Social media is forever changing which makes it easy to miss an update from time to time. Twice a month, we look into three of the latest key updates from the past few weeks from the various social media giants. Here’s what’s been happening recently…

Instagram Adds New Features to Offer More Protection and Well-Being Prompts for Young Users

Instagram has announced a range of new features designed to offer more protection to young users, both from the negative impacts of overuse of the app and from predators that may be lurking within its network.

First off, Instagram has announced a new parental control option that will enable parents and guardians to set limits on how much time their teens spend in the app.

 

As you can see above, the new option will also enable parents to see how much time their child is currently spending in the app – though I can only imagine the fury if a parent opted to only allow their child 30 minutes per day online.

In addition to this, teen users will also now be able to notify their parents if they report someone, which will provide an opportunity for the parents to be more involved in the process. Instagram says that this is the first version of these tools, with more options to be made available over time.

That could be a good way for parents to maintain a level of guardianship over teen screen time, which, given the aforementioned impacts of Instagram use, may end up being a significant benefit.

In addition to this, Instagram has also officially announced its new ‘Take a Break’ prompts, which were spotted in testing early last month.

 

As shown above, the new option will enable users to set reminders to take some time away from the app after a certain period of activity, with either 10, 20 or 30 minute activity reminders.

Instagram’s also launching new in-app prompts to make young users aware of the tool:

To make sure that teens are aware of this feature, we’ll show them notifications suggesting they turn these reminders on. Early test results show that once teens set the reminders, more than 90% of them keep them on. We’re launching this feature in the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and Australia today, and we’ll bring it to everyone by early next year.”

WhatsApp Adds New Auto-Delete Options, Enabling You to Set All Your Chat Threads to Self-Erase

Amid ongoing controversy around Meta’s move to introduce end-to-end encryption by default in all of its messaging apps, WhatsApp’s adding another privacy feature, with the ability to set all of your message threads to auto-delete after 24 hours, 7 days or 90 days.

 

As explained by WhatsApp:

WhatsApp users will now have the option to turn on disappearing messages by default for all new chats. When enabled, all new one-on-one chats you or another person start will be set to disappear at your chosen duration, and we’ve added a new option when creating a group chat that lets you turn it on for groups you create. This new feature is optional and does not change or delete any of your existing chats.”

As you can see here, the new ‘Default Message Timer’ option will enable you to set your chats to disappear after a set period of time. When this option is enabled, a message will be displayed in your chats that informs others that this is the default that you’ve chosen.

“This makes clear it’s nothing personal – it’s a choice you’ve made about how you want to communicate with everyone on WhatsApp moving forward. Though of course, if you need a particular conversation to remain permanent, it’s easy to switch a chat back.”

Message privacy is a key feature of WhatsApp, and this new addition will no doubt be welcomed by many – though as noted, WhatsApp’s parent company Meta is currently facing various battles, in various regions, over its moves to enact encryption by default in all chats in Messenger and Instagram Direct, moving into live with WhatsApp.

TikTok Shares a Listing of Some of the Most Popular Products Promoted on the Platform in 2021

TikTok has this week published a listing of some of the most popular products on the platform over the last year, which were featured in various #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt trends.

As explained by TikTok:

When the TikTok community comes together, they move culture – and commerce – in powerful ways, and the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt phenomenon is a prime example. Products they rave about become cultural sensations, inspiring people on and off TikTok to try, buy, and share with their networks, leading to massive consumer demand, out-of-stock shelves, and months-long waitlists for products.”

The listing, which has its own mini-site, features 23 products, ranging from clothing to food to make-up, which TikTokers were in love with throughout the year.

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