Digital News Roundup – 31 August

by | Aug 31, 2018 | News

It’s Friday people! Although it doesn’t feel quite like a normal Friday for us….(for more on that, head down to our local news section). This week we’re talking about Snapchat’s young uprising, how Facebook’s combatting hateful ads, updates to Google’s Go app, and some shiny new products from Apple.

Facebook removes ads promoting a “cure” for homosexuality to LGBT users

Facebook has faced controversy in recent weeks following an investigation by The Telegraph around ads touting a “cure” for same-sex attraction – targeting young members of the LGBT community in the UK.

The ads involved things like books promising “Help for Men With Same-Sex Attraction” – and linked out to websites such as a Christian self-publishing book company named WestBow Press. According to The Telegraph, the hateful content made use of the micro-targeting features on Facebook to send these confrontational ads to LGBT users, offering to “convert them” from their supposedly sinful sexual preferences. When queried on why the ads had been shown to certain people, Facebook stated that it was because those users had “show an interest in gender issues” previously. Probably not looking to be “cured” though…

Now, Facebook has stepped in and removed the ads flagged within the investigation, citing that they conflicted with the company’s policy on refusing content which “discriminates against, harasses, provokes or disparages people”. Following the on-going issues regarding its micro-targeting capabilities, particularly since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it’s a positive step to see Facebook banning these ads, and doing more to protect its users. Read more at The Drum.

Snapchat set to steal yet another market from rival Facebook

The battle for total domination has long been waging in the realm of social media platforms, but stats released this week have shown a somewhat unlikely soldier is pushing King Facebook off its throne – particularly within the younger markets.

Snapchat is set to overtake Facebook as the platform of choice for teens and twenty-somethings this year, and end 2018 being the “most popular social media platform in the UK for 18 to 24 year-olds”. This follows a trend that started last year, where Snapchat stole the crown in the 12 to 17 year old market, too.

Bill Fisher, senior analyst at eMarketer, said that this is in part due to a rising number of ‘Facebook-nevers’ – the new generation of social media users who have never been on the Zuckerberg-owned platform. “These so-called Facebook-nevers are eating into Facebook’s user growth significantly. Many younger social network users are forgoing Facebook altogether in favour of more appealing mobile-first alternatives, such as Snapchat,” he explained.  

Although Facebook is still the biggest social platform by quite some margin, the rapid growth seen amongst younger audiences on sites like Snapchat and Netflix tends to be far more appealing to shareholders. For more on the story head to The Guardian, or take a look at our recent blog discussing whether or not Facebook has lost its cool.

Google’s Go app will now be able to read to you

This week saw Google launch a new feature for its Go app that could revolutionise how people across the world use the web. The move, which involves text-to-speech reading for websites, is designed for developing countries – with the hope that it can make the web more accessible for everyone.

According to Google the new capability is powered by its AI, and can read aloud a website at the touch of a button – and will work even over a 2G connection. With a view to targeting less connected countries and markets where bandwidth can be a hot commodity, this is an essential aspect of the new launch.

Research last year found that users in developing countries favoured sending voice messages and images over typing and reading, and this new text-to-speech could be a great way to help these users consume information, as well as share it.

Google claims that “using this technology, consuming long-form text becomes as easy as watching TV or listening to the radio”, so it will be exciting to see how this new tech is adopted across different countries. Read more at The Verge.

Did you watch the “biggest event in internet history”?

Last weekend, 18,000 fans descended on the Manchester Arena to watch ‘amateur fighters’ Logan Paul and KSI battle it out during six rounds of white-collar boxing – only for the bout to be deemed a draw.

With both parties boasting sizeable YouTube followings, the vloggers created a PR frenzy in the run-up to the event, with stats showing that their fans came out in force on the night. More than 800,000 people streamed the event, paying $10 or £7.50 for the privilege, while at least half a million people watched via illegal streams – despite the best efforts of organisers to stamp out illegal streaming. This meant that the fight has been dubbed the “biggest event in internet history”.

The event conjured up a ton of mixed reviews, with some getting super into it, while others, like journalist Vlad Savov, noted how people had invested “both time and money to watch two widely hate-loved internet clowns smack the spit out of each other’s mouth”. And all in 2018.

Whether you loved it or hated it, one thing you can’t deny is that the duo managed to whip up a storm – and take things from digital to physical in a fairly successful way. As Vlad said over on The Verge, “I wish I could rise above it, pretend that I’m not caught up in the same vicious whirlpool of self-reinforcing negative hype, but here I am, writing all about it”. And here you are, reading what we write about it. What a funny old world we live in.

Apple rumoured to be launching three new iPhones next month

Rumours around new Apple launches are always rife in the tech world, which is why it’s no surprise that people are already talking about the new devices set to be released in September.

The latest is that it’s set to be another “S year” – meaning more internal updates rather than external updates. Although there is some fairly consistent talk of three devices being released: an upgraded iPhone X, a new high-end iPhone, and another cheaper model. There is also a lot of chatter around potential new colourways, including grey, blue, red and orange.

When it comes to features, it sounds like all of the new devices will get the new gesture controls and the Face ID unlocking system. We could also see features that make the most of new larger screens, supposedly up to 6.5 inches, with options for “viewing content side by side in apps like Mail and Calendar” – something you’ve been able to do on Android phones for a while now.

So, what are you hoping to see with the new September releases? Find out more on the new iPhones over at The Verge.


The GIANTS are in Ibiza!

You may have seen on social media in the past couple of weeks that we’ve all been fairly excited about a very special upcoming celebration. This year makes the 10th anniversary of the creation of Sleeping Giant Media – we’ve hit double figures!

To celebrate this mega milestone, our CEO Luke and MD Ant decided that we had to find a truly GIANT way to commemorate the occasion. And what better way to celebrate a GIANT milestone than with a long weekend in Ibiza?

Yep, you heard us right. As you read this, almost all of the GIANTs are poolside in Ibiza, enjoying the sun and an ice cold lemon Fanta (or something a little more grown up, depending on what time of day you get to this!). This evening we’ll be taking our company catch up on tour and doing it from right here in Ibiza, followed by a beach party to celebrate 10 amazing years.

Keep an eye on Twitter and Instagram for some sneaky behind the scenes content from our epic weekend, and we’ll see you next week for another instalment of our digital news roundup.

Not done reading? We prepped some blogs to keep you entertained while we hit the hit the beach. Enjoy!

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