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Social Media Weekly Roundup #3

Welcome to this week’s social media roundup, where we bring you the latest developments and trends in the ever-evolving realm of social media. This week’s spotlight is on Meta’s groundbreaking research in partnership with academic journals, focusing on the impact of social media on political attitudes and behaviors during the 2020 US Presidential election. Additionally, we’ll cover Instagram’s exciting expansion of their subscriptions tool for creators worldwide and provide updates on Meta’s Threads platform and their ambitious venture into the Metaverse.

Academic Journals Release a Political Study on Meta

Meta has announced a groundbreaking research partnership with external academics, aimed at studying the influence of social media on political attitudes and behaviors during the 2020 US Presidential election. The partnership seeks to address questions about social media’s role in society and its effects on political polarization, information exposure, and attitudes towards government and democracy.

The first set of studies, with more planned in the future, has been published. The findings challenge common beliefs about social media’s power to fuel political polarization. Surprisingly, one study revealed that removing reshared content on Facebook actually decreased news knowledge among participants but had no significant impact on political polarization or attitudes. Similarly, claims suggesting that algorithmic ranking and virality contribute to division were also questioned, as participants tended to engage more with like-minded content despite reduced exposure.

What sets this research partnership apart is Meta’s transparent collaboration with external researchers, granting them full independence and access to data without any financial influence. The researchers collected data during the election cycle and obtained explicit, informed consent from participants, ensuring high ethical standards. The findings are published in open-access academic journals, and the pre-registration process ensures the researchers’ commitments are released upon publication, maintaining transparency.

Meta hopes that this research will contribute to society’s understanding of social media’s impact on democracy, providing valuable insights to policymakers as they shape regulations for the internet, ultimately benefiting democracy and society as a whole.

Instagram Brings Subscriptions Tool to More Creators

Source: Instagram 


Last year, Instagram introduced the subscriptions tool, enabling creators to set a monthly price of their choice, add a “subscribe” button on their profiles, and offer exclusive benefits to paying subscribers, including:

  • Exclusive Content: Creators can share subscriber-only posts, stories, reels, and live sessions, offering unique content and interactive features to paying subscribers.
  • Subscriber Highlights: Exclusive stories are automatically saved to a highlight visible only to subscribers, ensuring they never miss any content.
  • Subscriber Channels: Creators can offer subscriber-only channels to provide special access or information to their paying audience.
  • Subscriber Badges: To prioritize interactions with certain members of their community, creators can easily identify subscribers through badges next to their comments and messages.

After testing out this tool in the US, Instagram has decided to expand subscriptions to creators worldwide. Eligible countries now include Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain and the United Kingdom!

Meta’s Threads Loses Half of Its Users While It Ventures into the Metaverse

Meta’s new social media platform, Threads, initially gained remarkable traction with over 100 million users within just five days of its launch. However, CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently revealed that the platform has experienced a significant drop in users since then. He acknowledged that such fluctuations are common and remains optimistic that user retention will improve as new features are added to the app. In response to user feedback about limited functionality, Meta has already introduced new features, including separate feeds for “following” and “for you” content, as well as enhanced language translation capabilities.

Zuckerberg also provided an update on Meta’s ambitious venture into the Metaverse, a virtual world driven by augmented reality and virtual reality technologies.. While progress is on track, he anticipates that the Metaverse won’t reach the mainstream until the next decade. Despite concerns about investment in the Metaverse causing multi-billion dollar losses in the Reality Labs division, Meta as a whole remains financially strong, reporting a profit of $7.79 billion in the last quarter.

As for the highly-publicized proposed cage fight between Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, Zuckerberg was uncertain about whether it would come to fruition.

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