Facebook And Twitter Changes You Need To Know About


Jayson DeMers, Contributor

January 26, 2015

Did you know that you can now search Facebook posts using simple keywords, and that Twitter is now showing recaps of popular tweets in your feed? These changes (and more) are taking place right now, and as a marketer, you need to know about them.

Here are four recent, major updates to Facebook and Twitter that every marketer should know about.

Twitter’s new search engine lets you search all tweets

Twitter has always maintained a focus on real-time interactions, so it’s no surprise that their search function has always shown preference for recent tweets. Twitter recently announced, however, that users can now search for tweets from as far back as 2006.

Apparently the ability to access all tweets has been a long-term goal, however it’s just recently that Twitter has been able to efficiently index the approximately half a trillion documents in their database: “Our search engine excelled at surfacing breaking news and events in real time, and our search index infrastructure reflected this strong emphasis on recency. But our long-standing goal has been to let people search through every Tweet ever published.”

Previously, Twitter search only returned tweets from the 7 days prior, so this represents a significant change in the types of content we can access. For a complete technical analysis of the changes as described by Twitter engineer, Yi Zhuang, click here.

To access tweets by date (including year), simply go to Twitter’s advanced search and select the appropriate date range. For instructions on deleting old tweets that you’d prefer don’t show up in search, visit Twitter’s help center.

First ever tweet. @jack, Mar 21, 2006
Twitter to show recaps of top tweets you may have missed

Just last week, Twitter announced a new feature called ‘recaps’, marked with a “While you were away” heading on your timeline. This feature, which has already been released to iOS users (Android and twitter.com coming soon), gives users an overview of popular tweets they may not have seen.

According to Twitter Product Manager Paul Rosania, frequent users will see this feature less, while those who use Twitter only “now and then” will see it less often. He writes, “Our goal is to help you keep up – or catch up – with your world, no matter how much time you spend on Twitter. With a few improvements to the home timeline we think we can do a better job of delivering on that promise without compromising the real time nature of Twitter.”

Facebook cracking down on hoax news stories

Facebook recently gave users the ability to mark stories in their newsfeed as false or misleading. The examples they give of ‘false’ stories include “purposefully fake or deceitful news, a hoax disproved by a reputable source”. (e.g. Snopes.com).

Facebook’s recent update will mean that status updates, photos, videos or links to articles or blog posts that have frequently been deleted or reported by users as being false will receive decreased distribution in the newsfeed. Posts that are reported frequently will also contain the disclaimer, “Many people on Facebook have reported that this story contains false information”.

Facebook has stated that the majority of Facebook users won’t be impacted by this update. They have also said that satirical content shouldn’t be affected.

Facebook launches keyword search

Facebook launched Graph Search back in 2013, giving users the ability to search for people or connections via Facebook’s search. However, some users have complained that Facebook’s semantic search (e.g. “Friends of friends who live in London”) has been complicated to use – particularly on mobile devices. In December, Facebook announced a welcome update to their search capabilities in the form of keyword search.

Instead of having to use phrases like “Friends of friends who work at Apple” (although this will still be available), you can now use simple Google-like search terms like “friends Apple”. The new search allows you to find specific posts, not just connections, people, groups or Pages. Facebook VP of Search, Tom Stock, writes: “You’ve given us a lot of feedback on the Graph Search beta. You’ve told us the most important thing is being able to find posts you’ve seen before, and now you can. With a quick search, you can get back to a fun video from your graduation, a news article you’ve been meaning to read, or photos from your friend’s wedding last summer.”

Privacy settings still apply, so there’s no need to worry that your private posts will be accessible by non-friends. If you’re worried about the privacy settings for past posts, it’s easy to ensure they’re only searchable by friends. Simply go to your privacy settings and click on ‘Limit past posts’. You’ll now have the option to limit the audience for your past posts to friends, even if you’d previously set them to public or friends of friends.

Final Thoughts

I’m glad to see both Facebook and Twitter improving the functionality of search, but it will interesting to see how these new search capabilities play out. In terms of Twitter, I’m curious to see how old tweets versus recent ones will be displayed in basic search results (will preference still be given to newer tweets?). On Facebook, how will keyword search impact how we use the platform on a day-to-day basis? Will Facebook introduce ads into search? This would be particularly attractive to local businesses (e.g. “coffee shop Seattle”).

For more recent changes which impact business owners, see my post Recent Facebook and Twitter Changes That Affect Marketers.

What do you think about these recent Facebook and Twitter changes? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

This article was written by Jayson DeMers from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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