Digital Dash: Instagram Stories bulk-uploads & more

1. Instagram update means you can now bulk-upload stories
2. YouTube announces removal of over 8M violent and extremist videos
3. Facebook makes Community Standards guidelines public
4. Turns out Amazon owns the Internet
5. Facebook talks video: new monetisation and promotion tools on the way
Bonus bite: Facebook has released a video reminding users of the good times


1. Instagram update means you can now bulk-upload stories (provided you’re on Android)

Anybody with a hefty to-do list knows the feeling when a new opportunity to save time – even just by a few minutes – comes by.

And if you fall into that ‘person with a hefty to-do list’ category, and either work in social or use it personally, you’re going to like this week’s Instagram Stories update.

From now on, you’ll be able to upload stories in bulk – meaning you won’t have to go through the long-winded process of doing it one by one. This will also be really useful when connection speed is poor.

An icon in the top right corner of the ‘upload media’ screen signals the new feature. You can tap it to begin selecting photos or videos (up to 10) to add to your story.

Instagram_multiple story uploads

Photo: WeRSM

The edit screen will then show a preview of all your chosen media, in the order they were uploaded. Each one can be tapped to add stickers, text or any other creative element individually.

In more time-saving news, Instagram is also making it faster to add a location sticker, by automatically suggesting options based on where the media was captured.

The only drawback is that the new features aren’t available to everyone just yet, only Android users.


2. YouTube announces removal of over 8M violent and extremist videos (and simultaneously fire-fights fresh ad controversy)

Around this time last year, YouTube was knee-deep in a major ad controversy.

Hoards of big-name advertisers pulled their ad spend following revelations that their ads had been displayed alongside extremist content.

Since then, the company has gone to great lengths to win back trust (and money) by implementing new brand safety tools, new guidelines and an enhanced review process. And that’s just to name a few of the steps taken.

In December 2017, YouTube announced that it was expanding its work to remove content violating policies, and that it would be releasing a quarterly report showing how it’s enforcing its Community Guidelines.

This week marked the release of the first report (Q4 2017), which shows that 8,284,039 videos were removed for being deemed violent or extremist content. Of that 8 or-so million, 6.7 million were initially flagged by a machine.

YouTube_content removed Q4 report

Photo: YouTube

As you can see below, 76% of those were taken down before they’d even accrued a single view.

YouTube_content removed no views

Photo: YouTube

The report will go some way to reassuring advertisers, which is good because reassurance is exactly what people need right now (again): an investigation by CNN has reignited last year’s controversy by discovering that ads from over 300 retailers, including Adidas, Under Armour, Hilton, Netflix and more, ran on YouTube channels promoting extremist content (such as white nationalists, Nazis, and North Korean propaganda).

As a result, both Under Armour and Hilton are already taking steps to pause or remove their ads from YouTube.


3. Facebook makes Community Standards guidelines public for the first time ever, also expands appeals process

Before writing this Digital Dash, I told myself I’d try and go one week without mentioning Cambridge Analytica (or anything related).

I have failed.

As the fallout from the Facebook scandal trundles on, so have the company’s efforts to increase transparency. As part of this, Facebook has made its Internal Enforcement Guidelines for Community Standards open to the public for the first time ever.

Note that there has been one or two versions of the guidelines (or elements of it) leaked in the past, and a brief overview of global rules has always been open to the public.

But until now, Facebook itself has gone out of its way to keep the guidelines meant for its internal team under lock and key.

I won’t go into detail about what’s included as it makes for a pretty lengthy read, but information on what’s acceptable and what’s not is broken down into these 6 categories:

  • Violence and criminal behaviour
  • Safety
  • Objectionable content
  • Integrity and authenticity
  • Respecting intellectual property
  • Content-related requests

Along with this, Facebook is also expanding its appeals process.

If a post is removed, you will be notified and given the chance to request an additional review, which will always be done by a person and will take place within 24 hours.

Facebook_community guidelne appeal

Photo: Facebook

If it turns out a mistake was made – as with the butt above –  you will again be notified and the post will be restored.


4. Turns out Amazon owns the Internet, and you should probably read on to find out what the hell is going on

I’m going to be upfront about that headline: it’s mostly clickbait. It’s not that there’s no truth to it – in fact, it’s all true – it’s just that it’s nowhere near as shocking as it sounds.

Don’t get me wrong. Amazon does well for itself. Really damn well. But it doesn’t own the Internet; at least not the one you know.

What the company does own though is a lightweight web browser app called Internet, which uses minimal storage and data, and is designed for users with poor connections.

It’s only available in India and only to Android users.


Photo: Tech Crunch

Oddly, Amazon didn’t officially announce the launch – it was reported instead by Tech Crunch, which states the app’s had less than 1,000 downloads.

Amazon’s Internet is only 2MB (much smaller than other browser apps), doesn’t request extra permissions or collect private data, and supports private tabs.

The browser homepage features news, cricket and entertainment from top sources.

You may or may not know that Amazon already has it’s own built-for-the-big-screen browser called Silk – so it’s interesting that it didn’t just drop a ‘lite’ version of this.

After all, many others including Facebook, Messenger and Google all have lightweight app versions to reach users with limited connectivity.


5. Facebook talks video: new monetisation and promotion tools on the way

It wasn’t long ago that Facebook’s video-only Watch platform was the talk of the town. Every week bought a new update or prediction – many of which were covered right here in Digital Dash.

But recently, it’s all gone a bit quiet when it comes to Watch. To be fair, Facebook’s probably been a little preoccupied lately…

Anyway, Watch became a talking point again this week, as part of Facebook’s new monetisation options and tools for video content creators. Here are the top takeaways:

Pre-roll ads: after seeing ‘promising signs’ from the initial test phase, Facebook is expanding testing to other areas where people seek out video, such as in search results and Page timelines

Preview trailers: when a viewer taps on one of these in News Feed, a short ad will play before they are moved to the full episode in Watch

Ad breaks auto-insertion: Facebook will automatically detect the ideal place for an ad break

Pre-publish brand safety checks: creators can submit videos for review prior to publishing to make sure they can receive ad opportunities for the entire distribution period

The above new options arrived along with some handy best practice tips:

Build audiences where people seek out content: start thinking beyond News Feed – Facebook wants you to look to Watch, Pages and Groups to seek out repeat, loyal viewership

Set and fulfil creative expectations of viewers: essentially, produce lots of high quality content in line with what your audience expects/enjoys

Establish a release cadence: make sure viewers know when to tune in and what’s coming next

Create an active experience: source topics from your audience, and engage with commenters to draw people closer

Actually, while we’re talking about video, I just want to also mention Facebook’s new ‘Premieres’ video format. This was actually announced a week ago but somehow it slipped my mind when putting the last Digital Dash together.

Premieres are prerecorded videos that play just like a livestream, meaning viewers can interact in real time despite the video not actually being live.

Facebook_Premiere videos


Bonus bite: so I’m massively failing on the ‘not mentioning Cambridge Analytica’ thing now. I’ll try again next week.

Anyway, Facebook has released a video reminding users of the good times – back when you were more worried about unwanted Pokes than sinister global companies trying to steal your data and use it to brainwash you.

The film ends with a pledge to get back to what made Facebook successful in the first place – friends.