The News Feed: Social Platforms React to the Coronavirus

13th March 2020
Ben Hordos & Gabby Hurn – Team Social at Think Jam

From Twitter’s advice on brand communication around Coronavirus to TikTok educating its youth audience, get up-to-date with the latest news in social media.


Facebook Takes Down African-Based Fake Accounts Linked to Banned Russian Trolls

Facebook revealed evidence on Thursday suggesting that Russian efforts to interfere in the U.S. presidential election are getting more sophisticated and harder to detect, stating that they have removed dozens of fake accounts and pages based in Africa in the early stages of building audiences from their platform. They said although none of the activity focused on elections or political candidates, the network attempted to sow discord and had requested to run political ads.

We will continue to monitor how Facebook is combating the spread of misinformation and protecting it’s users from potential manipulation.

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Facebook Will Temporarily Ban Ads For Medical Face Masks

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Twitter Offers Advice For Brand Communications Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

With the coronavirus outbreak stretching further around the globe, and causing widespread anxiety and disruption, it’s also added a new complication for brands to consider around messaging and communications. To help, Twitter has released some key tips:

  • Know your brand – can you be useful? If so, how?
  • Stay up to date with what’s happening 
  • Be mindful with your tone of voice
  • Anticipate changes in your customers behaviour

The biggest message from our perspective is about consideration, and being mindful of the ways in which people are being impacted by the coronavirus outbreak around the world – whether it’s via social, PR, or content, everyone is affected by this and there will be varying levels of anxiety and concern permeating through all communities.

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Get Your First Look at Twitter’s ‘Fleets’ Feature

Twitter Orders All Employees Worldwide To Work From Home


Facebook Stories Testing Cross-Posting To Instagram

The company is testing the option to cross-post Facebook Stories to Instagram, instead of just vice-versa. Hopefully, this means that the two apps will finally sync up the ‘already viewed’ status of cross-posted Stories and reduce the frequency of users seeing the same content multiple times.

If launched wide, the cross-posting feature could save users and professionals time while letting them maximise views on the content they create. It could also give a little boost to the total Stories available on Instagram, so its algorithm has more to choose from when ranking what it shows you first. That said, this change could be seen as an invasive update from parent company Facebook – only time will tell how users feel about this!

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Instagram Enthusiasts Making Interior-Design Dreams a Reality – Only 12 Times Smaller…

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Instagram Catches Up With The Cambridge’s


YouTube Ditches ‘Trending’ Tab For ‘Explore’ On Mobile

After a year in the making, YouTube has finally changed the ‘Trending’ tab to the ‘Explore’ tab in users’ homepages on the mobile app. 

The Explore page includes videos that are popular at that moment, but it also incorporates broader categories and topics including gaming, music, beauty, and learning – it will also highlight creator and artist content, prioritising it ahead of other trending videos. Trending will retain its own button within the Explore page, so it’s not going away entirely.

This change suggests even more attention must be paid to the tagging and titles of videos on the platform to make sure that content is appearing in feeds.

Quick Bites

YouTube Cancels Brandcast Over Coronavirus and Will Instead Stream Online

YouTube U-Turns On Coronavirus Video Ad Ban


TikTok Helps Teens Cope With Coronavirus Outbreak

Gen Z-ers are taking to the platform to bring people together with memes about coping during the outbreak of Coronavirus. Videos using the hashtag #Coronavirus are up to 6.3 billion total views on TikTok, as of today (Friday 13th March).

Memes aside, TikTok is taking proactive measures to educate people about the spread of the virus, at a time when many major social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, are pushing back against the spreading of misinformation. The company told the Guardian it was working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to “provide trusted information to our community”. Through this partnership it has provided a page with a Q&A about the virus, ways to protect yourself, and “mythbusters” featuring tips from the WHO.

TikTok has been questioned and criticised for its approach to user safety, so it’ll be interesting to see how positively this approach is received by creators, brands, and businesses.

Quick Bites

Charli D’Amelio Teaches Jimmy Fallon Eight TikTok Dances

Gloria Gaynor Shares Hand Washing TikTok To The Tune Of ‘I Will Survive’


Spotify Rolls Out a More Personalised Home Screen For Users Worldwide

Effectively, the update separates the app’s home screen into two main parts: familiar content at the top, and new or recommended content underneath.

Now, the home screen launches with a greeting related to the time of day, and reserves six spots at the top where you can continue with things like the podcast you stream every morning, your workout playlist or the album you’ve been listening to on heavy rotation this week. This content will update as your day progresses to better match your activities and interests, based on prior behaviour.

Beneath these six spots, the home page will display other things like your top podcasts, “made for you” playlists, recommendations for new discoveries based on your listening and more.

Quick Bites

Spotify Users Create Coronavirus and Quarantine Themed Playlists

Spotify Instructs Employees To Work From Home


Snapchat Launches ‘Lens Web Builder’ To Simplify Creation of AR Lens Campaigns

With AR Lens ads driving significant engagement and interaction on Snapchat, the platform is now looking to open up the option to more brands, with a simplified AR lens campaign option. This feature enables businesses to build custom Lenses based on pre-made templates and/or Snapchat’s library of 3D objects. Note, there are no additional fees to access the repository of 3D assets, but daily minimum campaign spend requirements apply.

We will certainly be exploring this new feature to see just what’s possible and how far you can push creative boundaries, but this could be a great way to turnaround reactive AR lenses as part of a wider campaign.

Quick Bites

Snapchat Suspends Partner Summit and Asks Employees To Work From Home

Snapchat Goes Down For Fourth Time In One Week


Jimmy Fallon Hosts The Tonight Show Without An Audience

Love Is Blind’s Lauren and Cameron Start YouTube Channel

David Dobrik Eats Hot Wings on ‘Hot Ones’

Premier League and All Other English Football Fixtures Suspended Until April

Fast 9, Mulan, and Quiet Place II Among Films Delaying Due To Coronavirus

NBA, NHL, and MLS Suspend Seasons and MLB Delay Starting 2020 Season

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