TikTok Is On an Out of Phone: Mission, While Instagram Looks to Inspire Creators

Fire up the grills and (carefully, please) light those fireworks as we wish the U.S. a happy birthday on Independence Day July 4.

July 17 is World Emoji Day, perhaps providing inspiration for brands with personalities that match one or more of those emojis, and this month also contains days honoring our furry friends, our parents and our friends.

Social Media Holidays to Mark on Your Calendar 

  • July 4: Independence Day
  • July 17: World Emoji Day
  • July 21: World Dog Day
  • July 24: National Tequila Day
  • July 28: Parents’ Day
  • July 30: International Friendship Day

Social Media Platform Updates 


Out of Phone: Mission 

TikTok expanded upon the Out of Phone out-of-home advertising initiative it introduced last October with Out of Phone: Mission, which lets brands tap its Branded Mission advertising tool on surfaces beyond the flagship application.

Out of Phone brings TikTok advertising to screens and networks such as billboards and movie theaters, and Branded Mission connects brands and the TikTok community to generate authentic branded content.

Out of Phone: Mission combines those two initiatives, letting brands and creators collaborate on authentic branded content for the TikTok platform and digital OOH destinations such as billboards and urban panels.

Symphony Avatars 

At the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in June, TikTok introduced Symphony Digital Avatars, two types of generative artificial intelligence avatars based on real people, enabling brands to create multiple pieces of content at scale, in several languages, delivered in a personalized manner with lifelike expressions and gestures.

@tiktoknewsroomIntroducing TikTok Symphony: our new Creative AI suite that blends human imagination with AI-powered efficiency to help marketers scale content development, creativity, and productivity on TikTok.

♬ original sound – TikTok Newsroom

Stock Avatars are pre-built avatars created using paid actors and available for commercial use. Advertisers can give their campaigns a human touch through the diverse range of available backgrounds and nationalities, as well as more than 30 languages.

And Custom Avatars are crafted to represent brand spokespeople or creators, with support for multiple languages. TikTok explained in a blog post, “For creators, they can leverage their own likeness and construct multilingual avatars to expand their global reach and brand collaborations. For brands, not only can they build their own Custom Avatars with their brand intellectual property, spokesperson or a partnered creator, they can now easily work with creators from around the world to help localize their global campaigns.”

New global translation tool Symphony AI Dubbing enables the translation of content into more than 10 languages and dialects.

TikTok Prime? 

Ecommerce giant Amazon scheduled its annual Prime Day deal offers July 16 and 17, but TikTok is throwing its hat in the mega-deals ring one week earlier, kicking off its new Deals for You Days initiative July 9.

Brands including L’Oréal Paris, Maybelline New York, NYX Professional Makeup, Our Place, Too Faced and Zwilling USA will offer exclusive deals to U.S. users on TikTok Shop, enlisting creators to take part in TikTok Live videos promoting the event.

SOAR Together 

Speaking of TikTok Shop, TikTok announced its Supporting Our Artisans and Retailers (SOAR) Together initiative, aimed at helping small and midsized businesses flourish on the platform’s ecommerce destination.

SMBs will gain access to tailored resources and support to boost their results on TikTok Shop.

Six-week program the Women-Owned TikTok Shop Accelerator kicks things off, with 15 businesses selected by the company to participate, and partnerships with the Conscious Commerce Accelerator, led by retail and marketing industry thought leader Tina Wells, and the Association of Women’s Business Centers, a national voice for igniting economic power of women’s entrepreneurship.

LGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs will be covered by TikTok’s partnership with StartOut, under which 30 LGBTQIA+-owned businesses in the U.S. will receive scholarships for StartOut’s Founders Program.

TikTok said more SOAR Together partnerships will be announced in the near future.

Image Search in TikTok Shop 

TikTok confirmed that it is testing the ability for users to take or upload a photo in order to find similar products in TikTok Shop.

Users in Southeast Asia and the U.S. who are in the test group will see a camera icon in the TikTok Shop search bar.

The feature is similar to capabilities that are already available from ecommerce giant Amazon and Google Lens.

TikTok Studio 

TikTok introduced TikTok Studio, a creation and management platform with tools enabling creators to analyze, edit, manage and upload their account and content, as well as track the latter’s performance.

Creators can edit, film, post to and upload to TikTok directly via TikTok Studio and tap tools like auto caption, auto cut and photo editor to refine their content.

TikTok Studio replaced the creator tools within the flagship TikTok app and standalone app Creator Center, and the company said it will also test TikTok Studio as a standalone app.

Creators can also access educational resources from TikTok’s Creator Academy.

Other TikTok News 

  • TikTok parent ByteDance rolled out potential Instagram competitor app Whee, which lets users share photos through a simple user interface containing its camera, feed and messages.
  • TikTok filed its opening brief in its litigation seeking to overturn the potential ban of the app in the U.S.
  • HaystackID and OnDefend will serve as independent security inspectors for TikTok U.S. Data Security, helping to bolster the security of the platform’s user data and protect against cybersecurity threats.
  • TikTok, Taylor’s Version: The app rolled out interactive in-app experience #TSTheErasTour, giving Taylor Swift fans the chance to compete weekly for album-branded profile frames and digital beads.
  • New series Off the Record features top musicians sharing their creative process and giving fans an inside look, and artists set to appear include Bleachers, Camila Cabello, Charli XCX, Peso Pluma, Shakira, and Meghan Trainor.
  • TikTok followed up its annual What’s Next 2024 Trend Report with update What’s Next 2024: In Action, which examines the strength of those trends.
  • The app began testing Snapchat-like streaks, which display a badge when one user sends a direct message to another at least three days in a row. Streaks end if 24 hours lapse without a DM.
  • Finally, John Rogovin joined ByteDance as global general counsel, after serving as general counsel for Warner Bros. for over 12 years.


Inspiration for Creators 

Creators on Instagram can now access a dedicated Inspiration destination via their Professional Dashboard, providing them with ideas tailored to the interest of the creator and their followers.

The Inspiration destination will contain elements such as Reels that are popular with the creator’s audience and audio clips and trending songs for use in their content.

The Reels tab on the app will show curated suggested Reels to help creators understand what is trending on the platform and what is popular among their followers.

Finally, the new Instagram for Creators Get Inspired page contains resources like tips and tricks to fuel creativity, case studies and more helpful material.

The Bots Are Coming 

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company will begin tests on Instagram in the U.S. of AI characters made via its Meta AI studio by creators.

Zuckerberg said in a post on his broadcast channel, “(We are) rolling out an early test in the U.S. of our AI studio, so you might start seeing AIs from your favorite creators and interest-based AIs in the coming weeks on Instagram. These will primarily show up in messaging for now, and they will be clearly labeled as AI.”

The test will kick off with roughly 50 creators and a small percentage of users in the U.S., with the goal of rolling it out gradually and completing that rollout by August.

Reels Tips and Tricks 

Instagram detailed several tips, tricks and new features for its Reels short-form video option.

  • Close Friends: Users with both public and private accounts can opt to share their Reels only with a select group of friends by tapping Audience after creating their Reel, and selecting Close Friends. Users are not notified when they are added or removed from Close Friends lists.
  • Multiple Collabs: Reels creators can invite multiple collaborators by tapping Tag People before sharing their Reel, followed by Invite Collaborators. Up to five collaborators can be added.
  • Captions for music: After recording a Reel, people can tap the music icon, choose a track, tap “Aa” to set the font style and size, and determine a location for the captions.
  • Templates: Recent updates to Templates for Reels include the ability to browse, discover and save Templates by category based on what is recommended, what is trending or Templates and audio the user has already saved; see how other creators used a Template to mine inspiration; integrate the same effects from a template into their new Reel; and perform editing functions such as adding or removing clips, adjusting the timing of individual clips or editing preloaded elements.

Unskippable Ads 

Instagram confirmed that it is testing unskippable ads that display a countdown timer, which prevents users from browsing more content on the app until the ad is complete.

Clicking on the information icon next to one of these ads brings up the following message: “You’re seeing an ad break. Ad breaks are a new way of seeing ads on Instagram. Sometimes you may need to view an ad before you keep browsing.”

A spokesperson for Instagram parent company Meta said, “We’re always testing formats that can drive value for advertisers. As we test and learn, we will provide updates should this test result in any formal product changes.”

Other Instagram News 

  • Users of standalone app Threads can now swipe right on posts they like or swipe left on posts that don’t interest them, with head of Instagram Adam Mosseri saying the platform will use these signals to show users more of the former and fewer of the latter.
  • The global rollout of Threads for desktop is underway.
  • Instagram began testing a feature called Trial Reels, which lets users share Reels that are not served to their followers, giving them a way to experiment. Creators of Trial Reels see insights such as comments, likes, plays and shares, which they can use to inform their content strategy.
  • Live scores for Major League Baseball games were added to Threads, joining a similar feature for the National Basketball Association.
  • Instagram added Notes Prompts to its Notes feature.
  • Teen users of Instagram now have the option of only seeing comments, mentions, messages, Story replies and tags from their Close Friends list, with the aim of reducing harassment and unwanted interactions.
  • Finally, Threads users who turn on fediverse sharing can see and like replies from people on other networks on the fediverse, directly via Threads, and the app’s fediverse beta experience was expanded to over 100 countries.


Context Is Key 

YouTube began testing ways for creators to add notes to their videos in order to provide relevant, timely and easy-to-understand context for viewers.

Examples shared by the company include:

  • Clarifying when a song is meant to be a parody.
  • Pointing out when a new version of a product being reviewed is available.
  • Letting viewers know when older footage is mistakenly portrayed as a current event.

Testing will start on mobile in the U.S., in English, with a limited number of eligible users invited via emails or notifications in Creator Studio

New Features for YouTube Premium 

Several new features debuted for YouTube Premium subscribers:

  • Double-tapping to skip ahead while viewing a video will bring up a Jump Ahead button, taking the user to a moment chosen via AI and viewership data. It is available to all Android YouTube Premium users, with iOS to be added in the next few weeks.
  • A new picture-in-picture option lets YouTube Premium users view YouTube Shorts while browsing other apps or checking messages.
  • A new smart downloads option downloads a fresh batch of YouTube Shorts content to a user’s device for viewing when they are not connected, such as while traveling by train or when their device is on Airplane Mode.
  • YouTube’s conversational AI experience returned to Android devices to perform tasks like answering questions and recommending related content without interrupting the playback experience.
  • The watch page for the web was redesigned.

Other YouTube News 

  • Blocking the blockers: YouTube is testing server-side ad injection, adding ads directly into the video stream in order to thwart ad blockers.
  • YouTube users can now play more than 75 free games on the platform via the new Playables option.


Announcements From Cannes Lions 

Meta introduced a host of new features across its family of apps at Cannes Lions.

Flagship messaging app Messenger now has an AI chat feature, built with Meta Llama 3, which will let businesses help customers get easier access to support and purchasing products.

New tools for Messenger are aimed at enabling businesses to create, organize and send paid marketing messages via the app.

And the application-programming interface for Instagram’s stand-alone Threads app will help businesses and creators share new content at scale.

The Threads API supports features including:

  • The ability to authenticate, publish posts, and fetch content from the business via the API.
  • Management capabilities letting businesses and creators retrieve and engage with replies to their posts, set reply controls, and hide or unhide specific replies.
  • Media and account-level insights, such as number of views, likes, and replies.


Crystal Ball 

Head of Facebook Tom Alison shared a look at the platform’s future, with a heavy focus on attracting and retaining young adult users and harnessing AI.

Alison wrote, “Our vision for Facebook is simple: Facebook is for social discovery that opens your world in big and small ways. We’ve always been social, and we’ve always helped people discover things, but the way that people want to do this is changing, so we’re evolving our product accordingly. As we think about the next 20 years, we’re focused on two big things: building the next generation of social media for young adults and leaning into new product capabilities enabled by AI.”

He pointed out that more than 40 million young adults in the U.S. and Canada are daily active users of Facebook, the highest number in three years, and the platform can help those users with transitions such as moving, going to college, getting their first job or getting their first apartment.

Alison also detailed updates to Facebook’s ranking technologies for Reels and Feed, saying that the new advanced recommendations technology will power more of its products, including its entire video ecosystem, and adding that Facebook’s goal is to have “the world’s best recommendation technology” by the end of 2026.

Facebook is building out its collection of gen AI open models, tools and resources with Meta Llama.

Discovering videos that interest users was made easier across all types of videos on the platform, and upgrades to its video experience include a full-screen video player and a slider letting viewers navigate around longer videos.

Finally, Professional Mode eases the path for users to become creators on the platform and monetize their content, and Facebook altered its payout model to pay creators based on how well their content performs.

Alison concluded, “We’re building Facebook for what young adults want from social media—social discovery that opens your world in big and small ways. And we’re doing this with a huge community of people who are into what you’re into, unique features to help you take action on the things you find, and some of the best AI technology in the world.”


Cannes Lions Announcements 

AI was pinned atop Pinterest’s Cannes Lions board, as the platform introduced several tools for boosting creative and performance, as well as detailing brand safety updates.

New innovation program Pinterest Ad Labs lets select brands test prototypes of new creative and ad tools on the platform, including generative AI features powered by personalized insights.

Pinterest is testing personalized background generation, powered by a gen AI model that taps its visual search and taste graph.

Users of the platform already had the ability to create collages by cutting out, remixing, and reassembling visual elements, and Pinterest began testing collages for advertisers, letting them make their content more discoverable and shoppable by enabling them to tag products.

Pinterest Performance+, currently in closed beta, is a suite of automation and AI-powered tools aimed at helping advertisers build goal-based campaigns and boost performance.

Finally, the company worked with Integral Ad Science to provide brand safety measurement across all monetized markets, aligned to the Global Alliance for Responsible Media framework, as part of its Total Media Quality initiative.

Sharing Is Caring 

Pinners can now share dynamic videos of their favorite Pinterest boards to other social platforms, including a link letting recipients explore the entire board.

Pinterest Director of Consumer Product Marketing Rachel Hardy explained in a blog post, “Gen Z makes up over 40% of our global monthly users on Pinterest and are our most engaged generation, with a significant increase in the number of boards created by Gen Z Pinners compared to last year. We are enhancing the board features based on user feedback and, this year, board sharing is one of our critical investments as users value the ability to share their creative processes on different platforms and find inspiration from others.”

The new feature launched with some heavy hitters from the world of music, as Avril Lavigne and Tierra Whack used it to share their personal boards.

Boosting Inclusion Efforts 

Pinterest linked up its incubator program, the Pinterest Inclusion Fund, with the Build Black and Build Native initiatives from ecommerce platform Shopify.

Small businesses, independent publishers and boutique creator agencies owned and operated by people from historically marginalized communities will be able to apply in the following countries by later this year: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S.

Those selected to participate will learn how to leverage their organic content to increase value for their brand, including by connecting their Shopify storefront to their Pinterest business account.

Pinterest will also provide one-on-one educational resources and training, mentorship, stipends (cash and ad credits) and a one-year paid subscription to a content scheduling platform like Tailwind.

Find Yourself 

The newest brand campaign from Pinterest uses “a cinematic journey” to illustrate how 518 million users come to the platform to find themselves, find inspiration and discover ideas.

The campaign was produced entirely in-house by Pinterest’s House of Creative, and it was inspired by real stories from actual users of the platform.

Pinterest said 68% of its monthly users believe they can be their authentic self on the platform, while 84% of its weekly Gen Z users say they discover products that fit their taste and style while shopping on Pinterest.

Vice President of Global Creative Xanthe Wells wrote in a blog post, “We saw an opportunity to tap into the unique personalization Pinterest has to offer. Pinterest thrives in what we like to call the ‘magic middle’—the space where people are free to discover and shape their own unique identities, then make them real. That extends beyond searching and saving, and into shopping.”


Gen AI-Powered AR 

Snapchat unveiled new augmented reality experiences for both users and creators, powered by gen AI.

The company is previewing its real-time image model, which lets people type in an idea to generate vivid AR experiences in real-time.

And a new gen AI suite in AR authoring tool Lens Studio lets AR creators generate custom machine learning models and assets to power their lenses. Developers can mix custom ML models with AR features.

IAS Partnership Update 

The brand safety and suitability measurement solution jointly developed by Snap and Integral Ad Science is now available in more than 90 languages.

Advertisers will now be able to get transparency to validate content adjacency with trusted third-party analysis, aligned to the GARM framework.

Snapchat said that in early testing, IAS found that 99% of Snapchat Spotlight and creator content was brand-safe across all beta advertisers relative to the GARM floor.

Less Likes. More Love. 

Snapchat introduced the next phase of its “Less Social Media. More Snapchat.” brand campaign, “Less Likes. More Love.

The company explained in a blog post, “Snapchat was built during the dawn of social media, when people were starting to feel pressured to post just the perfect stuff. Social media was becoming a popularity contest with users chasing likes, comments and followers.”

Snapchat added, “Snapchat was designed to be different. It was never meant for people to compete for likes or to endlessly scroll through perfectly produced and carefully curated content. It’s always been a place for real relationships—for spreading fun, joy and love.”

Other Snapchat News 

  • Versace teamed up with Snapchat to mark the launch of its Versace Mercury sneaker collection with an immersive AR try-on lens, as well as the ability for Snapchatters to outfit their Bitmoji in the sneakers.
  • Snapchat detailed new teen safety features, including: expanding its in-app pop-up warnings to incorporate new and advanced signals, such as when they receive a chat from someone who has been blocked or reported by others, or who is from a region outside of the teen’s network; preventing the delivery of friend requests from people that teens don’t share mutual friends with and who access the app from locations associated with scamming activity; more frequent reminders for teens to check their Snap Map location settings; and enhancing the app’s blocking tools to cover new friend requests from accounts created on the same device.
  • Snapchat’s Camera Kit is now integrated with Skype, bringing Snapchat lenses to conversations on the videoconferencing platform.
  • Finally, new research from Samba TV and Kantar found that Snapchat advertising drove a 91% lift in movie ticket sales, and campaigns that incorporated multiple Snapchat ad products, such as its full takeover suite and lens auction, bumped that lift up to 102%.


Bolstering B2B 

The professional network announced two initiatives to help boost business-to-business marketing on its platform.

The Wire Program lets brands promote in-stream video ads adjacent to content from trusted publishers including Barron’s, Bloomberg, Business Insider, Forbes, LinkedIn News, MarketWatch, NBCUniversal, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal and Yahoo Finance.

And brands using AI campaign creation and optimization offering Accelerate can draft engaging creatives with Microsoft Designer, refine their targeting by allowing marketers to exclude companies and third-party lists and receive guidance on their campaign creation from a new AI marketing assistant.

LinkedIn Ads Updates 

LinkedIn detailed several product updates for LinkedIn Ads:

  • LinkedIn’s Conversions API can now be implemented in Google Tag Manager or Zapier, joining Adobe Real Time CDP and Tealium.
  • Live Event Ads are a new end-to-end solution aimed at driving brand and demand results before, during and after an event via a dynamic ad experience. They can be used to boost event discovery and registrations, increase event reach via livestreams and video replays, and build retargeting audiences to drive full-funnel results.
  • Advertisers can boost organic posts with paid media in an effort to generate leads for their business, with the process made easy through prefilled lead forms.
  • Sponsored Articles and Newsletters can extend the reach of a brand’s native long-form content to generate more readers, subscribers and qualified leads.
  • Brands can now sponsor content from any LinkedIn member—first- and second-degree connections only, content creators, customers and influencers—for thought leader ads.

Revenue Attribution Report 

Businesses that integrate LinkedIn Business Manager with their existing customer-relationship-management platforms gain access to one of the professional network’s key measurement tools, its Revenue Attribution Report.

The Revenue Attribution Report helps them:

  • Directly tie marketing efforts to revenue results.
  • Prove marketing return on investment to the C-suite.
  • Create more effective data-driven marketing campaigns.

The Revenue Attribution Report is currently available through integration with select CRMs in the LinkedIn Marketing Partners ecosystem: HubSpot Smart CRM, Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce.

Find a Job With AI 

While many people worry that AI will take their jobs, LinkedIn is using AI to help people find jobs, rolling out new enhancements to its Jobs experience.

The platform’s Jobseeker Coach enables members to use plain language to discover job opportunities, with LinkedIn providing the following example: “Find me a remote marketing job in Detroit that pays at least $110,000.”

LinkedIn’s AI can review members’ applications and resumes “in seconds,” providing immediate feedback and personalized suggestions tailored to specific job posts.

Personalized cover letter suggestions can be reviewed and edited.

Personalized learning is available to all users, with LinkedIn noting that the skills required in the workplace are expected to change by 68% by 2030.

LinkedIn has begun to pilot the ability to get personalized practical advice instantly from industry leading business leaders and coaches on LinkedIn Learning, all powered by AI.

When watching a LinkedIn course, users can ask for content summaries, clarify certain topics and ask for examples or real-time insights.

On the business side, Recruiter 2024 will soon be globally available in English.

AI campaign creation and optimization offering Accelerate now lets B2B marketers use Microsoft Designer for engaging creatives, import existing customer lead lists for improved targeting and receive campaign creation advice from its new AI marketing assistant.

Finally, small and midsized businesses can use Premium Company Pages to increase awareness and followers, differentiate themselves from their competitors and drive conversions via features such as AI-guided messaging and custom calls to action.

Other LinkedIn News 

The professional network introduced a simplified content sharing process that lets page administrators integrate external content sources such as company blogs, news feeds and other digital media directly into their LinkedIn Pages via an RSS feed.

LinkedIn released a new guide, Solving B2B Measurement with LinkedIn Marketing Partners


Elon Musk at Cannes Lions 

X owner Elon Musk infamously used some not-safe-for-work terminology last November to chastise advertisers leaving the former Twitter, and Cannes Lions marked the start of an apology tour of sorts for Musk, who did not attend last year’s event.

Musk said at Cannes Lions that his vitriol was not aimed at all advertisers, just those pushing for censorship and looking to stifle free speech.

He also called X the most effective platform to reach the world’s influential leaders and claimed that “every third-party verification tool has given us an A+” regarding brand safety.

AI is a topic close to Musk’s heart, and he said at Cannes, “If AI can do everything you can do, but better, what’s the point of doing things? I think there will be an existential crisis. The most likely outcome is one of abundance, where goods and services are available to anyone. There’s no shortage for any one of us. It would be a universal hike. Work would be optional.”

X Ads Academy 

X introduced X Ads Academy, describing it as “a comprehensive e-learning platform designed to help businesses and marketers create effective ad campaigns on X in no time.”

Beginners can tap X Ads Academy for step-by-step tutorials helping them build optimized campaigns to drive sales and maximize ROI, while more advanced professional marketers can become certified in X Ads by completing learning paths and passing assessments.

X Ads Academy launched with 31 courses and four certifications, in English, and more content is on the way.

Putting the X in X 

X introduced new adult content and violent content policies to bring more clarity to enforcement in those areas.

Users can now post adult and graphic content that is consensually produced and prominently labeled, and the rules also apply to AI-generated images and videos.

Other X News 


More Ad Inventory 

Reddit announced at Cannes Lions that more ads will be available in its comments section,  appearing not just at the top of conversation, but within them.

Executive VP of Business Marketing and Growth Jim Squires said in Cannes, “The hypothesis and the rationale for introducing it is, the conversation pages are our fastest-growing ads surface on the platform. Nearly one-half of screen views happen within the conversation pages compared to feed and other spots, so they’re really important areas for marketers to be in.”

Squires added that Reddit is still experimenting with its mix, so he could not provide a specific number of ads per comment.

Other Reddit News 

  • The platform will update its Robots Exclusion Protocol (robots.txt file), which gives high-level instructions about how it does and does not allow Reddit to be crawled by third parties.


Business Messaging Updates 

WhatsApp introduced several new business messaging features at parent company Meta’s Conversations business messaging conference in São Paulo.

Businesses using Facebook’s Ads Manager to send marketing messages via WhatsApp can now provide Meta with their subscriber list, and its AI systems will recommend the best subset of recipients to match the outcomes emphasized by the business.

And businesses using the WhatsApp Business Platform or Marketing API will soon be able to work with a partner.

The new Conversions API lets businesses connect marketing data from their app, messaging channel, store or website with Meta to measure and improve ad performance across Meta technologies.

The Conversions API previously supported app, offline and web events before being extended to messaging,

AI support from Meta will be tested in the WhatsApp Business app to help SMBs respond to customers, create engaging ads and get support via the company’s business tools.

Meta Verified is being rolled out to SMBs using the WhatsApp Business app in Brazil, Colombia, India and Indonesia.

WhatsApp Business app users in several countries, including Indonesia and Mexico, can now send personal messages including the customer’s name and customizable call-to-action buttons, rather than manually sending the same messages to multiple customers.

Finally, people will soon be able to call businesses using the WhatsApp Business Platform.

Calling Updates 

The messaging app detailed several updates to its calling feature:

  • Users can now share their screens with audio.
  • Up to 32 people can now participate in video calls, across all devices.
  • The speaker on a group call is automatically highlighted and placed in the first position.
  • MLow codec was introduced to improve call reliability.



Parent company Meta added a new Communities feature to Messenger, aimed at helping organizations, private groups and schools organize and structure their communications.

Communities, which debuted on sister messaging app WhatsApp in 2022, let people create dedicated spaces for real-time communication on Messenger without being connected to a Facebook Group.

Multiple group chats are consolidated in a single destination, and a dedicated Home space lets admins share announcements and updates.

Up to 5,000 people can join Communities via sharable updates.


Twitch DJ Program 

Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch introduced the Twitch DJ Program, which gives DJs a way to create live communities on its platform with music at the heart.

DJs who opt in will be able to livestream most popular music without facing the risk of takedowns, as millions of tracks are available to them.

Twitch will add an official DJ category so that users can browse and discover DJs and their communities.

And the platform said it will kick off promotional programs in the coming months to “elevate and showcase” the diverse, talented DJs on Twitch.

In order to cover rights to popular tracks, Twitch sets aside a portion of DJs’ channel earnings to be paid to the music companies representing artists.


Speaking of Communities 

Tumblr announced the open beta of its Communities feature, saying that interested users can join a waitlist.

The platform said more than 5,800 communities are already on the waitlist, adding that the feature offers a dedicated space for users to connect with each other on various topics, outside of Tumblr’s main dashboard.


Accessibility Updates

The latest updates to the Yelp app include more accessibility identifiers for businesses, improved screen-reader experiences and AI-powered alt-text for images.

Yelp said searches for “wheelchair accessible” places rose by an average of 40% annually between 2020 and 2023, and it teamed up with the American Association of People with Disabilities, The Arc, Disability:IN and Open to All to add eight attributes to its platform across hearing, mobility and vision.

A new Accessibility Resource Hub is aimed at helping businesses become more inclusive.

And Yelp is leveraging large language models to generate alt-text for images on the screen.



The social media darling of 2020 has fallen upon hard times recently, as French gaming company Voodoo Games announced that it will acquire BeReal for 500 million euros ($536.7 million).

BeReal co-founder and CEO Alexis Barreyat will leave the company after a transition period, and Aymeric Roffé, CEO of Voodoo-owned social media app Wizz, will assume the role.

While BeReal has roughly 40 million active users, growth has slowed to a crawl.


Actions and Reactions

There are plenty of apps for sharing videos, but entrepreneur Faheem Kajee and actress Karen Gillan came up with Seen, an app for sharing reactions to videos.

Seen users can send videos in private one-on-one iMessages (the app is only available for iOS) or group chats with up to 11 people. Recipients must record a video of themselves reacting to the video that was sent, and it can only be seen by the sender and other participants in the group chat.

Keeping the chain going, the original sender is then prompted to send a video of their reaction to their friend’s reaction.

The app is integrated with TikTok, enabling users to share videos to Seen directly from the TikTok app, or to scroll a feed of popular TikTok videos.

Similar integrations with Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts are on the way.


Mingle With AIs

Former Snap Engineering Manager Vu Tran released Butterflies, a social app where humans and AIs interact with each other via comments, direct messages and posts.

Users create an AI persona, a Buttefly, which automatically posts on the app for other AIs and humans to interact with, and each Butterfly comes complete with backstories, emotions and opinions.

The app features a feed with humans and AIs posting updates about their day.

Butterfly is currently free, but it may experiment with a subscription model, as well as giving brands the opportunity to interact with and leverage AIs.

Brands That Stay on Trend 

Influencers are stepping out in their summer clothes and showing off brands’ looks.

Green is definitely a good look for @pocketsandbows, as she descends the stairs in a dress from Macy’s.

Dawn Shaw, @ironmom40, was a little more casual, discussing the merits of Wit & Wisdom jeans available during the Nordstrom anniversary sale.


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A post shared by Dawn Shaw (@ironmom40)

Finally, it takes two to tango with summer fashions from Abercrombie & Fitch, and Reece and Brooke Walker were up to the task.

@reeceawalker His and Hers with @abercrombie #ad 🪐@brooke ♬ 1901 – Phoenix

Open Influence’s team stays on top of the latest trends and is here to help you maximize your creator campaigns. Open Influence is a leading global creator marketing agency dedicated to creating engaging campaigns.

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