Social Media Round Up – Facebook, Facebook, Facebook and Hedgehogs

Like it or not…

With so much focus in the press at the moment on digital detoxes, deleting profiles and tech CEOs avoiding social platforms themselves, Facebook appears to be trying everything and anything it can to improve its reputation.

A test feature has caused a ripple of excitement in the US this week. Five percent of Android users discovered that in addition to the long established “like”, they now had the option to “downvote” a comment (and only comments for now). Though hardly groundbreaking (you’ve been able to do it on Reddit for years), it marks a shift in Facebook’s mindset that, in the words of the Lego Movie, “everything is awesome”.

It’s not a done deal that we’ll all be seeing a thumbs down option beneath our comments (Facebook has a habit of conducting small tests that come to nothing), but if rolled out it could tackle the culture of trolling that has festered for years where negative, provocative and downright nasty opinions are validated by unmoderated likes.

Bring back chronological order Instagram

It’s been 18 months since Facebook’s Instagram abandoned a chronological timeline in favour of promoting popular accounts and content to the top of your feed. It’s now 2018 and we are still trying to cope with a feed that mercilessly allows us to like posts from two, three, four, even five(!) days ago… the horror.

The algorithm that determines the order means that if a photo isn’t interesting enough (i.e. doesn’t get copious likes in the first moments of being posted), you’ll find it hanging around at the bottom of your feed until it crops up three or four days later.

Many users continue to be frustrated with the non-chronological feed, however the team at Instagram insisted they were very happy and that the news feed resulted in ‘more photo likes and higher user engagement within their community‘.

The general consensus in our office straw poll is that we miss the chronological order. Users have even launched a petition to try and get Instagram to listen – sign away fellow social butterflies.

FB phone home

We all got a bit excited this week reading the news that Facebook is recruiting an “extra-terrestrial product manager“. Sadly our hopes of meeting little green men were dashed when we found out that it is in fact a role focussed on future technologies that can be used in space.

Facebook has been trialling the ability to transmit internet signals from the sky. With the announcement of this job, Facebook has made clear some of their future ambitions to develop the global communication infrastructure and expand beyond our planet.

Airline says no to prickly customer

For many, flying is downright fun – but for others it can be a highly distressing experience. So how can frequent flyers alleviate this stress? Unfortunately the answer does not involve bringing your cuddly pet hedgehog or magnificent peacock on-board.

The world was made aware of the phenomenon of emotional support animals when the news that United Airlines flight turned away a peacock at Newark airport in the US went viral.

Hedgehogs are the latest animal to be included on a banned list as airlines crack down on soaring demands from anxious passengers wanting to travel with emotional support animals. A spokeswoman for United Airlines commented that due to a ‘significant increase in on-board incidents involving these animals’ rules needed to be tightened with requests for support animals rising by 75% to 76,000.

Other major airlines already have strict policies in place with Virgin Atlantic only allowing dogs on board and British Airways not allowing any emotional support animals at all.

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