updates in this ever-evolving industry — with a few opinions thrown in for you, pro bono!
One key topic that has arisen again and again is Facebook’s apparent trend to homogenise its own platforms with those of the popular millennial apps. To be clear, that is the suspiciously similar direction both Instagram and Facebook seem to be heading in order to look and feel more like Snapchat, adopting features iconic to the Snap brand. As The Drum explains, “when Instagram first unveiled Stories users were quick to call out the similarities and the Facebook-owned firm’s chief executive Kevin Systrom even asserted that Snapchat deserved ‘all the credit’ for the format.” This appears to be a thinly veiled copycat attempt in order to piggyback on the popularity of the Snap filters among young users.
Facebook was also put under the spotlight again — surprise, surprise — when its internal rulebook on contentious content was leaked. The Guardian reported that the guidelines on content related to sex, terrorism, and violence called into question Facebook’s position as an ethical and social influencer. It’s a pretty interesting read but something we imagine will be undergoing vast and rapid changes in the coming months to keep up with the developments in how people use the platform.
In other news, ad-blocking has been a big topic in the last couple of weeks with data coming to light showing just how many of us are using ad-blockers, as well as Google’s potential introduction of charges for those using them. Marketing Land shared the figures for ad-blockers in the US, finding that 40% of respondents in a survey have used some form of ad-blocker, predominantly on their laptop or desktop computers. It will be bad news for them going forward though as the Financial Times reports that Google will soon be allowing publishers to charge users who block ads on their sites.
With the snap election just around the corner, there has, of course, been a lot of talk and debate around the whole thing and how digital activity impacts on it. We’ve explored before the impact of filter bubbles and newsfeed algorithms on election media hype, but what’s being done about it this time round? As The Guardian states, “what happens on social media, and Facebook in particular, will have an enormous effect on how the country votes; and no one has any clue how to measure what’s actually happening there.” This is a pretty scary thought considering the vast number of people who cite their key news source as the colossal social site. All we can hope is that people are becoming more and more aware of their own filtered views presented to them online, and explore beyond this when establishing where to place their vote — we’re not holding our breath on this though if we’re honest.
In relation to this, isn’t it time we thought more about online voting? It’s a system that Estonia has had in place for over ten years. So why are we still casting votes like it was the ‘50s? Our current system is one described by the BBC as “quaintly archaic” — loosely translated in this digital age as ‘the dark ages’. Of course, the key concern of digital voting is security. But, in this day and age, are we not in a position to at least start exploring this option? We guess we’ll have to wait and see what’s handed down in time from the esoteric powers that be.
So there you have it: a little round up of the biggest stories affecting the digital world at the moment. If you want to know more or have any questions about how your digital presence fits into all this, just get in touch — we’re always happy to lend a hand.
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