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This week in social media

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The great thing about social media is that there’s always room for competition on the playing field. Social titans like Facebook, Snapchat and Youtube are expanding their features and delving into each other’s’ territories. Meanwhile, Instagram is offering more functions to its users and Facebook is adding functions to appeal to different kinds of users. Read on for all the details.

AI for good

After the AI flub that kicked a mom off Instagram for posting a cake, and the public lessons that were learned from Microsoft’s Tay Twitter appearances, it’s exciting to see ways in which AI can integrate with social successfully. In a recent update, Facebook added an AI feature that can provide audio descriptions of images to blind users. Yup, you read that right. The technology also tells users what kind of reactions the image has gotten. Expect to see this function adapted to describe advertising in the future.

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The Swiss army of apps

And no, I’m not talking about that movie. We’re talking Snapchat. The media darling has found its way into nearly every mobile social need—image sharing, video sharing, augmented reality filters, money transfer, chat, video chat, and news. The list has expanded once more with the addition of voice calls and stronger video chatting features. While Skype and others have offered free calling services for a while, Snapchat stands to hold ground with this function given its broad user base.

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Live video is still a growing beast

With Zuckerberg “obsessed with getting Live to work” and Periscope’s CEO touting that the “perfect storm” is brewing for live video, stay tuned for rapid update releases. Facebook is already expanding Live’s features by adding chats within groups and event pages. And even though Meerkat is pivoting, YouTube wants in on the live video action: the company is reported to have a livestreaming app called YouTube Connect in the works.

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Instagram expands video length for users

Although Instagram previously allowed marketers to lengthen their videos from 15 seconds to a full minute, this option was extended to its general user base just last week. That’s four times the length of the previous time allotment, which means Instagram had to put a lot of backing into supporting that size of an increase. Luckily, Instagram’s parent company is a pro at video optimization. Along with the time extension, Instagram users can once again stitch multiple videos together into one post.

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