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By Usama Jawad96
WhatsApp Business to get improved privacy, service fees
by Usama Jawad
Facebook launched WhatsApp Business back in 2018 to help small businesses interact with customers and sell their products. In the current pandemic, the need for a central hub to communicate with online retailers has become more important than ever. The company says that over 175 million people message a WhatsApp business account daily.
To further improve upon this experience, WhatsApp has detailed a host of new changes that it will be making to its service.
First and foremost, it will be making it easier for businesses to sell products directly from the chat, and allow them to integrate these features with their existing solutions for customer and business management.
It will also be expanding its roster of business solution providers for companies that want to work with other firms for hosting and managing their communications. To that end, it plans to roll out Facebook's own hosting services soon too, which businesses will be able to utilize to manage inventories and respond to messages to customers.
Furthermore, WhatsApp will also be charging business accounts a fee for the services that are offered to them. The company says:
Lastly, new privacy features will also be introduced to protect customer conversations, although the company hasn't gone into the details of what this entails. All of these changes will be gradually rolled out to customers over the next few months, and we'll likely learn more about them closer to their respective launches.
By Usman Khan Lodhi
Facebook launches its dating service in Europe
by Usman Khan Lodhi
Facebook Dating, which launched in the U.S. last year, is now expanding its services to 32 European countries. The rollout was originally planned on Valentine's Day, but regulatory concerns caused the long delay.
Ireland's Data Protection Commission (DPC) stated that it hadn't received prior information about the planned launch, and was informed about the February 13 launch date on February 3. In addition to being given the short notice, the DPC wasn't given documentation concerning the Data Protection Impact Assessment, the regulator said.
The service, integrated with the rest of the firm's products, appears as a tab in Facebook's mobile app. It is able to pull users' stories and photos from Instagram, and users can initiate video calls via Messenger once they match. There is also a Secret Crush feature that searches your Instagram followers and Facebook friends for potential matches.
The service is presently available in over 50 countries, which now include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
By Abhay V
Facebook is working on a new 'Neighborhoods' feature aimed at private, local networking
by Abhay Venkatesh
Facebook is working on a new ‘Neighborhoods’ feature for the service that aims at connecting users that live close by and for them to socialize within their locality. The feature is supposedly being aimed as a rival offering to services like Nextdoor, which is currently eyeing a $5 billion IPO.
While some leaked screenshots of the feature made it to Twitter back in May, the social networking giant has confirmed to Bloomberg that it is indeed testing the feature in a limited capacity in Calgary, Canada. “More than ever, people are using Facebook to participate in their local communities,” said a spokesperson in a statement to the publication, adding that the Neighborhoods feature is a “dedicated space within Facebook for people to connect with their neighbors”.
Social media consultant Matt Navarra shared some screenshots of the feature on Twitter, providing some insight into the setup process and the feature itself. The app confirms users’ location to set their locality and a profile, after which it offers posts, groups, and content from other users in the neighborhood. Interestingly, Navarra adds that users can create profiles for other users to see even if they are not their Facebook friends.
With Neighborhoods, Facebook aims to bring more private conversations between users of a community, something it has been working on through private groups and the like. However, the firm reminds users through the setup process that all its Community Standards are applicable in Neighborhoods as well, prompting users to be “inclusive”, “kind”, and “clean”. Users are also offered dedicated privacy options for their Neighborhoods, with the option to also switch between or leave these groups altogether.
It will be interesting to see how the company evolves the feature and expands it to more regions. With close to two billion active users monthly, the adoption of such a feature could be much quicker than that of other smaller companies. The impact on rivals like Nextdoor that offer a “private social network” will also be interesting to keep an eye on.
By Jay Bonggolto
Instagram expands paid badges in Live to more creators worldwide
by Jay Bonggolto
Earlier this year, Instagram introduced an experimental way for creators to make money from their live streams. That method has since been allowing creators to sell badges to their audiences, which unlock certain features like a special heart reaction.
The paid badge was limited to a small number of creators until today. Instagram announced today that badges in Live are available to more than 50,000 creators worldwide. Fans can purchase badges during a live stream. These badges will then show up next to their names throughout the stream's duration.
In addition to showing their support for creators, fans also stand out in the comments with the badges, which can draw attention to their comments. They can also access a special heart reaction that can be sent during a live video and be placed on a creator's list of badge holders. The latter makes it easy for creators to view fans who have supported their content.
Instagram's paid badges are now rolling out in the U.S., France, the UK, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, and Japan. Instagram is also temporarily matching earnings from badges starting next month to further support creators.
By Jay Bonggolto
Facebook Watch now lets users in the U.S. personalize their video feed with topics
by Jay Bonggolto
Facebook today introduced a new customization option within its Watch section for users in the U.S. The new capability allows users to personalize their video feed with the options to choose their topics of interest.
The feature will let users follow different content categories like Beauty, Comedy, Crafts, Dance, and more. Picking any of these topics will tell Facebook what type of content you would like to see on Watch in addition to the Pages and profiles you follow on the platform. Videos related to these categories will then show up more often in your feed.
The topics you follow will be visible only to you. There's also an option to edit your topics by adding or removing them at any moment. This feature is rolling out in the U.S. starting today.
In addition to topics, Watch is also adding new sections called "What’s Happening" and "Featured". Facebook curates the videos that appear in these sections to provide timely content to users like the Television Academy’s annual Emmy Awards, MLB World Series highlights, Vote-A-Thon 2020, LatinX, and Hispanic Heritage Month. You can also watch the latest music videos in the new destinations.
To see the videos that many other users are reacting to in Watch, Facebook has also added sections like the "Most Haha’d This Week" and "Most Loved This Week". Videos that your friends are watching most of the time and popular in groups will also show up in Watch.
These new sections are available in the U.S. and other territories. Facebook says these changes are meant to simplify how users search for videos to watch on the platform.