A happy 4th of July long weekend to my US readers. Here’s your final Last Week in Digital Media and all the news you may have missed.
- according to recent statements from Adam Mosseri, Instagram seems to be on a path to become more like TikTok, with plans to show full-screen recommended videos in the feed. The most telling statement is probably when Mosseri states Instagram is “no longer a photo-sharing app or a square photo-sharing app.”
- that said, Instagram is also copying twitter, with plans for a super follows offering of its own. Instagram’s offering, “Exclusive Stories,” will be let people offer subscription-based member-only content.
- twitter is exploring a raft of new features for the platform that may enable people to limit who can see their tweets, tweet only to trusted friends, account personas (so you can tweet for work vs. personal), and keyword filters on replies to limit harassment. Emphasizing twitter’s focus on improving the health of the platform.
- Facebook’s newsletter offering, “Bulletin,” is live. Bulletin lives outside of Facebook, on this website, and has a curated list of writers. While Bulletin is in test mode, it’s not open to anyone to be a Bulletin writer.
- Instagram is testing sharing ad revenue with publishers on IGTV. It’s the first time Instagram has considered sharing revenue with publishers (although it does revenue share with creators).
- YouTube has picked up the naming rights to a theater in LA’s Hollywood Park Complex. While naming rights wouldn’t normally be newsworthy, YouTube does intend to use the theater to host “in real-life events that bring creators and fans together.”
- there are reports Spotify is looking to get into virtual and live events. The events would be ticketed, opening up a new revenue stream for the company.
- Discord has acquired the AR startup Ubiquity6. The terms of the deal were not announced, but it could eventually pave the way for Discord to expand into a VR-centered platform for chat and messaging.
- the length of a TikTok video will now be up to 3 minutes. The change will be rolled out to all users in the coming weeks. In somewhat related news, TikTok also shared a post that explains what they mean when they say don’t make ads, make TikToks.
- HBO max has rolled out to 39 territories in LatAm and the Caribbean. One of the interesting things about the rollout is that there will be a mobile-only plan at a lower price point (but, as yet, no ad-supported offering).
- twitch is rolling out a watch parties feature to iOS and Android (it is already available on desktops). Watch party features are becoming increasingly core to the online video experience.
- Google is experimenting with buttons in commerce-related searches that refine results to a specific retailer or product category. The move would be a win for major retailers who but it looks like it would hurt anyone who is not providing detailed product and inventory feeds to Google (a reminder for clients to get their inventory feeds organized).
- in other Google commerce-related news, the company is testing organically showing store ratings and review scores in search results. Google sources the data from various services and not necessarily on data from the eCommerce site itself.
- there a reports that the Whitehouse is working on an Executive Order specifically focused on antitrust. It’s rumored that the focus will be on encouraging competition.
- the FTC case against Facebook met a setback, with the Judge dismissing the complaint that Facebook abused market dominance. This doesn’t imply Facebook is now protected from an investigation. It just puts the onus on the FTC to both refine and better argue its position. Given that a bipartisan group of politicians has written to the FTC urging them to continue the investigation into Facebook suggests there’s a lot more to come on this topic.
- Amazon’s proposed acquisition of MGM looks set for FTC review, with Senator Elizabeth Warren urging the FTC to “assess the possible anti-competitive effects” (PDF link).
- Warren has also separately expressed an opinion that Google should be investigated for antitrust by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Of particular focus is Google’s Project Bernanke and allegations of potential manipulation of ad exchange markets.
- in the UK, Google has announced it will only run ads in the financial services category from advertisers authorized by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. The move comes as Google was threatened with legal action by the Financial Conduct Authority for running ads for financial scams.
- a Federal Judge has blocked a Florida law that would block social media platforms from banning politicians or political candidates for violating Terms of Service (ToS). Florida intends to appeal, but the general consensus is Florida’s proposed law is unconstitutional and violates Federal Law.
PRIVACY, TRUST, and SAFETY
- a coalition of platforms (Facebook, Google, twitter, TikTok) have agreed to work together to overhaul their moderation systems to better protect women from abuse.
- TikTok published its Q1 2021 Transparency Report. The company removed 62MM videos for violating community standards (<1% of total content) and rejected 2MM ads for violating policy guidelines. One of the interesting numbers is that 7.2MM accounts were deleted for being under 13 years of age (or about 65% of the removed accounts).
- Pinterest is banning all ads that feature weight loss language and imagery. The policy change will apply globally.
- as part of a focus to increase the health of the platform, twitter is testing new labels for misleading tweets (and misinformation in general).
- an unnamed Australian mobile carrier injected ads in Google two-factor authentication messages. Google has confirmed that the ad did not originate from their system and is investigating what happened (and a reminder you should be suspicious of unusual text messages and promises of new ad formats).
Thanks for reading over the past few years, and have a great week.
PS. A final distraction of the week. If you’re familiar with Shazam, try Merlin Bird ID. Merlin Bird lets you identify that bird song you hear as you explore the world over summer. However, this app may not be ideal if you have something in common with Lucille Ball.