Here’s your Last Week in Digital Media and all the news you may have missed.
- reddit has released a site to help agencies and advertisers learn about ad opportunities on the platform. Called the reddit ads formula (free sign-up required), it includes guides, tips, case studies, and insights. Worth a look.
- Oracle and Google’s long-running copyright dispute has ended, with the Supreme Court finding in Google’s favor. Oracle claimed Google used Oracle’s Java code without permission to develop Android. Oracle, unsurprisingly, was not happy with the decision and, in a statement, reiterated its position and view of Google as a monopolist.
- Snap acquired Screenshop, an app that scans your photos and then uses AI to identify similar looks. Snap is expected to announce plans for eCommerce at its developer conference in May.
- at an event for Creators, Pinterest announced the Creator Code. The Creator Code is both policy and content moderation tool updates, but the big news was a US$500,000 “cash and media” Creator Fund to help uplift Creators from diverse backgrounds, from the worlds of fashion, photography, food, and travel.
- there’s a rumor doing the rounds that Pinterest is in talks to acquire VSCO. While neither company has formally commented, it does make sense given Pinterest’s recent news about creators and the potential to integrate VSCO editing tools into the platform.
- Facebook’s Clubhouse competitor is now available, coming from Facebook’s NPE team. It’s called Hotline, and it’s currently requires signing up to be on the waitlist (oddly, sign-up is via twitter only). Unlike Clubhouse and the numerous clones, Hotline also enables video as an optional part of the experience.
- Clubhouse launched a monetization feature for creators called Clubhouse Payments. All users can send payments, with a phased rollout of the ability to receive payments. If you’re after a summary of useful Clubhouse stats, Mark Brito has compiled a list here. And there’s also a rumor that twitter was in talks to buy Clubhouse.
- six new musical filters are coming to TikTok. You can learn more about the filters here. The first, Music Visualizer, is available now, with the rest rolling out over the coming weeks.
- something worth noting. A pre-build of Microsoft’s Edge browser (which has <4% market share) is testing an option that would disable autoplay video by default. This would obviously impact all sorts of video advertising metrics.
- the long talked about ability to interact with Spotify via voice with Hey Spotify has been in the news. Including that Spotify will enable users to interact with ads using voice.
- as part of twitter’s continued commitment to video, it has inked a deal with Nielsen to integrate Nielsen’s cross-media planning and measurement tools into twitter’s video ad platform. twitter will have access to Nielsen Media Impact (NMI) and Nielsen Ad Intel and expanded access to Nielsen Total Ad Ratings (TAR) as part of the deal.
- Yahoo! Answers is shutting down. If you ever used the service and want to get your data, you can request it here. After the service closes, all the data will be deleted.
- according to eMarketer, Amazon has now surpassed 10% share of the US advertising market. In 2020, Amazon’s ad revenue was a reported US$15.73 billion.
- if you are after a perspective on lenses and filters, particularly beauty filters, and their impact on self-esteem and self-worth, there’s a worthwhile read on MIT Technology Review on the topic.
- with the Upfronts and Newfronts approaching, AdAge has a consolidated calendar of all the presentations. Free registration is required.
- Google I/O will be back in 2021 as a free virtual event. The event will be held from May 18-21, and I encourage you to register as it’s always a good peek into Google’s vision and product roadmap.
- there’s a good article on Fortune (paywall) that has an interview with Margrethe Vestager, the Executive Vice President of the European Commission for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age and is consequently the EU’s major antitrust enforcer. The piece examines Vestager’s expectations for data privacy, algorithmic transparency, and removal of hateful content. Vestager also emphasizes that the tech industry is one of the only remaining totally unregulated markets.
- the UK Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a new unit specifically focused on the digital sector. Called the “Digital Markets Unit,” its brief includes user control of data, crackdowns on unfair practices, and promotion of competition.
- Facebook’s November 2020 acquisition of customer automation startup Kustomer looks set to undergo antitrust review after the Austrian Federal Competition Authority referred the matter to the European Commission.
- a US House Sub-Committee investigating YouTube Kids has written to YouTube’s CEO that, among many things, claims the offering is “a wasteland of vapid, consumerist content” (PDF link, pp2 of 12) and recommends turning off all advertisements for users aged seven and under (pp3).
- as part of the ongoing antitrust investigations against Google, an unredacted court document filed in Texas revealed details on something called “Project Bernanke”. As part of Project Bernanke, Google used bidding data collected from outside advertisers using its exchange to benefit the search giant’s own ad system (Paywall).
PRIVACY, TRUST, and SAFETY
- a policy update from twitch, the platform has strengthened its approach for considering off-platform behavior as grounds for suspension. twitch is one of the few platforms that take this approach, which really sets a standard the rest of the industry should follow.
- on the reports of the ~500,000 Facebook accounts leaked online, Facebook has responded with a blog post outlining how the incident occurred and reiterating their perspective it is old news. If you want to see if your account was part of the breach, you can search via a 3rd party service.
- Linked In is reportedly the subject of a data breach with, like Facebook, ~500,000 accounts available for sale online. Linked In has responded and claims the data was scraped, not hacked. Italy’s privacy watchdog has opened an investigation into the matter.
- if you’re keen to understand better Apple’s perspective on App Tracking Transparency (ATT), they published a piece called “A Day in the Life of your Data” (PDF link). It’s a must-read to understand both how Apple is positioning the advertising and data industry and Apple’s arguments.
- a miss from me. In January, Microsoft and the Institute for Advertising Ethics proposed 9 principles to build trust in advertising.
- Facebook is testing adding additional labels to posts so people can better understand the source. The US only test will include labels such as ‘public official,’ ‘fan page’ or ‘satire page.’’
- there are numerous reports that Google Chrome’s FLoC trial will be expanding to about 5% of Chrome users across the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, India, Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
- as social platforms come under criticism for their impact, twitter has released a Global Impact Report. The full 53pp report (PDF link) gives an insight into twitter’s values and evidence of those values being actioned. The document presents a much more human side of twitter and contains content you would typically expect to see as an employee or shareholder.
Have a great week.
PS. First, thank you to the readers who have recently taken the time to like the newsletter or send me a note of thanks. It’s appreciated. The distraction this week is an Android-only offering from Google called Floom that lets you see, via AR, what it’s like if you dug a hole to the other side of the earth.