Social Updates: July 2021 - Facebook Updates Ad Targeting Options and Twitter Retires “Fleets”

Social Updates: July 2021 - Facebook Updates Ad Targeting Options and Twitter Retires “Fleets”
Photo by Melyna Valle / Unsplash


Antitrust lawsuits against Facebook were tossed out by a District of Columbia federal court, halting the regulators' efforts to curb Facebook’s growth. Separate lawsuits submitted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and more than 40 state attorneys general last year alleged that Facebook had grown into a social media monopoly that uses its market dominance to squash or acquire rivals. The complaints pushed for Facebook to spin off its Instagram and WhatsApp platforms, two acquisitions that previously received regulatory approval.

In a recent blog post, Facebook announced that starting August 23, detailed targeting, Custom Audiences, and lookalike audiences will no longer be available to target ads to young people, which in most countries is people under the age of 18. You can still target audiences under 18 but targeting is limited to age, gender, and location only.


On a similar note, Instagram announced in a blog post that users under 16 years old will also start to be defaulted to having a private account when they join the platform, to stop unwanted contact from adults. They will still be given the option to switch to a public account and current users can keep their account public.

The Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, announced that Instagram is no longer a photo-sharing app.  In a video posted to his Instagram and Twitter accounts, he says that the company is looking to lean into entertainment and video after seeing the success of competitors like TikTok.

Instagram recently decided to expand the Reels length limit from 30 seconds to 60 seconds. They’ve been experimenting with longer Reels for some time, after first extending Reels from 15 to 30 seconds last September. Given that TikTok now enables the upload of longer clips (up to 3 minutes), and YouTube Shorts can also be up to 60 seconds in length, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before Instagram followed the trend.


YouTube’s TikTok competitor, “YouTube Shorts”, is rolling out globally. The service launched in India last year, although still in beta, will be available across more than 100 countries around the world where YouTube is available. They recently added the ability for Shorts creators to sample audio from YouTube videos and are exploring ways to offer links from Shorts to YouTube videos they’ve taken samples from. Interestingly, while YouTube is looking to emulate TikTok’s format, TikTok is experimenting with formats that are closer to YouTube.


TikTok has been experimenting with letting creators around the world post videos up to three minutes long and is now extending the option for all users. Users will be notified when the three-minute option has been added to their toolbox.

TikTok is working hard to provide more revenue-generation options, to keep its top stars from drifting off to other opportunities and now added a new Cameo-like option called 'Shoutouts' in the app, which enables fans to pay platform stars to send them a personalized video message.


Twitter released its Q2 earnings results, which show increases in users and revenue, as the platform works to maximize growth with its ambitious expansion targets for the next 3 years.

Twitter announced it’s retiring their take on the Stories format “Fleets”, after less than a year of existence. Fleets were mostly being used by people who are already Tweeting to amplify their own Tweets and talk directly with others and will be taking lessons learned from Fleets and applying them into new areas.


Pinterest completed their list of banned weight loss-related ads as the National Eating Disorders Association’s data shows a steep rise in unhealthy eating patterns during the pandemic and Pinners embrace radical self-acceptance. The National Eating Disorders Association helpline reported a 40% increase in call volume in 2020. In light of that data, the platform updated its policies, prohibiting all ads related to weight loss imagery and language.

After reporting 11 quarters of consecutive user growth, Pinterest is seeing a decline in overall users in Q2. They lost 24 million users over the past three months, as lockdowns ease and physical stores re-open around the world with US users dropping 5% YOY.


Snapchat is offering a new way for social media marketers to highlight their Snap ads knowledge with an official certification through its Snap Focus education platform. The new certification pathway adds another element to the process, which can help maximize your learnings for professional benefit.