Social Shorts: Facebook introduces a new Messenger API for businesses, Instagram passwords exposed by social startup

This collection of social media marketing and new hire announcements is a compilation of the past week’s briefs from our daily Marketing Land newsletter. Click here to subscribe and get more news like this delivered to your inbox every morning.

Instagram password leak. Social Captain, a social tech startup aimed at helping users boost Instagram followers, experienced a data breach resulting in thousands of Instagram passwords being made visible in plain text. TechCrunch reported that any user who linked their Instagram account to the platform could view the page source code on their Social Captain profile, displaying their Instagram username and password in unencrypted text. What’s worse – a website bug allowed anyone to access any Social Captain user’s profile without having to log in by simply entering a user’s account ID into the web address, which granted access to their Instagram login credentials. Social Captain confirmed to TechCrunch it had fixed the vulnerability by preventing direct access to other users’ profiles. Instagram said the service breached its terms of service by improperly storing login credentials.

Facebook preaches inclusivity for game creators. Facebook has announced a new toolkit designed to help promote inclusivity among game creators. Facebook collaborated with the Fair Play Alliance — a coalition of gaming companies working to establish healthy online communities — to develop rules that creators can choose to implement before they go live. The eight preset rules include: ‘Be accepting’ (no matter a community member’s race religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity); ‘Respect boundaries’ (in terms of not making advances or comments based on appearances); ‘Don’t criticize’ (someone’s gameplay or game choices); ‘Don’t be rude’ (in terms of threats or insults); ‘Don’t flood the chat’; ‘Don’t self-promote’; ‘Keep it clean’ (with respect to obscene or inflammatory content); and ‘No profanity’. Creators can select a preset rule in the ‘Chat Rules’ section of their dashboards, with fans prompted to accept them before being allowed to comment. The toolkit is currently in beta with plans to roll out globally in the coming months.

Reddit launches new chat capabilities. After years of testing, Reddit yesterday announced it is finally rolling out subreddit chat and one-to-one chat to all users and communities. “These two new features will enhance engagement among Redditors individually and within communities,” a Reddit staff member wrote in a blog. The platform said the new function could help “lower the barrier for individual contribution, and speed up the response time for engagement.”

Twitter conversations get a makeover. Twitter is making it easier for users to decipher between tweets and replies with a new threaded replies feature on iOS devices. In the new interface, replies to a parent tweet are indented with a connecting series of lines to indicate the order in which they were posted, creating an easy-to-read threaded conversation. According to Twitter, the new reply layout will be coming to Android soon.

Facebook addresses false news about coronavirus. Facebook said its working to limit the spread of misinformation about coronavirus, which was declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO) last week. Facebook said its network of fact-checkers is hard at work debunking false claims limiting its spread on Facebook and Instagram. The company is alerting users who’ve already shared misinformation related to the virus. Additionally, Facebook said its partnering with various organizations to share up-to-date information through messages on top of News Feed on Facebook, deployed based on guidance from the WHO. 

Follow-up alerts on Messenger. Facebook has introduced a One-Time Notification API (beta), allowing businesses to send follow-up alerts to customers through Messenger. In December, the company announced plans to roll out the API to support valuable use cases like price drop alerts, back-in-stock alerts, and other important follow-ups that people have requested notifications.

New child safety features. Facebook has rolled out additional tools and features for parents to manage their child’s experience in Messenger Kids. The new tools give parents access to their children’s recent contacts and chat history, a log of images exchanged in a chat, a list of reported and blocked contacts – among others. The updated features can be found in the Messenger Kids Parent Dashboard in the Facebook iOS and Android apps.

Drew Houston joins Facebook board. Facebook announced Monday that Drew Houston, co-founder and CEO of Dropbox, has been appointed to the company’s board of directors, effective immediately. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook said, “Drew brings valuable perspective to our board as a leader of a technology company with services used by millions of people and businesses. He thinks deeply about where technology is going and how to build a culture that delivers services that always work well.”

Facebook to shut down Audience Network for mobile web. Facebook is planning to shut down the mobile web arm of its Audience Network starting on April 11, the company confirmed on Wednesday. The exact rationale for the move is unclear, but sources said the decision was likely fueled by browser companies’ recent changes to throttle cookies in the mobile web environment, plus the internal resources required to keep on top of potential negative impacts from new data regulations and brand safety issues. A Facebook spokesperson said mobile web placements represented only a marginal piece of Facebook’s Audience Network business, and their removal will not have a material impact.

VSCO adds video publishing. Photo-sharing app VSCO is expanding further into video, giving users on iOS the ability to post videos. In December, VSCO moved further into the video market with the acquisition of video technology company Rylo. The company already supported video editing via its app, but users couldn’t publish and share directly to the VSCO feed the results of their long-form video content. VSCO’s current video editing tools are focused on photo-like edits, including the use of presets and adjustments like exposure or contrast. With the launch of the new video posting feature, VSCO said more advanced video capabilities will soon be rolling out, thanks to Rylo.

New Instagram story reply feature. It’s a small thing, but a fun one. Instagram users can now reply to a friend’s story using GIPHY GIFs, the platform announced Tuesday. To apply a GIF, users can run a search by keyword in the reply text box.

About The Author

Taylor Peterson is Third Door Media’s Deputy Editor, managing industry-leading coverage that informs and inspires marketers. Based in New York, Taylor brings marketing expertise grounded in creative production and agency advertising for global brands. Taylor’s editorial focus blends digital marketing and creative strategy with topics like campaign management, emerging formats, and display advertising.

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