New year brings Facebook update

by Madi Winkler Social Media Coordinator

The students have spoken, and with their voice, voted Facebook their favorite social media site with 36.1 percent of the vote in this year’s Readers’ Choice issue. 

Instagram took second place with 27.9 percent of the votes, and Twitter and Snapchat tied for third place with 13.1 percent of student votes.

New social media sites appear almost every day, but Facebook seems to maintain its popularity among the platforms. 

With Facebook’s rise and continued popularity come changes, as well. During 2017, Facebook rolled out a variety of new features. 

First, and most recently, users found stories, much like Snapchat and Instagram, on their home pages. 

Stories are brief videos or glimpses of pictures different apps allow their users to share for a period of time on their personal accounts. 

On the mobile app, stories appear on the top of the page in popular order, according to Facebook Help Center.

Senior Charles Wilson said he was not in favor of Facebook’s addition of stories to their app because it closely resembled what Snapchat and Instagram have already pioneered. 

Junior Chandon Hines said Facebook’s new story feature is not needed, and stories are typically easier to access on Snapchat.

Additionally, Facebook users can find their friends who are in close proximity, using the new optional feature, Nearby Friends. Both parties must have the feature enabled to find each other, and users will receive a notification, according to the Facebook Newsroom. 

Next, Facebook released updates to their Trending feature, which allows users to find top content across the platform. Facebook describes the feature as a “new product that’s designed to surface interesting and relevant conversations,” according to Facebook Newsroom. 

The three changes to the Trending feature include an “improved” system that determines trending topics, a feature, which determines what topics appear in different regions and a headline below each topic, according to the Facebook Newsroom

“I think that trending topics are relevant, mainly because some people get all of their news from Facebook instead of news sources,” Hines said. 

These trending topics could help interest people in different issues, she said. 

Additionally, Facebook users have a chance to benefit others. 

They can donate to their favorite charities directly from the site.

Hines said this feature brings more awareness and accessibility to organizations that collect donations through Facebook. 

Nonprofit organizations and fundraisers that are eligible through the IRS can create their own Facebook page. Users can locate the “donate” button on the page, enter their payment information and send money to the organization, according to the Facebook Help Center. 

Facebook’s continued updates and adaptability will help keep them relevant, Wilson said.