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 Facebook, Facebook, and more Facebook, as the social networking giant and its subsidiaries dominated the social media news cycle. Also discussion on a legitimate Tinder competitor, and Twitter’s new merchant option.

Bing Gets the Boot from Facebook

After introducing a new in-house search tool last Monday, Facebook has eliminated results from Microsoft’s search engine Bing. Up until last week, Facebook searches would include results from inside the social networking site itself, but also standalone web links provided by Bing. According to ABORG, an Ottawa-based online marketing company, Bing has about 14% of the market share of searches in the U.S., behind Google (65%) and Yahoo!, which is also owned by Microsoft (16%).

While the effects of Facebook’s decision to take off the Bing engine is yet to be known, it will likely cut into the market share even further. In July, there were over one billion searches on Facebook, according to Mark Zuckerberg. Meanwhile, Facebook’s decision to strengthen it’s own search tools demonstrates the company’s commitment to growing that portion of the site, as they challenge Google for online dominance. (Via Reuters)

Hinge Hopes to Dethrone Tinder in Dating Apps

One of the biggest competitor’s to Tinder’s domination atop the dating app mountain is Hinge. This week, they secured over $12 million in funding as they look to grow.

Hinge operates in much the same way as Twitter, but promises more trustworthiness, in that it only matches prospective daters with individuals who share at least a friend of a mutual Facebook friend. Of course, whether that actually makes the app safer should be up for debate, but it does reduce the true random factor that Tinder introduces. The main differentiation that Hinge brands itself on is quality over quantity, and emphasizing actually meeting face-to-face rather than being an entertainment medium to swipe on all day. (Via Beta Beat)

Dislike Button to Become Reality? Maybe not…

For years, we’ve suffered from the tired talk about how Facebook needs a Dislike button. It’s not enough to just ignore a post you don’t like – you want others to know that you hate it. Well, that wish may be granted. Last week, the site’s Chief Executive, Mark Zuckerberg, stated that the company was thinking about how to implement a “Dislike” feature into the site, though stating it may not be in the form of a button.

It’s worth noting that Zuckerberg previously made similar statements four years ago, so the Dislike function (in whatever form it takes) may still be very far off. And as Yahoo!’s Alyssa Bereznak writes, the feature will likely not be what most headlines are suggesting. Instead, the feature will be more of a way to hide content and personalize the algorithm to not show similar posts in the future, rather than publicly voicing your displeasure. (Via Mashable)

Twitter Enters Retail

Well, kind of. It’s not like they’re going to set up brick & mortar Twitter stores, where people can buy bird plushes and t-shirts with trending hashtags on them.

Twitter has introduced a “buy button,” which allows users to purchase an item directly from a tweet. For example, a tweet from an author you follow about her new book will include a button that takes you directly to a payment page, where you can place an order. It’s important to distinguish that this feature will be on tweets from people you follow, and not sponsored tweets or the “recommended” tweets, which have caused some friction among users. The button is still in a beta phase, being accessible only to a sample of users at this time. (Via Daily Dot)

Instagram Grows Past 300 Million Users; Leapfrogs Twitter

Since Facebook bought Instagram in 2012, the photo-sharing app’s user base has increased ten fold. This week, it surpassed 300 million users, leaving Twitter in its wake. Not only is the user  base growing, but the level of engagement is astonishing: over 70 million photos and videos are uploaded a day, wrote CEO Kevin Nystrom in a corporate blog post.

In addition to the celebration, Instagram also announced new features, including verified account badges for celebrities and brands, and removing obvious spam profiles from the app entirely. (Via Forbes)

Do you think Instagram can continue to grow at such unprecedented levels? What impact will Twitter’s “buy” feature have on increasing its user base? Do you want to see a Dislike button on Facebook? Share your thoughts and comments below!

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