Draft Executive Order Gives FCC, FTC Sway Over Internet

According to sources, the White House drafted an executive order that would give the Federal Communications Commission the power to determine how Facebook, Twitter and other large tech companies curate their websites. The FCC would be tasked with developing regulations on how (and when) the law protects social media platforms when they remove or suppress content, and also charges the Federal Trade Commission with taking the new regulations into account when investigating or suing these companies. Continue reading Draft Executive Order Gives FCC, FTC Sway Over Internet

At $30 Million/Month, Apple Is Major User of Amazon Cloud

In January 2018, Apple earmarked $10 billion to build its own U.S.-based data centers in the next five years. In a December update, the company added that $4.5 billion of that would be spent in 2019. For now, however, Apple is on track to spend $30+ million per month on Amazon Web Services (AWS). The companies may be rivals, but Apple has come to depend on AWS as a way to deliver competitive online services. That’s become crucial, as sales of iPhones have slowed and the company has turned to online services to pick up the slack. Continue reading At $30 Million/Month, Apple Is Major User of Amazon Cloud

Private Facebook User Data Made Public on Amazon Cloud

Cybersecurity firm UpGuard has discovered that Facebook user data has been publicly available on Amazon cloud services. UpGuard was unable to determine how long the personal data was vulnerable, but Mexico-based Cultura Colectiva, for example, stored account names, identification numbers, comments and reactions in 540 million records of Facebook users, which anyone could access and download. The discovery makes it clear that Facebook user data is still insecure, even after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Continue reading Private Facebook User Data Made Public on Amazon Cloud

Pinterest Introduces New Features to Make Shopping Easier

In an effort to become more of a personal shopping assistant, Pinterest has introduced product recommendations with its new Product Pin system based on an individual’s tastes. It has also launched a shopping shortcut in the main home feed that provides easy access to a shopping-specific feed and list of shoppable Product Pins by holding down a Home or Style pin to access a shopping tag icon. Pinterest previously rolled out Buyable Pins for direct purchases through the platform in addition to other recommendation features such as Shop the Look and Lens that use machine learning and visual search. Continue reading Pinterest Introduces New Features to Make Shopping Easier

Instagram Unveils Explore Shopping Tab, Stickers for Stories

Instagram plans to debut a standalone Shopping app, a move that could rival Pinterest and Wish. Ahead of the move, it is adding a shopping tab to the Explore page, which will allow users to look through a dedicated feed of merchandise from a wide range of vendors. Those sellers will be able to add stickers to their Stories for the first time, letting consumers shop from the Stories feed by tapping on the product. With this feature, shoppers will let people consider possible purchases before heading to the seller’s website. Continue reading Instagram Unveils Explore Shopping Tab, Stickers for Stories

Facebook Remains Popular Among U.S. Groups Except Teens

According to the latest eMarketer projections, the number of Facebook users in the United States will increase by only 0.9 percent this year to a total of 169.5 million. While the platform’s growth has leveled in the U.S., it remains the top social network among millennials, Generation X and baby boomers. However, interest in Facebook among U.S. teens continues to decline. Snapchat surpassed Facebook among teens in 2016 — and eMarketer predicts that Snapchat will attract 1.2 million new users ages 12 to 17 by 2022, while Facebook will lose 2.2 million teens during the same time frame. Continue reading Facebook Remains Popular Among U.S. Groups Except Teens

Facebook, Twitter and Other Platforms Struggle With Infowars

After Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg and his colleagues debated for weeks what to do about Alex Jones’ far-right, conspiracy-focused Infowars, Zuckerberg finally made the decision to ban Infowars content from the platform. Jones has millions of followers who endorse theories such as the Sandy Hook massacre being a hoax enacted by gun-control supporters. Prior to Facebook’s ban, company execs gave vague, unsatisfactory answers to questions from lawmakers and journalists. Meanwhile, Twitter execs have also been debating Infowars, but for now have opted not to ban Jones’ content. Continue reading Facebook, Twitter and Other Platforms Struggle With Infowars

Facebook Portrays Its Many Platforms as Safe for Consumers

When the European Parliament grilled Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg about his company’s many missteps, one of their concerns was that it has become a monopoly. The reference was to Facebook owning the world’s two largest chat applications, Messenger and WhatsApp, and their suggestion was that Facebook spin off those and the photo app Instagram. Facebook has countered with the argument that, by controlling so much of the world’s communications, it helps keep consumers safe across all these services. Continue reading Facebook Portrays Its Many Platforms as Safe for Consumers

Industry Leaders Discuss Audience Engagement at CES 2018

C Space and the Variety Entertainment Summit at CES focused attention on media companies and the quest for attention from a fragmented and easily distracted audience. Six executives on the “Let’s Get Connected: Titans of Audience Engagement” panel represented a cross-section of audience segments from PBS and Pinterest to Vice and WWE. Each revealed layers beyond the sheer numbers of viewers or video streams to show the value of knowing and then engaging with your audience. Moderator Gayle Fuguitt of Foursquare framed the discussion as “better channels for connecting brands and audiences.” Continue reading Industry Leaders Discuss Audience Engagement at CES 2018

FCC Expected to Repeal Net Neutrality Rules in a Few Weeks

Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai has proposed to end net neutrality, which was put in place by the Obama administration. With the repeal of net neutrality, Internet service providers would be able to block access, slow down or speed up access to websites as well as charge more for high quality streaming. Pai’s intent to repeal net neutrality is seen as a victory for telecom giants such as AT&T and Verizon and a loss for Internet titans such as Amazon and Google. The FCC also aims to prevent states from imposing their own net neutrality laws. Continue reading FCC Expected to Repeal Net Neutrality Rules in a Few Weeks

Google and Pinterest Leading the Evolution to Visual Search

Google and Pinterest, rivals in visual search, are upping their game. After the May debut of Google Lens, which uses machine learning for real-time visual searches, Pinterest unveiled its Lens, which lets the user take a photo of an object with their phone and bring up related objects in search. Now both companies have upgraded visual search: Pinterest is making it a central feature and Google has added new “badges,” which categorize the image being viewed and adds text to describe potential actions. Continue reading Google and Pinterest Leading the Evolution to Visual Search

Amazon Creates AI-Based Tools for Spotting Fashion Trends

Amazon is developing systems based on artificial intelligence algorithms that are aimed at spotting fashion trends and, eventually, shaping them. The effort could boost Amazon’s sales in clothing, perhaps even gaining a dominant position in fashion. The e-commerce giant isn’t alone in making recommendations based on products appearing in social media, and highlighting the resulting trends; Instagram and Pinterest also pinpoint trends and react quickly to them, as does startup subscription service Stitch Fix. Continue reading Amazon Creates AI-Based Tools for Spotting Fashion Trends

Pinterest Updates its Visual Search, Adds New Zoom Feature

Following last month’s updates making search and Lens functions more easily accessible via the home feed of Pinterest’s app, the popular photo-sharing and discovery platform has now added the ability to zoom inside Pins for a closer look at images and GIFs. The new feature (presently available for iOS and coming soon to Android) is one of the app’s most user-requested features. It is also joined by an updated visual search for finding specific objects. Interestingly, the same image search is available starting this week without a Pinterest account, via the Chrome browser extension. Continue reading Pinterest Updates its Visual Search, Adds New Zoom Feature

Pinterest and Google Compete to Offer the Top Visual Search

Pinterest is highlighting the “Search” and “Lens” features on its mobile apps, emphasizing its move into this arena. Lens, which was introduced to U.S. users this year, is a reverse image search tool that allows users to take a photograph of something and then use smart search to return pins with similar images and related design ideas. Lens is now available to users of the iOS application; Pinterest says it will soon launch the Android version. Google is also upgrading its visual search engine to compete in this space. Continue reading Pinterest and Google Compete to Offer the Top Visual Search

Facebook Develops Metered Paywall, Debuts Analytics Tool

Facebook is developing a metered paywall to drive viewers to subscribe to source publications of stories posted on Instant Articles. The move is in response to the social media platform’s tense relationship with publishers, who are losing viewership of stories on their own websites, as well as revenue. While sources say that discussions about the paywall are in the early stages, and testing won’t begin until October, Facebook is currently introducing a new analytics tool for publishers. Meanwhile, Amazon is now paying publishers and digital influencers to post to its new commerce-centric social network Spark. Continue reading Facebook Develops Metered Paywall, Debuts Analytics Tool

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