Social Updates: May 2021 - Data Usage Prompt is Rolled Out as Facebook & Twitter Expand Paid Event and Subscription Offerings

Social Updates: May 2021 - Data Usage Prompt is Rolled Out as Facebook & Twitter Expand Paid Event and Subscription Offerings
Photo by John Schnobrich / Unsplash


Apple rolled out its new controversial data tracking prompts and Facebook has responded by adding a new element to its own iOS 14.5 prompts, which now includes verbiage that could encourage users not to switch off data tracking. The new FB element encourages people to leave data tracking on to “Help keep Facebook free of charge”.

Facebook is taking the next step in its eCommerce push with the introduction of a new "Live Shopping Fridays" series, where FB will host live-streamed shopping experiences in conjunction with selected retailers. This series will invite viewers to ask questions about products and make purchases, all within a live stream.

The platform will be expanding its paid events feature into minor league and local sports to give teams more opportunities to generate income, while bringing viewers to the platform.


Instagram appears to be testing a new 'bonuses' program, which focuses on Reels promotions. The program would enable users to “earn bonuses from Instagram” when they share new Reels content. You would need to reach certain bonus thresholds to claim “earnings” from the program. The notes don't specifically say that users would earn cash payouts from the program, but it does seemingly align with Snapchat’s Spotlight approach, in paying selected creators for their Reels contributions.

Instagram announced the next stage of its experiments in hiding like counts on posts. As of Wednesday 5/26, users will be able to choose whether or not they display like counts on each of their updates.


WhatsApp is re-launching its controversial privacy policy update and appears to penalize users that don't accept. After a wave of controversy with its first attempt, WhatsApp is gradually rolling out a new Privacy Policy update which means that the app will share more data with Facebook. WhatsApp originally opted to delay the change after strong user resistance, but now, WhatsApp users are being alerted to the coming change once again. While WhatsApp has reassured users that it won't delete anybody's account for not accepting the new update, the app will effectively be useless until one does.


Twitter is taking the opportunity afforded within Apple's iOS 14.5 data tracking prompt to show users its own explanatory message about why they should allow the platform to keep taking their data, and the benefits of their usage. The new Twitter prompt explains that allowing the platform to keep tracking your data will contribute to you seeing more relevant ads while tapping through on the 'Learn more' prompt will take you through to Twitter's iOS 14.5 explainer on its Help platform, which provides a general overview.

Twitter launched the next phase of its creator payment program, with a live test of a new tip jar option on selected user profiles. This feature will enable individuals to collect payments from their audience, as a means to support their efforts. Shortly after launching the live test a couple of significant issues were highlighted:

  • The first issue, noted by cybersecurity expert Rachel Tobac, is that people may be sharing their personal address when they provide a 'tip' via PayPal.
  • The other major problem found is that it's just as easy for people to request a payment as it is for them to make one and has led to profiles with the new Tip Jar button getting a flood of requests from users trying to trick them into paying out.

Twitter quickly responded to these faults by saying that they would update the process.

Twitter is reportedly working on a new set of paid Tweet options under a monthly subscription model. Twitter will soon look to launch 'Twitter Blue', which will enable users to pay a fee of $2.99 per month to access a range of next-level Twitter functions. It would provide access to new tools like Collections for Bookmarks, which would enable users to categorize their saved tweets into topic folders and also give users access to an 'undo tweets' option that would let users retract their tweets within a certain period after posting. This would be part of a tiered subscription pricing model, with one tier having more paid features than the other.

Scroll was acquired by Twitter earlier this month and provides a service that enables users to pay a single subscription fee, allowing users to avoid paywalls and remove in-content ads without having to subscribe to every publication individually.

Twitter continues to ramp up its creator monetization focus with a new option that will enable users to create ticketed Spaces events, creating another revenue opportunity from on-platform efforts.


Snapchat hosted its second annual Partner Summit this month and made a range of product announcements, which will have a big impact on broad in-app elements moving forward. They plan on moving beyond the app, unveiling their latest, AR-enabled Spectacles, which are not available to consumers yet but points to the next stage of development for them.

The Summit kicked off with Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel announcing that Snapchat is now being used by 500 million people every month and has a daily active user count of 280 million. The main product announcement was their new, AR-enabled Spectacles that will feature full AR overlay within the Spectacles themselves and not just a camera-connected device. Other major announcements included:

  • The big announcement for brands was Public Profiles for Businesses. The new business profiles will consolidate various brand elements now available in the app and will include new options like a shop display to highlight products, the ability to showcase existing AR Experiences and share shoppable products directly within the app. Snapchatters will also be able to subscribe to your Profile to stay up-to-date with your content, new product launches, and more.

In terms of in-app design and usage, Snap is looking to put more focus on 'scanning' with the Snap camera, to highlight the various ways its scanning tools work. Making it simple to find fun and informative Lenses from creators and partners. These Lenses give you the power to identify hundreds of dog breeds, more than 600,000 plants and trees, and millions of songs and products. The hope is that highlighting these tools will encourage habitual discovery behavior, and eventually provide Snap with more opportunities to provide product matches on scanned objects, along with informational cues and tips.