FinTech Giant PayPal Explores $45B Acquisition of Pinterest

PayPal is on an expansion path according to media reports of an offer to purchase of Pinterest at $70 per share in a $45 billion deal, mostly in stock. PayPal as of its most recent quarterly report, issued July 28, had $311 billion in receipts for Q2. PayPal’s share price fell 5 percent on the news, ending at $258.36 per share Wednesday. The move marks a decisive interest by PayPal to stake its claim in the space where content meets e-commerce. Pinterest, meanwhile, has launched a $20 million Creator Rewards fund and added more video features to its site. Continue reading FinTech Giant PayPal Explores $45B Acquisition of Pinterest

Snapchat Offers Tools for Parents, AR Studio for Advertisers

In the wake of a Congressional inquiry regarding the safety of minors using online platforms, Snapchat is preparing to debut “family engagement” tools, according to Snap CEO Evan Spiegel. Speaking at WSJ Tech Live, Spiegel said the features will allow parents greater control as to how children use the service. Spiegel emphasized privacy as built-in to Snapchat, noting “we never market our service to people under the age of 13.” Keen to market to millennials and Gen Zers, Snap also announced this week it’s launching Arcadia, a global creative studio focused on developing augmented reality advertising and experiences for brands. Continue reading Snapchat Offers Tools for Parents, AR Studio for Advertisers

‘Squid Game’ Propels Netflix to Strong Q3 Subscriber Boost

Netflix added 4.4 million subscribers for the third quarter, beating by 20 percent its forecast of 3.5 million. The company attributed the strong performance of new hits including “Squid Game.” Netflix now boasts a total paid global subscriber base of 213.6 million. Last year, Netflix added only 2.2 million memberships in the third quarter, underperforming expectations. South Korean export “Squid Game,” a dystopian 9-episode drama series, debuted on Netflix in September, becoming a global phenomenon. TikTok videos of people replicating the games went viral, while retailers began stocking show-themed Halloween costumes. Continue reading ‘Squid Game’ Propels Netflix to Strong Q3 Subscriber Boost

Google Imagines Future Business Model for YouTube Shorts

Introduced in select markets a little more than a year ago and rolled out globally in July, YouTube Shorts generated more than 15 billion daily views worldwide by late September (up from 6.5 billion daily views worldwide in March), according to YouTube parent Google. The format caps videos at 60-seconds and is designed to rival TikTok, which claims 1 billion active monthly users, putting it among the most rapid-growth platforms ever. Even with YouTube Shorts’ healthy growth, the company has just begun testing advertising and monetization approaches for the short-form video experience. Continue reading Google Imagines Future Business Model for YouTube Shorts

Lawmakers See Solution in Regulating Facebook’s Algorithm

U.S. lawmakers agitated by the recent testimony of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen and related media reports are homing in on the social network’s News Feed algorithm as ripe for regulation, although First Amendment questions loom. The past year has seen Congress introduce or reintroduce no fewer than five bills that expressly focus on software coding that decides who sees what content on social media platforms. In addition to the U.S., laws advancing the idea of regulating such algorithms are gaining momentum in the European Union, Britain and China. Continue reading Lawmakers See Solution in Regulating Facebook’s Algorithm

EU Report Tracks Decline in Voluntary Hate-Speech Removal

A voluntary hate-speech removal agreement among tech platforms in the European Union is trending in the opposite direction, according to the sixth evaluation report of the EU’s Code of Conduct, which produced a mixed picture. Social networks reviewing 81 percent of notifications within 24 hours removed an average of 62.5 percent of content flagged as hate speech, which is lower than the averages recorded in 2019 and 2020, according to the European Commission. The self-regulation policy was begun in 2016 with Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube agreeing to remove speech that falls outside their community guidelines in under 24 hours.  Continue reading EU Report Tracks Decline in Voluntary Hate-Speech Removal

TikTok Parent ByteDance Planning Global Shopping Platform

China’s ByteDance is preparing to launch a global shopping platform to compete with Amazon and Alibaba’s AliExpress, according to Business Insider, which gleaned the plan through the company’s job postings. Unclear is whether the retail app would be rolled out as a separate service or integrated into ByteDance’s popular TikTok, which in August added integration with Shopify. It is speculated the new service will specialize in selling products made in China to international buyers. The move follows Amazon’s removal of thousands of third-party Chinese sellers it alleged were using fake reviews and violating its rules. Continue reading TikTok Parent ByteDance Planning Global Shopping Platform

Facebook Rolls Out Its ‘Reels’ Video Format for Mobile Users

Facebook is rolling out its short-form video feature, Reels, to all iOS and Android users in the U.S. Intended to counter the increasingly popular TikTok, creators can use Reels to generate within Facebook content of up to 30 seconds using in-app editing tools for music, audio, AR filters and other effects. The feature was deployed in beta last month. Instagram introduced its own version of Reels last year, allowing videos of up to 60 seconds. Facebook also debuted a bonus program to pay creators for Reels views as part of its previously announced initiative to pay creators $1 billion through 2022. Continue reading Facebook Rolls Out Its ‘Reels’ Video Format for Mobile Users

TikTok Introduces New Strategies, Tools to Attract Advertisers

TikTok feted brands and agencies with its premiere TikTok World event. The virtual presentation introduced new features designed to help advertisers become adept at leveraging TikTok’s creators, content and community. Despite its sizzle and viewership, TikTok lags behind other social media companies in terms of ad revenue. TikTok began accepting ads about a year ago and generates roughly $1.3 billion annually in U.S. ad sales. Compare that to the $5.5 billion Statista predicts for YouTube this year, or eMarketer’s $48 billion assessment for Facebook and Instagram, $2.6 billion for LinkedIn and $2.2 billion for Twitter. Continue reading TikTok Introduces New Strategies, Tools to Attract Advertisers

Top Social Platforms Losing Some Traction as News Sources

A third of U.S. adults continue to get their news regularly from Facebook, though the number has declined from 36 percent in 2020 to 31 percent in 2021. This reduction marks an overall drop in the number of Americans who say they get their news from any social media source — a figure that dropped by 5 percentage points year-over-year (from 53 percent in 2020 to just under 48 percent this year). TikTok was the only major platform to gain during this period. The general decline comes as social media companies face criticism for not doing enough to stem the flow of misinformation on their platforms, Pew Research notes. Continue reading Top Social Platforms Losing Some Traction as News Sources

Twitter Announces Support for Audio Creators, Bitcoin, NFTs

Twitter is buoying its creators, rolling out a global program to let fans tip content producers and preparing to launch its own creators fund. The Tips feature will initially be made available on iOS and then on Android in the weeks ahead. The news is part of a product slate Twitter says is aimed at improving community and conversations and will include NFT support. The creators fund supports audio on Twitter Spaces. Unlike TikTok, Facebook and YouTube, Twitter’s fund won’t pay top performers but will focus on educating audio creators on topics like monetization, marketing and technical skills. Continue reading Twitter Announces Support for Audio Creators, Bitcoin, NFTs

Hollywood Is Hiring Social Media Stars for Film and Television

The clout of social media in traditional entertainment is recognized with coverage in The Wall Street Journal, which reports Netflix paid 20-year-old TikTok star Addison Rae more than $20 million as a lead in the romantic comedy “He’s All That,” the top U.S. performer on the streaming service upon its August premiere. A documentary series featuring TikTok’s Charli D’Amelio launched on Disney’s Hulu service this month, while producer Brent Montgomery, with credits including reality TV hits such as “Duck Dynasty” and “Pawn Stars” has sold Netflix “The Hype House,” about influencer roomies. Continue reading Hollywood Is Hiring Social Media Stars for Film and Television

Disney’s Creators Lab Leverages Power of Social Influencers

The Walt Disney Company is formalizing its efforts to leverage the power of social media influencers under a new program called the Disney Creators Lab. The initiative launches with 20 diverse influencers who have already established credibility with Disney by posting content related to the company on platforms including TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. Disney says that while there is no direct financial remuneration involved, the program will help influencers improve their skills and expand opportunities. Participants will be enrolled in weekly online Disney courses imparting techniques to promote social media more effectively. Continue reading Disney’s Creators Lab Leverages Power of Social Influencers

Consumer Privacy Concerns May Affect Future of Digital Ads

Apple and Google are introducing privacy protections to thwart marketers from gaining access to consumer data when displaying ads, a change that is expected to seriously impact the online advertising schema that is the bedrock of ‘free’ apps and websites like Facebook and TikTok. In April, Apple iPhones debuted a pop-up window that asks people for permission to be tracked by apps. Google has outlined plans to disable a tracking capability in its Chrome web browser. And Facebook announced last month that is working on a new type of ad display that will not rely on personal data. Continue reading Consumer Privacy Concerns May Affect Future of Digital Ads

Social App Spending Projected to Hit $17.2B Globally in 2025

Global consumer social app spending is expected to hit $17.2 billion by 2025, up from $6.78 billion in 2021, according to a study by San Francisco-based mobile analytics firm App Annie. That’s a 29 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over five years — a brisk pace credited mainly to live streaming. By 2025, the lifetime total spend on social apps is expected to reach $78 billion, according to App Annie. Meanwhile, time spent using social media the globe over totaled a whopping 740 billion hours for the first half of 2021, with 548 billion hours devoted to live streaming. Continue reading Social App Spending Projected to Hit $17.2B Globally in 2025