Facebook Said to Sign BuzzFeed, Vox, Others for Original Video Shows

Facebook Said to Sign BuzzFeed, Vox, Others for Original Video ShowsFacebook has signed deals with millennial-focused news and entertainment creators Vox Media, BuzzFeed, ATTN, Group Nine Media and others to make shows for its upcoming video service, which will feature long and short-form content with ad breaks, according to several sources familiar with the situation.

Facebook is planning two tiers of video entertainment: scripted shows with episodes lasting 20 to 30 minutes, which it will own; and shorter scripted and unscripted shows with episodes lasting about 5 to 10 minutes, which Facebook will not own, according to the sources.

All of the sources asked to remain anonymous because the deals are confidential.

Facebook’s move to acquire and license original content is the latest in its push to attract more advertising dollars, putting the company in head-to-head competition with Alphabet Inc’s YouTube Red, Snapchat’s Discover feature, and traditional television networks.

It is an attempt to deliver on Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg’s remarks to investors earlier this month that the company was looking for so-called “anchor content” that would draw people to the video tab on Facebook’s app.

The world’s biggest social media company is set to pay up to $250,000 for the longer, scripted shows which will be owned by Facebook, taking a page from a strategy employed successfully by Netflix and Amazon, which both now own some of the content they sell to subscribers.

For the second tier of shorter shows, Facebook will pay $10,000 to $35,000 for each show and give creators 55 percent of revenue from ads, the sources said. Ads will run during both the long-form and short-form shows.

A Facebook spokeswoman declined to comment.
Sell externally
Facebook said in December it would buy original scripted and unscripted programming for its video service. Earlier this year, it tapped former MTV executive Mina Lefevre to lead the effort.

Facebook currently offers live video from a number of news publishers as well as its own users. It has begun testing the water with live sports video in the last few months. Most recently it signed a deal with Major League Baseball to show 20 games live this season.

While Facebook will initially run short-form shows exclusively on its site, the creators of the content will be able to run the shows on their own properties after a negotiated period of time, and will be able to eventually sell them externally, the sources said.

The company is focused on working with news and entertainment makers that are already active on Facebook and have a large millennial following. Vox, BuzzFeed, ATTN and Group Nine Media – the holding company for Thrillist, NowThis and The Dodo – are all working on short-form content for the new Facebook service, the sources said.

Advertisers are interested in learning more about Facebook’s service as they see it as another way to get in front of the growing number of viewers watching their favorite shows on tablets and smartphones, said Monique Lemus O’Brien, a media buyer at The Media Kitchen.

Facebook Trending Topics Tweaked to Show More News Sources

Facebook Trending Topics Tweaked to Show More News SourcesFacebook on Wednesday unveiled its latest redesign to its “trending topics” feature – its latest move to give users a variety of sources on important news events.

The huge social network – which has faced criticism for creating “filter bubbles” that reinforce the views of users, and has been accused of bias in selecting its news sources – said the new design will offer a “carousel” with a variety of websites.

“You’ve always been able to click on a topic to see related posts and stories, but we’ve redesigned the page to make it easier to discover other publications that are covering the story, as well as what your friends and public figures are saying about it,” Facebook said in a blog post.

“Now, when you click on a trending topic, you’ll see a carousel with stories from other publications about a given topic that you can swipe through.”

The blog signed by Facebook product manager Ali Ahmadi and designer John Angelo said the aim is to help people “feel more informed about the news in their region.”

They added there would be “no predetermined list of publications” which appear in trending topics and that the update “does not affect how trending topics are identified,” after a series of changes.
Earlier this year, Facebook revised its formula for trending news in an effort to weed out fake news by tweaking its algorithm to diminish the importance of how much a news story is shared.

Last year, Facebook moved to make its trending topics automated, scaling back human selection after critics complained curators were deliberately omitting stories from conservative news outlets.

Facebook made the changes last year despite arguing that its research discovered no systematic bias in story selection.

The social network, which has nearly two billion users worldwide, is an increasingly important source of news for its members.

Facebook has brushed aside the idea that misinformation spread over its network was a major factor in the 2016 US presidential election, but has stepped up efforts to weed out hoaxes and unverified news.

The new “trending” design is rolling out for iPhone users in the US, and will soon be available for Android and desktop, Facebook said.

Facebook Expands Personal Fundraising Tools to More People, Causes

Facebook Expands Personal Fundraising Tools to More People, CausesFacebook is expanding its fundraising tools that let users ask friends and strangers to give them money to help pay for education, medical or other expenses. It is now available to everyone in the US.

The company has been testing the tool, which is similar to online fundraising services such as GoFundMe, since March.

With the latest update unveiled Wednesday, it has added sports and community fundraisers as options. It’s also possible to raise money for medical expenses for pets, crisis relief, funerals, and a slew of other categories.

To start a fundraiser, scroll down the “menu” icon on mobile until you get to the “fundraisers” category. On desktop, visit facebook.com/fundraisers. Facebook says it will review all fundraisers within 24 hours.

There is a fee of 6.9 percent of the total amount raised plus 30 cents for payment processing, vetting and security.
Also this week, Facebook tweaked its Trending Topics algorithm to serve up more news sources to users.

The huge social network – which has faced criticism for creating “filter bubbles” that reinforce the views of users, and has been accused of bias in selecting its news sources – said the new design will offer a “carousel” with a variety of websites.

“You’ve always been able to click on a topic to see related posts and stories, but we’ve redesigned the page to make it easier to discover other publications that are covering the story, as well as what your friends and public figures are saying about it,” Facebook said in a blog post.

Another report claimed that Facebook has signed BuzzFeed, Vox, and other content outlets for original video programming.

China Shuts Some Live Streaming Sites, Punishes Companies

China Shuts Some Live Streaming Sites, Punishes CompaniesChinese authorities have punished dozens of companies involved in live online broadcasting and shut down numerous hosting platforms for showing content that was pornographic, related to gambling or involved content considered superstitious and harmful to minors.

Almost half of China’s 730 million Internet users use live video streaming sites and apps, according to authorities. The live broadcasting market was worth CNY 21 billion ($3 billion or roughly Rs. 19,733 crores) in 2016, an increase of 180 percent from the year before, according to market research company iResearch.

In its latest crackdown on the industry, the Ministry of Culture said Wednesday that it had shut down 10 hosting platforms and given administrative punishments, including fines, to 48 companies. It also said it had ordered closed more than 30,000 studios producing content. Most individuals’ studios consist of their bedroom or living room, but there are some businesses set up to provide multiple broadcast spaces.

The ministry said it had also given out punishments including unspecified fines and the confiscation of “illegal earnings” in relation to more than 30,000 broadcasts. A total of 547 people have had broadcasting contracts terminated.
It said a well-known platform, Huajiao, was punished for broadcasting a live show earlier this month in which the host falsely claimed she was in Beijing’s Forbidden City after closing time. The show was actually made in a studio.

Live broadcasting websites and mobile apps have offered money-making opportunities to students and others who chat, play games, dance or offer other entertainment online. The audience at home can pay them via virtual gifts, and the hosting platforms take a cut.

Authorities have in the past handed down penalties to platforms, saying they have been found broadcasting pornographic and other objectionable content. They are increasingly bringing out rules for the industry, including requiring platforms to obtain government licenses and hosts to register with their real names.

Tech coalition slams Homeland Security proposal to collect social media passwords

With national immigration policies in flux, tech’s privacy advocates aren’t wasting any time rallying around common causes.

This week, the Center for Democracy & Technology, a nonprofit “dedicated to driving policy outcomes that keep the Internet open, innovative, and free,” announced a coalition to oppose efforts by Homeland Security to collect social media passwords from individuals wishing to enter the United States.

The coalition is particularly focused on visa applicants who might be forced to share their passwords under new policies from Homeland Security. Concerns were reignited in an early February committee meeting in which Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly raised the practice as a possibility. While critics and privacy advocates fear expansion of border authorities under President Trump, it’s worth noting that this particular policy actually has its roots in the Obama administration.

“DHS should take the idea of making blanket demands for passwords off the table,” Center for Democracy & Technology Free Expression Project Director Emma Llansó told TechCrunch. “The idea is unbelievably invasive and will put US citizens and foreign travelers alike at risk.”

The coalition comes on the heels of a letter from Sen. Ron Wyden to Secretary Kelly that similarly denounced government entities requesting access to locked devices and social media accounts, though Wyden focused specifically on U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Llansó lauded Sen. Ron Wyden’s effort to hold the Department of Homeland Security accountable, joining his words of caution about violating the constitutional rights of Americans.

Llansó argues that the privacy impact of these requests would bleed out, infringing on the privacy rights of U.S. citizens who are connected to accounts in question. “[Customs and Border Protection] demands for social media passwords will result in the mapping of social networks and the scooping up of millions of US citizens’ public and private communications,” Llansó told TechCrunch. The result could make all American citizens and travelers less secure.

View image on TwitterOpponents to the DHS security proposal have rallied around the hashtag #NoPassForGov. The group’s letter was signed by a number of prominent organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Consumer Technology Association, National Consumers League, Internet Association and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

 At the end of the day, many of the organizations signing onto the letter see information security and personal privacy as central to their role in the tech industry.

“We were glad to have several leading tech industry trade associations join the statement, including Internet Association, Consumer Technology Association, and the Computer & Communications Industry Association,” Llansó said. “Tech companies should send a strong message to the Administration that they take seriously their role as stewards of their users’ data and that they’ll fight proposals that make dangerous incursions into their users’ privacy and security.”

Twitter Briefly Removes @Names From Replies on iOS; Brings Them Back After Negative Reception

Twitter temporarily rolled out an update to iOS users that killed of the @names in replies. This move was not received well by the users, and after a short while, Twitter rolled it back claiming that it was just an experiment rolled out by ‘accident’. The removal of @names gave the users more characters to dabble with, and the freedom to tag many users to their reply tweet.

Twitter Briefly Removes @Names From Replies on iOS; Brings Them Back After Negative ReceptionThis feature has been rolled back after a broadly negative reception form users. Twitter then announced that it was just an accident, and ‘that the feature was just supposed to be an experiment’. “Today, an experiment around replies accidentally went out to everyone on iOS briefly. Upside, we got helpful feedback – we’re listening!” the company said.
The company did not confirm that they have killed of the feature for good, and won’t bring it back. It is likely that the company will take into account all the feedback, and release a more refined version sometime later. For now, the new replies feature is gone, and iOS users can go back to their traditional ways of replying to a tweet.

In May, Twitter had announced that it would roll out a few new features to make tweets longer. The company looks to stop counting photos, GIFs, quote tweets, and polls as additional characters. At that time, Twitter had said that it will also stop counting @names in replies, and a user can tag up to 50 @names while replying to a tweet.

Just a few days ago, Twitter announced a new feature that organised replies to a tweet in such a way that users will get to see the “best content” first, bringing its mobile apps in line with the desktop. The company added that people may see replies in different order based of various preferential factors.

10 Tips on Instagram Marketing

Wondering how to use images and short videos to improve your customer experience with your brand? Have you considered creating a profile of your company in Instagram to make visible your brand in a new market?

The solution is as simple as opening an account, though the difficulty appears to keep it current and dynamic. Here we leave some tips:

  1. Get to the user manual for Business Instagram

It is a blog run by the social network itself where we can find tips and examples to bring our profile.

  1. Find the balance between fun images and pictures of your business.

We must seize the effect of endearing or funny pictures with our fans, and see what kind of images likes most. If we publish on a regular basis along with images of our business, we will end up getting you loved like a similar way as they associate the brand with the other content also like.

  1. “Cultivate” followers.

To get the number of our supporters increase, some recommendations are: connect your profile with your Facebook page for those fans who do not know that the company is also on Instagram, use important and popular hashtags that can connect and engage with our content with other profiles, following their accounts and giving “like” their photos.You can buy instagram followers review to make your account popular.

  1. To publish short videos through this network.

With the recent emergence of the videos Instagram, its competitor now Vine (videos for Twitter), has hit a significant downturn. Instagram videos offer better conditions thanks to its ability to apply filters, editing and lasts 15 seconds compared to 6.5 Vine. Use instagram for business development and marketing.

  1. Post videos on other pages of your domain.

As we never know who can see your posts on social networks, better make sure the contents are similar in all of our platforms. Share your videos Instagram on your website or Facebook profile to increase the expandability of the content.

  1. Follow his followers.

The people you follow on a social network makes a difference in your profile. Interestingly, most of the brands on Instagram face not follow their followers. To create strategic relationships through this network, browse brands and people can interest you or you can be useful and learn from them among his followers, and follow them.

  1. Create a flexible plan of publication.

It is not necessary to publish every day on Instagram, or open the profile publishing many photos as it can saturate their followers. It is better to create a schedule or timetable for when to publish and when you find best content.

  1. Harness the power of applications.

There are applications that enhance the use of his published photos. Some allow you to print photos to users, search for keywords that are being used at the time, Instagram profiles subscriptions via email … and many more, is a matter of some research and see what we are useful.

  1. Inspire your prospects.

Why not use photos that are relevant to the lifestyle of our customers?
For example, the US organic food supermarket Whole Foods Market, post photos promoting organic farming and healthy lifestyle.

  1. Take Instagram for a change of business perspective.

Instead of looking for the sale of products, this social network is better to focus on other aspects and interests inherent in our customer. Show a different perspective on the world that is consistent with the image of the company.

Twitter cuts the noise with conversation filtering on tweet pages






After improving how conversations look on the home timeline in 2013, Twitter is bumping up the organization of conversations on individual tweet pages. Starting today on Twitter.com, users will see a broad line on the left-hand side of tweets connecting conversations. A single tweet may feature one conversation or multiple discussions with each grouped separately, such as on this tweet kicking off a Tony Hawk Q & A in 2014.


Grouped conversations on tweet pages is a key improvement, making it easier to follow an extended talk between two or more parties.

Twitter says the conversation filtering will be smart enough to “highlight some of the most interesting exchanges” based on a particular tweet. To decide what should be highlighted Twitter takes into account a variety of factors, including whether the owner of the original tweet replies.

Similar to what you see on the home timeline, the conversation feature initially shows you two or three responses. To dive further into the conversation you have to click Show more. To see the whole mess of responses, click view more replies.

The new conversations feature is web-only for now, with plans to roll it out to Twitter’s mobile apps in the future.

The story behind the story: For years, Twitter users have been experimenting with tweet-based discussions, including one-on-one talks and public Q&As. But these conversations often had mixed results, because there’s simply too much noise on Twitter. If it does a good job of filtering out superfluous responses, the new conversations feature on individual tweet pages should make Twitter more viable as a discussion platform. That’s especially important as Reddit’s AMA (ask me anything) format grows in popularity and Tumblr introduces its Answer Time platform. Unlike Reddit and Tumblr, however, Twitter is built for real-time talks. The new conversations platform should make it easier to follow those live conversations, as well as offer a better format for archival reading

SoundCloud to pay thousands more indie artists





SoundCloud, a popular site for free listening of user-uploaded audio, has signed a licensing deal to work directly with — and pay — thousands of independent music labels and artists through Merlin, a major rights agency for indies.

“The indie community has always been very close to our hearts,” Alexander Ljung, SoundCloud’s co-founder and chief executive, said Thursday in an interview. The addition of Merlin’s more than 20,000 members means a huge number of artists will share in revenue and have access to promotional and analytics tools through a program called On SoundCloud, he said. “Many of those artists and labels had been on SoundCloud before, but this gives them a chance to monetize.”

Online music companies like SoundCloud have been ramping up ways for artists to access either more data or more sales opportunities through their platforms. With streaming sales on the rise and digital downloads on the decline, the moves are important to how the music business will take shape in the coming years. They’re also make-or-break for these young online music companies. As more people stream rather than buy, rights holders like labels are taking a harder line on compensation terms, complicating the future for services that are trying to figure out how to make money themselves.

Streaming services, meanwhile, also are trying to fight a perception that their payments to artists are rip-offs. SoundCloud has been a source of particular tension. It hosts significant music listening: 175 million people visit it every month. By comparison, Pandora has 80 million active listeners and Spotify, 60 million. But SoundCloud is a site where users upload audio — much like YouTube’s role for video — which gave rise to a problem of unauthorized uploads on a platform that lacked a comprehensive system to pay back artists until the launch of On SoundCloud last August.

“This is a platform that was serving significant amounts of music that wasn’t monetized,” Charles Caldas, chief executive of Merlin, said in a separate interview. “For us, what was really important was getting interests aligned so we could give labels the opportunity to harness all that usage.”

On SoundCloud was launched as a way to work more closely with music rights holders and artists. After rolling out with 20 partners, the program has more than 100 today, including one of the major labels: Warner Music Group. It has yet to strike deals with the other two major labels, Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment.

Ljung said he wouldn’t comment on potential negotiations. He also didn’t provide figures for how much money SoundCloud has paid out to artists as On SoundCloud has grown. In March, the company said it had paid more than $1 million in advertising revenue to partners.

SoundCloud currently makes money off various formats of advertising and plans to launch a subscription tier as an additional revenue stream. When it sealed its licensing pact with Warner Music, it aimed to roll out subscriptions by July, but the timeline has since been pushed to later this yea

Path sells its social-networking app to Duam Kakao

Path, a social network designed for mobile devices, has agreed to be acquired by Daum Kakao, the South Korean maker of the popular Kakao Talk messaging app.

The acquisition of Path and the Path Talk app was announced Thursday in a blog post by Path CEO Dave Morin. The company’s two main apps will continue to operate under the new ownership, with a greater emphasis on Southeast Asian markets, Morin said.

“Path and Daum Kakao share an important core value: we both strive to better connect you to the people, places and things that are the most important to you,” Morin said in his post. “We have reached a tipping point on our journey and for Path to truly grow we need more resources and a larger local team that deeply understands Southeast Asian markets. Future product updates will continue to improve connecting, sharing and communicating in the Path community.”

The acquisition will add the San Francisco-based social network’s 10 million active users to Daum Kakao’s 48 million users.

Morin said that the remaining Path Inc. would continue to operate Kong, the selfie gif-creation app launched last month.

Financial details of the acquisition were not revealed.

As smartphones with their always-on connections have become ubiquitous, customers have flocked to Internet-based messaging services. But Path took a different approach to social networking, eschewing advertising and encouraging users to share connections with a relatively small circle of friends.

The startup prided itself on being a private place for people to connect with close friends — no more than 150. But the first version of the application, released in 2010, was primarily just a photo-sharing service, and it didn’t gain much initial traction outside of tech circles.

Path was also at the center of a privacy scandal for collecting and storing data from users’ address books without permission. The matter concluded with the company paying an $800,000 fine to the Federal Trade Commission.