TikTok opens new LA office, Twitter adds emoji reactions in DMs
TikTok levels up with a new space. In a move that seems to signify its growing investment in the U.S. market, TikTok’s Los Angeles operations have officially moved into a new 120,000 sq. ft. office in Culver City, Variety reports. TikTok’s new space takes up five floors at 5800 Bristol Parkway in Culver City. According to the company, the office was designed from the ground up “to embody TikTok’s fun and joyful personality.” Before the new digs, TikTok’s LA-based team worked in a smaller office space in the same city. The video-sharing company now has more than 400 employees in offices across the U.S., including in Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, and New York – and that number is likely to grow.
Twitter’s new reaction option. Twitter has launched a new Reactions-like option in direct messages, giving users the ability to choose a single emoji response to any message within a thread. Twitter explained how the feature works: “To add a reaction, hover over the message and click the reaction button (heart and plus icon), or double-tap on the message and pick an emoji from the pop-up.” At any time, users can undo a reaction and it will be removed from the message for all participants. In a group conversation, users can view who reacted to the message by clicking or tapping on the reaction in the message thread. Any time a new reaction is added to a message, all conversation participants will receive a notification.
Snap CEO thinks TikTok could become bigger than Instagram, the IGTV icon makes an exit
TikTok could take over, someday. During a fireside chat at the Digital Life Design conference in Germany this month, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said the short-form video app has an edge over Instagram because its content is driven by talent rather than a quest for social status. “People who have spent a couple hours learning a new dance or think about a funny new creative way to tell a story… they’re really making media to entertain other people,” he said. It’s a bold statement that speaks to Instagram’s current reputation of being a status-oriented platform (which Instagram is addressing with new changes, such as removing public like counts).
Instagram removes IGTV button. Since its launch nearly a year and a half ago, only around 7 million of Instagram’s 1 billion-plus users have downloaded the IGTV app. Now, according to TechCrunch, Instagram is getting rid of the orange IGTV button from its home page. For reference, TikTok received 1.15 billion downloads in the same period since IGTV launched. In the U.S. alone, TikTok claimed 80.5 million downloads – compared to around a million downloads for IGTV during the same period, according to research commissioned by TechCrunch from Sensor Tower. “As we’ve continued to work on making it easier for people to create and discover IGTV content, we’ve learned that most people are finding IGTV content through previews in Feed, the IGTV channel in Explore, creators’ profiles and the standalone app. Very few are clicking into the IGTV icon in the top right corner of the home screen in the Instagram app,” a Facebook spokesperson tells TechCrunch. “We always aim to keep Instagram as simple as possible, so we’re removing this icon based on these learnings and feedback from our community.”
Facebook deals with more lawsuit trouble. Four tech firms have launched a lawsuit against Facebook on antitrust grounds, demanding that Mark Zuckerberg give up control of the company. The four little-known firms – two of which are now defunct – teamed up to accuse Facebook of running “the most brazen, willful anticompetitive scheme in a generation,” according to the action filed in January 2020. Chief among the complaints is Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram, which “intentionally eliminate[s] its competition,” one of the firm’s lawyers told Business Insider. A Facebook spokesperson responded to Business Insider, stating: “We operate in a competitive environment where people and advertisers have many choices. In the current environment, where plaintiffs’ attorneys see financial opportunities, claims like this aren’t unexpected but they are without merit.”
Pinterest reaches a milestone, Messenger makes changes to an important date, WhatsApp is taking some me-time
Pinterest embraces diversity in product development. In its 2020 diversity report released mid-January, Pinterest hit a new milestone by exceeding its three hiring goals with respect to diversity in 2019. For full-time women engineers, the company set out to increase hiring rates to 25% – and surpassed it at 27%. For underrepresented minority engineers, Pinterest’s goal was 8% but managed to close the year with a 9% rate. Finally, the company wanted to increase hiring rates for underrepresented minority employees across the entire company (business and product) to 12% – and exceeded it at 14%.
Messenger’s new policy start date gets pushed. To give developers and businesses more time to prepare for the new policies and features coming to Messenger, parent company Facebook has changed the effective policy date from Jan. 15 to March 4. Based on feedback from the developer community, Facebook said it found additional policy-related use cases that weren’t covered under the original set of message tags used for personalized conversations. As a result, Facebook plans to roll out a “one-time notification” API in February to give businesses and developers time to implement the new API before the new policies take effect. The new policy will be especially important for businesses that already engage with customers on Messenger using the platform’s advanced personalization features.
WhatsApp needs some space. Facebook, the parent company behind Whatsapp, is reportedly taking a break from building out WhatsApp’s ad product to realign its approach as a revenue-generating messaging platform. According to the Wall Street Journal, WhatsApp in recent months disbanded the team responsible for developing an ad integration solution. The team’s work was then deleted from WhatsApp’s code, according to sources who spoke to the Journal. “For now, the focus is on features [which allow] businesses to communicate with customers and organize those contacts,” the news reads. Advertisers, take note: it looks like WhatsApp won’t be a major ad driver any time soon.
On the move
Former Johnson & Johnson CMO moves to Neustar, CSM entertainment agency gets a new president, FabFitFun hires its first CMO
Data technology firm Neustar has appointedAlison Lewis to its Board of Directors as an independent, non-executive director. Lewis, who currently serves as Chief Growth Officer for Kimberly-Clark and is the former CMO at Johnson & Johnson, will be responsible for leading the global marketing team, building marketing capabilities, and leading the corporate research and engineering team. She will play a key role in the company’s initiatives to improve commercial capabilities that drive growth, according to the company.
Christa Carone has joined global marketing agency CSM Sport & Entertainment as President of CSM North America. Carone was most recently President of Group Nine Media, home to media brands Thrillist, NowThis, POPSUGAR, The Dodo and Seeker. She led revenue-generating operations, including sales, marketing, audience development and analytics as well as product, technology, and the company’s internal creative studio and experiential operations. At CSM, Carone will support the global leadership team as it accelerates its growth strategies in North America, representing major sport and entertainment properties like Cirque du Soleil and New York Road Runners as well as advising major brands including Verizon on sponsorship.
FabFitFun, the subscription box made popular by lifestyle bloggers and Instagram influencers, has hired Louisa Wee as the brand’s first-ever chief marketing officer. Formerly VP of marketing strategy, analysis and programmatic media buying at Netflix, Wee will be charged with overseeing the strategy and execution of the company’s marketing plan globally, as well as leading on brand, content and creative initiatives. During her time at Netflix, Wee headed up programmatic media buying alongside marketing strategy and analysis.