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Digital Services

  • 16 Mar 2022
  • 5 min read
  • by Talor Gilchrist

From algorithms to a war on drugs - It’s the March Social Update

From Instagram algorithms to parental control on Snapchat, Senior Social Media Manager Talor discusses March's social media trends in her monthly roundup.

Social, social, social.

Who knew growing up that the word social would end up meaning sitting at your computer all day? As an elder of the MySpace era, I am thrilled by this turn of events.

Let’s see what the month of March has given us in the ever changing landscape of social media, let’s hope Facebook hasn't introduced reels to the platform…

Oh wait.

Credit: GIPHY

Instagram Opens Up

They’ve heard the complaints, people want to know why the algorithm doesn’t favour them anymore.

Instagram has clarified that there isn’t any one algorithm, there’s actually quite a few, each with its own purpose. For example each part of the app - feed, explore and reels - all have their own unique calculations e.g people want to find something new from the explore page but only want to watch their friends on stories.

For feed and stories, Instagram have explained that they personalise on four different aspects:

  • The post itself - if it is popular, if it is interesting, when it was posted, and what location

  • The profile posting - is this a person that you have interacted with previously, and do others also find them interesting?

  • Your personal activity - what specifically, do you like the most?

  • History of interaction - The people whose posts you have liked and commented on the most.

How can you control what you see? There aren’t specific off and on buttons, but Instagram have clarified that there are ways to help their algorithms including:

  • The close friends you have chosen for your IG stories, Instagram will prioritise their content in your feed

  • Mute the people you aren’t interested in - muting is a great way to hide someone without having to unfollow them completely (e.g without insulting them)

  • If a post or ad is recommended to you, you can now mark them as ‘not interested’, and this in turn tells Instagram not to show you this content in the future

It’s odd to think that an app is looking at your interests and scrolling habits so intricately. Do we think the people working at Meta are wondering - ‘This Talor girl seems to be going through a ‘carbonara made in an entire wheel of cheese’ phase’?

The Social eCommerce Uprising

With apps adding Argos-like catalogues to business feeds left, right and centre and the ability to buy a product within an app now unbelievably easy (removing that ever scary option of asking your audience to click on a link knowing there will be a drop off somewhere), eCommerce is booming.

Facebook and Instagram are currently taking the lead with a simple click on a product straight to a shopping cart, with TikTok and Twitter introducing eCommerce opportunities swiftly behind them. So, what has been the reaction so far? According to Social Media Today:

  • 65% use social media for shopping inspiration

  • 61% shop when they stumble across something in their feed/stories

  • 60% shop from influencer recommendations

  • 38% actively look for products to shop in feed/stories

In January, Accenture did a study on shopping on social media platforms and they found that “…the $492 billion social commerce industry is expected to grow three times as fast as traditional ecommerce to $1.2 trillion by 2025.”

Have I bought something through Instagram? Yes.

Was it so easy I forgot I bought something at all? Also yes.

Social eCommerce is definitely looking like the right step forward for many brands.

Credit: GIPHY

Snapchat’s War on Drugs

We’re getting serious over here people.

In the United States, there has been a rise of drug overdoses due to the increase of fentanyl, a very strong opioid, often laced through recreational drugs such as cocaine. When researched by NBC, they found that one of the causes of this rise is the selling of drugs on social media, such as Snapchat.

“Snapchat has been linked to the sale of fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills that have caused the deaths of teens and young adults in at least 15 states.”

What about the U.K.? Good question. The Independent found that one in five 13 to 14 year olds have seen drugs sold on social media, including class A substances.

So what is Snapchat doing about it?

  • They have changed their ‘Quick Add’ feature, so it will only show people that the user has mutual friends with (making it more difficult for strangers to become friends with teenagers)

  • They have expanded their law enforcement team in the US by 74%, claiming that they now proactively detect 88% of the drug related content it finds on Snapchat with the rest reported by users

  • There is also now a portal to educate users on the dangers of drugs

  • They are actively banning accounts they associate with drug dealing, and review content before it is posted in public sections on the platform

The big addition, which caught my eye, is that they are developing parental tools to give parents an insight into who their children are talking to on Snapchat, all the while ‘respecting their privacy’. Ahhh, there’s nothing like a complete violation of your privacy to stop you rebelling against your parents 👀.

Ultimately, this is a wider issue and social media platforms simply make it easier for people to buy drugs. It will be interesting to see if Snapchat’s new additions will have an effect on these awful drug statistics and what this means for social media and law enforcement in the future.

Credit: Pixabay

If you have any questions for the social media team in regards to this blog or social in general please feel free to drop us a message.

P.S TikTok will be launching 10 minute videos, this is the only airtime they are getting in the social updates this month 😉.

Talor Gilchrist

Talor Gilchrist

Senior Social Media Manager