ICYMI for week-ending Dec. 16: Social media news & trends – Smartbrief

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By Mike Driehorst

It was not a very good week for TikTok and Twitter. Neither seem to not have many — any? — friends among politicians and regulators in the US and Europe. (See Business news below.)
We also have the past week’s updates from a variety of social platforms, and some how-to nuggets and trends to think about as we wind down 2022.
As usual, if you missed any previous posts, visit this list of ICYMI social platforms recaps.
Instagram’s Notes offers a new way to engage with followers
Instagram is rolling out Notes, which enables users to post emojis and up to 60 characters of text to the top of their profile image, and then it appears at the top of followers’ box or for selected contacts. Instagram also is rolling out Group Profiles as a means for users to share updates with only certain people; testing Collaborative Collections; and testing a BeReal-esque feature in South Africa dubbed Candid Stories. Get the full story at TechCrunch and Engadget.
Facebook offers best practices for video ads
Brands can generate five times higher return on investment when using a logo in a video ad on Facebook and 2.3 times higher ROI when a product appears within the first two seconds, per analysis conducted by Analytic Partners for Meta. Other analysis shows that featuring products within lifestyle situations offers the best ROI, while optimal campaign frequency is between one and 1.5 times a week. Social Media Today has all the details. 
Twitter updates: Business accounts test, fewer ads, more room to tweet
TechCrunch reports that Twitter has begun testing Blue for Business and accompanying gold checkmarks for business accounts, but has yet to say if it will charge for the programs. Separately, Elon Musk tweeted that Basic Blue subscribers will see half of the current ad load and a higher paid tier will launch in 2023 without ads. Also, Twitter designer Andrea Conway shared examples of how tweets that contain up to 4,000 characters would be displayed.
Quick hits
How are Reels performing for brands?
Some brands have prioritized Instagram Reels over photo posts, and smaller and midsize brands tend to have better engagement rates on their Reels compared to large brands, per anecdotal research from social media expert Arik Hanson. “The advice, as always, is to measure your own results and see how formats are performing against each other on a regular basis,” writes Hanson. 
TikTok tops in global downloads but US growth drops
TikTok held the top spot for global app downloads in November, followed by Instagram, Facebook and TikTok’s editing app CapCut, AppFigures reports. Sensor Tower reports TikTok US downloads dropped close to 33% year-over-year for the month, a development Social Media Today‘s Andrew Hutchinson says may be “the first signs of hesitation, which could mark a more significant usage shift in the next year.
Most marketers still say Twitter ads are risky but …
Capterra research reveals 53% of brands aren’t apt to pay for Twitter verification, while 60% say losing verification would harm their marketing objectives. Ads on Twitter still present a risk, say nearly 67% of respondents, citing hate speech and misinformation as their top two concerns. Despite all the wringing of hands over advertising on Twitter, only 21% of brands say they’ll decrease their advertising on the platform. Social Media Today has the details.
Quick hits
Could TikTok be banned in the US?
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced A.N.T.I.S.O.C.I.A.L.C.C.P. Act legislation that would effectively ban TikTok and “any social media company in, or under the influence of, China, Russia and several other foreign countries of concern,” while Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., brought forth a companion bill in the House. A TikTok spokesperson called the proposed legislation “politically motivated” and said the current security review should play out before any laws are passed. USA Today and Axios have more info.
Musk’s release of Twitter files runs afoul with regulators
Twitter owner, Elon Musk, is releasing information to selected media about how the company moderated content before he arrived. But regulators in Europe are saying Musk might have broken their laws, and even US law as specified by a consent decree the company signed with the Federal Trade Commission 11 years ago. See TechCrunch for more details.
Quick hits

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