Friday Social: McSnapchat, WhatsApp Calling and Twitter Trials

  • Social Media

Our #FridaySocial is a weekly round-up of the key social media news stories from the previous seven days. Let us know your thoughts in the comments or via Twitter – @Umpf / @Allllliiiii

1. WhatsApp to add voice calls

Following the $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook last week, the messaging application has announced that it is adding a voice calling service.

The new offering will be free for WhatsApp’s 450 million+ users – challenging similar free-to-use services such as Skype. WhatsApp founder and chief exec Jan Koum, speaking at the Mobile World Congress Event said:

“I grew up in Russia, we had a telephone line, but a load of our neighbours didn’t. It became a shared resource for the whole apartment complex. People would come and knock on the door and ask to call their family in another city. “We’re adding voice to WhatsApp so people can stay in touch with friends and loved ones no matter where they are in the world.”

The voice calling feature will be available on iPhone and Android from the second quarter of the year, with BlackBerry and Windows Phone updates to follow.

2. Oscar Pistorius Twitter account to reveal the ‘truth’

Ahead of Oscar Pistorius’ trial for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, the Paralympian’s PR team has created a Twitter account which they claim will reveal the truth surrounding the trial.

Earlier this week’s, Pistorius’ personal account tweeted to alert his 303,000+ followers about the new account:

It’s been reported that Pistorius’ media manager Anneliese Burgess, and several of Pistorius’ family members will be managing the account.  It has already begin tweeting in advance of next week’s trial:

The trial will also be televised.

3. Facebook retires email service

A quick show of hands around Umpf HQ revealed that despite knowing it’s been available since late 2010, not one of us had ever actually used our email address. This seems to be a common problem for the social media site, as Facebook has announced it will be shutting down the service shortly.

In its statement, Facebook said: “We’re making this change because most people haven’t been using their Facebook e-mail address, and we can focus on improving our mobile messaging experience for everyone.”

From now on, emails sent to addresses will be forwarded to users’ primary email address as listed on the site. However, as The Verge points out, this raises a security problem – anyone might be able to reach your main email inbox by figuring out your address (using individuals’ profile URLs) and utilising the forwarding function. If you’re worried about this, Facebook will let you turn forwarding off altogether. If the mail scheme is as dead as it seems, you probably won’t need to worry about missing many messages…

4. McDonalds joins Snapchat

Following in the footsteps of American Apparel, Juicy Couture and Taco Bell, fast food giant McDonalds has joined the picture mcsnapchatsharing service.

Rick Wion, Director of Social Media at McDonalds, told Mashable:  We are excited to use Snapchat as a way to share the fun side of our brand with this highly engaged audience of millennials.”

Wion also stated that McDonalds has gained ‘several thousand’ Snapchat friends in the past few days. The account has launched on Tuesday with an image of professional basketball player LeBron James, teasing a new sandwich launch.

The account will be managed by an in-house PR team.

5. Facebook tweaks News Feed… again

Facebook has this week made additional changes to its News Feed algorithm to treat Pages more like personal profiles when tagging.

If Page A tags Page B and you’re a fan of Page B, you may see Page A’s post in your News Feed even if you don’t like Page A. Phew! Facebook gives the following example in a newsroom post:


According to Facebook, this post should help to highlight conversations surrounding topics that users have already expressed an interest in – and to help brand pages expand their reach.

6. @N: “Order has been restored”

Remember Naoki Hiroshima, the rightful owner of the valuable @N Twitter account who fell victim to social media theft back in January? Fortunately, Twitter has handed the account back to its rightful owner.

Hiroshima was blackmailed into giving up the account by an anonymous thief, who conned PayPal and GoDaddy into releasing what should’ve been secure information. Following Hiroshima’s blog post about the theft, the story was covered by many news outlets – encouraging GoDaddy to admit that its protocols had been lax and to make a change to its policy. Good news all round.