From the new Spotify playlist program to YouTube’s new searchable hashtags – here are this week’s top stories in tech:

Spotify Brings The Power Of The Playlist Back To Creators

Spotify has begun testing a new beta program that will offer artists and labels an easier way to submit their unreleased music for playlist consideration. The new Spotify playlist feature, which will be available for creators with active Spotify for Artists accounts, will give them direct access to Spotify’s network of over 100 editors around the world. The intended goal for the Spotify playlist beta program is two-fold:

  1. It will give editors a more expansive library of music to select and create the best possible playlists from.
  2. It will give artists a better shot at landing their latest single on a Spotify playlist.

Spotify is urging creators leveraging this new tool to provide as much information about their tracks as possible including genre, mood, and anything else that will make it easier for editors to choose where their tracks fit in. The data creators provide will be complemented with historical information that Spotify already collects and records (i.e. what their fans are listening to and what other playlists they may have been featured on). With over 75,000 artists featured on editorial playlists weekly, and 150,000 on Discover Weekly, Spotify will continue to test and fine-tune this program to create the best streaming experience for its users to date.

YouTube Introduces Hashtags For Video Search

YouTube is (finally) embracing the hashtag and making it easier for fans to search and discover new content. Creators can now incorporate clickable hashtags in their video descriptions and titles. The first three hashtags a creator places in their video’s description will also appear above the video title. Once clicked, the hashtags will bring up a results page that includes other videos tagged with the same topic. Similar to Instagram, users can search for specific hashtags to find additional topical content.

To ensure the proper use of this new feature, YouTube has created guidelines. Currently, the video platform prohibits creators from adding misleading tags to their videos. For example, if you post a new music video be sure to include hashtags like #music instead of #catvideos for better search success. Similarly, the platform will not allow hashtags that contain hate speech or promote harassment. YouTube also stresses that creators should avoid over-tagging as 15 or more hashtags in a single video will be recognized as spam. Those who do not follow these guidelines risk having their future hashtag use being ignored by YouTube, or (even worse) having their content taken down.

Facebook Tests Highlights To Showcase Creator Content

Facebook Stories is stepping up its game by offering 150 million daily users a new way to highlight their best content. Taking a page from Instagram’s popular Highlights, Facebook’s Stories Highlights will give creators the option to compile their expired Stories and organize them into collections on their profile pages. These Highlights will resemble multimedia “albums” that are represented as a horizontal scroll bar at the top of a user’s profile. Creators can select specific titles and cover photos to designate different types of content. Facebook Stories Highlights are also equipped with analytics so users can monitor who is watching their Stories. By default, Highlights will be viewable by a user’s connected friends. For creators looking to reach a bigger audience, they will have the option to make their Highlights public. Facebook Stories Highlights are still in their initial testing phase – Facebook looks to roll this feature out soon.

Instagram Looks To Bolster Engagement With Question Stickers

Instagram now offers a fun new way for creators to connect and engage with their fans on Stories. By leveraging the new interactive Questions stickers, users can spark conversation by prompting their fans to ask anything they would like. The questions will appear privately in a user’s story list, where creators can review and select the specific questions they would like answered. In order to submit a response, a user simply needs to tap the question and create a new story.

For more of technology’s top news, make sure you check back next week!