😵💫 Platforms & businesses
Be careful which platform you choose to operate you business on. It's a fickle world.
👋 Welcome to FWIW by David Tvrdon, your weekly tech, media & audio digest.
In this edition
Instagram is an increasingly unstable platform on which to operate your business
Ex-Twitter exec blows the whistle, alleging reckless and negligent cybersecurity policies
Instagram copies BeReal in the latest experiment
Sudden changes are not great for businesses
In a piece titled ‘They built their businesses on Instagram, then the platform changed’, CNN collected several stories of Instagram influencers who have made their living on the platform but, with the latest changes to the algorithm, are beginning to experience a downturn.
I’m sure there are thousands and thousands of such small to medium-sized creators or businesses who will be left behind with the changes Meta is planning for its platforms.
It’s a problem that we talk about in the news industry (here is my piece about it from a few weeks ago) and it’s an ever bigger pain for small business owners.
As I wrote in the article, the number one alternative is Google and for many it might be the only alternative with enough reach. That’s not great either as you will be left with only one main source of visits.
Google is safe (at this point) because it does not change a lot. It evolves, but its CEO doesn’t wake up every other day with a multi-billion dollar idea he will bet the company on.
As creators and small businesses on Instagram begin to struggle, they will start exploring alternatives and some will end up on YouTube.
A recent research by Google showed Gen-Z are OK with long-form videos. YouTube even has a Reels alternative, it got tools for building a community (I see more and more channels posting square images with captions and links) and has been pretty stable in terms of overall goals and future plans.
It’s hard to pitch in a good faith one Big Tech company instead of another one. But this is the world we are living in.
I’m sure more alternatives will arise. Maybe investors will finally start funding those social network ideas they kept ignoring because Facebook was growing and made no sense to build competition.
Oh yes, and the operating word should always be diversification. And when building a company on a platform you don’t own, it’s a necessity to have a plan B – the most basic being collecting direct contact to your audience or customers, like emails.
😵💫 Ex-Twitter exec blows the whistle, alleging reckless and negligent cybersecurity policies. This has been an ongoing story throughout the week. A respected hacker was hired to make Twitter better, didn’t get enough resources and was fired by the new CEO (Parag Agrawal), and later found by Elon Musk. You just cannot make up a story like this. [CNN]
ALSO: Twitter whistleblower will testify on September 13 before the Senate Judiciary Committee. [CNN]
😶🌫️ Google's quantum supremacy got challenged by ordinary computers. In 2019, Google claimed the first example of quantum supremacy, the point at which a quantum computer can complete a task that would be impossible for ordinary computers. Now, a team in Beijing has created an improved algorithm for a non-quantum computer that can solve the random sampling problem much faster. [New Scientist]
🤯 Google flagged as a criminal a dad who sent naked photos of his toddler to the doctor. His son had an infection and his wife used his phone to take pictures of their son’s groin to send to doctor as they were instructed by medical staff. After that, he got banned by Google, shut out of all Google services and even got investigated by police. This is a truly scary story. [NYT]
😬 The web browser used within the TikTok app can track every keystroke made by its users. The company said the capability was for troubleshooting. It’s not uncommon to use such feature, but it is usually used in experiments or beta versions. [NYT]
⌚️ Fitbit officially announced the Sense 2, the Versa 4, and the Inspire 3. The $299.95 Sense 2 and $229.95 Versa 4 both have minor design tweaks. The $99.95 Inspire 3 also gets a few significant updates - better display and 10 days of battery. Oh yes, none of them have Android’s Wear OS 3. [The Verge]
😲 Apple plans to begin manufacturing the iPhone 14 in India about two months after its release. Apple, which long made most of its iPhones in China, is seeking alternatives as Xi Jinping’s administration clashes with the US government and imposes lockdowns across the country that have disrupted economic activity. [Bloomberg]
🤦♂️ Microsoft has started putting more ads in Outlook mobile for iOS and Android in recent months. Previously, Microsoft only put ads in the “Other” tab for free users, but it’s now adding them to the single-inbox mode, too. The ads are shown to free users, so if you have a 365 account, you shouldn’t be seeing them. [The Verge]
😳 Mark Zuckerberg went on the Joe Rogan podcast. It was three hours, so I cannot possibly cover everything. Also, I think tidbits from the interview will keep coming out over the next few days. [Independent]
🤓 If you are still lost and don’t get why Ethereum’s ‘Merge’ is a big deal for crypto – and the planet – here is a great explainer. The Ethereum Foundation, a research non-profit that spearheads updates and ameliorations to the Ethereum blockchain, says the shift (the Merge - change from ‘proof of work’ to ‘proof of stake’) will reduce the network’s energy consumption by 99.5%. It is planned to take place on September 14. [Wired]
✂️📋 Instagram copies BeReal in the latest experiment called IG Candid. BeReal, the French social media app dubbed the "anti-Instagram”, has recently announced it had soared to 10 million daily active users. [CNET]
🎥 Video essays are booming on YouTube and Gen-Z are all for it. Now, if you remember, in May, I shared an article from Vox claiming the same thing and I said the author has little evidence, though still found it interesting. Now, we have data and it’s true. Google’s latest research shows that 59% of Gen-Z watch longer versions of videos that they discover on short-form video apps. [Google]
🤨 Google is launching an experiment to curb anti-Ukraine misinformation in Poland, Slovakia and Czechia. In the coming weeks, a series of video ads designed to help people identify and refute derogatory tropes about migrants will start airing. The campaign, which will run for a month across several social media platforms, including YouTube, is expected to garner at least 55 million impressions – roughly equal to the population of those three countries combined. The idea is to “inoculate” people against misinformation. [Protocol]
FROM THE FIX
1️⃣ Five manageable ways to introduce solutions journalism to your newsroom
2️⃣ Bundling ideas for news publishers. Make your subscription more valuable, generate more revenue
3️⃣ Russian media of the new diaspora – a look at three projects
4️⃣ 82% of users prefer lighter ad experience: How publishers can recover revenues lost through adblocking
[ 📬 Get The Fix newsletter delivered to your inbox every week with the latest insights, news, and analysis about the European media market. Sign up here > ]
🤓 YouTube launches a dedicated page for podcasts (US only). It’s the first step and I suppose after this test run we might expect it to roll out globally sometime early next year (just my feeling). [The Verge]
ALSO: In the US, yet another survey found YouTube is the most-used podcasting platform. [The Verge]
PLUS: According to Edison Research data, YouTube plays an increasingly large role in discovery of new podcasts, more than social media. [Inside Radio]
😎 A new research found live, host-read ads perform the best in podcasts. Also, 81% agreed that they trusted host recommendations and 71% trusted podcast ads more than other ads. Here is the conclusion from the study: It may be advisable to use both live-read and announcer-read ads throughout the course of a campaign – the host creates initial receptivity, while the announcer-read ads can deliver features and benefits more consistently. [Sounds Profitable]
😯 Podcasts are coming to Twitter. The social network is integrating podcasts into its redesigned Spaces Tab, starting with some English-speaking users globally, on iOS and Android. Twitter’s research showed 45% of people who use Twitter in the US also listen to podcasts monthly [Twitter blog]
😵 A surprisingly small number of podcasts are still in production. Only 156k out of more than 4 million with at least 10 episodes were still active last week. [Amplifi]
💸 Amazon’s subscription approach to podcasting (Wondery) seems to be working. Apple’s new podcast charts show Amazon at the top spots. Amazon-owned Wondery Plus releases episodes early for its subscribers and are ad-free. [The Verge]
📈 The rewatch podcast genre is growing. Having actors from hit TV shows that are no longer on the air rewatch and reflect on episodes guarantees audiences and the interest of brands. Plus, TV networks that own rights to those shows are happy about giving them a second (third, fourth..) wind. [Marketing Brew]
🗺 A map of Spotify podcast recommendations showed 14% of the recommended episodes are Spotify-owned and operated, and most surprisingly it does not recommend the Joe Rogan Experience. [Bumper]
😮 Apple announced a bunch of “technical updates” for Apple Podcasts. In 2023, you’ll instantly get into the Apple Podcasts directory as soon as you submit a show; the email tag will no longer be recommended (no more spam). [Apple Podcasts]
👍 OK, this is mindblowing, but an artist has been building this piece in the desert for 50 years and now it will open. The story is truly fascinating, as is the drone footage. [NYT]
❓ Poll: What would you say is your no.1 entertainment platform?
Last poll results: Would you trust Adam Neumann with another investment? 35% absolutely no; 18% no; 18% would give him money.
🙏 And big thanks to Celine Bijleveld who helped me edit this newsletter. You can follow her on Substack here.
You consistently have the best breakdown I've seen (and I'm primarily following for podcast-related news). Well done!