Instagram is making a change to user profiles that should be a big hit with brands and celebrities.
The update: Instagram users can now pin a Story to their profile page, a way to preserve the photo and video montages that usually disappear piece by piece after 24 hours.
Users can create a Story and leave it on their Instagram profile for good, and there’s no limit to how many Stories you can create and save.
A celebrity could create a branded story for an advertiser, for example, and pin it to their profile page so it exists for longer than 24 hours to generate more views than they’d likely get if the Story disappeared after one day.
It could encourage more businesses to use Instagram. Brands, too, can pin as many Stories as they want to their profile page, which should give them a free way to promote campaigns or content they want customers to see.
It’ll be interesting to see if the ability to save and pin Stories will change the way people create them. The appeal of Stories has always been that they disappear, and thus don’t necessarily need to be high-quality. The point was to lower the pressure that comes with posting something online and encourage people to share more often.
The ability to pin a Story doesn’t necessarily change that, because users aren’t required to pin a story to their profile.
But Instagram hopes that you will, and the company will start automatically saving all photos and videos that you add to your Stories in a new archive so you can find them, and re-share them later on.
The new feature rolls out on Tuesday as part of a free app update.
Twitter came out with its annual list of the most popular tweets, moments and hashtags of 2017 on Tuesday.
As expected, a U.S. president was responsible for many of the most liked and retweeted posts of the year. Perhaps unexpectedly: that that president was Barack Obama, not Donald Trump, who has claimed the title “The Twitter President” for his constant tweeting.
Obama was responsible for three of the top ten most retweeted tweets of the year, including the second most retweeted post of 2017, which he sent the weekend of the Unite the Right white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…” pic.twitter.com/InZ58zkoAm
Obama also had two of the three most Liked tweets of the year, including the tweet above which came it at No. 1. It has more than 4.5 million Likes. The third most liked tweet of the year: Obama’s shoutout to Senator John McCain after it became public that McCain was diagnosed with cancer.
John McCain is an American hero & one of the bravest fighters I’ve ever known. Cancer doesn’t know what it’s up against. Give it hell, John.
Trump was still a big part of the year on Twitter despite being absent from the list of most retweeted posts. (Twitter only listed the top three most Liked tweets, and Trump wasn’t on that list either.)
PBS’s live coverage of Trump’s inauguration was the most watched livestream of the year, and Trump was also the most tweeted about “elected world leader,” ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.
In case it wasn’t obvious, Twitter was full of political animosity in 2017. The year can be summarized by the four most popular U.S. activism hashtags:
A few other “winners” from 2017:
Most tweeted about TV show: Game of Thrones
Most tweeted about movie: Wonder Woman
Most retweeted athlete tweet: LeBron James calling Trump a “bum.”
U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain’t going! So therefore ain’t no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!
Facebook Messenger is coming to an elementary school near you.
Facebook is releasing a new version of Messenger, its standalone messaging app, specifically for users under the age of 13 — those who are too young to use Facebook due to the site’s age restrictions.
The new app is called Messenger Kids, and Facebook is billing it as a way for preteens to safely communicate with parents and friends. That’s because kids can’t create a Messenger Kids account — or add any new contacts — without parental approval.
If a kid wants to chat with a friend from school, for example, her parent would need to be Facebook friends with a parent of the other child, and the two parents would need to agree to a connection request.
The point is to give kids a messaging app that isn’t tied to a phone number, and that won’t lead to messages from people the child doesn’t know.
Of course, getting preteens onto Messenger has one other major benefit: It offers Facebook a chance to get in front of the youngest generation of internet users before potential competitors. Facebook is losing some of its teen users to other apps, like Snapchat or Instagram — luckily, Facebook owns Instagram — which is one reason Facebook must like the idea of Messenger Kids. It’s easy to imagine how a 10-year-old who uses Messenger Kids and creates a network of contacts on the service will eventually graduate to regular Messenger, and likely Facebook.
In a press briefing with reporters to unveil the new product, Facebook didn’t talk much about that benefit. Instead, the company stressed that it is taking security for Messenger Kids very seriously. In addition to needing a parent to create an account and add new contacts, kids cannot delete any messages, and parents are notified any time a kid reports a message. (All reports are handled by humans, the company said.)
The hope is this will help parents monitor for issues related to bullying or abuse.
The company claims that it spent the past six months talking with hundreds of parents in focus groups to understand the kinds of concerns and needs they have when it comes to letting their young children communicate online.
“It’s really hard to keep the control over who [kids] communicate with, how they communicate, what tools are at their disposal,” said David Marcus, head of Facebook Messenger. “This is what we’re going to address and fix.”
Still, Facebook’s decision to build products specifically for preteens puts the company in an interesting new sphere of responsibility. Ensuring that adults who use Facebook are safe from abuse or contact from unwanted strangers can be difficult. Doing that for children will certainly put Messenger under a new microscope.
A few other things to know about the new app:
Creating a Messenger Kids account is not the same as creating a Facebook account. Facebook only requires a first and last name for a Messenger Kids account, and any other data collected from the account is kept separately from Facebook’s other user data, the company claims.
Messenger Kids accounts are not automatically converted into Facebook accounts when children turn 13.
Messenger Kids won’t include any advertisements.
Parents won’t need to download a separate app. They can communicate with Messenger Kids users through their existing Messenger app.
There will not be a searchable database of Messenger Kids users. Parents will only be able to see Messenger Kids accounts connected to their own Facebook friends.
Messenger Kids is available on iOS in the U.S. only. The company says an Android and Kindle version of the app are coming next year.
Plus: Lyft wants all its corporate employees to experience life as a driver, meet the man who will take over for Meg Whitman, and a secret Nintendo bar in Japan.
Drugstore giant CVS will buy Aetna, one of the biggest U.S. health insurers, for about $ 69 billion — one of the largest M&A transactions of the year. One of the biggest drivers of the deal is Amazon, which has been rumored to be preparing for an entry into the U.S. pharmacy business. The merger could transform CVS’s 9,700 pharmacy storefronts into community medical hubs for primary care and basic procedures. [The New York Times]
Disney is back in talks about buying some of 21st Century Fox’s assets, and Comcast is looking at the same stuff. The negotiations center on the 20th Century Fox movie and TV studio, international assets such as Fox’s 39 percent holding in U.K. satellite TV provider Sky PLC and India’s Star TV, along with some U.S. cable networks; Fox News and the Fox broadcast network are not included. [The Wall Street Journal]
Venture capitalist Fred Wilson warns of a slump in early-stage investing, which he says has slowed down substantially in the past few years. There are going to be fewer deals, Wilson says, but those are going to be bigger deals. [Fred Wilson / A VC]
Meet the man who is about to take the reins as CEO of HPE when Meg Whitman resigns in January. Antonio Neri, who has been with HP for 22 years, brings tech chops to a company in need of hit products. [Rachael King / The Wall Street Journal]
Mark Zuckerberg already bid $ 600 million for a cricket deal. What’s next?
Thing you knew but should keep thinking about anyway: The big tech companies are very interested in streaming live sports to you.
Today’s reminder comes from Facebook, which wants to hire an exec to negotiate sports rights deals. The company has been interviewing candidates for a while, says Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand.
More interesting: Ourand’s sources say whoever gets the job will have a budget of a “few billion dollars” to spend on global rights deal. No comment from Facebook comms on his story, but John is a very good reporter, so let’s assume the number is correct until we hear otherwise.
Here is the thing about a “few billion dollars”: It is a lot of money! But it’s crucial to know what period of time that covers. And, in the context of sports rights deals, it may be less than you think.
In 2014, for instance, DirecTV agreed to pay the NFL a reported $ 1.5 billion a year for the rights to its “Sunday Ticket” ticket package. (That deal is up in 2022, by the way.) ESPN and Turner are paying the NBA a reported $ 2.66 billion a year for their current deal.
So: Unless the value of TV sports rights deals dramatically craters in the near future, Facebook won’t be buying any exclusive rights to any big-ticket sports anytime soon.
On the other hand, a “few billion dollars” could definitely go a long way when it comes to streaming-only deals, sold alongside traditional TV deals. That’s what the NFL has been doing with its Thursday night games for the last couple years: Last year, it sold the digital rights to Twitter for about $ 10 million; this year Amazon got them for about $ 50 million.