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 AMBER Alerts to Help Raise Awareness of Missing Kids

Instagram’s adding a new AMBER Alerts feature to distribute important information about missing people in the app, and share timely, critical updates to help address child abductions and related situations.

 

As you can see in this example, the new AMBER Alerts, which will be targeted by geographic area, will alert users that there’s an active search for a missing child nearby.

Alerts will include details about the child, including a photo, description, location of the abduction and any other available information that can be provided. Users can then respond to an alert if they have any info, while they can also share the alert with friends to help spread the word.

As per Instagram“We know that the chances of finding a missing child increase when more people are on the lookout, especially in the first few hours. With this update, if an AMBER Alert is activated by law enforcement and you are in the designated search area, the alert will now appear in your Instagram feed.”

The option utilises Instagram’s scale and popularity to maximise the reach of such alerts, broadening awareness, which will ideally help to ensure that more people are on the lookout, and more information is being shared with relevant authorities.

Meta, TikTok, Google and Twitter All Preparing to Sign-On to New Misinformation Rules in Europe

Amid ongoing debate around the impact of misinformation shared online, and the role that social media, in particular, plays in the spread of false narratives, a new anti-disinformation push in Europe could play a big role in improving detection and response across the biggest digital media platforms.

As reported by The Financial Times, Meta, Twitter, Google, Microsoft and TikTok are all planning to sign on to an updated version of the EU’s ‘anti-disinformation code’, which will see the implementation of new requirements, and penalties, in dealing with misinformation.

As per The Financial Times: “According to a confidential report seen by the Financial Times, an updated “code of practice on disinformation” will force tech platforms to disclose how they’re removing, blocking or curbing harmful content in advertising and in the promotion of content. Online platforms will have to counter “harmful disinformation” by developing tools and partnerships with fact-checkers that may include taking down propaganda, but also the inclusion of “indicators of trustworthiness” on independently verified information on issues like the war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The push would see an expansion of the tools currently used by social platforms to detect and remove misinformation, while it may also see a new body formed to set rules around what classifies as ‘misinformation’ in this context, which could take some of the onus on this off the platforms themselves.

TikTok Launches Digital Avatars for Use in TikTok Clips

While it’s scary to think – in the near future, digital avatars will become a critical representation of our real selves, as we interact more and more in wholly virtual spaces – which is why several platforms are now trying to come up with the best 3D avatar tools to better align people with their apps.

And now, TikTok’s throwing its hat in the ring, with the launch of its own avatar creation tools.

@effectmasterwannabe Tiktok avatar is now available. Publish your video with your new TikTok avatar! 🤩 #TikTokAvatars ♬ 原声 – Effect Master

As you can see in the above video, TikTok’s Avatars, now available via the ‘Effects’ panel in the camera view, enable users to create their own custom character depictions for use across the app.

As explained by TikTokChoose from an array of hairstyles, accessories, piercings and makeup, to create a TikTok Avatar that reflects your personal look and style. After your Avatar is ready, you can start recording videos. As you gesture and move, your Avatar will mimic your motion.”

The functionality is much like Apple’s ‘Memoji’, which enables you to use your chosen Memoji character as essentially a digital puppet, with the character moving in response to your actions when looking at the camera.

TikTok’s avatars are an almost direct replica of this, down to the cartoonish look – though TikTok’s characters also include a ‘miniature avatar’ functionality, which is expected to end up being the primary use of the option, at least initially.

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