Pinterest Buys Instapaper, Next Step in Becoming Media Portal

Pinterest is acquiring Instapaper, the app that allows consumers to save content for later viewing. The deal provides San Francisco-based Pinterest with access to vital behavioral data and technology that could help it better target content and ramp up its capabilities to compete with Facebook as a next-generation, insular media portal. Instapaper is expected to remain a standalone app, and Pinterest will invest in its further development. The majority of Instapaper’s team, including CEO Brian Donohue and community manager Rodion Gusev, will relocate from New York to California. Continue reading Pinterest Buys Instapaper, Next Step in Becoming Media Portal

Teens Create Shareable Video Bios with Facebook’s Lifestage

Constructed as a way for high school students to get to know their classmates, Facebook’s new Lifestage is a standalone iOS app, aimed at people 21 and under. The user answers a series of biographical questions by shooting video rather than writing text, and Lifestage turns the clips into a video profile that others can watch. Users, who can swipe to block and/or report sketchy visitors, do not need a Facebook account but instead select their high school to see video profiles of classmates. Continue reading Teens Create Shareable Video Bios with Facebook’s Lifestage

Alibaba’s Shopping App Mixes E-Commerce and Social Media

Alibaba is expanding beyond e-commerce into social media and entertainment with its mobile app Taobao. Founded in 2003 as a site for small businesses to sell directly to consumers, Taobao has since blossomed with social and entertainment, a “one-stop shop” paradigm that’s getting Chinese youth to spend more time on the site than visitors to Amazon and Twitter, and mobile revenue more than doubling in the most recent quarter. What helps to make the site so successful are its more than 1,000 special interest groups. Continue reading Alibaba’s Shopping App Mixes E-Commerce and Social Media

Facebook and Unity Team to Build Desktop Gaming Platform

Facebook is working with game engine Unity to build a dedicated, downloadable desktop gaming platform. The new platform will not require the intensive coding of Facebook’s previous SDK, making it easier for game publishers to offer iOS and Android games on the desktop. Developers now have until August 31 to get “instant access” to an alpha version of Unity 5.4 needed to build and export games to Facebook’s Web and desktop app. Facebook’s move is seen as an attempt to regain gaming revenues lost to the mobile platform. Continue reading Facebook and Unity Team to Build Desktop Gaming Platform

Facebook Open-Sources fastText Tools That Stifle Clickbait

To keep track of the massive amount of data shared on Facebook, the company’s Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) lab created fastText, which offers a variety of techniques that make it more accurate and easy to do. Today, Facebook is making fastText open source, available on GitHub, so developers can use its libraries anywhere. Among the techniques fastText uses are “bag of words” and “subword information.” Facebook will use fastText to cut down on “clickbait,” an ever-present irritation on the Internet. Continue reading Facebook Open-Sources fastText Tools That Stifle Clickbait

Sony Debuts Immersive Video to Promote Movie on Snapchat

To promote its new thriller “Don’t Breathe,” Sony Pictures Entertainment created the first immersive, 360-degree video ad for the social media platform Snapchat, with its more than 150 million mainly young users. The campaign is a 10-second video that lets users “swipe up” to see the 90-second 360-degree video on a Web page in the app. “Don’t Breathe,” about three burglars who invade the home of a blind military veteran and find themselves trapped and fighting for their lives, opens in theaters August 26. Continue reading Sony Debuts Immersive Video to Promote Movie on Snapchat

Pinterest Launches Video Ads with Kate Spade, bareMinerals

Pinterest just began selling video advertising, with the first ads from Kate Spade and bareMinerals in the coming weeks. The GIF-like ads will be silent until the user clicks the images, or pins, of the featured products next to the videos, which could allow the user to buy the product within the Pinterest website. By adding video ads, Pinterest joins the ranks of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and large publishers similarly seeking the premium revenues of the kind of marketing once reserved for TV. Continue reading Pinterest Launches Video Ads with Kate Spade, bareMinerals

Amazon Promotes its Series Pilots on YouTube and Facebook

Amazon Studios unveiled a promotion on its YouTube channel and Facebook page, aimed to garner more Prime subscribers: free viewing of the pilots of 10 original series. Among the pilots being made available on the social media platforms are the critically acclaimed, transgender dramedy “Transparent,” “Bosch,” “The Man in the High Castle,” “Mozart in the Jungle,” “Red Oaks,” and kids’ shows “Annedroids,” “Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street,” “Just Add Magic,” “Tumble Leaf” and “Wishenpoof!” Continue reading Amazon Promotes its Series Pilots on YouTube and Facebook

EU Rules to Create Parity Between Internet Apps and Carriers

Deutsche Telekom and Spain’s Telefónica have long lobbied the European Union to either repeal some of the onerous regulations governing carriers or to extend them to Internet-based text-message and voice-call services, including Microsoft’s Skype and Facebook’s WhatsApp. Now, carriers might get their wish as the EU’s executive body is on the verge of suggesting more rules for Skype, WhatsApp and their ilk: tighter privacy and security, and an easier way for consumers to move information when switching services. Continue reading EU Rules to Create Parity Between Internet Apps and Carriers

MTV to Simulcast Series Premiere on Facebook and YouTube

Viacom’s MTV is testing a new promotional approach by livestreaming its new true-crime docu-series, “Unlocking The Truth” on Facebook Live and YouTube at the same time the show debuts on cable TV this evening at 11:00 pm. Additionally, replays of the premiere will be made available on both platforms after the premiere airs. “But sorry, cord-cutters: Only the premiere of the eight-episode series will be available free without a pay-TV subscription,” notes Variety. The digital simulcast is “a different spin on the free sampling strategy TV networks have long used to gin up interest in a program.” Continue reading MTV to Simulcast Series Premiere on Facebook and YouTube

Facebook Unveils Tools, Metrics to Improve Video Production

Not long ago, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg predicted that video would be the dominant means of communication on the social platform. To give that goal a leg up, the company unveiled tools to help video creators improve the odds of engaging audiences. The video analytics include the ability to break down minutes of a video view by age, gender and geographic location. Facebook also introduced tools to help creators tell stories with 360 videos, by enabling a “guide” of story points that viewers can opt to follow. Continue reading Facebook Unveils Tools, Metrics to Improve Video Production

Ad-Free Facebook is Still Possible, According to Adblock Plus

Yesterday we reported that Facebook is now able to block all ad blockers on its desktop website, sparking a discussion about the ethics of ad blocking. Popular ad-blocking software, Adblock Plus, has since posted instructions online for users to adjust their ad-blocking software by updating their filter lists so they can block Facebook ads again. Meanwhile, Facebook was quick to respond, expressing disappointment that Adblock’s workaround also removes posts from friends and Pages, in addition to ads. Facebook is reportedly rolling out a code update that will counter Adblock’s workaround. Continue reading Ad-Free Facebook is Still Possible, According to Adblock Plus

Facebook Risks Alienating its Users by Blocking Ad Blockers

Facebook is now able to block all ad blockers on its desktop website, enabling advertising to run unimpeded. The move has ignited a firestorm of discussion about the ethics of ad blocking: digital ads are irritating, but they also underpin the business model of the very digital publishers who provide content. Publishers as established as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are struggling with eroding ad sales. Wired, Forbes and NYT have also tried out techniques to counter ad blocking. Continue reading Facebook Risks Alienating its Users by Blocking Ad Blockers

NBCU Signs Deal to Produce Original Programs for Snapchat

NBCUniversal has signed a multiyear deal with Snapchat to bring new programming based on its popular brand names to the app’s media hub. What the content will look like has not been specified, but will launch with “The Voice on Snapchat,” followed by weekly pop culture series from E! News, “The Rundown.” NBCU will rely on other popular franchises such as “Saturday Night Live” and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” for additional programming. NBCU will not simply provide repurposed clips like it does on YouTube and Facebook, but will produce original content. Continue reading NBCU Signs Deal to Produce Original Programs for Snapchat

Re-Used Passwords a Major Culprit in the Rise of Data Abuse

Recently, the chief executives of Facebook, Google and Twitter all had their email accounts hacked. They regained control of their accounts within hours but many others — especially those who re-use passwords — haven’t been so lucky. Hackers can use software that gleans new passwords from old ones, and nearly two billion old passwords are for sale for as little as $2 on LeakedSource, a database operated anonymously. The pattern of re-using corporate passwords on LinkedIn and other sites is a growing concern. Continue reading Re-Used Passwords a Major Culprit in the Rise of Data Abuse

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