The social media landscape is constantly changing, everyday there are new options and tools being announced and introduced, some major and some less significant. And in that, there are also some of those smaller, minor updates or tests that are important to specific groups but can go under the radar because they're not widely announced.
As part of our ongoing effort to provide our readers with the best coverage of the latest social media news and insights, we feel it's important to cover all of these, but sometimes they're not worthy of a their own individual post. So to keep you up to date on these smaller changes and features, here's a rundown of five upcoming or "in test mode" features that are currently being trialed by some of the major platforms - starting with Facebook, which has several interesting new options in the works.
1. Hiding Mature Content
Policing offensive material on social is always a challenge, and one that's been made even more difficult with the advent of live-streaming - when the content is coming through in real-time, how can you censor it? For their part, Facebook has a whole team of people who scan through potentially offensive material on the platform and flag or remove as necessary - but even with such processes in place, The Social Network still receives many complaints from users about confronting material everyday coming up in their feeds.
As part of a new effort to combat the problem, Facebook is trialing a new 'Mature Content' filter option for users.
As shown in the image sequence, selected users are being shown the first message in their News Feed, giving them the option to remove mature content from their feed. If you do opt to remove mature posts, you're then able to either filter them out completely, or to appear with a warning cover which gives you the option on whether you view the flagged material or not. Facebook told Business Insider that machine learning is being used to determine if something in a post violates the platform's Community Standards, leading to it being potentially censored.
It's an interesting option, giving users more control over what they see, and potentially could have some impact on brand content, depending on the products/services you offer.
2. Donations During Live-Stream
Facebook's also reportedly looking to trial a new system which would enable people to donate money during a Live stream, with those donations - and donators - displayed during the broadcast.
Facebook's been investigating 'tip jar' type options for a while - back in April The Verge got access to a Facebook survey which had been sent out to verified users posing a range of questions around how they use Facebook, including whether they might find a tip jar option useful. If introduced, it could give Live broadcasters a new way to monetize their streams, and a new incentive to provide more value to their viewers, to whom they could directly appeal for funding to keep doing what they do. And worth noting, both YouNow and Twitch, which Facebook is now competing with in the live-streaming space, have donation options which, in YouNow's case, enable a sort of digital busking option for artists.
That's very likely the type of activity Facebook's looking to encourage, giving broadcasters more reason to create content on the platform.
There's no word as yet as to when, or even if, the tip jar system will ever be activated, but given it's already built into the code, it's likely we'll see the tool announced some time soon.
3. Facebook Crossposting
Another recent Facebook Page addition is a 'Crossposting' tool, enabling admins to submit one video post that can be shared across multiple Pages to which they're connected.
Crossposting has been available within Business Manager since April, but the option has now also been added to the general Facebook Page options - Facebook's main use case for crossposting video is explained like this:
"A media company might want to post a video on their main Page, their international Page, and one of their topical Pages. Then they might also want to repost that same video a few weeks later."
So if you manage multiple Pages and are looking to more easily share your video content across them, there's now a simplified tool to do so.
4. 360 Video Stabilization
Earlier this week, Facebook showcased their advances in 360 video stabilization - and they look impressive to say the least.
5. Using Pre-Recorded Video and Graphics in Periscope Streams
Mashable journalist Sam Sheffer noticed some interesting details in this Periscope live stream posted by Alex Pettitt this week.
As you can see, Pettitt has somehow been able to incorporate pre-recorded video and graphics into a live stream, options which have not been announced by Periscope. Or at least, not yet. The tools certainly up the presentation quality of the stream, and the development of such options makes sense, given Twitter's efforts to boost their live video contingent, while also working to compete with the growing threat of Facebook on that front.
And worth noting, media companies can already broadcast pre-recorded footage through Facebook Live. This may be another feature we can expect to see an announcement on soon.
As noted, all of these updates will have different levels of interest to different groups - they'll be minor to some but significant to others. And while there's no guarantee that all of them will reach live deployment stage, it is interesting to note where the platforms are looking, and what they're investing time and resources into, as an indicator of what we can expect.