Here’s your Last Week in Digital Media and all the news you may have missed:
- twitter is reportedly working on a subscription platform, codenamed “Gryphon.” It’s not immediately clear what a subscription would entail.
- Instagram is swapping doing a test where it’s swapping out the activity tab in the app for Instagram shops. It is a global but limited user test, so you may not personally see it.
- SiriusXM is reportedly close to a deal to buy the podcast network Stitcher. This wouldn’t be SiriusXM’s first move into podcasting; they acquired the podcast management and analytics platform Simplecast in mid-June.
- Facebook has released the controls for users to limit the number of political ads that they see; you can access the settings here. Separately, there are reports Facebook may ban political advertising in the days before an election.
- Sony invested US$250MM for a minority (1.4%) stake in Epic Games, makers of Fortnite. Something interesting to watch given Fornite is increasingly a go-to entertainment destination.
- TikTok’s self-service platform is now live. According to reports, self-service ads on TikTok are currently tracking at a 30% lower cost than comparable ads on Facebook.
- Google’s Swirl ad unit is out of beta and now available to everyone. As a refresher, Swirl is an interactive 3D-style ad format.
- There are reports that Bytedance (the parent company of TikTok) may create a new management board outside of China to address US regulator concerns about the company.
- Facebook continues to expand the capabilities of the WhatsApp Business app. Adding the ability to start WhatsApp chats via QR codes and improvements to WhatsApp catalogs.
- PeacockTV launches this coming week, don’t forget there’s a free tier. This makes PeacockTV relatively unique in the streaming wars. Peacock promises ads will be limited at 5min per hour.
- there are reports that the US is considering a ban of TikTok. It comes at the same time as India bans TikTok (and other social apps) and amidst calls in Australia to ban the app. It also comes as Amazon is sent an email to employees requiring that they delete the app from their phone, which was then later clarified as being sent by mistake.
- TikTok is also under scrutiny for children’s privacy violations. The FTC and DOJ are reportedly investigating whether TikTok failed to meet its obligations under a 2019 FTC consent decree.
FACEBOOK AD BOYCOTT
- the #StopHateForProfit organizers met with Facebook, but the meeting did not go well, and the group restated their product recommendations.
- for more insight into the meeting and the organizers, there is an excellent video interview on AdAge with the NAACP that is worth watching.
- the organizers continue to call for the Facebook Ad boycott to go global.
- Facebook published its 3rd Civil Rights Audit. The audit, which was conducted by a 3rd party, did acknowledge some of the work done by Facebook but was broadly critical of Facebook. The report doesn’t neatly summarize recommendations. Instead, the recommendations are woven throughout the document.
- in regards to advertising, Chapter 5 of the report (PDF link) specifically covers advertising. It covers the risks of discriminatory advertising in specific categories (housing, employment) as well as the risk of algorithmic bias.
- in a blog post that predated the release of the report, Sheryl Sandberg noted Facebook “won’t be making every change they call for,” and it’s not yet clear what recommendations will be adopted.
- McKinsey published their thoughts on 5 themes that they are seeing in changing consumer sentiment as a result of COVID-19. The themes cover loyalty, value, omnichannel, health, and the homebound economy and are tracked across 10 different countries.
PRIVACY, TRUST, and SAFETY
- we’re almost 2 weeks into CCPA, and things have seemed relatively quiet, the Californian Attorney General did confirm on a recent panel that letters have been sent notices to companies believed to violate CCPA. The initial focus appears to be online only businesses with a focus on child protection, financial services, and healthcare.
- TikTok published its first transparency report. There were 16MM videos removed in the US for violation of community terms in H2 2019. The report doesn’t break down violations by country but does state that 25% were removed for nudity and 24% for violating child safety. TikTok claims that 89% of videos were removed before receiving any views. At this stage, the TikTok report is not audited.
- Non-profit group First Draft published an interesting series of pieces on how to define and understand misinformation and disinformation, or as they phrase it “Information Disorder.” It’s worth a read, especially to understand the different 7 types of Information Disorder. Separately, if you’re interested in the topic, there’s also a good paper out of Germany from 2018 that examines fake news.
Thanks for reading, and have a great week.