Publishers Aren’t Happy With Facebook, Plus Inside Uber’s Fight With Apple

by 3 years ago

morning brew


“We need to identify the doers and facilitate their ideas.”—Rusty Justice, co-founder of Bitsource, on his plan to turn Kentucky into ‘Silicon Holler’ by teaching former coal miners how to code.

Market Snapshot

  • Markets were sluggish last week leading up to the first round of French elections. Investors sold French government bonds in favor of German paper to avoid any negative market reactions, and the Euro surged on preliminary results.
  • Investors will be looking for more positive earnings reports, as well as President Trump’s tax reform announcement on Wednesday, to rally the markets.

Publishers Aren’t Happy With Facebook

Major publishers are growing increasingly frustrated with Facebook’s Instant Articles (IA) feature. Now, British newspaper The Guardian is following the New York Times and pulling all instant articles from Facebook.

Introduced in 2015, IA’s faster-loading templates don’t require people to close the Facebook app to read an article. It’s great for readers, but publishers say that traffic to their websites is minimal. Many early adopters of the product, like NBC News and BBC, have dramatically scaled back their usage.


It takes two to tango

The debate highlights the tricky relationship between publishers and gate-keepers like Facebook. Media companies depend on social networks to connect content with readers, but tech companies are constantly shifting their algorithms to serve up the most relevant content for you.

Platforms should respond by providing publishers with accurate data, one thing Facebook hasn’t been great at.


New options

Facebook lured companies to IAs by not taking any cut of ad revenue IAs produced. But even then, some publishers still aren’t finding them worthwhile.

Many are now shifting to Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages, which provide speeds similar to Facebook’s service, and provides The Guardian 60% of its mobile traffic. But even Google is having trouble retaining advertisers.

So, companies are looking even further to things like Snapchat Discover, Periscope and Facebook Live. It’s an intricate dance between content producers and content distributors, and the future of the internet could be in Facebook’s hands.

Malaysia Pays Up

1MDB, Malaysia’s state investment fund, has been embroiled in a global scandal that is finally coming to an end. It sounds like a James Bond plot, but this is real life. Since its 2009 creation, 1MDB and Abu Dhabi’s state fund raised billions of dollars in international bonds with the purpose of helping the Malaysian people.

That went awry when several 1MDB executives lined their own pockets with at least $4.2 billion. Since then, the two countries have been fighting over who should foot the bill. Malaysia is expected to announce an agreement Monday to pay Abu Dhabi $2.5 billion of the total damages.

How Do You Raise $85 Million?

Quora, the intellectual version of Yahoo Answers, has raised a fresh funding round that values the young company at $1.8 billion. Since its 2010 launch, the question-and-answer site has grown to 190 million monthly visitors thanks to publishing deals and a blogging platform. Now that its unique ad placement product has fully launched, Quora will be a force to be reckoned with.

‘Growth Above All Else’—Inside Uber’s Fight With Apple

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick stops at nothing to feed his business. Over the weekend, it came to light that Uber illegally used iPhones to track customers in 2015—even if the app had long been deleted. Kalanick thought he had outsmarted Apple, but not quite. He ended up with a personal threat from Apple CEO Tim Cook to kick Uber out of the App store. Uber ultimately escaped unscathed, but you can bet this latest string of problems won’t be its last tango with the law.

What Else Is Happening…

  • Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron are most likely headed to a run-off after the first round of France’s presidential election
  • Pinterest plans its first major U.S. ad push
  • Amazon-owned video game streaming site Twitch will begin sharing revenue with more of its 17,000 partners
  • Michael Bloomberg tells world leaders to ignore Trump on climate change

Economic Calendar

  • Monday: Halliburton, T-Mobile Earnings
  • Tuesday: 3M, Arconic, AT&T, Chipotle, Coca-Cola, JetBlue, Lockheed Martin, McDonalds, Texas Instruments, Xerox Earnings; Consumer Confidence, New Home Sales
  • Wednesday: Alaska Air, Boeing, Boston Beer, Hershey’s, Norfolk Southern, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Twitter Earnings
  • Thursday: Alphabet, Amazon, American Airlines, Comcast, Domino’s, Dow Chemical, Expedia, GoPro, Microsoft, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, Under Armour, Union Pacific Earnings; Weekly Jobless Claims
  • Friday: Morningstar, Steve Madden Earnings; GDP

Water Cooler

What Comes After Facebook and Twitter?

They may seem too big to disappear, but it’s something researchers are thinking about. Pew Research Center’s new report outlines a possible future of the web with regards to free speech, trolls, and fake news. Here are the highlights from dozens of digital experts and examples the center analyzed:

  • People understand the dangers of false stories, but things aren’t getting much better. 64% of Americans think that fabricated news stories lead to the actual facts of a story being ambiguous. However, 62% also said they get their news from social media, the main breeding ground for such stories.
  • Online trolls are fueled by anonymity, which can make people’s voices have a higher “perceived value.” Trolls will continue to wreak havoc if this anonymity is tolerated, experts say.
  • The good news? Tech may have the solution to its own problem. Computer algorithms could help search for “toxic commentary” and help silence the trolls, much like a spam filter on email.

The Breakroom

Question of the Day

You and nine friends are captured by aliens. To decide your fate, the aliens give you a chance to prove your intelligence. You are placed in a single-file line according to height, and given black or white hats at random. Without looking at your own hat, each person must say one word, “black” or “white,” to guess their hat color. If two or more people are wrong, you all perish.

Luckily, everyone gets a moment to discuss before guessing. What strategy ensures survival? (Answer—revealed at 1:30)

Book of the Day

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg tells how she overcame the loss of her husband in Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. Proceeds from the book will support a nonprofit of the same name, offering support groups to those facing adversity.

Stat of the Day

$17.2 billion: The value of the damage caused to beaches, animals, fishes and coral in the wake of the 2010 BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The new survey was released on the seventh anniversary of the worst spill in U.S. history, a disaster that killed 11 rig workers and dumped 134 million gallons of oil into the gulf.

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