Welcome to Last Week in Digital Media, and for those celebrating, I hope you had a good 4th of July weekend.
- Pinterest released a new report (PDF link) showing holiday searches are both happening now (earlier) and higher than would is typical for this time of year. It seems people want to go big for the holidays.
- Pinterest is testing a revenue-sharing model with publishers using the feature video ad unit. Tastemade is the first publisher to participate in the trial.
- Discord is repositioning itself as an app for anyone. Historically popular with gamers for both voice, video, and text chat, Discord is looking to make it easier for anyone to use.
- expect some changes to the Quibi app over the coming weeks. The company sent an email to subscribers advising of updated Terms of Service, including specific reference to Chromecast and AirCast streaming, as well as new social sharing features.
- Facebook is shutting down some of its experiments, including Hobbi (a take on Pinterest) and Lasso (a take on TikTok). Both apps will close on July 10th. It looks like Facebook will be focusing on Reels within the Instagram app.
- a few weeks ago, Google made it easier for any business to create free product listings in Google Shopping. Google will now surface these free listings in the primary Google search result page. Sponsored listings will still get priority.
- Facebook is expanding the ways creators can make money with video, including increased availability of subscriptions, tipping, and also advertising. There are monetization thresholds, and the ad formats are the same as other Facebook in-stream ads.
- AppleTV is reportedly looking to add older programming to its catalog as it seeks to grow users and usage.
- YouTube TV (the live TV offering) increased its price from $49.99 to $64.99. The addition of ViacomCBS channels is the justification for the price rise, and even YouTube acknowledged it is hard for members. It’s interesting to watch this all play out as cord-cutting increasingly becomes as expensive as cable. Unsurprisingly, the price increase saw a spike in searches to cancel YouTube TV.
FACEBOOK AD BOYCOTT
- the organizers of #StopHateForProfit have posted updated product recommendations; there are 10 in total. Facebook, including Zuckerberg, will be meeting with the organizers on Tuesday (7/7).
- There is now a public Google Doc / Google Sheets spreadsheet maintained by Sleeping Giants that tracks all advertisers that have paused.
- Facebook publicly acknowledged the boycott in a blog post, including steps they are taking to address the organizer’s concerns as well as efforts to improve transparency.
- in an OpEd, Facebook attempted to detail how it does not profit from hate but sidestepped the issue of ad adjacency to groups, which is something the ADL has been using to lobby advertisers.
- the ADL has started sending update emails on the status of the pause, their asks, etc. if you want to receive these directly, you can sign up here.
- Facebook blocked an anti-government network from the platform. It comes in a week where a lot of platforms were blocking and banning users or groups (full list here). It was also about the same time as a US Senator wrote to Facebook (PDF link) with concerns about hate groups on the platform.
- Facebook also adjusted its algorithm to better surface original news and reporting. The changes currently only apply to stories in English.
- and if the advertising pause wasn’t enough of a headache for Facebook, the company revealed details of an API issue (now fixed) that saw about 5,000 developers get access to data 90 days longer than intended.
- the late July antitrust hearing for big tech will feature all CEOs of the big tech firms, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Alphabet (Google).
- the UK Competition & Markets Authority has called for a new regulatory team, the Digital Markets Unit, to tackle the market power of Google and Facebook. It is one of the first regulators to specifically mention the network effects of their large user base and ability to optimize algorithms and data for competitive advantage. The almost 450-page report is very detailed and worth a read (PDF link).
PRIVACY, TRUST, and SAFETY
- the Dangerous Speech Project has a handy summary (PDF link) of hate speech policies by major platforms at the end of a document that also includes suggested proposals on how to tackle the issue.
- in response to a few people who sent a note last week (thanks!), here are the brand safety hubs for Facebook, twitter, Snap, and YouTube.
Thanks for reading, and always happy to hear from you.
PS. In a year where no one is really able to travel, you can register with NASA to send your name to Mars as part of the Perseverance mission which is scheduled to depart late July 2020.