NBA and Microsoft Team on New DTC Mobile Streaming App

The NBA becomes the latest sports league to court digital viewers, launching an app for streaming, personalization and socializing. The app is free to download, and NBA League Pass will be integrated into the app, with promotional pricing of $14.99 per month ($99.99 per season) for a standard package and $19.99 per month ($129.99 per season) for a premium subscription. The NBA App is a product of NBA Digital, the league’s joint venture with Turner Sports, and was built in partnership with Microsoft, the NBA’s cloud and artificial intelligence partner. Continue reading NBA and Microsoft Team on New DTC Mobile Streaming App

LinkedIn Test Raises Ethics Questions Over Parsing Big Data

LinkedIn’s experiments on users have drawn scrutiny from a new study that says the platform may have crossed a line into “social engineering.” The tests, over five years from 2015 to 2019, involved changing the “People You May Know” algorithm to alternate between weak and strong contacts when recommending new connections. Affecting an estimated 20 million users, the test was designed to collect insight to improve the Microsoft-owned platform’s performance, but may have impacted people’s career opportunities. The study was co-authored by researchers at LinkedIn, Harvard Business School, MIT and Stanford and appeared this month in Science. Continue reading LinkedIn Test Raises Ethics Questions Over Parsing Big Data

Instagram Enables Its Users to Upload Longer Video Stories

Photo- and video-sharing social app Instagram is introducing the option for users to upload longer uninterrupted Stories of up to 60 seconds in duration, without automatically converting the video content into 15-second mini-clips as was previously the norm. The Meta Platforms-owned network began testing the update with select users in December 2021 and just announced that the feature is rolling out to all global users. Allowing content creators to share 60-second Stories in one slide is expected to be a welcome change for both users and viewers. Continue reading Instagram Enables Its Users to Upload Longer Video Stories

Facebook, YouTube Among Top Social Apps for News in U.S.

Among American adults who regularly look to social media for news, Facebook outpaces all other sources, according to a study from Pew Research, which found 31 percent of U.S. adults claim to “regularly get news” from the Meta Platforms site. Google’s YouTube was second, with 25 percent, followed by Twitter (14 percent), Instagram (13 percent) and TikTok (10 percent). Examined as a percentage of each site’s total adult users seeking news there, news-seekers, Twitter popped at 53 percent, followed by Facebook (44 percent), Reddit (37 percent) and TikTok (33 percent). Among that subset, TikTok was the fastest-growing, up from 22 percent in 2020. Continue reading Facebook, YouTube Among Top Social Apps for News in U.S.

Biden Calls on Congress to Cease Immunity for Social Media

President Biden welcomed guests to the White House last week for the inaugural United We Stand Summit, an event to combat hate speech and violence. “There are core values that should bring us together as Americans, and one of them is standing together against hate, racism, bigotry, and violence that have long haunted and plagued our nation,” Biden told the bipartisan group. Participants gave the president a standing ovation when he specified that he will work to “hold social media companies accountable for spreading hate.” “I’m calling on Congress to get rid of special immunity for social media companies and impose much stronger transparency requirements,” Biden said. Continue reading Biden Calls on Congress to Cease Immunity for Social Media

California Governor Signs Online Child Protection Bill into Law

Governor Gavin Newsom signed the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act into law last week, making his state the first in the nation to adopt online child safety measures. The bipartisan legislation requires online platforms to default to privacy and safety settings that protect children’s mental and physical health. The new law, cosponsored by Assemblymembers Buffy Wicks (D-15th District) and Jordan Cunningham (R-35th District), prohibits companies that provide online services and products in California from using a child’s personal information and forbids collecting, selling, or retaining a child’s geolocation, among other things. Continue reading California Governor Signs Online Child Protection Bill into Law

TikTok on the Hot Seat at Senate Homeland Security Hearing

Executives from four social media giants defended the privacy, security and content moderation protocols of their platforms to the Senate Homeland Security Committee Wednesday. In her first appearance before Congress, TikTok COO Vanessa Pappas was grilled on whether the short-form video app shares data about American citizens with the Chinese government. ByteDance, which owns TikTok, is based in Beijing, and its potential censorship of user content was another area of concern. Questions for the group — which included representatives from Meta Platforms, YouTube and Twitter — ranged from extremists to biometrics. Continue reading TikTok on the Hot Seat at Senate Homeland Security Hearing

Annual YouTube Music Payments Up 50 Percent to $6 Billion

YouTube global head of music Lyor Cohen announced that the platform paid $6 billion to the music industry between July 2021 and June 2022, a 50 percent increase over the $4 billion distributed in the same period in the prior frame. The amount includes monetization across all formats — short and long form video, audio only, live, user-generated content and more — on all platforms (desktop, tablet, mobile, and TV), in over 100 countries. For the second consecutive measurement period, UGC drove more than 30 percent of the payouts for artists, songwriters and rights-holders, according to the company. Continue reading Annual YouTube Music Payments Up 50 Percent to $6 Billion

Internal Meta Study Shows Reels Struggling Against TikToks

Instagram seems to be having a hard time gaining traction against TikTok, whose users collectively spend 197.8 million hours daily on the platform, compared to the 17.6 million hours a day Instagram users spend viewing Reels, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal sourcing Meta Platforms internal research. The August report, “Creators x Reels State of the Union 2022,” indicates that Reels engagement was down 13.6 percent “over the previous four weeks — and that ‘most Reels users have no engagement whatsoever.’” Of about 11 million U.S. creators on Instagram, only 2.3 million, or 20.7 percent, post Reels monthly. Continue reading Internal Meta Study Shows Reels Struggling Against TikToks

‘Edit Tweet’ Becoming Available for Twitter Blue Subscribers

Popular social networking service Twitter is adding an edit button for published tweets, the platform’s most-requested feature to date. Users will have to pay for it, at least initially. Edit Tweet, which is being tested internally, will expand to a public test in the coming weeks, rolling out to a select subset of Twitter Blue subscribers who will have 30 minutes from publication to Edit Tweet, doing things like fixing typos and adding missing tags. Tweets that have been edited will carry a label that even those not participating in the test will see. Continue reading ‘Edit Tweet’ Becoming Available for Twitter Blue Subscribers

Meta Explores New Monetization Features for Its Social Apps

Meta Platforms is assessing “possible paid features” for its social apps, including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, according to an internal employee memo. The initiative, under a freshly minted division called New Monetization Experiences, led by Pratiti Raychoudhury, represents Meta’s first coordinated move into paid features across social platforms serving an estimated 3.65 billion monthly users worldwide, per Statista. It comes at a time when Meta is under pressure to increase revenue, which has taken a hit from Apple’s ad-tracking changes and a general softening in digital ad spending. Continue reading Meta Explores New Monetization Features for Its Social Apps

Twitter Circle Goes Wide with Tweets for 150 of Your Friends

Twitter is rolling out Twitter Circle globally on iOS, Android and on Twitter.com. The feature, which emulates Instagram’s Close Friends, lets people tweet to a select circle of up to 150 connections. “With Twitter Circle, people now have the flexibility to choose who can see and engage with their content on a tweet-by-tweet basis,” the company said, couching it as a way to “have more intimate conversations and build closer connections with select followers.” Before posting on Twitter, users will now see an option to share tweets with either their circle or full followers list. Continue reading Twitter Circle Goes Wide with Tweets for 150 of Your Friends

Instagram Users Customize Recommendations in Latest Test

Instagram is testing a new way users can personalize feeds based on their own input rather than relying exclusively on algorithms. Parent company Meta Platforms is inviting select users to mark posts in Explore as “Not Interested,” and plans to soon add ways to stop seeing posts with certain words, phrases or emoji in the caption or hashtags by adjusting filter settings. The Explore tab lets users discover new content and accounts they aren’t currently following. “By tapping Not Interested, it removes the post from your feed immediately, and we’ll suggest fewer posts like it in the future,” Meta said. Continue reading Instagram Users Customize Recommendations in Latest Test

YouTube CBO Robert Kyncl Exiting, Mary Ellen Coe Steps Up

After a 12-year run that saw YouTube emerge as the dominant U.S. social video platform, chief business officer Robert Kyncl announced he is stepping aside. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced that Google president of global customer solutions Mary Ellen Coe will assume the role of CBO, effective October 3, with Kyncl continuing as part of YouTube’s executive team until early 2023 during the transition. Known as YouTube’s Hollywood connection, Kyncl was ultimately unable to transition YouTube into the long-form streaming platform Google once envisioned, but he oversaw its rise to short-form video powerhouse. Continue reading YouTube CBO Robert Kyncl Exiting, Mary Ellen Coe Steps Up

Snap Canceling Projects and Cutting 20 Percent of Workforce

Snap Inc. announced plans to cancel ongoing projects such as Snap Originals, in-app multiplayer games, HTML mini-apps built by outside developers, and future development of its Pixy selfie-camera drone — all part of a corporate restructuring that will include laying off about 20 percent of its more than 6,400 employees. The company, which operates the popular social media app Snapchat, is taking cost-cutting measures as it faces growing competition from TikTok and other rivals and challenges to its core digital advertising business. Continue reading Snap Canceling Projects and Cutting 20 Percent of Workforce