Welcome to your Last Week in Digital Media and all the news you may have missed:
- Roku plans to launch its own branded content studio with plans to share specifics during the upfronts. Content-wise, the studio will look at everything from TV programs, interactive video ads to new ad units.
- twitter is considering adding emoji-style reactions to tweets. Similar to Facebook and Linked In, 5 reactions are being considered. Also on the table are Reddit-style up and downvotes of tweets.
- voice and messaging app, Discord, is rumored to be exploring a sale with Microsoft identified as a potential suitor. Both companies refused to comment on the rumor, although, it is reported the negotiations are both advanced and exclusive.
- Snapchat acquired Fit Analytics, a company that provides technology to help online shoppers better find products that fit using your phone camera. Fit Analytics is already successful in the online retail sector, counting Vans, Calvin Klein, and others as clients.
- YouTube is experimenting with automatically identifying and listing products in videos and providing links to other videos with the same product. The test is currently limited and US-only.
- Niantic, the team behind Pokemon Go, will be launching a Pikmin-themed AR title later this year. If you’re interested in staying updated, you can pre-register your interest here.
- Snapchat is testing a TikTok-like Duets feature that would let you remix Stories of friends.
- Vidcon will be back, in person, in 2021. The event is moving to later in the year and will be held from October 22nd-24th.
- Facebook’s Developer Conference will be a 1-day event this year, rebranded as Facebook F8 Refresh. You can register interest here.
- the House Judiciary Committee hearing on “Social Media’s Role in Promoting Extremism and Misinformation” was held on Thursday (3/25). Google, Facebook, and twitter were represented by their respective CEOs. If you’re interested in the prepared statements from each, those remarks are here (PDFs), or you can re-watch the 5+ hour hearing here. By the conclusion of the marathon session, it is difficult to suggest that the event was more the airing of grievances by both sides of politics and didn’t really progress debate on S230 reform, regulatory or industry solutions, or hold the CEO’s or platforms accountable. The only glimmer of progress was when Congressman Kelly Armstrong managed to get Facebook and Google to admit that privacy and non-price factors should be a focus of antitrust analysis and the impact on competition. There is no follow-up hearing currently scheduled.
- adjacent to the hearings, there are reports that the DOJ and FTC briefed house staff on the progress of antitrust cases against Google and Facebook.
- the UK competition regulator (CMA) publicly flagged that Facebook’s acquisition of Giphy raises competition concerns. Facebook has 5 days (April 1) to respond to address concerns raised by the regulator.
- as noted in a newsletter two weeks ago, the Biden Administration has formally announced plans to nominate Associate Professor Lina Khan as a Commissioner at the FTC.
PRIVACY, TRUST, and SAFETY
- from May 1st, China will ban mobile apps from forcing users to provide excessive user data in order to use an app. The regulations (in Chinese) specify what data is acceptable to collect based on 39 different app classifications linked to the app’s underlying function.
Have a great week.