ICYMI: Instagram's Very Bad Week Edition

Here's what happened on social media this week, Sept. 17

💔 Instagram is one of the most toxic social platforms for teen girls, even more so than TikTok or Snapchat according to internal research. This was just one of the damning details to come out of the Wall Street Journal this week in an investigative series that absolutely slaughtered Facebook.  

The WSJ’s Facebook Files investigation are based on a review of internal documents that led to headlines including: 

(If you’re not a WSJ subscriber, there’s a corresponding podcast series or you can find details on all the other major news sites.)

In response to the news, lawmakers have renewed their efforts to get Facebook to scrap its plan for an Instagram app for kids. And Wired produced this interesting look at Instagram’s internal struggles, the app’s identity crisis and why Reels hasn’t been a great success.   

🧠 In a well-timed countermove, TikTok announced its “well-being guide” as part of its Safety Center to provide users with suggestions on how to talk about mental health while keeping themselves safe and being respectful to other community members.

🗺 In non scandalous news, Instagram launched Map Search in Australia and New Zealand, a feature that allows Instagram users to use a map to find local businesses. There’s no word on when it might roll out to North America.  

📲 App developer Alessandro Paluzzi finds and shares new Instagram features being tested. Some of the more interesting possibilities he’s uncovered this week include:

🎉 Social media managers rejoice! Facebook is testing something called “Work Accounts” to decouple your personal account from Business Manager. Rolling out in 2022, this would allow business owners to access Facebook’s business products through a “Work Account.” 

🗺 WhatsApp is piloting a local business directory within their app to help people find and contact local businesses. It’s starting in São Paulo and may expand to other regions depending on feedback.

🔵 This is a great Twitter thread summing up all of the new (or beta test) features on that platform that are worth following:

  • Super Follow subscriptions

  • Ticketed audio Spaces

  • Edge to edge multi-media

  • New reactions being tested

  • Communities (aka Groups)

  • Safety Mode

  • Remove Followers tool

  • Automated bot labeling

🗂 LinkedIn is investing $25 million in “creators.” This week, they announced the LinkedIn Creator Accelerator Program, a 10-week, incubator-style program for up to 100 U.S.-based which includes a $15,000 grant to help them share content, spark conversations, and build communities. 

🙂🙃 Ad Age published a bizarre piece on the evolution from influencers to creators, pitting the two groups against each other. “An influencer is measured on quantitative factors such as audience reach, viewership, engagement rate. Whereas a creator is different; a creator isn’t measured on reach or viewership, but the quality and caliber of their content.” 

Friendly reminder, a lot of influencers are creators. And a lot of creators have influence. It’s not a zero sum game and one isn’t a more noble profession than the other. Culturally, we’ve stigmatized the word influencer in the media to represent all of the worst things about social media stars and anyone with some experience in the space should know this. 

💍 Britney Spears just deleted her Instagram account with 34 million followers. Fans were concerned but she switched to Twitter to let people know she was taking a social media break after getting engaged. 

💉 Nicki Minaj caused a ruckus when she tweeted that she wouldn’t get vaccinated just to attend the Met Ball. She also shared a story about the vaccine causing swollen testicles, which may or may not have been a joke. Now, she’s been invited to the White House and the health minister for Trinidad & Tobago has gotten involved. As humorous as this story has gotten, it’s important to remember that there are people who put more stock in celebrities than politicians and there are deathly implications despite the people shrugging and saying ‘who cares what Nicki Minaj says.’ 

📺 The 73rd annual Emmys are on Sunday — another big event that may dominate your timeline less for the awards themselves than for the celebrity headlines.  

🪑 37 new emojis are in the works! And, in related emoji news, we’re not doing this anymore 😂. Instead, we’re using chairs 🪑 according to this explainer TikTok. Only, I can’t tell if I’m getting trolled