Each week, Social Circles brings you the biggest news from behind the social networks. Keep up to date with the latest trends, breaking news, and expert analysis from across the web.

This week’s wrap-up includes Tumblr’s rise in active users, Twitter’s problematic App Graph, Canada’s new digital diplomacy plans, and native advertising on Instagram and YouTube.

Canada Joins Twitter

I’ve already covered this in more detail here, but Canada became the latest country to launch an official national Twitter account this past week. As part of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada‘s (DFATD) digital diplomacy strategy, the account aims to be a voice for Canada around the world.

Already at over 70,000 followers, Canada now joins other countries like Ireland, Sweden, Australia, South Africa and Spain in having a dedicated Twitter account for national promotional purposes. (Via Beta Beat)

Instagram the Newest Outlet for Innovative Marketers?

Instagram is about more than sharing photos of gourmet tacos from your favourite underground restaurant. For a growing number of users, it’s quickly becoming a full-time job.

Catching on to the power of the platform, and of the wide reach users have with under-35’s (especially teens living in high-income households), brands are moving advertising dollars into this whole new world. A new form of “native advertising,” brands like Nike, Puma, Amazon, Michael Kors, Volvo and more are signing contracts with power users, offering fully paid trips to exotic locations and shelling out dollars per likes on the photo. Some users are reportedly making six figure salaries from this. (Via The Guardian)

Vloggers Told to Follow Advertising Laws in the UK

On the topic of innovative advertising, lawmakers in the UK are fighting back against vloggers looking to make a quick buck in exchange for paid promotional content.

The Advertising Standards Authority has made a ruling in a case regarding five videos, in which vloggers were paid by Mondelez UK to take the “Lick Race Challenge” and promote Oreos. The ASA decided that these videos fall under the code overseeing advertising, and that vloggers must adhere to the guidelines: namely, making it more obvious that these videos are paid advertisements by clearing stating so in video titles or thumbnails. (Via Mashable)

Twitter Tracking Your Apps

Twitter is facing backlash this week as they announced plans for their mobile apps to read what other apps you’ve downloaded onto your device. While Twitter will not be reading your data or information on those other apps, it will keep track of what you’re using – likely as valuable information for advertising purposes.

Called the “App Graph,” the new feature has left the company facing criticism from across the tech journalism world, with some accusing them of spying. It’s yet to be seen how Twitter will respond to the pressure. (Via Forbes)

Tumblr and Pinterest See Huge Surges in Users; Facebook Stalling

It seems like people have been predicting the demise of Facebook for years now, but such predictions may not be too far off, according to a new study by the Global Web Index. Over the past six months, the massive social media site has seen just a 2% growth in active users, as Facebook looks to deal with the younger demographic jumping ship for other networks.

One of those is Tumblr, which saw an increase of 120% of active users in the same time period. Pinterest also had a massive 111% increase. Facebook’s ranking puts it at the bottom of the major platforms, even falling behind Google Plus which had 16% growth.

Instagram Pinterest Facebook Tumblr

This chart from the Global Web Index shows changes in members and active users on the 8 biggest social media platforms.

It’s not time for Facebook to sound the alarm yet, though. They remain the biggest platform with over one billion registered users, and the Facebook Messenger app had the second highest growth among social and messaging apps, behind only Snapchat. (Via Tech Crunch)

Is something missing from this list? Do you think Tumblr & Pinterest can sustain their high levels of growth? How do you feel about Twitter’s controversial App Graph? Leave your comments below!

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