August 9, 2017 By Zak Mehan
Not to beat a dead horse here, but Facebook and Google are pretty darn important to how people are consuming news in 2017. Now, they are taking their next steps in making news central to their key platforms.
Google caused a stir by announcing “Stamp” – or Stories (similar to Snapchat or Instagram Stories) combined with Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages. This will effectively bring Stories to search, meaning that now it’s not just teens on Snapchat who will be consuming news through swipe-able, highly-visual image tiles on their mobile devices.
Acceleration is also the main component of a major update to Facebook’s algorithm, which will see slow-loading pages dropped lower in users’ news feeds. Many see this as an effort by Facebook to push more publishers onto its Instant Articles format.
While both companies see the speed at which content loads as key to succeeding, it’s also telling that they are pushing publishers (and by extension, advertisers) to work within their own webpage technology. This signals a more aggressive effort to divide the media landscape and move consumers’ eyeballs even further from publishers’ websites.
Last week we wrote about state actors’ strategies to control information and perspectives online. We promise not to perpetually pummel you with proclamations about propaganda, but right now it’s deeply prescient.
A few short years after the “Super PAC” became a lightning rod for complaints about campaign financing laws in the United States, pumping anonymous donations into shadowy, amorphous, quasi-political entities seems to be out of vogue. Instead, wealthy donors are effectively bankrolling their own content creation machines, or at least backing groups like those responsible for the deluge of memes that helped cement Donald Trump’s presidential conquest.
Sure, the Huffington Post and The Daily Caller were both birthed from a demand for ideologically-focused news sources some 13 and seven years ago, respectively. But this new wave differs in being less beholden to traditional media entities, or even having media experience (or journalistic values, for that matter). Instead, the pungent mix of humor, relatability and familiar (and functional) political spin seems to be the sole prerequisite for funding some of these content factories.
BONUS: Elsewhere in the miasma of misinformation, an organization called the Alliance for Securing Democracy has identified a network of 600 Twitter accounts “linked to Russian influence operations” and built Hamilton 68, a monitoring dashboard to keep on top of trends and messaging.
Augmented reality (AR) took the world by storm with the advent of Snapchat filters and the launch of Pokémon Go, which have been immediately seized upon by advertisers. But this was limited to users’ phones, which meant they had to be engaging with their devices at that particular time to see the ad.
With Snap (parent company of Snapchat) merchandising its camera-equipped Spectacles and Google eyeing a rebirth of Glass, its own set of camera-wielding computer-glasses, AR could become even more entrenched in our lives. Of course, where there are eyeballs, there are advertisers, and as this Vocativ video illustrates, they may be able to vie for placement in your favorite views – picture the sparkling New York Skyline, brought to you by Mr. Clean, his own gleaming pate floating above the steel and glass of the Freedom Tower.
Creepy or not, there are opportunities here to be thinking about down the line for conveying the meaning of your brand, product or culture in a way never before possible. And to add another positive, AR billboards may make Times Square a little less novel and my commute a whole lot easier.
Facebook and Google Algorithms Are the New ‘Useful Idiots’ Bloomberg
We’re in the early stages of a visual revolution in journalism Recode
The Social Media Demographics Report: Differences in age, gender, and income at the top platforms Business Insider
Group Nine reduced its reliance on viral videos and saw its views soar 59 percent Digiday
Apple’s Instagram account is asking you for help, and honestly it’s sad Mashable
For those of you still reeling (or smoldering, perhaps?) from this week’s episode of Game of Thrones, we’re wondering if you caught a Lannister soldier with a particularly good arm. Don’t worry; this cameo wasn’t nearly as garish as that terribly awkward scene with Ed Sheeran.