The Constant Evolution of Social

Recent News and Stories from the Social Space

The social media space is ever evolving in the advertising world – from platform updates to spec changes to security breaches, nothing embodies “the wild west” quite like social has – especially over the past few months. Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve learned and digested in the last week:


The #StopHateforProfit protest is currently in full swing. Many companies have joined the protest for the month of July, with others saying they will extend longer pending Facebook’s response.

In early July, Facebook released their Civil Rights audit – as surmised by CNN, the audit commends Facebook for taking steps to understand their impact on civil rights but also finds the company has “glaring blind spots for hateful content and misinformation.” Some of these blind spot examples include topics like the need to go beyond banning explicit reference to white separatism and nationalism and include the prohibition of expressed praise, support or representation of those ideals, more resources to addressed organized hate against targeted groups on the platform to include Muslims and Jews, as well as the stronger interpretation of its newly created voter suppression policies especially as we are heading into the 2020 election cycle.

The study was fielded over a two-year period, analyzed and summarized before its public release on July 8, 2020. When civil rights leaders met with the company before the audit was publicly released, it became clear that frustrations were high – not only with the attendees but also with auditors as stated in the final audit report – and a specific timeline for remediation is unclear at this time.


Last week, Twitter announced a major hack. Several high-profile accounts linked to celebrities and public figures alike all showed a similar message urging users to send Bitcoin currency to an account. This coordinated attack resulted in roughly $110,000 going to the criminals in about 90 minutes. Some of those hacked include Barak Obama, Kim Kardashian, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Mike Bloomberg. As Twitter continues to investigate, it’s come to light that the attackers targeted multiple Twitter employees with access to internal systems and tools.


This platform has been in hot water internationally as security issues have been detected. The first implications of a problem were found in April when it was identified that the app was copying content from iPhone iOS 14 users’ clipboards every few keystrokes. Originally, the app blamed outdated Google code for the issue and released an updated version that was supposed to resolve the issue. However, in the updated version it became clear the issue was not fixed and within TikTok’s code. As an app of Chinese origin, security flags appeared as official bans of the app started with an overall ban in India, and US companies/organizations like Wells Fargo, the DNC and RNC forced removal of the app from employee devices. The House and Senate are also looking to ban the app on federal phones because of concerns for national security.


While this platform is new, it’s starting to gain traction amid TikTok ban discussions. Launched January 2020, this app’s key selling feature is 8-second video loops. Sound familiar? Remember Vine – the 7-second video platform bought by Twitter in 2012 and then disabled in 2016. The team that developed Byte is led by Dom Hofmann – cofounder of Vine. After discussions of TikTok being banned hit US news cycles on Monday June 6, Byte experienced their single strongest gain on July 9, with over 622,000 global downloads in one day – 5x higher than the day before – with their US downloads jumping some 14,275% from the week prior.

Linkedin & Reddit

Their app coding had a similar issue to TikTok copying from iPhone users’ clipboard. Both apps issued updates in July to address the problem.


Snapchat is stepping up their brand platform offering. In addition to updated, simplified navigation tools, they are currently in beta testing for Brand Profiles, which will allow for a permanent home for brands on the platform. This will expand brand engagement opportunities for target audiences in-app.  The Brand Profiles will provide brands with the ability to activate branded AR lenses, highlights, story posts, and native store (browse and purchase within app) all within permanent space. While a great expansion on brand presence, early indications are that more analytics insights are still desired.


In an apparent effort to make marketers understand the platform better, Pinterest has published a new 46 page guide to how to improve advertising results. It includes overviews and insights on all things Pinterest – from creating an account to ad tools that gauge performance. The platform continues to differentiate itself with by positioning as a “discovery network – not a social app.” This brand positioning helps explain the context of the guide as it’s meant to help media agencies grasp how to activate with Pinterest and helping them decipher what makes a good pin.