Ex-Facebook Scientist Reveals Slow Action on Fake Accounts

A recently fired Facebook data scientist, Sophie Zhang, sent a 6,600-word memo giving specific examples of how the social media company ignored or was slow to act on solid information on fake accounts undermining global politics and elections. That included her proof that, in Azerbaijan and Honduras, government leaders and political parties used fake accounts to shift public opinion. She found similar evidence of coordinated campaigns to impact candidates or elections in Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, India, Spain and Ukraine. Continue reading Ex-Facebook Scientist Reveals Slow Action on Fake Accounts

Apple Privacy Controls Are Likely to Impact Digital Publishers

Apple is upgrading its operating system with privacy controls that reportedly have some advertisers worried. Set to debut in the fall, Apple’s iOS 14 will require apps to ask its users if they want their Internet activity tracked. Many digital publishers are concerned that most users will opt out, which would prevent them from personalizing ads and thus result in a slump in revenue. Facebook has spoken out, pointing out that it will no longer be able to collect a users’ advertising identifiers (IDFA) without their permission. Continue reading Apple Privacy Controls Are Likely to Impact Digital Publishers

Snap Expands AR Toolset, Announces Deals for New Content

Snap inked multi-year deals for custom short-form content with Disney, NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS, the National Basketball Association and the National Football League. It released plans for original content including unscripted series, docuseries, and scripted dramas and comedies. In partnership with The Washington Post, Bloomberg and ESPN, Snap will produce “Happening Now,” a breaking news feature. It also revealed that 170+ million people use its augmented-reality tools daily, moving the technology into the mainstream. Continue reading Snap Expands AR Toolset, Announces Deals for New Content

Coronavirus Transforms Facebook into Major News Hub Again

With millions of Americans stuck at home, Facebook’s usage — especially messaging and video calls — has skyrocketed, and driven traffic to purveyors of coronavirus news. So much so that, as of a week ago, more than 50 percent of the articles being read on Facebook in the U.S. were coronavirus-related, and U.S. traffic from Facebook to other sites also soared 50+ percent due “almost entirely” to the coronavirus. But the social media companies aren’t spared the economic impact of the virus: a decrease in marketing dollars. Continue reading Coronavirus Transforms Facebook into Major News Hub Again

Apple Researchers Improving Accuracy of Virtual Assistant

Over 50 million people worldwide use Apple’s virtual assistant Siri. Apple, focused on improving Siri’s capabilities, published research on how to improve voice trigger detection, speaker verification and language identification for multiple speakers. Apple researchers suggest that an AI model be trained for automatic speech recognition and speaker recognition. Rather than approach it as two independent tasks, the researchers proved that those tasks might actually help one another to “estimate both properties.” Continue reading Apple Researchers Improving Accuracy of Virtual Assistant

Facebook Will Pay For News, But Will Not Mine or Sell Data

Facebook, which has had a mixed relationship with news media, debuted Facebook News, a section devoted to news stories from a range of publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed and Business Insider. Most notably, Facebook is paying for use of the content, inking some deals that top $1 million, and letting professional journalists choose some of the stories to be published. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg urged all online platforms to support professional news outlets. Continue reading Facebook Will Pay For News, But Will Not Mine or Sell Data

Facebook to License News From Dow Jones Media Outlets

News Corp and Facebook inked a deal that will let the social media platform license headlines from The Wall Street Journal and other Dow Jones media outlets including the New York Post for its ad-free news section. The Washington Post, BuzzFeed News and Business Insider are other publications that have reached similar arrangements with Facebook. The New York Times is in talks with Facebook, but has not revealed whether it is close to a deal. News Corp’s deal was complicated by WSJ’s digital subscription business model. Continue reading Facebook to License News From Dow Jones Media Outlets

News Corp Working on Publisher-Centric Curated News Site

News Corp is developing Knewz.com, a website and mobile app that aggregates news and is intended to be an alternative to Google News and other platforms that don’t adequately compensate publishers. Sources said that an alpha version of Knewz.com was being shown for News Corp executives and that the company could launch the final product later this year — or decide not to proceed with it. Knewz.com is expected to draw from national news outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post and NBC News. Continue reading News Corp Working on Publisher-Centric Curated News Site

Latest Facebook Pitch to Publishers Offers Licensing Fees

Facebook, in preparation for a news section due to launch later this year, has offered news outlets as much as $3 million to license headlines and article previews. According to sources, Facebook has pitched Disney’s ABC News, Wall Street Journal parent Dow Jones, The Washington Post and Bloomberg, for deals that would last for three years. Google already offers AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) allowing articles to load quickly on smartphones, and Snapchat has revenue-sharing deals with publishers on its “Discover” tab. Continue reading Latest Facebook Pitch to Publishers Offers Licensing Fees

Salesforce Chair Marc Benioff Buys Time Magazine for $190M

Meredith purchased Time Inc. only eight months ago, but now has agreed to sell Time magazine to Salesforce co-founder/chair and co-chief executive Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne Benioff, for $190 million. The couple is buying the magazine as individuals, unrelated to Salesforce, and the deal is expected to close within 30 days. The Benioffs have said they will not play a role in the magazine’s day-to-day operations or its journalistic decisions. They also have no plans to purchase any other magazine titles from Meredith. Continue reading Salesforce Chair Marc Benioff Buys Time Magazine for $190M

U.S. Newspapers Block Online Access for European Audience

Rather than comply with the European Union’s new data privacy rules, some American news outlets have opted to block access to their online content in Europe. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) limits what info can be collected about users. This impacts companies that provide free content but share user data in order to sell targeted ads. Newspapers that have opted for a blackout or restricted access include the Arizona Daily StarNew York Daily News, St. Louis Post Dispatch, and Tronc-owned Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles TimesOrlando Sentinel and The Baltimore Sun. Continue reading U.S. Newspapers Block Online Access for European Audience

NAB 2018: Google News, Journalism 360 on Immersive Media

Google News Lab works with journalists and entrepreneurs around the world to drive innovation in the news industry, explained training/development manager Nicholas Whitaker. Established three years ago, the worldwide team focuses on trust and misinformation, local news, inclusive journalism, and emerging technologies. “Building a more informed world will require news organizations and technology companies to work together,” said Whitaker, in an NAB session that revealed some of the work being done. Continue reading NAB 2018: Google News, Journalism 360 on Immersive Media

New Camera-First Twitter Feature Could Threaten Snap’s Ads

After its first profitable quarter on record, Twitter is focusing on new business and advertising opportunities. For example, sources say the social media company is currently working on a camera-first feature that could compete with Snap and potentially threaten its advertising opportunities. The new feature would combine videos and photos with the Twitter Moments feature, creating more real-time content around events and enabling companies to sponsor events or place ads between tweeted content.

Continue reading New Camera-First Twitter Feature Could Threaten Snap’s Ads

AT&T Chief Exec Calls for Creation of an Internet Bill of Rights

AT&T, one of the winners in the recent end of net neutrality rules, is clarifying its stance. In an open letter that was published nationwide, including in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, chief executive Randall Stephenson called on Congress to establish an Internet Bill of Rights that would apply to all Internet companies and guarantee “neutrality, transparency, openness, non-discrimination and privacy protection for all Internet users.” Continue reading AT&T Chief Exec Calls for Creation of an Internet Bill of Rights

News Media Unite for Collective Bargaining with Tech Titans

The difficult relationship between Google and Facebook and traditional journalism outlets is based on the fact that the former has control over digital advertising and distribution, disempowering the latter. Now, the News Media Alliance, that industry’s main trade group, is working to win collective bargaining rights with the digital titans they are forced to depend on, asking Congress for a limited antitrust exemption to do so. Experts give the effort long-shot odds, but news media industry is determined to proceed. Continue reading News Media Unite for Collective Bargaining with Tech Titans

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