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What’s popping in the influencer space this week. The highlights, opportunities and challenges for influencers and content creators in the MOOTS platform roundup.

Google’s AI-Driven Search Enhancement: The Biggest Change to Google Search EVER

  • Google is updating its AI-powered Search, termed as Search Generative Experience (SGE), in the Google App and soon in the Chrome browser.
  • The updated SGE will summarise web pages and provide instant definitions of unfamiliar words.
  • The “SGE while browsing” feature, available under Google’s experimental Search Labs, utilises Google’s AI to produce a list of main points from the web page content.
  • This feature is currently available in the Google App on both Android and iOS, with a rollout planned for Chrome. By clicking the “generate” button, users can access the summarised content and a list of questions answered by the webpage.
  • Some publishers, like The New York Times, have expressed reservations about their content being crawled by AI, raising concerns about how “SGE while browsing” will interact with such sites.
  • Google has faced increased competition in the AI space, especially after OpenAI’s ChatGPT release. They responded by launching the Search Generative Experience, which incorporates AI-generated answers among other features.
  • Generative AI’s popularity has surged recently, with some anticipating it could add $4.4 trillion annually to the global economy, though concerns about bias and disinformation dissemination remain.
  • SGE’s future features include integrated definitions in AI-generated results and coding support, such as answers to coding-related queries and color-coded suggested code.

Opportunity: With the integration of AI in search and browsing, content creators and influencers can provide more concise and targeted content, knowing that their audience has tools to quickly grasp key points and definitions. This adaptation might lead to enhanced content engagement and improved user experience.

Challenges: With AI summarising web pages, there’s potential for key messages or nuances in content to be lost or oversimplified. Moreover, influencers and content creators need to be cautious about how their content is presented in summarised form, ensuring it remains true to the intended message and tone.

NYC Imposes TikTok Ban on City-Owned Devices

  • New York City has enacted a ban on TikTok for all city-owned devices, directing agencies to uninstall the app within the forthcoming 30 days.
  • The decision followed an assessment by the NYC Cyber Command. According to a city representative, it was concluded that TikTok represents a “security threat to the city’s technical networks.”
  • Effective immediately, all city staff are prohibited from downloading, using the app, or accessing TikTok’s website via city-owned equipment.
  • A spokesperson from New York City Hall emphasised the importance of securely using social media platforms, stating, “NYC Cyber Command frequently assesses and takes active steps to safeguard the data of New Yorkers.”
  • The decision to ban TikTok was influenced by the US Office of Management and Budget’s guidelines, which dissuade the use of TikTok on governmental devices. This comes in addition to the federal law passed earlier banning the app.
  • Congressional efforts over the past three years have sought to nationally prohibit TikTok, alleging potential espionage risks due to its affiliation with Chinese firm ByteDance.
  • While multiple US states have restricted TikTok on state-owned devices, some, like Montana, have taken more extensive measures. Montana’s statewide TikTok ban faced backlash, with lawsuits filed by both the platform and its users.
  • New York state had previously prohibited TikTok on state-owned devices in 2020, though some exceptions were made for public relations platforms using the app for promotional reasons.

Opportunity: With growing concerns around data security and the potential misuse of data by platforms like TikTok, influencers and content creators have an opportunity to diversify their platforms and build audiences elsewhere. This can help establish a broader digital footprint and reduce dependency on any single platform.

Challenges: For influencers and content creators who heavily rely on TikTok, especially in locations affected by such bans, there’s a challenge to adapt and pivot. They might face a potential loss of audience, reach, and subsequently, revenue, and will need to find ways to engage their audience through alternative platforms or mediums.

Instagram Launches New Features: Carousel Music, Collabs & ‘Add Yours’

  • SUMMARY: Instagram rolls out a suite of enhancements, including music additions to photo carousels, expanded collaboration options with “Collabs”, engagement-driven challenges through the “Add Yours” sticker on Reels, and a broader music library, accentuated by a partnership with Spotify in Mexico and Brazil.
  • Instagram introduces the ability to add music to photo carousels, allowing users to complement their shared memories with suitable tunes, enhancing the mood and dynamics of the carousel.
  • The platform’s “Collabs” feature now lets users invite up to three friends to jointly create and share a Feed Post, Carousel, or Reel. The shared content becomes accessible to the audience of all collaborators and features on each participant’s profile grid.
  • Collaboration isn’t limited by account type; both private and public accounts can co-author content. Private account holders can initiate a Post or Reel and include collaborators, provided there’s a mutual follow.
  • The “Add Yours” sticker on Reels enables creators and artists to initiate prompts or challenges, encouraging their followers to participate. The creator can then select their favourite responses, highlighting their audience’s creative flair.
  • The sticker also offers users an opportunity to gain recognition. If a user’s Reel is chosen as a favourite by a creator, they receive a notification. Public account Reels are viewable by the broader Instagram community when they tap on the “Add Yours” sticker.
  • Music continues to play a pivotal role in Instagram’s feature set. Plans are in motion to extend the platform’s music library to additional countries.
  • In partnership endeavours, Instagram is collaborating with Spotify in Mexico and Brazil. They’re curating a Reels Music Chart on Spotify that showcases 50 of the most popular songs from Instagram Reels.

Opportunity: Content creators and influencers now have new tools and features to diversify their content, engage with their audience in collaborative ways, and use music to elevate their storytelling. The partnership with Spotify in certain regions also provides a new avenue for music-centric engagement and cross-platform promotion.

Challenges: With these new collaborative and music features, influencers and creators need to remain vigilant about copyright restrictions and ensure that their collaborations align with their brand image. Additionally, as the platform continues to evolve, there’s a continual learning curve to adapt to new features and optimise content for maximum engagement.

Illinois Enacts US Groundbreaking ‘Kidfluencer’ Law

  • On August 16, 2023, the Illinois Governor signed a transformative bill revising child labour regulations, granting amplified protections to child influencers. This legislation is set to be operational by July 1, 2024.
  • This law, which addresses minors under 16 “engaged in the work of vlogging”, emerges in response to the monetisation of children on social media platforms. It emphasises the safeguarding of children who are part of family vlogging enterprises.
  • The legislation sets out criteria under which a child is deemed an influencer: if over 30% of a video piece features the minor’s name, image, or likeness, and if it achieves a $0.10 or higher per-view compensation rate.
  • Parental and guardian obligations have been laid out, requiring meticulous record-keeping and reporting duties related to the minor’s participation and earnings from content.
  • Crucially, the law mandates the establishment of a trust fund for young vloggers, ensuring they gain access to their earnings upon reaching adulthood or if they are emancipated before.
  • While Illinois pioneers in this realm, New York and Washington are exploring similar legislation to protect young digital influencers. Internationally, countries like France have already enforced regulations that set work limits for minors and necessitate the creation of trust funds for their digital earnings.
  • Looking beyond digital platforms, the increasing exploitation of NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) rights in sports and entertainment underscores the broader implications and relevance of such protective laws.

Opportunity: The newly minted Illinois legislation signifies a progressive step towards ethically harmonising US digital labour laws with the realities of the internet age. It paves the way for other jurisdictions to bolster protections for young influencers. Content creators, platforms, and brands can align with these ethical standards, ensuring transparent and respectful engagements with minor influencers.

Challenges: The intricate standards and obligations under this law can pose compliance challenges for family vloggers. Any oversight may lead to legal repercussions, reputational risks, and potential financial penalties. As regulations evolve and expand across different regions, brands, and platforms will need to stay updated, possibly necessitating regular contract revisions and continuous vigilance regarding local laws. Additionally, the growing concerns surrounding the rights of children in the digital and entertainment space highlight the need for broader consensus and standardised regulations across states and nations.

Newest Threads Features

  • Threads now allows for direct sharing in Instagram DMs. Simply tap the share option and choose “Send on Instagram”.
  • Users can easily view all the Threads they’ve Liked by navigating to their profile, accessing settings, and selecting “Your Likes”.
  • Organising the accounts you follow has been simplified. From your profile, tap on Followers, proceed to ‘Following’, and then hit “Sort”.
  • Enhanced accessibility with the addition of custom alt-text. Once an image/video is attached, users can select “Alt text” to input their custom description.
  • Threads has augmented its functionalities with support for rel=me links, aiding users in authenticating their identity on platforms like Mastodon. Users can seamlessly integrate their Threads profile link on compatible platforms to confirm their identity.

Opportunity: Threads’ continuous updates accentuate its adaptability and commitment to user experience, cementing its place as a dynamic social platform. With features such as sharing to Instagram DMs and custom alt-text, Threads enhances user engagement and offers a more inclusive experience, respectively. The introduction of rel=me links also positions Threads as a trustworthy and secure platform, especially crucial in today’s digital age.

Challenges: As with any platform undergoing frequent updates, there’s a learning curve for users to adapt to new features, potentially leading to initial confusion or missteps. Furthermore, while integrations like rel=me links enhance security, they also necessitate users to be informed about their benefits and usage to ensure seamless identity verification across platforms.

YouTube Music’s “Samples” Feature

  • YouTube Music introduces “Samples”, a unique feature that displays short video segments of fresh music for viewers, ensuring a personalised music discovery experience.
  • This innovation emerges from the heart of YouTube’s Innovation Series, shedding light on the evolution of new YouTube features and the minds behind them.
  • The “Samples” tab is designed to explore YouTube Music’s vast collection, showcasing a curated blend of fresh tracks from emerging artists and remarkable songs from established ones.
  • The user-friendly interface allows vertical swipes to transition between songs, making the discovery process engaging and straightforward.
  • Beyond just offering a glimpse, the “Samples” feature encourages deeper exploration. From adding a new found song to your playlist, initiating a radio station, viewing the entire video, to creating personal “Shorts” with the music, YouTube Music aims to foster a deep connection between listeners and fresh artists.
  • Artists benefit from this feature by gaining exposure and cultivating a community, further enhancing YouTube’s reputation as an all-encompassing platform for music aficionados and creators.
  • The global launch of the “Samples” tab on YouTube Music marks just the beginning. Future endeavours aim to introduce similar short-form discovery mechanisms throughout the app, promising more avenues to uncover new music.

Opportunity: The “Samples” feature caters to our desire for novelty, offering listeners an effortless way to explore diverse tunes tailored to their preferences. This innovation strengthens user engagement on YouTube Music, promises artists an expansive platform to showcase their craft and amass a dedicated audience.

Challenges: In an era of information overload, curating content that resonates with every individual’s unique tastes can be a daunting task. Ensuring that the “Samples” feature consistently offers relevant and enticing music selections will be crucial. Furthermore, integrating such a novel feature requires educating users about its functionality and benefits, necessitating effective communication and user interface design strategies.

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