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Instagram's New Version Offers Photo, Video Enhancements

Read about Instagram 4.1, 500px's big funding round, Facebook's new C-suite position and more social-media news.
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This week's need-to-know social-media news.

Instagram released its latest update this week, and it comes with some enhancements to its camera and video functions as well as improved support for Android. Of most interest to brands is the ability to import videos to Instagram from your phone's media library. That means that past video clips can now be shared with your Instagram followers.

Another new feature will straighten out crooked photos. Few phone photographers have not had the experience of capturing a great vista, only to realize that it's off-kilter. That won't be a problem for Instagram users anymore. "When you take a photo with the in-app camera, you can now tap the new Straighten icon and your photo will correct to be level -- it's that simple," Instagram said in a blog post. "The straightening tool also includes a slider so you can rotate and adjust any photo -- including ones imported from your photo library -- as much or as little as you'd like."

Only two months ago, Instagram released a video function making it possible to shoot 15-second clips. Vine, the Twitter-owned video app that is a competitor of Instagram's video function, does not allow users to use past videos.

Photo-sharing site 500px raises $8.8. million.
Toronto-based photo-sharing site 500px has closed its Series A round to the tune of nearly $9 million. The site provides professional and amateur photographers a platform on which to share and sell their work. It has reportedly doubled its user base, which now numbers 2.5 million, in the past year. Now it's going to expand from Canada to the San Francisco Bay Area, hiring more staff in the process. "They've created one of the most beautiful online sites in the world and one that's enjoying eye-opening user growth and engagement," Jeff Jordan, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, said in a statement. "We're happy to be part of the team and look forward to supporting their efforts to build 500px into one of the world's leading photography brands." --

Facebook hires a chief marketing officer from Google.
Facebook has created a new position in the C-suite. The nine-year-old social network has hired its first-ever chief marketing officer, Gary Briggs, who was previously senior vice president of marketing at Google. He will be taking on the role previously played by Eric Antonow, Facebook's vice president of product marketing, who is leaving the company next month. With Briggs at the helm, maybe marketing flops like Facebook Home can be avoided in the future. --

YouTube expands its premium features to broad user base.
YouTube has decided to give more creators access to certain perks that have thus far been reserved only for partner accounts. These features include live streaming, custom thumbnails and series playlists. For instance, channels with at least 100 subscribers will now be able to live stream content; previously, only channels with 1,000 or more subscribers could live stream. "We're here to help you: from promotion to channel management to content optimization, we have the resources and programs to support you," the company said on its blog for video creators. "That's why more of you with accounts in good standing will be able to use a bunch of features you've been asking for." --

Bar calls out man for not paying his tab.
When a man in Reno, Nev., Saul Zelaznog, skipped out on a $100 bar tab, little did he know what would happen next. A bar employee, unhappy at the customer's drink-and-dash, took a picture of him and posted it to the bar's Facebook page with a warning to other local businesses. Now police have arrested Zelagnoz. Turns out he was on probation, and what's more, this wasn't his first time ditching the bill at a restaurant or watering hole. Social media justice has been served. --