A long time after its debut on iPhone, the anticipated ‘Swipe to Reply’ feature has now headed to WhatsApp for Android. The feature that is designed to let you quickly reply to your messages on the instant messaging app is currently available through beta version 2.18.300. The Facebook-owned company brought the identical experience to iPhone users back in June last year, and it was reported to reach Android devices last week. It was additionally reported to bring a Dark Mode that will transform the background with a dark treatment to help reduce strain on users’ eyes while using WhatsApp at night or in low-light environments. There isn’t any timeline around the debut of the Dark Mode, though it was last week reported that the feature will make way to both Android and iOS. Separately, WhatsApp is said to let you add more stickers to your selection through external sticker packs.
With the WhatsApp beta 2.18.300 for Android, you can now use the simple swipe gesture to quickly respond to a message. All you need to do is to swipe any individual message to the right to reply to that message on WhatsApp. The message will be quoted just above the text box to help you easily referred to it alongside your reply. Previously, you need to tap and hold on the particular message and then press the reply option from the top bar to respond to a message.
The new gesture support makes the experience faster as it helps you quickly respond to a message from an available thread. Also, it is useful especially if you are replying to a message in a WhatsApp group.
To download the latest WhatsApp beta on your Android device, you need to be a part of the official Google Play beta programme. Alternatively, you can download its APK file directly from APK Mirror. A WhatsApp version to enable the ‘Swipe to Reply’ feature is likely to reach through a public release in the coming days.
Folks at WABetaInfo have separately tweeted that WhatsApp will allow you to externally download sticker packs. It is said that there will be a ‘Get More Stickers’ option that will open Google Play to let you download stickers from other apps. There could also be a dedicated WhatsApp Stickers app to bring new stickers on board.
WABetaInfo claims that the external sticker support will be activated “soon,” however, WhatsApp hasn’t made any formal confirmation around the new addition.
Snapchat adds Spotlight – TechCrunch
Snapchat introduces a TikTok-style feed, Amazon Echo Buds add fitness tracking and Vettery acquires Hired. This is your Daily Crunch for November 23, 2020.
The big story: Snapchat adds Spotlight
Snapchat has introduced a dedicated feed where users can watch short, entertaining videos — pretty similar to TikTok. This comes after the app also added TikTok-like music features last month.
Starting today, users will be able to send their Snaps to the new Spotlight feed. Viewers will be able to send direct messages to creators with public profiles (Spotlight will also include anonymous content from private accounts), but there will be no public commentary on these videos.
To encourage creators to post to Spotlight, Snapchat says it will be distributing more than $1 million every day who create the top videos on Spotlight.
The tech giants
Amazon’s Echo Buds get new fitness tracking features — Say “Alexa, start my workout” with the buds in, and they’ll begin logging steps, calories, distance, pace and duration of runs.
Uber refused permission to dismiss 11 staff at its EMEA HQ —The Dutch Employee Insurance Agency has refused to give Uber permission to dismiss 11 people at the company’s EMEA headquarters.
Facebook launches ‘Drives,’ a US-only feature for collecting food, clothing and other necessities for people in need — The feature is being made available through Facebook’s existing Community Help hub.
Startups, funding and venture capital
Relativity Space raises $500M as it sets sights on the industrialization of Mars — LA-based rocket startup Relativity had a big 2020, completing work on a new 120,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Long Beach.
Resilience raises over $800M to transform pharmaceutical manufacturing in response to COVID-19 — The company will invest heavily in developing new manufacturing technologies across cell and gene therapies, viral vectors, vaccines and proteins.
Video mentoring platform Superpeer raises $8M and launches paid channels — The Superpeer platform allows experts to promote, schedule and charge for one-on-one video calls with anyone who might want to ask for their advice.
Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch
Seven things we just learned about Sequoia’s European expansion plans — Steve O’Hear interviews Luciana Lixandru and Matt Miller about the firm’s plans.
Founders seeking their first check need a fundraising sales funnel — Start digging the well before you’re thirsty.
Will Brazil’s Roaring 20s see the rise of early-stage startups? — In September, homegrown startups raised a record $843 million.
(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. And until November 30, you can get 25% off an annual membership.)
Vettery acquires Hired to create a ‘unified’ job search platform — Vettery CEO Josh Brenner said the two platforms are largely complementary.
Gift Guide: Which next-gen console is the one your kid wants? — This holiday season, the next generation of gamers will be hoping to receive the next generation of gaming consoles.
Original Content podcast: ‘The Crown’ introduces its Princess Diana — The new season focuses on Queen Elizabeth’s relationship with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and on Prince Charles’ troubled marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales.
The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.
The downfall of ad tech means the trust economy is here – TechCrunch
2020 has brought about much-needed social movements. In June, activists launched the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, a call to hold social media companies like Facebook accountable for the hate happening on their platforms.
The idea was to pull advertising spending to wake these social platforms up. More than 1,200 businesses and nonprofits joined the movement, including brands such as The North Face, Patagonia and Verizon. I led my company, Cheetah Digital, to join alongside some of our clients like Starbucks and VF Corp.
Stop Hate for Profit highlighted social media hitting its tipping point. Twitter and Snapchat chose to stand up against hate speech, banning political ads and taking action to flag misinformation. Facebook, unfortunately, has not yet been as proactive, or at best it’s been sporadic in its response.
While many thought the movement would come and go, the reality is it has only just begun. With America conducting arguably its most divisive election in history, these problems won’t just go away. For marketers, Stop Hate for Profit is more than a social movement — it is pointing to an issue with ad tech as a whole.
I believe we are seeing the downfall of ad tech as we know it with social media boycotts and data privacy leading the charge.
The social media quagmire
In May, Forrester released a report titled “It’s OK to Break Up with Social Media” that contained statistics indicating that consumers are fed up with social media: 70% of respondents said they don’t trust social media platforms with their data. Only 14% of consumers believe the information they read on social media is trustworthy. 37% of online adults in the U.S. believe social media does more harm than good.
Here is the reality we need to get back to: Social media isn’t built for marketers to reach consumers. In the beginning of the social media craze, brands rushed to get on board and join the conversations. What many brands discovered is these channels became a platform for customer complaints not for building positive brand perception. Furthermore, the social platforms marketers flocked to as an avenue to reach customers began charging marketers just to get to the customers.
The algorithms that define what content you see unfortunately make it harder for people to see opposing views, and this more than anything else polarizes society further. If you start looking at QAnon content, very soon that’s all the algorithms feed you. You might spend more time on social platforms fueling their ad dollars, but you have also lost a grip on reality. Marketers must admit things have gone too far on social media and it is okay to move on.
Imagine you are in need of a minor surgery. Perhaps you take an Uber ride to the specialist for a consultation. Next, you go get the surgery and it is successful. Soon you find yourself at home recovering and all is well. That is, until you start scrolling Facebook. Suddenly advertisements pop up for medical malpractice lawyers, but you haven’t told anyone about the surgery and you certainly didn’t post about it on social media.
Here you are, just wanting to rest and recover at home, but instead you are being bombarded by advertisements. So how did those ads get there? You left a digital footprint, your data was sold and now you’re being hit with intrusive ads. To me, this story crystallizes the abuse ad tech has been fostering in the world around us. There’s an utter invasion of privacy and consumers aren’t blind to it.
Data privacy has been a focus of conversation for marketers for several years now. Just this year, America saw the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) go into effect and become enforceable. This legislation gives back control of data to the consumer. In June, Apple announced updates to make it harder for apps and publishers to track location data and use it for ad targeting. At the beginning of August, Meredith and Kroger announced a partnership to provide first-party sales data for advertising efforts in an attempt to move off of cookies. It is clear data privacy is not a fad going away anytime soon.
Where do marketers go from here?
I believe the future of marketing is the trust economy. The Stop Hate for Profit campaign, the invasion of privacy and shifting attitudes and behaviors of consumers point to the end of an era where marketers relied upon third-party data. Trust is now the most impactful economic power, not data. We conducted research earlier this year with eConsultancy, and our findings revealed that 39% of U.S. consumers don’t like personal ads driven from cookie data. People don’t want to be tracked and targeted as they click around the web. Ad tech’s roof is caving in and marketers must adjust.
The old methods of marketing won’t carry you through into the era of the trust economy. It is time to look to new channels and revisit old channels. We have to shift back to the channels where we own what is being said. Advertising on social platforms should be focused on driving consumers to owned channels where you can capture their permissions and data to connect with them directly. Consider email as a channel to focus on.
Don’t worry — it works. That same eConsultancy report found nearly three out of four consumers made a purchase in the last 12 months from an email sent by a brand or retailer and massively outperformed social ads when it came to driving sales. Similarly nine times as many U.S. consumers want to increase their participation in loyalty programs in 2020 than those that want to reduce their involvement. You have to ensure you are owning your data and loyalty programs are a treasure trove of consumer data you own. Emily Collins from Forrester does a good job of explaining why you can achieve this with a true loyalty strategy, not just a rewards program.
Your goal should be to build direct connections to consumers. Building trust means offering a value exchange for data and engagement, not going and buying it from a third-party. Fatemah Khatibloo, a principal analyst for Forrester wrote, “Zero-party data is that which a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a brand. It can include purchase intentions, personal context, and how the individual wants the brand to recognize her.” This zero-party data is foundational for the trust economy and you should check out her advice on how it helps you navigate privacy and personalization.
The trust economy is really about asking yourself, as a marketer, what you stand for. How do you view your relationship with consumers? Do you care? What kind of relationship do you want? Privacy has to be part of this. Accountability is crucial. We must be accountable to where we are putting our money. It’s time to stop supporting hate, propping up the worst of society and fueling division. Start taking responsibility, caring about social issues and building meaningful relationships with consumers built on trust.
Facebook launches ‘Drives,’ a U.S.-only feature for collecting food, clothing and other necessities for people in need – TechCrunch
Facebook today is introducing a new feature that will allow users in the U.S. to collect food, clothing, and other necessities for people in need. The feature, called “Drives,” is being made available through Facebook’s existing Community Help hub, which is the place where Facebook centralizes requests and offers for help within a local community.
The Community Help hub was first launched in 2017 as a way for Facebook users to centralize their resources in the wake of a crisis, like a man-made, accidental or natural disaster, ranging from weather events to terrorist attacks, and more. In 2020, however, the feature has been put to broader use as a part of Facebook’s COVID-19 efforts, which even saw a version of Community Help feature scaled globally to help those impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
Now, with the economic crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., millions are out of work and 12 million may lose their unemployment benefits in December when CARES Act provisions lapse. Food insecurity and an inability to pay bills, including rent and mortgage payments, as well as manage other household expenses, are impacting millions as well.
With Drives, Facebook will allow users to create and share their own efforts in collecting items for those in need, like a Canned Food Drive that’s looking to gather items for local shelters, a Clothing Drive, or any other event where someone is working to collect items to help others.
To create a Drive, type “Community Help” into Facebook Search to find the shortcut that takes you to the Community Help hub. From there, click the “Request or Offer Help” button, and on the bottom sheet that appears, click “Create Drive.” You can then fill out the form, setting a goal for the number of items you want to collect. When you post the Drive, others will be able to see what’s still needed with this goal tracker. Once created, the Drive will appear in your News Feed and Timeline like a regular post, in addition to appearing in Community Help.
The feature is rolling out starting today, but it may not be widely available to all for “weeks,” Facebook says. That’s unfortunate, given that many people likely want to run holiday-related Drives within the hub to help get food for holiday meals or toys for families in need, for example.
Facebook notes that all posts in Community Help, including Drives, are reviewed to ensure they don’t violate Facebook’s Community Standards or its Community Help Product Policies. These policies prohibit insensitive and promotional content, spam, inauthentic posts, and posts from users under 18, among other things. If posts are found to be in violation, they’re taken down, the company says.
Drives is one of several efforts around holiday giving that Facebook announced today. The company also says it will match up to $7 million in eligible donations to U.S. nonprofits on GivingTuesday (Dec. 1), and is running its own fundraiser, “Peace Through Music: A Global Event For Social Justice” exclusively on Facebook Live. The event, on Dec. 1 at 12 PM ET, will feature Aloe Blacc, Billie Eilish, Becky G, Carlos Santana & Cindy Blackman Santana, Killer Mike, Ringo Starr, Skip Markey, and others. The event will support the Playing for Change Foundation, the United Nations Population Fund, Sankofa, Silkroad and The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.
Meanwhile, Instagram will soon gain new fundraising tools. Today, Instagram users can fundraise with stickers on Stories and on Instagram Live. A new feature will allow Instagram users to post fundraisers to their Instagram Feed, too, but Facebook didn’t offer a timeframe as to when that feature would launch.
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