All Posts in News
October 7, 2015 — Published by: Meg Edwards
It has been a big week over at Twitter HQ.
Earlier this week, the company announced that Jack Dorsey would be named as the official CEO of Twitter as well as remain the CEO of Square. Dorsey held the interim CEO position since his predecessor, Dick Costolo, stepped down in June. As the full time chief, he revealed his aims and vision for the platform aptly through a tweet, saying: “Our work forward is to make Twitter easy to understand by anyone in the world, and give more utility to the people who love to use it daily”
Alongside the announcement of Dorsey as CEO, Twitter also rolled out the red carpet for its latest feature, ‘Moments’. Formally known as ‘Project Lightening’, it has been renamed and had a makeover. The new product shows the day’s most talked about stories. It’s very simple for users to read and navigate and the feature even works for those who have never followed a single person. This shows Twitter’s best and maybe last attempt to gain new users who are not interested or have the time to work out all of Twitter’s ins and outs and jargon.
‘Moments’ is the result of more than ten months of reimagining what regular users want to use Twitter for. The company aims to regain the hundreds of millions of users that they have lost over the years whilst also attracting new users. This goes back to Dorsey’s tweet about his vision to make Twitter a platform that is easy to understand for everyone and used on a daily basis.
So has ‘Moments’ arrived at a crucial time or is it too late? Twitter is constantly losing money, its stock price has plunged and user numbers have plateaued. The previous ambiguity of its leadership and continuous failed attempts to regain users who have abandoned the platform have seen Twitter’s profits dwindle. This could be the last push for Twitter and if it’s not successful, it will also say goodbye to the advertisers and the platform could soon be deemed as ‘so 2006’. We’ll wait and see what happens...
Throughout it's development, much of Mark Zuckerberg's focus for Facebook has been to bring people inside the Facebook iOS and Android Apps, onto the platform and through the channels that are Facebook branded. However, now this strategy has changed - a new direction to "unbundle the big blue app" has been set instead to build lots of apps.
These new apps, developed by Creative Labs - may sometimes not even require Facebook logins to use. Battenhall has been one of the few users on the Facebook Paper app since it launched in January. Obviously, it's not big news that Facebook will be developing new stand-alone apps - in 2011 it released Messenger, without any Facebook branding. As explained in The New York Times - users prefer single-purpose apps, they work faster and they're more in tune with the use cases for mobile devices.
Whilst it hasn't been overly popular, the user experience on Paper is incredible - it's unlike the Facebook app as developers were given free reign to try new things. The idea here is that more apps in the future can be developed with new rules in mind. This new strategy comes with obvious risks - but when a platform has a massive user base, it can become difficult to innovate.
The idea behind all of this is that through creating new experiences in apps like Paper and Messenger, Facebook can be everywhere, unbranded - you might not know it but some of the future apps you'll be using might have Facebook written all over them.
To read more on Facebook's new Creative Labs strategy, head to The New York Times.
There is plenty of interesting news and comment being generated as a result of Mobile World Congress this year. A major highlight has been the announcement that Ericsson and Facebook will be collaborating on an 'innovation lab' to support the work of internet.org - a company who's aim is to bring the internet to emerging markets and countries, to expand its usage and broaden its reach.
This new venture aims to optimise devices and applications across the board for the next five billion users of the internet, and utilises Ericsson's mobile knowledge - combined with Facebook's ability to enhance developer access to network environments - come together to make this dream of internet 'for the world' a reality.
There's more on the story over at The Drum, and more to come from Battenhall on all the events at Mobile World Congress.
January 24, 2014 — Published by: Drew
BuzzFeed, the online website which aggregates viral content from across the web, has become Facebook's top publisher, beating the likes of Huffington Post and Upworthy.
According to NewsWhip, in November 2013 Huffington Post UK was the clear leader with BuzzFeed left to battle viral content website Upworthy for runner-up status. Yet, in just over a month, the viral newsite did not only beat Upworthy but it comfortably usurped Huffington Post UK from its perch in first place.
Using data taken from Spike, NewsWhip determined BuzzFeed's newfound status as Facebook publishing king was a result of a particularly strong December. In that month, BuzzFeed had 750,000 more shares on Facebook than its closest competitor.
Apart from illustrating BuzzFeed's growing popularity, the results from Spike's database also demonstrate that Facebook is still a popular site for sharing content. Publishers such as BBC News, New York Times and new addition Viral Nova all had substantially improved share numbers.
Despite reports of Facebook's waning popularity among teens, it certainly hasn't lost favour with users who love sharing viral news on the social network site. To read more on the report, visit NewWhip.
July 23, 2013 — Published by: Anton Perreau
Over the last couple of days we've been heavily bombarded with news of the Royal baby. Battenhall tracked online conversation surrounding the coverage - it seemed the resounding word being used by people on twitter was 'PUSH!' (I think she got the message.)
Whilst some have flocked to St. Mary's Hospital, camping out clad in red, white and blue, others have taken to the social-sphere to complain about the intrusiveness of constant updates. It almost seems better to just stay offline if you want to avoid any news about the Royal baby.
However, The Guardian today have taken their own spin on what you want to read - adding a small button to the top right of their home page where users can select 'Republican' or 'Royalist' either hiding or showing the Royal Baby news respectively. A hat-tip to users who are tired of Royal baby news, but also an understanding that it's news, and very important news at that.
Head to The Guardian homepage yourself to check it out and choose your team.
Whilst much of the speculation surrounding Facebook's press event on Thursday has focused on a news reading platform - behind the scenes it seems that Facebook has been planning a huge update to one of its other key services: Instagram.
It's no surprise that video is becoming the medium of choice when sharing with friends - it's popularity has been signposted by the increased conversation surrounding Vine, Twitter's own answer to video sharing. As explained by Jennifer O'Mahony in The Telegraph,
'Shares of Vine clips have surpassed those of Instagram images on Twitter since the addition of an Android version of Vine this month.'
In response, it seems that video may be an addition to the Instagram service as of Thursday. There are strong arguments that the reason for this is because Twitter switched of embedding functionality of Instagram photos, but we'll let the numbers do the talking.
Last year Facebook bought Instagram for $715 million (£455m) and unlike so many of its other purchases, it decided to keep Instagram running, and yes it's done well. However as Ingrid Lunden explained with us yesterday on TechCrunch,
'Putting in a video service could serve to further that strategy even more, before new-but-already-popular services like Vine get more of a foothold. It will mean one less app and social network for users to build up, and, for those who like to take and share videos, another reason to visit Instagram.'
It's questionable about what else this surge into the moving image world means for Instagram, a potential answer could be that they're attempting to introduce advertising on the platform, like they tried (and failed) to do before. Moreover, there is no concrete evidence that the new platform will even be integrated into Instagram itself or whether it will be a while new Instagram video app. Let's just hope that in all this corporate hype and planning, the mobile app doesn't lose its appeal.
News on the National Security Agency (NSA) snooping over Apple, Facebook and Google has been on everyone’s lips since late last week. The first of the leaks came out on Wednesday night when the Guardian reported that a US secret court has ordered phone company Verizon to hand over millions of records on telephone call metadata to the NSA. The Washington Post reported on Thursday that the NSA and FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading US Internet companies.
The Guardian then revealed classified documents on Friday containing top-sectet information on NSA program PRISM, the program set up in 2007 to help the United States monitor traffic of potential suspects abroad that collects emails, documents, photos and other material for agents to review. The documents state that Prism operated with the assistance of communications providers in the US; AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, PalTalk and Yahoo. The document also states that GCHQ, the UK’s security agency had last year generated 197 intelligence reports from PRISM and had access to PRISM since at least May 2010. The Guardian last night revealed the identity of the former CIA technical worker as the source of the leads about US surveillance programs: Edward Snowden, who is currently employed by defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.
Over the weekend, technology giants have been under pressure as speculation rise on their co-operation with the US spy agencies and as further details emerged. Apple, Facebook and Google have issued strongly worded denials that they had knowingly participated in PRISM. Meanwhile, Mashable look at what the NSA could possibly have found on the internet and Gizmodo at how the NSA logo should really look. Our client Tim Summers from Temple bright adds a legal perspective to the debate: “We must have mechanisms to ensure that governments can be called to account, to ensure that their legal powers are used only for their proper purposes.” Read more on Channel 4 news. We'll certainly be watching closely for further developments on this news.