There’s a lot to reflect on and be said this week on so many levels, but in the context of this newsletter, the decision by Twitter to flag a tweet by President Trump with a fact check. In an attempt to keep this email focused and relatively-brief, I have published my detailed opinion on my personal website.
Now onto your Last Week in Digital Media.
- Facebook’s New Product Experimentation (NPE) team has had a busy week. The first is an app called Collab, a way to, in their words, “make music together while apart.” You can sign up for the Collab waitlist here. The next is Venue, an app designed to be a live-event companion (encroaching on twitter’s turf) with NASCAR as one of the launch partners. The last is Catch Up (a take on Houseparty) for keeping in contact with close friends.
- Snapchat is planning an expanded developer program (paywall) that would open the app to third-party developers. The move could also help Snap diversify its sources of revenue away from advertising. Also, mark your calendar for Snap’s Partner Summit, which will be available Live and online June 11th.
- Instagram has started offering some creators monetization within Instagram TV. This includes selling badges and revenue share on IGTV ads, with ads allowed to be up to 15s in length. Instagram also shared that it plans to expand the availability of shopping integrations. All the creator monetization will be governed by Instagram’s monetization policy.
- there are multiple reports this week on Quibi, including that it is revamping its programming slate and that advertisers who committed to the service before launch are seeking to defer payments due to lower than forecast audience numbers (as well as pandemic related advertising spend adjustments). FYI on iOS, you can now AirPlay Quibi to your TV.
- Bytedance has signed a 10-year lease for 232,000 square feet of office space in New York’s Time Square (151 W 42nd), which signals a commitment to growth and presence in the US. Separately, Bloomberg reports that Bytedance generated US$17B in revenue last year and US$3B in profit. If you’re keen to get up to speed on Bytedance and the rise of TikTok, there’s a great write up on Turner Novak’s blog.
- an app called Zynn is currently #1 in the US AppStore Entertainment Category. Zynn is a short-form video app from China, and while it may look like a TikTok clone, the app differs by offering users incentives for watching videos and engaging with content. The rewards can be exchanged for gift cards and actual cash.
- Google announced plans for a new SEO ranking criteria that will include an evaluation of a page’s user experience. The change will not happen until next year, and there will be six months’ notice.
- Facebook’s cryptocurrency wallet is now called Novi (previously Calibra). Novi will continue to support Facebook’s proposed Libra currency. You can pre-register interest at Novi.com.
- Google shared in an Australian blog post that it is “in discussions to license and pay to display or provide full access to news content beyond simple snippets and links”. The update comes as increasing regulatory pressure in Australia and elsewhere seeks to have big tech platforms support news publishers.
- Subscribers to Hulu’s ad-free tier have access to a beta test called “Watch Party” that lets users chat with each other on the Hulu website (no current app or smart device support) while sharing the viewing experience.
- Comcast, Charter, and NBC have agreed to take equal ownership of Blockgraph, a blockchain-based solution for sharing aggregated and anonymized audience data.
- Google has an experiment that uses AR to help visualize if you’re adhering to 6 foot (2m) social distancing. It is Android only and available here. Having tested it, it seems like something retailers and some brands could benefit from embedding in their own apps.
- President Trump signed an Executive Order titled “Preventing Online Censorship” which brings a renewed focus on S230 of the Communications Decency Act an area of contention on both sides of US politics. This is a complex issue and my personal opinion on this matter is published on my website.
- There are two separate proposals being introduced at the US Federal-level to limit the micro-targeting of political advertising. Representative Anna G Enshoo has introduced the “Banning Microtargeted Political Ads Act.” Congressman David Cicilline announced plans to introduce legislation titled “Protecting Democracy from Disinformation Act.”
PRIVACY, TRUST, and SAFETY
- Recently, US Representative Adam Schiff sent a letter to the ANA (PDF link) regarding reports of blocking news based on Coronavirus related keywords. The ANA response (PDF link) specifically called out the leadership and work by the 4A’s Advertiser Protection Bureau (APB) to better support advertising in trusted news environments. If you’re interested, I recently did a piece with Beet TV, where I argued that news is brand safe.
- House Democrats are urging the FTC to investigate TikTok over allegations that the platform continues to collect personal details of children under 13. This echoes concerns raised by Republicans last week.
- the Arizona Attorney General is suing Google over claims that the company collected user location data and has “deceptive and unfair practices to collect as much user information as possible.”
- it is reported that Facebook shutdown efforts to make the site less divisive (paywall). The internal research was allegedly shelved because it was feared it would heighten concerns over political bias, force Facebook to rethink products and reconsider how it measured user engagement.
- the Chromium Blog has announced that the enforcement of the same-site cookie update will resume in July. A reminder, this will require website owners to explicitly label what 3rd party cookies can be used on other sites and is likely to impact cookie match rates.
Stay safe and stay well.
PS. If you use Gmail, I randomly discovered due to an inadvertent key press that it has a confidential mode. You can learn more about how to use Gmail Confidential Mode here. And if you need a distraction of the week, Mark Rober’s build of a Squirrel Proof Feeder / American Ninja Squirrel Warrior course is worth watching.