Category Archives: Social Media

Telegram Announced Telegram Premium

Telegram announced that it has become one of the top-5 downloaded apps worldwide in 2022 and now has over 700 million monthly active users. This growth is solely from personal recommendations – Telegram has never paid to advertise its apps.

As Telegram keeps growing at rocket speed, many users have expressed their will to support our team. Today, we’re launching Telegram Premium – a subscription that lets you support Telegram’s continued development and gives you access to exclusive additional features.

According to Telegram, this will allow them to offer all the resource-heavy features users have asked for over the years, while preserving free access to the most powerful messenger on the planet.

Telegram says that by subscribing to Telegram Premium, users unlock doubled limits, 4GB file uploads, faster downloads, exclusive stickers and reactions, improved chat management – and a whole lot more. At the same time, all existing features that users have come to expect and rely on for nearly a decade remain free.

Moreover, non-premium users will be able to enjoy some of Premium’s benefits: for example, download the extra-large documents and view stickers sent by premium users, as well as tap to increase counters on premium reactions that were already added to a message.

TechCrunch reported that Telegram did not disclose how much it is charging for the premium tier, but the monthly subscription appears to be priced in the range of $4.99 to $6.00.

According to TechCrunch, paying customers will be able to follow up to 1,000 channels, up from 500 offered to free users, and create up to 20 chat folders with as many as 200 chats in each. Telegram Premium users will also be able to add up to four accounts in the app and pin up to 10 chats.

The Verge reported that premium subscribers get double the limits imposted on standard users. Instead of joining up to 500 channels, subscribers are capped at 1,000 channels. Subscribers can create 20 chat folders with 200 chats each, save up to 10 stickers, pin up to 10 chats, and add a total of four more accounts to Telegram instead of three. Premium users also get to have longer bios with a link.

According to The Verge, subscribers also get access to a library of Premium stickers and animated profile pictures. There’s also text for conversion for voice messages in case you don’t have headphones handy. Subscribing to Premium removed sponsored messages in public channels.

To me, it seems like many of the social media apps are competing with each other to attract paying subscribers. I think most people will pick their favorite one and ignore the subscription options on the other apps.

Snapchat is Working On Snapchat Plus – A Paid Subscription Service

Snap Inc. is testing a paid subscription plan that gives users early access to new and exclusive features, PCMag reported.

The Verge reported that Snapchat Plus will apparently give users early access to features, as well as other abilities. This comes from a statement from Snap spokesperson Liz Markman, who said:

“We’re doing early internal testing of Snapchat Plus, a new subscription service for Snapchatters. We’re excited about the potential to share exclusive, experimental, and pre-release features with our subscribers, and learn more about how we can best serve our community.”

There does not appear to be a whole lot known about what Snapchat Plus would offer. The Verge pointed out that app Researcher Alessandro Paluzzi posted screenshots and information about Snapchat Plus on Twitter:

“So… by subscribing to #Snapchat+ you can:
1 Pin a friend as a #1 BFF
2 Get access to exclusive Snapchat icons
3 Display a badge in your profile
4 See your orbit with BFF
5 See your Friend’s whereabouts in the last 24 hours
6 See how many friends have rewatched your story”

She also pointed out that seeing your friend’s whereabouts in the last 24 hours is only possible if your friends share their location with you. Alessandro Paluzzi started her thread with screenshots that show a variety of prices: 4.59 € /month, 24.99 € / 6 months, 45,99 € /year It is hard to know for certain what the subscription prices will be until Snapchat Plus launches.

TechCrunch reported that the paid subscription tier would give users early access to experimental feature like pinning certain conversations and exclusive icons. According to TechCrunch, Snapchat hasn’t specified what exact benefits Snapchat Plus users would have, nor when it would be rolling out.

TechCrunch also wrote: It is not clear how Snapchat will differentiate between what’s presented to SnapChat Plus subscribers, who are paying for the privilege of using experimental and pre-release features; and those who are part of Snapchat’s existing beta program, which is free (as most beta testing normally is).

As always, we won’t know for certain exactly what Snapchat Plus will offer, or what people will be expected to pay for it. This comes as various other social media sites have begun adding their own paid subscription services. Personally, I doubt anyone is going to subscribe to each and every one of them. People will pick their favorite and ignore the rest.

TikTok Announces Top Performing Videos Can Become Ads

TikTok announced that it’s launching a new ad product called “Branded Mission” that will allow creators to connect with brands and possibly receive rewards for videos, TechCrunch reported. According to TechCrunch, with this new ad product, advertisers can crowdsource content from creators and turn top-performing videos into ads.

TikTok posted in its newsroom more information about “Branded Mission”. From the post:

…To make it easier for brands to tap into the creative power of TikTok communities and co-create authentic branded content that resonates with users, we’re launching Branded Mission. Branded Mission is an industry-first ad solution that enables advertisers to crowdsource authentic content from creators on TikTok, turn top-performing videos into ads, and improve brand affinity with media impressions.

According to TikTok, this new form of two-way engagement between brands and creators enables the TikTok community to have a creative hand in the ads that are part of a brand campaign and helps brands discover emerging creators across TikTok.

By using Branded Mission, advertisers can:

Engage the community to participate in branded campaigns: Brands can develop a brief and release it to the creator community to participate in the Branded Mission.

Let creators tell the most relatable brand story in an authentic way: TikTok creators can decide what Branded Missions they are inspired by and choose to participate in the Mission. Brands will select their favorite original creative videos and amplify them through promoted ad traffic.

Discover a diverse ecosystem of creators who are the main drivers of culture on TikTok: Brands now have more opportunities to discover and engage with a broad ecosystem of creative and talented creators. Creators who are at least 18 years old with more than 1,000 followers will be eligible to participate in a Branded Mission.

According to TikTok, eligible creators whose videos are selected by the brand as ads will benefit from a cash payment and boosted traffic. On each Branded Mission page, creators will see the potential earning opportunity before choosing to participate.

It is worth noting that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) makes it clear that creators have the responsibility to disclose that their content is an advertisement – not the brands responsibility.

“If you endorse a product through social media, your endorsement message should make it obvious when you have a relationship (“material connection”) with the brand. A “material connection” to the brand includes a personal, family, or employment relationship or a financial relationship – such as the brand paying you or giving you free or discounted products or services.”

I think it is a good idea for TikTok to enable a connection between brands and creators. I like that the brands have to be upfront about how much they are willing to pay a creator for allowing the brand to use their creative content. TikTok creators who are looking for a way to increase their income might be ready to create ads for brands.

On the other hand, it is entirely possible that the Branded Mission ads might fail. If the creators do the right thing, and disclose that this is an ad, it could make people decided not to watch it. Some people are going to reject that content specifically because it is yet another ad. In general, people tend to avoid ads as much as possible.

Tech Industry Appeals Texas Social Media Law

Two Washington-based groups representing Google, Facebook, and other tech giants filed an emergency application with the Supreme Court on Friday, seeking to block a Texas law that bars social media companies from removing posts based on a user’s political ideology, The Washington Post reported.

According to The Washington Post, the Texas law took effect Wednesday after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans lifted a district court injunction that had barred it. The appeals court action shocked the industry, which has been largely successful in batting back Republican state leaders’ efforts to regulate social media companies’ content-moderation policies.

NetChoice posted information titled: “NetChoice Announces Request for Emergency Stay from the U.S. Supreme Court”. From the information:

…On May 13, 2022, NetChoice and CCIA filed an application for an emergency stay with Justice Alito of the Supreme Court. Under Court procedures, Justice Alito may rule unilaterally or refer the matter to the full Court for consideration…

“The divided panel’s shocking decision to greenlight an unconstitutional law – without explanation – demanded the extraordinary response of seeking emergency Supreme Court intervention,” said Chris Marchese, Counsel for NetChoice.

“Texas HB 20 strips private online businesses of their speech rights, forbids them from making constitutionally protected editorial decisions, and forces them to publish and promote objectionable content,” continued Marchese. “The First Amendment prohibits Texas from forcing online platforms to host and promote foreign propaganda, pornography, pro-Nazi speech, and spam.”…

…”We are hopeful the Supreme Court will quickly reverse the Fifth Circuit, and we remain confident that the law will ultimately be struck down as unconstitutional.”

The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) posted news titled: “CIAA Files Emergency Brief Asking Supreme Court To Halt Texas Social Media Law”. From the news:

“The Computer & Communications Industry Association jointly filed an emergency brief Friday asking the U.S. Supreme Court for immediate action to prevent an unconstitutional Texas social media law from going into affect. The joint filing, submitted with co-plaintiff NetChoice, asks the Court to reinstate a lower court’s decision blocking the enforcement of the Texas statute while it is being reviewed under the First Amendment…

…CCIA has advocated for free speech online for more than 25 years. This effort has included protecting the First Amendment right for citizens and businesses to exercise both the right to speak and not be compelled to speak online.

The Verge reported that NetChoice had previously won a similar case in Florida last year, making the constitutional issues in this case even more pressing to address.

According to The Verge, the three-judge panel on the Fifth Circuit appeared to be confused about many of the basic terms being used – one judge seemed to think that Twitter was not a website, and another seemed to think there was no difference between a phone company like Verizon and a social media company like Twitter or Facebook.

It is not unheard of for a court to pick a side to support when presented with a case. Personally, I do not have any faith at all in the decision making process of the Supreme Court as it stands today.

WhatsApp Announced New Features

WhatsApp announced that they are excited to share that emoji reactions are now available on the latest version of the app. Reactions are fun, fast, and they reduce overload in groups too. WhatsApp will continue improving them by adding an even broader range of expressions in the future.

In addition, you can now send files within WhatsApp up to 2GB in size at a time, protected by end-to-end encryption. This is an increase from the previous limit of 100MB and we think it will be helpful for collaboration among small businesses and school groups. We recommend using WiFi for larger files and we’ll display a counter while uploading or downloading to let you know how long your transfer will take.

WhatsApp is also giving users the option to add more people to a chat, which was one of their top requests from users. WhatsApp is slowly rolling out the ability to add up to 512 people to a group. Building private, safe, and secure communities takes work and WhatsApp thinks this series of improvements will help people and groups to stay close to one another.

To me, it sounds like WhatsApp is trying to compete with Twitter’s recently announced a feature called Twitter Circle. It lets Twitter users add up to 150 close friends – who will be the only ones that can see the tweets you put into your Circle. WhatsApp allows 512 people in their chats, which might be appealing for those who want to be able to add more than the 150 that Twitter allows.

9to5Mac reported that WhatsApp users in Brazil will have to wait a few months more for the new features. According to 9to5Mac, WhatsApp stated: “Based solely on our long-term strategy for Brazil, this last functionality will only be implemented after being tested in other markets”.

That “last functionality” appears to be the ability to add up to 512 people to a group. 9to5Mac stated: As a matter of fact, with presidential elections coming in October, this is part of the Brazilian Superior Court’s attempt to prevent the spread of fake news and misinformation through groups – as it occurs in other apps, such as Telegram.

Mashable reported that last month WhatsApp announced Communities, which are another way to expand group chats by knitting Groups together into a Community – just like Slack.

I have never used WhatsApp, but I can see where it would be appealing to be able to use emoji Reactions on it. The ability to send files up to 2GB in size at a time could be useful for artists who want to show their latest painting, drawing or photo to specific friends. WhatsApp says those files would be protected by end-to-end encryption, which might make people feel more secure about sharing those kinds of files.

On May 3, WhatsApp tweeted: “Pro-tip: Now you can put 32 of your favorite people in ONE voice call. Sharing good news with your whole family means hearing all the joy and laughter in one easy call.” I can see where this feature would be useful, but it’s not for me.

An Unauthorized Fox News Account Is On Truth Social

Fox News sounds like the kind of company that would want to be on Truth Social. It tends to provide information in a way that attracts people who are conservative. It has a history of being extremely supportive of former President Trump. Axios reported a verified Fox News account appeared on Truth Social. The strange thing is, Fox News was unaware of it.

Just days after a verified account for Fox News appeared on former President Trump’s social media app, Truth Social, a Fox News spokesperson says the network has nothing to do with the account.

Axios posted a screenshot of the Fox News account on Trump Social next to a screenshot of a post by Truth Social CEO Devin Nunes. The Fox News account has the Fox News name and logo. Devin Nunes wrote: “Great to have RSS feed for @FoxNews now LIVE here on TRUTH! This adds to @OAN and @NewsMax”.

According to Axios, the post by Devin Nunes has been taken down. A Fox News spokesperson told Axios, “We are not on Truth Social.”

So, what’s going on? Intelligencer reported that Truth Social has been trying to cultivate an air of legitimacy by creating pages for various media and sports brands, including @NFL, @FoxSports, and @ESPN. Though these accounts appear real, with official-looking names and logos, none were set up by the brands themselves.

Axios reported that real looking accounts for TMZ, NASA, and NASCAR have existed on Truth Social for months and are often promoted to new users. None are verified. Each has a small BOT disclaimer on their accounts. According to Axios, if you click the disclaimer, it reveals more. “This account is an RSS feed aggregating bot, and is not managed or affiliated with the referenced news outlet.”

Something is still fishy here. It appears that the Fox News account on Truth Social is the only RSS bot that is not labeled with the BOT disclaimer and the only bot that has been given a verified checkmark. A Fox News spokesperson claims the network has nothing to do with the account. This makes me wonder how many of the other bot accounts are running without the knowledge of the companies who own those logos and trademarks.

A quick Google search shows that it is possible to make an RSS bot that can be used to aggregate the content of one Twitter account. My best guess is that Truth Social is pulling content from Twitter via RSS bots. To me, this indicates that Truth Social is having difficulty convincing big companies to join its platform.

Three Top Executives Quit Trump Social

It is no secret that Truth Social has had some problems. Reuters reported that there is a Truth Social app for iPhone, but none for Android. According to Reuters, many who downloaded the app on their iPhone are on a waiting list, unable to access the platform.

Trump Media & Technology Group Chief Executive Devin Nunes, a former Republican congressman, said publicly that the company aimed to make the app fully operational within the United States by the end of March. We are now in April, and it appears that the waiting list problem still exists.

Reuters was the first to report that Josh Adams and Billy Boozer, Truth Social’s chiefs of technology and product development have both resigned. They lasted less than a year. Reuters obtained this information from interviews with eight people with knowledge of Truth Social’s activities, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity. Billy Boozer declined to comment to Reuters and Josh Adams did not respond to a request from Reuters.

The exit of two executives critical to the app-launch efforts could imperil the company’s progress as it tries to prove it can compete with mainstream platforms such as Twitter, said two people familiar with the company…

According to Reuters, Josh Adams and Billy Boozer worked below Wes Moss and Andy Litinsky, both former castmates on “The Apprentice,” Trump’s reality TV show. The two men had reportedly been the “senior, day-to-day leadership” running the company. Reuters could not determine the specific job titles or responsibilities of Wes Moss and Andy Litinsky.

Politico reported that Lori Heyer-Bednar, Truth Social’s chief legal officer, has also quit.

According to Politico, Trump has been upset with the state of his social media venture, Truth Social, and is eying major shake-ups to the company, including positions on the board of Truth Social’s parent company, Trump Media and Technology Group. This information comes from two people familiar with the matter and a separate person as well.

It seems to me that a social media app that has a waiting list on iPhone and is nonexistent on Android is going to have problems attracting users. Having three top executives quit, in rapid succession, is very likely going to halt progress in improving the existing app and in creating one for Android. As a result, a frustrated Trump appears to be ready to go back to his days on “The Apprentice” by telling an unknown number of people, “You’re fired.”