Here’s your Last Week in Digital Media and all the news you may have missed.
OVERSIGHT BOARD DECISION
The week’s biggest news was the decision by the (Facebook) Oversight Board on the suspension of former US President Trump. Not that anyone would have missed it, but the decision to suspend Trump was upheld.
Among a list of things, the Oversight Board did ask Facebook to review the indefinite suspension within 6 months and consider the role Facebook played in the January 6 US riots and the election fraud narrative. See the full decision for details.
Facebook thanked the board for their work and said it would review the findings. Former US President Trump’s response threatened political consequences for Facebook, as well as for Google and twitter. Although the latter two have nothing to do with the Oversight Board.
The Oversight Board received 9,666 comments from the public. All of the public comments can be found here (PDF link). Separately, and as a sidebar, twitter received 49,000 responses as part of its request for comments on how it should approach policy for world leaders.
There is a lot of spirited debate on the decision, the Oversight Board and there are suggestions both sides of US politics are dissatisfied with the outcome. For a lighter take on all of this and how Facebook may make decisions, you can’t go past this piece from The Onion.
Now onto the other news…
- Apollo Capital has acquired Verizon Media for US$5B. The new entity will be branded Yahoo!, with Verizon retaining 10% of the new entity. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2021.
- twitter is acquiring Scroll, a company that lets you pay a subscription to get ad-free experiences across a range of websites. Scroll will go into a private beta as it integrates with twitter’s other subscription offerings. Editorial note, twitter is the company to watch right now in the news category; they’re also about to launch a national ad campaign encouraging people to follow journalists.
in other twitter news, twitter Spaces is now available to anyone with more than 600 followers. The move might be the reason that Clubhouse, as of Sunday, finally released the beta version of their Android app (US only for now).
- and in final twitter news this week, twitter has introduced a TipJar. At the moment, only a limited group of people can turn on the ability to receive tips (expanding over time), but everyone can send a tip to their favorite people on twitter.
- YouTube’s short video offering, YouTube Shorts, is now available to everyone in the US. YouTube Shorts a TikTok-like offering.
- Facebook is testing a product called Facebook Neighborhoods, a take on Nextdoor, in Canada and four US cities (Charlotte, North Carolina; San Diego, California; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Newark, New Jersey).
- Amazon is taking over Thursday Night Football from Fox a year earlier, starting with the 22 season. FYI. Amazon’s ad-supported video products now reach 120MM monthly users.
- Snap announced a slate of new originals as well as a Snap Creator Marketplace. The Creator Marketplace is designed to allow businesses to tap into the Lens and AR community (it will expand to other creators later) and will launch this May. Snap claims that 180 million people interact with Snapchat Lenses every day.
- TikTok launched a range of developer tools, one of which is Login Kit, letting people log in to other sites with their TikTok ID. Login Kit will also help TikTok build its own device graph, which should help TikTok’s advertising ambitions.
- app analytics company, Sensor Tower, reports that TikTok remains the #1 app downloaded app worldwide for April. Facebook’s family of apps hold positions 2-5, with Snap coming in a #6. The rest of the top 10 was rounded out by video conferencing software, except for #7, the ByteDance video editing app CapCut.
- the quarterly results of Roku saw the platform gain 2.4MM new accounts. Roku now has 53.6MM active accounts (PDF link). Roku also showcased its original (formerly Quibi) content at the newfronts.
- ViacomCBS reported that it now has 36MM Paramount+ subscribers and, for PlutoTV, 50MM. From June, Paramount+ will offer a $4.99 ad-supported tier.
- as part of plans to go public, it has been revealed that Taboola is subject to a US Antitrust probe. The investigation is into Taboola’s hiring practices. Taboola claims no wrongdoing and is cooperating with investigators.
- the US Federal appeals court has given parents of boys killed in a car crash the right to sue Snap Inc. It’s notable because it’s alleged the boys were using a Snap “Speed Filter” prior to the crash that shows how fast people are traveling. In addition, the Judge wrote (PDF link) manufacturers have a duty to exercise due care in supplying products that do not present an unreasonable risk of injury or harm. How this plays out could be a significant precedent for social media platforms.
- here’s a new site/tool called sellers.guide that lets you query a domain name and compare the results of ads.txt and sellers.json to see who actually is selling the inventory. This is a must-bookmark website.
PRIVACY, TRUST, and SAFETY
- with iOS 14.5 released, initial reports are coming in of the tracking opt-in rate. AdTech company Flurry is updating their analysis daily and reports about 4% opt-in to tracking.
- Android seems set to get its own variant of App Tracking Transparency. The Android developer blog noted that Android apps will need to transparently disclose data collection (and other) practices by Q2 2022.
- there are reports that Starbucks might delete its Facebook account over claims that its organic page is “overwhelmed by negative/insensitive, hate speech related comments on their posts” anytime the company posts about social issues.
- a report from Blockthrough, a company that helps publishers recover revenue lost to AdBlocking, suggests that AdBlocking has increased during the pandemic. Mobile and Desktop ad blocking grew 8% and 10%, respectively.
Have a great week.
PS. The distraction of the week is this jetpack suit being tested by the Royal Navy. It’s a real-life Iron Man suit. And a personal tip, Google will require two-step authentication as part of the sign-in process. You can learn more here.