Here’s your Last Week in Digital Media and all the news you may have missed.
- twitter is making further improvements to the way it gives context to trends, adding headlines, and improved descriptions, so you have more information on why something is trending.
- Chrome will start blocking ‘heavy’ ads as of Chrome 85 (available now). A ‘heavy’ ad is one that uses more the 4Mb of network data or takes 60s of CPU time. There are controls in place to ensure this does discourage specific ad formats, such as video.
- Instagram is testing a new layout, with dedicated buttons for reels and shops. You may see none, one, or all of the buttons during the test.
- in a twitter exchange with the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri shared that hiding likes on Instagram has not seen a reduction in bias but does depressurize the platform.
- Google’s Area 120 Incubator has developed a new platform called Fundo, to help creators host live virtual experiences. You can check out some of the virtual experiences here at fundo.town
- WhatsApp continues to accelerate plans for eCommerce within the app, adding message labels to WhatsApp Business to track customers and transactions.
- Facebook is introducing Facebook Campus, which is a version of Facebook designed for and only available to college students.
- twitch has launched a closed-beta of something called “twitch: versus” a suite of tools so that anyone can organize and host an eSports competition. If you’re interested in trying it out, sign up to the twitch:versus waitlist here.
- Nielsen is shutting down its placed-based measurement service effective October 1st.
- there was a lengthy interview with Mark Zuckerberg on Axios on HBO which is worth a watch if you have HBO or if not, the follow-up article.
MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS
- at a Bank of America event, AT&T CFO said that their adtech Xandr is not for sale, counter to rumors of the past few weeks.
- the merger between Taboola and Outbrain has been called off. Each company provided their perspective (here’s Taboola’s and here’s Outbrain’s). Digiday has a write up that provides an independent view of why the deal fell apart.
- inMarket has acquired Ninth Decimal, continuing the consolidation in the location measurement space.
- TikTok continues to explore options to avoid a sale; this includes key investors meeting with the CIA to discuss how to address concerns about data security.
- there are reports that the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed an Amicus brief objecting to the ban of TikTok.
- the Trump Administration has reiterated that TikTok has up until Sept 15th to find a buyer and that this will not be extended.
- there are reports that China may prefer TikTok shutdown in the US rather than forced to sell, although Bytedance disputes these claims.
- TikTok has given journalists are rundown of how TikTok’s recommendation algorithm works. You can read more on TikTok’s algorithm here.
- that said, Bytedance has allegedly said that they will not sell or transfer the algorithm (or the source code) as part of any sale.
- finally, there’s a good interview on the New York Times with Vanessa Pappas, the interim Global CEO of TikTok.
- Hulu’s self-service platform for advertisers is now live, and Hulu is actively seeking business from small-to-medium businesses.
- a recent Roku and MAGNA study shows that video ads and brand experiences together generate 4X greater purchase intent than video advertising alone. You can download the full report here (PDF link).
- there are reports that Apple has hired a former Hulu and Quibi executive with experience in partnership and distribution deals as part of continued investment in growing AppleTV+.
- WarnerMedia’s ad-support HBO Max tier will roll out in Q2 of 2021. The ad-supported version of HBO Max will carry up to 4minuts of ads per hour.
- Disney+ co-viewing feature call GroupWatch is now available in Canada and will roll out to other markets in the coming weeks and months.
- S230 of the Communications Decency Act is in the spotlight, with a Republican-backed proposal called the “Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act” (PDF link). The proposal seeks to limit online content moderation around content that is unlawful or promotes terrorism. You can read the draft of the bill here (PDF link).
- staying with S230, NYU Stearn has released a paper (PDF link) that outlines the history, the debate and has outlines various recommendations. It’s a 22-page document but an excellent and recommended read as both sides of US politics have opinions on S230, and it’s likely to come into focus during the election, particularly as platforms tighten their rules on both election and post-election content moderation.
PRIVACY, TRUST, and SAFETY
- off the back of Apple delaying iOS 14 IDFA tracking disclosures and restrictions, Facebook has confirmed it will continue to collect IDFA’s. That said, Apple is only delaying the change, so it’s worth getting up to speed on the alternative, which provides attribution, etc. called SKAdNetwork.
- the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) has released a Certified for Brand Safety seal; you can learn more here.
- Facebook is locked in a dispute with Ireland’s data regulator, who has issued a preliminary order to stop Facebook transferring EU user data to the US. Facebook is challenging the order and seeking a judicial review.
Have a safe and great week.
PS. Two distractions this week. If you have ever read an article that compares the size or weight of something to something else, you’ll love the Measure of Things. As an example, this newsletter is typically 1/10th the file size of a digital photo. Or if you want to mix your own background soundtrack as you work from home, try LowFi player, which uses AI and ML to make ambient music.