The fast-moving digital world is never far away from another development. In the latest of our regular round ups we look at some of the latest developments including potential changes for Instagram’s like counts and the closure of Google’s mobile shopping app.

Instagram to give users control on like counts

You may recall a couple of years back that ‘like’ counts on Instagram disappeared for many users. This was part of a test by Instagram and, although it was never rolled out globally, it appears changes may still be on their way. In their latest ‘small global test’ Instagram are presenting some users with three options when it comes to like counts:

  • choosing not to see like counts on anyone’s posts
  • turning them off for their own posts
  • keeping the original experience

The main reason that Instagram are looking into this is to take away some of the mental health pressures associated with being judged on number of likes, but the original test faced criticism from Influencers worried how it might affect income (in reality even in the original tests people still had access to their own like counts for reporting). This new test though, which gives users the control, may be a solution that works for everyone, allowing the use of quantifying metrics where evaluation and reporting is needed, but removing the pressure to ‘compete’ for those that this will help.

Find out more about these changes here https://www.theverge.com/2021/4/14/22382692/instagram-public-like-count-test-expand

Instagram comes under fire

Keeping with Instagram, the Facebook-owned platform has apologised after a ‘mistake’ with its algorithm promoted diet content to users with eating disorders. The suggestions, which have now been removed following complaints, were made to users after Instagram made changes to its search functionality which it says was to help users ‘more easily discover and explore content’ they were most interested in. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-56750088

Meanwhile Facebook has also been urged to scrap its idea for an ‘Instagram for Children’. The proposal for a platform for U13s, which would be managed by parents, has been criticised by a number of campaigners including the Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-56757586

Google to close mobile shopping app

While we have all shopped online more in the past 12 months, with changes in shopping habits expected to continue post the Covid-pandemic, one place we won’t be shopping any more is the Google Shopping App.

Commenting on the changes, Google said: “Within the next few weeks, we’ll no longer be supporting the Shopping app. All of the functionality the app offered users is available on the Shopping tab. We’ll continue building features within the Shopping tab and other Google surfaces, including the Google app, that make it easy for people to discover and shop for the products they love.”

Read more: https://9to5google.com/2021/04/09/google-shopping-app/

TikTok Founder among world's richest men

Whether it’s the latest viral food trends, Farmer Hayden Fox explaining food expiry dates, or last year’s battle between the Trump Government and the Chinese-owned social media platform, TikTok has barely been out of the news over the past 12 months. And while TikTok’s growth in the UK may have slowed down it seems that its success continues to reap financial benefits for its founder, 38 year old Zhang Yiming, who owns a quarter of the company’s shares – that’s $60m of the $240m trading value – not bad for a platform that started just 5 years ago.

https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/tiktok-founder-zhang-yiming-38-is-among-worlds-richest-with-60-billion-fortune-2413128

And finally…

Facebook has unveiled a virtual-reality (VR) wristband that will be used to control its forthcoming augmented-reality glasses.

Like most things that Facebook does, the wristband, which interprets the user's hand movements via a cluster of sensors that detect motor-nerve signals, is not without controversy. Privacy experts are already expressing concerns about what data it stores.

Read more here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-56486802

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