12.3M people “attend” Travis Scott X Fortnite Concert, Facebook launches Zoom rival, and more top news | Product Perspectives #21

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WhatsApp Limits Spread of Content

It’s not just social media platforms which have come under fire in the past few years for helping the spread of misinformation. At one point WhatsApp was a leading culprit. Messages were more personalized, as they came directly from one user to another. Content could be included more easily into one-on-one conversations and discussed, and arguably taken more seriously.

With the original settings, it was easy for users to send content to hundreds of people with a few taps. With end-to-end encryption, any dodgy and dangerous conversations are hidden from authorities. The spread of hate speech and misinformation on the platform has been credited as a trigger for mob violence in India in 2018, which included lynchings.

WhatsApp GIF

Last year the company announced that it would limit the spread of forwarded messages to only five contacts. Forwarded messages are now labelled as such within chats. WhatsApp reports that this slowed forwards by 25%.

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Thanks to the pandemic, WhatsApp is yet another app which has experienced a huge surge in use…for both good and bad reasons. It’s now a huge vehicle for COVID-19 “cures” and misinformation about military activity.

WhatsApp has now announced that you can now only forward a message to one group or contact at a time, reducing the spread of “highly forwarded” messages by 70%. They have also promoted a bot made by the WHO which provides real information about the virus, and donated $1 million to the International Fact-Checking Fund.

12.3 Million People ‘Attend’ Virtual Fortnite X Travis Scott Concert

What a year 2020 has been so far. Who’d have thought it would include a virtual Travis Scott concert within popular video game, Fortnite? (Not that it’s the first thing to shake the gaming industry this year!)

While Fortnite has worked with many franchises to promote movies and music in-game, there has never been anything on this scale before.

Travis Scott's 'Astronomical' Fortnite Event Was… Overwhelming ...
Image Credit: Rolling Stone

Epic Games teamed up to bring a giant avatar of Scott to the game for the “Astronomical Concert.” While nothing compares to the buzz of a real-life concert (which certainly aren’t happening at the moment anyway!) more people ‘attended’ than could ever fit into a stadium. 12.3 million people packed out the game over the weekend, a new record for Fortnite.

If you missed it you can watch below, or if you’re a player, Epic Games will be planning encore events in future.

Video Credit: IGN

Facebook Launches ‘Messenger Rooms’ to Rival Zoom

Facebook has responded to calls for better…well…calls! Messenger Rooms was announced on Friday, with a similar format to Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, and basically all other video conferencing platforms.

Users will be able to host up to 50 people, completely for free. Facebook are also introducing a more social aspect where rooms can be made public and easily discoverable. Future feature releases could include augmented reality filters and backgrounds.

Call Me Phone GIF by un.welt

Responding to changes in user behaviour, Facebook has made some key updates to their other video products. WhatsApp video calls can now include up to 8 people, and Facebook events can now be marked as ‘online.’ Facebook Live can now also be used by hosts to create events, and users can ‘go live’ to Pages and Groups, not just on their profile.

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Now that Instagram Live is being increasingly used for online workout classes, concerts, and webinars, users can now post livestreams to IGTV. ‘Live With’ is a new feature which allows you to go live with a guest.

In the time of COVID-19, more than 700 million people use WhatsApp and Messenger to make calls every single day. A wise time to make some much-needed improvements to their services.

Average 15.6 Million People View First All-Virtual NFL Draft

Last Thursday the NFL used its technology partnership with Microsoft to launch its first all-virtual draft. The four-hour event attracted an average of 15.6 million viewers. This knocks the previous record, 12.4 million in 2014, out of the park.

football GIF by NFL

According to the NFL the event peaked around 9pm, with 19.6 million viewers.

The event started with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell being booed via video call, in keeping with draft-day tradition but with a modern twist.

For once, technology wasn’t an issue, as the NFL accessed Microsoft’s Team platform to assist club execs and teams. Will this revolutionize draft-day?

“There were elements we’ll look back at it, this may change the way we do it.” Goodell told NFL.com.

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