Fact-checking website Snopes is withdrawing from a two-year partnership with Facebook, announced the founder David Mikkelson and vice president Vinny Green Friday, citing a desire for “certainty” that using a third-party platform will help better the community.
“At this time we are evaluating the ramifications and costs of providing third-party fact-checking services, and we want to determine with certainty that our efforts to aid any particular platform are a net positive for our online community, publication, and staff,” the two wrote in a statement published to the website.
In a December piece published by the Guardian, several former Snopes fact checkers mentioned losing trust in Facebook after realizing the platform had no intention of ending abuse of misinformation and propaganda domestically and abroad.
“I strongly believe that they are spreading fake news on behalf of hostile foreign powers and authoritarian governments as part of their business model,” said former Snopes Continue reading "Snopes Ends Fact-Checking Partnership With Facebook After Former Editor Says: They’ve ‘Used Us For Crisis PR’"
White House economics adviser Kevin Hassett was in a chipper mood on Thursday as he predicted many companies will announce lower than expected earnings as a result of the trade war with China.
As Hassett spoke to Poppy Harlow on CNN, he was asked about how the Dow is down by more than 500 points today after Apple’s shares dropped by 9% amid a weak sales forecast. Since Apple CEO Tim Cook is attributing this to President Donald Trump‘s trade war with China, Hassett argued that this fits with what he’s been saying about how the U.S. economy is supposedly growing while intercontinental markets are slowing down.
“It’s not going to be just Apple,” Hassett said. “There are a heck of a lot of U.S. companies that have sales in China that are going to be watching their earnings being downgraded next year until we get a Continue reading "Trump Economic Adviser on Trade War Fallout: ‘Heck of a Lot’ of U.S. Companies About to Report Low Earnings"
Smart speakers like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are rapidly gaining in popularity, but use of news on the devices is lagging, according to a report released Wednesday night by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.
Use of the devices for music and weather is still far ahead of news use. And among consumers’ complaints about news briefings: They’re too long.
Luckily, there’s time for news publishers to catch up, finds Nic Newman, a senior research associate at RISJ, who did his research via in-home interviews and focus groups, online surveys, and publisher interviews. (He also tapped Amazon, Apple, and Google for whatever data they were willing to share — which, unsurprisingly, wasn’t a lot; none of the companies would share data on how many devices they’ve sold or discuss trends in how news is consumed on them.) Smart speakers are still devices for early adopters:
Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 185, published November 13, 2018.
Pandora’s Podcast Genome Project enters the wild. Sydney Pollack had a great line in Michael Clayton where he wags his finger at George Clooney’s down-in-the-dumps fixer protagonist saying: “Fer chrissakes, Michael, you’ve got something everybody wants! You have a niche!”
That line popped into my head when I first heard that Pandora was planning to graft its famed Music Genome Project onto the podcast universe. I mean…it makes sense. If the company was going to start properly distributing podcasts, this would be the way in. It’s great to have a niche, a thing only you have in the world. If you were born with a hammer for an arm, why wouldn’t you smash everything?
This morning, Pandora’s podcast offering, powered by the “Podcast Genome Project,” begins rolling out beta access to select Continue reading "Pandora wants to map the “podcast genome” so it can recommend your next favorite show"
The novelty of Snapchat appears to be wearing thin for publishers. Nestled in this Bloomberg piece about Snapchat’s bad (its number of daily users fell for the second straight quarter) earnings report:
Condé Nast is discontinuing its Snapchat channels for Vogue, Wired and GQ brands, and letting go of employees who were brought in to produce them, according to people familiar with the matter. The publishing company, which is also a Snapchat advertiser, is keeping its Teen Vogue and Self channels. Condé Nast declined to comment.
Snapchat’s user base is officially shrinking. The company again reported a decline in daily users, to 186 million, and said it predicts a decline in the fourth quarter too. Q1: 191M Q2: 188M Q3: 186M Q4: another decline predicted
— Sarah Frier (@sarahfrier) October 25, 2018
Two weeks ago, Bloomberg Businessweek released a stunning report on Chinese spies planting tiny chips on servers with the purpose of creating a “stealth doorway into any network that included the altered machines.”
Their report revealed that this affected 30 U.S. companies, including Apple:
Apple was an important Supermicro customer and had planned to order more than 30,000 of its servers in two years for a new global network of data centers. Three senior insiders at Apple say that in the summer of 2015, it, too, found malicious chips on Supermicro motherboards. Apple severed ties with Supermicro the following year, for what it described as unrelated reasons.
Today at 1pm Eastern, 3pm Apple Time, Apple CEO Tim Cook will take the stage at the biggest Apple event of the Apple year, the annual fall product reveal. This years big news? Big iPhones. BIG ones. And big prices. BIG ones.
Apple Day, as users call it, involves new product launches or product upgrades every fall. This year, new iPhones and a new Apple Watch, as well as possible upgrades to Macbook and more are on deck.
CNN’s Brian Stelter, reporting from Cupertino, talked about the price and updates.
“I don’t think these pro products ever really get cheaper, unfortunately,” Stelter joked, “But they do get better. That’s what apple says. It is Apple day once again. They’re launching a bunch of new phones here at the Steve Jobs theater later today.”
“They will be pushing the price a little higher on the top of the line iPhone,” Continue reading "Here’s What to Look For at Today’s Big Apple Event"
If you’ve ever bought a movie on iTunes, you may think you permanently own it. But as with so many things, and particularly Apple things, you probably should have read the user agreement. That’s what Twitter is finding out right now when it comes to digital ownership.
A tweet has gone viral lamenting the disappearance of previously purchased movies from a Canadian user’s library. It includes a screenshot of the response from Apple explaining that the purchased movies aren’t actually owned by the purchaser.
Me: Hey Apple, three movies I bought disappeared from my iTunes library. Apple: Oh yes, those are not available anymore. Thank you for buying them. Here are two movie rentals on us! Me: Wait… WHAT?? @tim_cook when did this become acceptable? pic.twitter.com/dHJ0wMSQH9
Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 172, published August 7, 2018.
Huge shakeups at Audible Originals. I can confirm that the Amazon-owned audiobook giant announced internally last Thursday that it was eliminating a considerable number of roles within its original programming unit. Sources within the company tell me that the role eliminations span a number of different teams within the unit, but most notably, they include nearly the entire group responsible for Audible’s shorter-form podcast-style programming, like the critically acclaimed West Cork, The Butterfly Effect with Jon Ronson, and Where Should We Begin? with Esther Perel. That group was previously led by former NPR executive Eric Nuzum and his deputy, the public radio veteran Jesse Baker.
NPR’s Neda Ulaby first reported the development in a newscast on Friday evening. In the spot, Ulaby noted that about a dozen employees were affected and that the changes Continue reading "A big shakeup at Audible has left the audiobook giant’s podcast strategy unclear"
YouTube just terminated Alex Jones’ channel which had 2.4 million subscribers & Facebook has removed four of his pages. Spotify finally completely kicked him to the curb. Never doubt that your voice makes difference. Bravo @Facebook, @YouTube, @Spotify. ? https://t.co/TcY6jN7vXu
You did it, O, you denizens of social media, you sharers of cats, you time-wasters, you. With every appalled tweet and retweet and angry emoji on Facebook, you vanquished the foe, Infowars. You got it banished from Facebook, Apple, YouTube, and Spotify. Congratulations.
I have no inside information to know what made the platforms finally come to their senses. But I will bet that it was the cover provided by the public on social media that gave them the courage to do the right thing.
Apple removed most of Infowars’ podcasts from iTunes, Facebook banned four pages run by Alex Jones, and Spotify removed Jones’ show in a multi-platform crackdown on the conspiracy theorist and his popular website.
BuzzFeed News reported that Alex Jones’ website, home to batty conspiracy theories and Super Male Vitality – a $59.95 vial of a substance you apply to your penis – had six podcasts hosted on iTunes and Apple’s Podcast app, including the flagship Alex Jones Show. Five of those, and their entire libraries, were removed on Sunday night.
“Apple does not tolerate hate speech, and we have clear guidelines that creators and developers must follow to ensure we provide a safe environment for all of our users,” an Apple spokesperson told BuzzFeed. “Podcasts that violate these guidelines are removed from our directory making them no longer searchable or available for download or streaming. We believe in representing a Continue reading "Facebook, Apple, Spotify Crack Down on Alex Jones and Infowars"
So I can’t say that I like this. To begin with, the podcast CMS market is fairly crowded already (see: Libsyn, Art19, Megaphone, Simplecast, PRX’s Dovetail, Spreaker, CastPlus, so on and so forth), and many of those solutions already allow for dynamic ad insertion. Furthermore, I generally have reservations about programmatic ads in podcasting (see here for more on that), and my concerns are doubled should the push come from a company that, up until this point, has primarily operated in a display-ad–first digital world.
Eh, maybe I’m not being generous enough here. In any case, there is one potential positive thing that I’m curious: I wonder how this technology will fit into the Post audio team’s various dabblings with smart-speaker programming.
Meanwhile, elsewhere. I filed two interviews for Vulture last week, one pegged to a beginning and the other pegged to an end.
(1) The first looks atContinue reading "The Washington Post wants to figure out the best places to put ads in your favorite podcasts"
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak recently sat for a wide-ranging interview, during which he suggested that the company he helped build is reaching monopoly status, and should possibly be broken up.
In a conversation with Business Insider’s Sabrina Hoffmann at a tech conference in Vienna, Wozniak faced questions about cybersecurity, online privacy, and Apple’s impact and business dealings around the world. At one point, the tech titan informally known as Woz expressed a view that companies like Apple, Facebook and Google have too much socio-economic power and might need to be split.
From the interview:
If you’re interested in Canadian media — and who among us is not — you probably already listen to Canadaland, the flagship show of Jesse Brown’s growing podcast empire, which dives into the nation’s journalism issues. I was happy to appear on the show to talk digital news strategy in 2016, and Jesse just had me back for today’s episode, where — contrary to the doom and gloom that accompanies most discussion of the technology’s impact on the media.
Well, I’m not going to say we avoided doom or gloom entirely — but we did get to have a fruitful discussion of some of the more tech-forward ways the industry is changing. In particular:
— Will blockchain meaningfully change the fundamental questions about how we journalism gets funded? (I’m skeptical.)
— Will AI and bots replace reporters? (Maybe on the fringes, but they’re mainly for scale and speed. Continue reading "Here’s how blockchain, bots, AI, and Apple News might impact the near-term future of journalism"
This week, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak joined the growing boycott of Facebook, telling USA Todaythat he left the social media platform over concerns regarding its data collection. Facebook has estimated that as many as 87 million people possibly had their personal data improperly shared with firm Cambridge Analytica.
With Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerbergtestifying before Congress this week about the company’s privacy policies and the Cambridge Analytica data leak, Wozniak appeared on MSNBC this afternoon to discuss. In the tech pioneer’s opinion, Zuckerberg obviously values his privacy far more than he does of Facebook’s users, considering how he lives his personal life.
“Look at the privacy side of it, though,” Wozniak said. “Mark Zuckerberg buys all the houses around his for privacy and buys extra lots in Hawaii around his for privacy. But oh, our privacy has not been respected and watched over.”
He continued, “Facebook could have Continue reading "Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Swipes at Zuckerberg: He Buys Up Neighboring Houses to Protect His Privacy"
Apple CEO Tim Cook took a shot at Facebook’s embattled chief Mark Zuckerberg in an interview with Record and MSNBC Wednesday night, rebuking the social platform’s collection of user data.
Facebook has come under fire in recent weeks after it was revealed Cambridge Analytica, a data firm employed by the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, illicitly obtained the data of 50 million users. Since, Zuckerberg has been on an apology tour, and is expected to testify before Congress regarding the scandal.
“We could make a ton of money if we monetized our customers, if our customers were our product,” Cook said an the interview with Kara Swisher and Chris Hayes. “We’ve elected not to do that.”
“I think it’s an invasion of privacy. Privacy to us is a human right,” Cook said. “It’s a civil liberty, and in something that is unique to America, this is like freedom Continue reading "Apple CEO Tim Cook Dunks on Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg: ‘I Wouldn’t Be In This Situation’"
The Advox Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in internet rights around the world.
Technical attacks ranging from 1:1 hacking incidents to full-on DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks have become an increasingly common tactic for silencing critical voices on the internet. Two examples of this threat have emerged in recent weeks in Azerbaijan and the Philippines.
Independent news site MeydanTV was one of those targeted in a wave of attacks on the websites, Facebook pages and email accounts of Azerbaijani dissidents and their supporters. Meydan TV, which has provided routine coverage of politics and social movements (despite clear and present risks), had its Facebook account hacked, resulting in the loss of years’ worth of posts and 100,000 followers.
The attacks appear to be part of a broad campaign to quell online dissent in Azerbaijan in the lead-up to presidential elections this
Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 149, published January 30, 2018.
One month in. When Apple rolled out its long-awaited in-episode podcast analytics last month, part of the anxiety (and excitement, really) was finding out whether, essentially, the world would end. Which is to say, whether this whole podcast thing was a bubble, a house of cards; whether perhaps many of the metrics the industry had been using to articulate, extract, and transact its value was nothing more than inflated abstraction, like the hollow vitality of a viral tweet lifted up by a golemnic army of stolen identities.
You can scratch that particular anxiety off the list. Over at Wired, Miranda Katz checked in with a few publishers one month in and wrote: