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This Week in Apps: Twitter’s edit button, BeReal clones, Trump’s Truth Social gets blocked

This Week in Apps: Twitter’s edit button, BeReal clones, Trump’s Truth Social gets blocked Image
  • Posted on 03rd Sep, 2022 18:33 PM
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This Week in Apps offers a way to keep up with the fast-moving app industry in one place, including news, updates, startup fundings, M&As and much more.

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy.

Global app spending reached $65 billion in the first half of 2022, up only slightly from the $64.4 billion during the same period in 2021, as hypergrowth fueled by the pandemic has decreased. But overall, the app economy is continuing to grow, having produced a record number of downloads and consumer spending across both the iOS and Google Play stores combined in 2021, according to the latest year-end reports. Global spending across iOS and Google Play last year was $133 billion, and consumers downloaded 143.6 billion apps.

This Week in Apps offers a way to keep up with this fast-moving industry in one place with the latest from the world of apps, including news, updates, startup fundings, mergers and acquisitions, and much more.

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Top Stories

Twitter gets editable… do we still care?

After years of user demand for an edit button, Twitter’s news this week that such a feature was now entering testing felt a little anticlimactic.

Twitter broke its own embargo over the impending launch. There weren’t any interviews. Instead, Twitter just casually noted the edit feature was being tested internally, it said in a tweet published ahead of its blog post announcement. Here’s a feature you wanted. I guess we’ll ship it. 

And though the feature will roll out to users later this month, it won’t be broadly available. Instead, users can pay for a Twitter Blue subscription to access the edit feature, Twitter said. But only “some” Twitter Blue subscribers will even see the option, as it will still be in a test mode at first. Then there’s the fact that Twitter Blue subscribers have already been somewhat placated by the “Undo Tweet” feature — an option that lets you quickly unsend a tweet when you spot a typo. (It’s actually a delay to post, which makes the “unsending” possible.) This reduces the need for an edit button in many cases, as it turns out.

A true edit feature, meanwhile, introduces a layer of complexity on top of the increasingly cluttered social app. Although Twitter says the feature will have an edit log to minimize abuse, there’s concern that people will re-write tweets knowing that many won’t ever look at the past versions.

If anything, the demand for an edit button had become more a meme than a true user request. It was just sort of unfathomable to some Twitter users that a basic feature like this was not being built. But over the years, people have learned to work around the lack of editing. We’d delete and retweet things. We’d reply with a correction, cursing the lack of an edit button as we did. And then we moved on. Now Twitter wants everyone to pay for this long-requested functionality? Ouch.

Here come the BeReal clones

snapchat's dual camera feature uses both front and back cameras

Image Credits: Snapchat

Remember when every social app was copying Snapchat’s Stories — Instagram successfully so? More recently, that sort of copy-and-paste development cycle has been focused on shoehorning a TikTok-like vertical video feed into every other social app, including Instagram and Facebook (Reels), YouTube (Shorts), Snapchat (Spotlight) and otherseven Twitter gave it a shot for a time.

But now, the top social apps have set their sights on BeReal, the scrappy social app for unfiltered sharing that’s been sitting just a bit too long at the top of the App Store to keep calling it a “trend.” That has the major social platforms worried about the impact the newcomer is having on their respective user bases. In particular, BeReal seems to be succeeding in appealing to a younger, Gen Z audience in search of a more authentic social networking experience. It allows them to connect with their friends without all the embellishments that, for years, have been the hallmarks of social apps — filters, AR and advanced editing tools resulting in a curated, idealized feed. Instead, BeReal users are in search of imperfection — yet another nail in the coffin for the old “Instagram aesthetic” that’s since been replaced by intentionally poorly shot photos and lo-fi selfies.

Last week, we saw Instagram building out a new feature that’s clearly designed to be a BeReal clone, as it would send Instagram users a notification after which they’d have two minutes to capture and share an “IG Candid” photo to their Story. This is essentially the same mechanic BeReal uses today. Before that, it built a Dual camera feature that lets users shoot from both cameras at once. But that one missed the key component to BeReal’s draw: connecting with friends.

This Week in Apps: Twitter’s edit button, BeReal clones, Trump’s Truth Social gets blocked View Story

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