Shoshana Wodinsky, writing at Gizmodo:
A series of Instagram ads run by the privacy-positive platform Signal got the messaging app booted from the former’s ad platform, according to a blog post Signal published on Tuesday. The ads were meant to show users the bevy of data that Instagram and its parent company Facebook collects on users, by… targeting those users using Instagram’s own adtech tools.
The actual idea behind the ad campaign is pretty simple. Because Instagram and Facebook share the same ad platform, any data that gets hoovered up while you’re scrolling your Insta or Facebook feeds gets fed into the same cesspool of data, which can be used to target you on either platform later.
Streams of officially licensed music videos on Facebook, which were added to the social platform on Aug. 1, 2020, in the U.S., will soon be factored into the Billboard Hot 100, Billboard 200, Artist 100 and Billboard Global 200 charts, as well as all other charts that incorporate streaming data, it was announced Wednesday.
The changes will take effect with the charts dated March 27, reflecting sales and streams from March 12-18. Only data from officially licensed music videos will be factored in, with user-generated content excluded from the tallies. Facebook video plays are categorized as ad-supported on-demand streams and represent U.S.-based activity only. Within MRC Data’s Music Connect platform, Facebook videos will be included among On-Demand Video totals, with the data visible beginning with activity on March 5.
Well, at least Facebook’s never been in trouble for overstating video metrics before.
Sarah Perez, writing at TechCrunch:
Facebook is preparing to launch officially licensed music videos on its social network in the U.S. next month, in a direct challenge to YouTube. In materials reviewed by TechCrunch, Facebook informed Page owners linked to artists they’ll need to toggle on a new setting to add their music videos to their page ahead of an August 1st deadline, at which point Facebook will automatically create a page of their videos if no action had been taken.
Artists will not have to manually upload their videos or even provide links, Facebook told the artist Page admins. Instead, by enabling the new setting, artists are giving Facebook permission to add music videos to their Page, where they can be discovered by fans on the Page’s Videos tab. This library will include both the artist’s own official videos and those they’re featured in, Facebook explained in its marketing materials.
Facebook is adding new features to their livestream to help artists raise money during the current pandemic:
To support creators and small businesses, we plan to add the ability for Pages to charge for access to events with Live videos on Facebook – anything from online performances to classes to professional conferences.
Josh Constine, writing at TechCrunch:
Facebook will drive a hard bargain with influencers and artists judging by the terms of service for the social network’s Patreon-like Fan Subscriptions feature that lets people pay a monthly fee for access to a creator’s exclusive content. The policy document attained by TechCrunch shows Facebook plans to take up to a 30 percent cut of subscription revenue minus fees, compared to 5 percent by Patreon, 30 percent by YouTube, which covers fees and 50 percent by Twitch.
It took me a weekend to build my own using Stripe. I firmly believe you should own the most important parts of your business and the membership system is how we can continue to exist as a publication. The idea of giving 30% to Facebook? Fuck all the way off.
Casey Newton, writing at The Verge:
Over the past three months, I interviewed a dozen current and former employees of Cognizant in Phoenix. All had signed non-disclosure agreements with Cognizant in which they pledged not to discuss their work for Facebook — or even acknowledge that Facebook is Cognizant’s client. The shroud of secrecy is meant to protect employees from users who may be angry about a content moderation decision and seek to resolve it with a known Facebook contractor. The NDAs are also meant to prevent contractors from sharing Facebook users’ personal information with the outside world, at a time of intense scrutiny over data privacy issues
But the secrecy also insulates Cognizant and Facebook from criticism about their working conditions, moderators told me. They are pressured not to discuss the emotional toll that their job takes on them, even with loved ones, leading to increased feelings of isolation and anxiety.
This story is terrifying.
Dami Lee, writing for The Verge:
Facebook is rolling out more music features today, bringing more ways to integrate its licensing partnership with all three major labels into Stories, user profiles, and its Lip Sync Live feature.
Starting today, users will be able to add music stickers to their Facebook Stories. You can search for songs, pick out the part you want to share, and add the sticker with the artist and song name. It works exactly the same way as it does on Instagram Stories, which introduced the feature in June.
Parmy Olson, writing at Forbes:
It’s also a story any idealistic entrepreneur can identify with: What happens when you build something incredible and then sell it to someone with far different plans for your baby? “At the end of the day, I sold my company,” Acton says. “I sold my users’ privacy to a larger benefit. I made a choice and a compromise. And I live with that every day.”
Mike Isaac, reporting for The New York Times:
Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, the co-founders of the photo-sharing app Instagram, have resigned and plan to leave the company in coming weeks, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. The exits add to the challenges facing Instagram’s parent company, Facebook.
Mr. Systrom, Instagram’s chief executive, and Mr. Krieger, the chief technical officer, notified Instagram’s leadership team and Facebook on Monday of their decision to leave, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
Whoa. This isn’t a good sign for the future of Instagram.
Todd Spangler, writing for Variety:
Shares of Facebook plunged more than 19% in early trading Thursday, as investors reacted to signs that the social-media giant’s user and revenue growth are significantly slowing down.
The stock drop, to its lowest levels in nearly three months, wiped out more than $110 billion in market capitalization for Facebook and dragged down other internet and tech stocks including Twitter and Snap. Facebook’s market cap was $629.6 billion at the close of market Wednesday, and stood at around $503 billion as of Thursday at 10:30 a.m. ET.
Nick Statt, writing at The Verge:
An investigative journalist who went undercover as a Facebook moderator in the UK says the company lets pages from far-right fringe groups “exceed deletion threshold,” and that those pages are “subject to different treatment in the same category as pages belonging to governments and news organizations.” The accusation is a damning one, undermining Facebook’s claims that it is actively trying to cut down on fake news, propaganda, hate speech, and other harmful content that may have significant real-world impact.
Burn it all down.
Kara Swisher sat down with Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. It did not go well:
Swisher: Okay. “Sandy Hook didn’t happen” is not a debate. It is false. You can’t just take that down?
Zuckerberg: I agree that it is false.
I also think that going to someone who is a victim of Sandy Hook and telling them, “Hey, no, you’re a liar” — that is harassment, and we actually will take that down. But overall, let’s take this whole closer to home…
I’m Jewish, and there’s a set of people who deny that the Holocaust happened. I find that deeply offensive. But at the end of the day, I don’t believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong, but I think—
Swisher: In the case of the Holocaust deniers, they might be, but go ahead.
Zuckerberg: It’s hard to impugn intent and to understand the intent. I just think, as abhorrent as some of those examples are, I think the reality is also that I get things wrong when I speak publicly. I’m sure you do. I’m sure a lot of leaders and public figures we respect do too, and I just don’t think that it is the right thing to say, “We’re going to take someone off the platform if they get things wrong, even multiple times.”
You know who isn’t coming into any argument in good faith? Holocaust deniers. Big tech’s inability to grasp what their moral obligation is given the power and influence they now have is one of the biggest crisis facing us today. They simply don’t want the responsibility for what they’ve built.
Zeynep Tufekci, writing for The New York Times:
In a largely automated platform like Facebook, what matters most is not the political beliefs of the employees but the structures, algorithms and incentives they set up, as well as what oversight, if any, they employ to guard against deception, misinformation and illegitimate meddling. And the unfortunate truth is that by design, business model and algorithm, Facebook has made it easy for it to be weaponized to spread misinformation and fraudulent content. Sadly, this business model is also lucrative, especially during elections. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, called the 2016 election “a big deal in terms of ad spend” for the company, and it was. No wonder there has been increasing scrutiny of the platform.
Facebook’s “if both sides are mad, we’re doing something right” defense is absolutely absurd.