Facebook is rolling out a slight redesign to the News Feed today which overhauls the main interface of the site for a cleaner look. What that actually translates to in practical terms is getting
rid of the blue accents and headers across most of the interface, which the company claims will make navigating easier and more consistent.
The other big change is that comment threads on posts are getting a new design to make them look more like message conversations — specifically, Facebook Messenger conversations. So instead of
comments being broken up by simple line breaks, each comment now gets its own gray message bubble with the goal of making it easier to track who is replying in a given thread.
Lastly, profile pictures will be taking a page from Twitter’s book and shifting from squares to circles, and icons, Like, comment, and share buttons are getting new, simpler and larger designs to
be easier to tap on a touchscreen.
Instagram is testing a feature that lets users broadcast live videos with another user simultaneously, via split screen. Users are limited to two simultaneous users, but hosts can switch guests
during the broadcast without interrupting it.
The current live broadcasting time limit is 60 minutes. Similar to regular live broadcasts, users can choose to upload these two-person live streams to Stories for viewing afterwards. The feature
is currently rolling out to a select group of users this week, and will remain in testing for several months before being officially released.
The feature is beneficial for Instagram because:
- It can increase influencer user engagement and collaboration on the platform. For example, influencers could begin to host talk show style broadcasts or debates to engage with fans. This is
important as influencers may have previously turned to other platforms to create this type of interactive content experience. Further, the feature has been long-requested on among Influencers, per
Instagram Live product manager Shilpa Sarkar.
- It could cause users to live broadcast more often. The updated Live feature could be beneficial to users who aren’t comfortable live streaming by themselves. Live streaming with a friend
likely takes some of the viewer’s attention off any one particular broadcaster, potentially creating a more relaxed broadcasting experience. This in turn, could cause users to live stream more often
- It helps it shore up against competitor Snapchat. Mimicking Snapchat’s features have likely been a contributing factor in Instagram Stories’ tremendous user growth to roughly 250 million
daily users. However, in this instance Instagram adds a feature that helps separate it from Snapchat, as Snapchat lags in the live broadcasting space relative to competitors.
- Instagram could increase user engagement among younger users who are apt to using social “hangout” apps. Teens are beginning to use social video apps like Houseparty, which lets groups of
users video chat at once, and these users may look to adopt Instagram’s new feature. Over 60% of users on Houseparty are under 24 years old, which is slightly higher than the 58% of Snapchat’s daily
users who fall in the same demographic. Though live broadcasting with a friend and using Houseparty are not entirely the same, social video app users interacting on social video platforms may stay in
Instagram for longer periods of time, to view or broadcast two-person live streams.
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