The year is coming to an end, and social media heavyweights like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp have had a busy year. From cryptocurrency to the Olympics and Squid Games to Adele’s album, there was plenty to keep social media fans occupied.
According to Statista’s most recent data, there were 3.78 billion social media users globally in 2021, up 5% from the previous year. It’s also 920 million more than the number of social users in 2017, a 32.2 percent increase in less than five years.
Social media platforms are attempting to make social media a safer and better place as their user base grows, and there’s always something new to come up in the social media world. In this article, we look at all of the major additions that Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Twitter will introduce in 2021.
Birdwatch: Birdwatch is a Twitter test application that allows users to identify tweets that they believe are misleading and add annotations to provide context. Birdwatch is presently only available to residents of the United States. People participating in the experiment have the ability to publicly provide helpful context on Tweets that they believe contain false information.
Prompts: The new ‘prompts’ tool warns users about the dangers of getting engaged in a potentially heated chat. Users will be able to avoid certain chats on the social media site as a result of this. However, it is unclear what criteria Twitter will employ to determine a conversation’s ‘vibe.’
No more Autocrop: Twitter has announced that full-sized photos will be available on its site. On its Android and iOS apps, the upgrade will remove the auto-cropping technique, allowing users to view photographs in their entirety on their timeline. When you upload an image, you will now be able to see an actual glimpse of it without any formatting.
Control over conversations: Twitter’s ‘Conversation Settings’ upgrade allows anyone to “Change who can reply” to a Tweet midway during a conversation, giving them more control over the conversations they start. Conversation Settings, according to the blogging platform, make some individuals feel safer by limiting undesired responses so they can engage in more meaningful conversations while still allowing people to see other points of view.
Misinformation label: Misinformation labels have been modified by the firm to make it easier for people to recognise when a Tweet’s content is potentially misleading. These labels have color-coded backgrounds, making them stand out in the feed and allowing consumers to easily decipher information from visual signals. Twitter exclusively categorises three categories of misinformation: “manipulated media,” which includes films and audio that have been intentionally altered in ways that could cause real-world harm; election and voting-related misinformation; and incorrect or misleading tweets about Covid-19.
Improving media: Twitter improved the quality of uploaded photographs and videos, and began testing edge-to-edge Tweets, giving your photos, GIFs, and videos more space to shine. The social media behemoth claimed in a blog post that the new features will improve how people share and watch material on the site since photographs and videos can communicate more effectively. Users will soon be able to upload and view 4K photographs on Twitter, according to the company.
Choose who follow you: This year, Twitter introduced a feature that allows you to curate your own list of followers. A follower can now be unfollowed without being blocked. This is referred to as a “soft block” by the corporation.
Safety mode: This is a function that helps to protect those who are receiving Tweets by lowering the occurrence and visibility of damaging remarks. Accounts that respond to your Tweets with potentially hazardous language — such as insults or nasty statements — or those who send repetitive and unwanted responses or mentions will be temporarily blocked by Safety Mode.
Tips: This feature allows users, such as producers and journalists, to make money off of their tweets by offering tips. Creators will be able to receive tips from their followers by sharing links to their Bandcamp, Cash App, Patreon, Paypal, and Venmo accounts. Twitter also offered alternative payment services to Tips in September, allowing users to pay each other in Bitcoin via Strike, a payments software built on the Bitcoin Lightning Network, allowing users to send and receive Bitcoin Tips for free and instantaneously.
Ticketed spaces: Another way to thank Twitter creators for their time and effort in hosting, speaking, and regulating live audio conversations is to follow them on Twitter. Audiences can purchase tickets to exclusive Spaces, such as workshops, meet-and-greets with their most ardent followers, or even concerts, and creators can earn a portion of the proceeds. Spaces is Twitter’s live audio chat feature, which is now available to all users with over 600 followers.
Superfollows: This new feature allows authors to make a monthly income by sharing Tweets that are exclusively available to paid users. People can use Super Follows to add a new level of dialogue to Twitter and legitimately communicate with their most engaged followers while still earning money through a monthly subscription.
Twitter Blue: It’s a paid subscription service that gives users access to exclusive features and perks that will elevate their Twitter experience. For those who want it, this subscription service will add enhanced and supplementary features to their existing Twitter experience. Ad-free Articles, Top Articles, Bookmark Folders, Undo Tweet, and Reader Mode are just a few of the benefits.
Communities: When you join a Community, instead than tweeting to all of your followers, you can tweet directly to that group. Only members of the same Community can respond to and join a chat, and moderators oversee the communities.
Expanding safety policy: Twitter has changed its private information policy to prohibit users from sharing photographs and videos of private people without their consent, in an effort to strengthen its anti-harassment standards.
WhatsApp chatbot: In 2021, WhatsApp’s influence grew as central and state governments used the WhatsApp Business platform to remain in touch with citizens, promote vaccines across the country, and improve governance and public engagement.
Multidevice support: The multi-device functionality allows you to test a new version of WhatsApp for Web, Desktop, and Portal before it is released to the general public. WhatsApp beta users will be able to join up to four devices to their account, including browsers and other devices but not another phone, thanks to the new functionality. Users can use WhatsApp on these linked devices even if their primary phone is not connected to the internet.
Disappearing messages: Users may now specify a preset timer for messages to disappear in WhatsApp’s new Disappearing Messages feature. You can set the timer to 24 hours, 7 days, or 90 days. The feature is available in both personal and group chats.
Video, Audio calling to web users: WhatsApp has begun to roll out the video and audio call functionality to more desktop users, while the feature is still in beta and will not be available to everyone right now.
Transfer chats from iOS to Android: WhatsApp now allows users to move previous talks from iPhone to Android and vice versa. Using a lighting wire or a USB Type-C connector, users may easily transfer communications. The capability is now only available on a few phones, but WhatsApp plans to make Android to iPhone connectivity available on all phones soon.
Preview voice messages: WhatsApp has unveiled a new voice messaging feature that allows users to listen to voice messages before sending them. Previously, customers couldn’t listen to their voice messages because they had to be recorded and transmitted right away.
New privacy measures: Unknown contacts are unable to see a user’s last seen and online status because of this feature. While the messaging app currently allows users to hide their last seen and online information, certain third-party apps can still track your actions, which the new privacy safeguards attempt to avoid.
Flagging and reporting: WhatsApp introduced new security features such as Message level reporting, which allows users to report accounts by flagging a specific message, Touch ID and Face ID for iPhone, Fingerprint lock for Android, and encrypted backup.
‘Camera’ icon: WhatsApp gained the camera icon for scanning QR codes, effectively giving users access to the country’s roughly 20 million QR-enabled establishments.
Professional dashboard: Instagram got off to a terrific start in 2021 by releasing a Professional Dashboard, which is available to all Instagram Business and Creator Accounts.
‘Recently Deleted’: Instagram has implemented a tool called Recently Deleted that allows users to recover deleted photographs and videos. This will also safeguard you from hackers who may remove content when they gain access to your account.
Live Rooms: Instagram has introduced Live Rooms, which allows producers to include up to four people in a live broadcast. On Instagram Live, only one person may join the other previously.
Remix option to reels: Instagram added a remix function to its popular reels in early April, allowing users to take an original clip and add their reaction to it on the side, or get creative with their ideas.
Instagram addresses racial bias: New procedures to counteract online harassment of football players will be implemented, according to the platform. The action comes after a number of Premier League players were targeted by racists on the platform. Instagram has stated that accounts that engage in the behaviour will be permanently removed rather than simply suspended.
Colab: Users can collaborate with one another while sharing new feed posts and reels with the platform’s new ‘Collab’ feature. Users can invite other people/accounts to “show up as a collaborator” on new posts and reels using Instagram Collab.
Text translation in stories: In Stories, the new version will automatically translate text. Text in posts and captions can already be translated on the popular video and photo-sharing app. Users will be able to share Stories with international audiences more easily as a result of this.
Test ads in reels: Instagram has launched a new feature that allows users to see full-screen ads that are vertical, similar to the ads that appear in Stories. Between each Reel, there will be advertisements.
Limits: This feature allows users to limit or hide comments and messages from persons who are not currently following them or who have recently become followers.
Swipe-up links for stickers: Stickers have taken the place of the swipe up option on Instagram. Users can add links to their Instagram stories using this function.
Take a break: When users spend a lot of time looking at a certain topic on Instagram, pop-up messages appear, suggesting that they check into other topics. Users can also choose to be reminded to take a break after spending 10, 20, or 30 minutes on the app.
Facebook Pages redesign: For users in India, Facebook has launched a new Page experience that will make it easier for public figures and artists to develop communities and fulfil their commercial goals.
Stars on Live: People will be able to buy Stars and send them to their favourite creators during Star-enabled live streams to increase their visibility and revenue.
Expanding Facebook ads: Facebook is allowing producers to insert their own adverts in live streams. Prior to March, this option was only available to invitees. You now have additional choices when it comes to your ad preferences and reaching the optimal audience network.
Live Audio Rooms: Live Audio Rooms and Podcasts were launched by the social media behemoth. However, for the time being, the service is only available to people in the United States who own an iOS smartphone. Furthermore, only public figures and select Facebook Groups are permitted to create Live Audio Rooms on Facebook.
Facebook’s new ad policy: Anyone running ads on social issues will need to be authorised under the new regulations. Furthermore, these advertisements will need to carry disclaimers that include the name of the person or organisation that is running them. The new limits will apply to commercials centred on nine social themes. Environmental politics, crime, the economy, health, political values and governance, civil and social rights, immigration, education, and security and foreign policy are the topics covered.
Facebook reels: Reels is a new video-sharing feature in the Facebook app that allows users to share short videos with text annotations.
Live steaming game platform: Facebook is eager to transform its social media app into a live game streaming platform, a novel method that will not only attract new users but also contribute to the creation of the world’s largest gaming community.
Live chat: For customers who have been locked out of their Facebook accounts, Meta has also created a live chat feature. The upgrade is still in beta testing and is only available in the United States right now.