Twitter has once again starkly illustrated its inconsistency in policing abuse, by temporarily suspending the account of actress Rose McGowan over an alleged breach of its rules, while continuing to allow much more egregious abuses to go unchecked. In this case, Twitter claims that McGowan included someone’s personal phone number in one of her tweets, and that it reinstated her account once she deleted the offending tweet, but as usual there was a lack of transparency on Twitter’s part until there was a media outcry, which has been the repeated pattern. The great irony was that McGowan was speaking up about her own and others’ abuse at the hands of Harvey Weinstein and others, while many women who are abused on Twitter’s platform itself find their reports of abuse ignored or dismissed. Twitter desperately needs to both improve its consistency in policing actual abuse on its platform and to communicate more openly about how it enforces the rules, because this situation just continues to get worse.
Baidu Announces v1.5 of its Autonomous Platform and $1.5bn Fund to Invest in Projects (Sep 21, 2017)
Baidu has announced version 1.5 of its Apollo autonomous driving platform with several new features and also announced a $1.5 billion (10 billion yuan) fund to invest in 100 autonomous driving “projects” over the next three years. All the detail in the press release is around the platform, the traction it’s gained, and the new features, which include obstacle perception, planning, cloud simulation, high-definition (HD) maps and
“end-to-end deep learning” capabilities. When the platform first launched, it sounded impressive on paper but in practical terms appeared to be rather piecemeal and unfinished, with many necessary components missing. The new features certainly fill some gaps but don’t supply all the missing pieces, and it’s likely that the platform still isn’t really ready for prime time deployment, especially outside of China where Baidu doesn’t have granular mapping data. The fund, meanwhile, is not detailed at all in Baidu’s release and it’s really not clear whether it will be a venture capital-style fund for investing in companies, or whether it will be more in the nature of grants supplied to companies using Baidu’s technology in some way. Either way, it’s a significant chunk of money in what’s already a very crowded and high-spending field.
Facebook Adds New Features to Messenger for Businesses (Jul 28, 2017)
Roku Said to be Preparing 2017 IPO (Jul 13, 2017)
DCN report shows publisher revenue from Google, Facebook, Snapchat – Business Insider (Jan 24, 2017)
This article (and the report it’s based on) frustratingly focuses on average numbers across a range of very different publishers, rather than providing something more detailed, which limits the usefulness of the data, but there’s some interesting stuff in here regardless. For one, this reinforces the sense that publishers are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to supporting the major new content platforms – on the one hand, they feel they can’t afford to be absent, and on the other systems like Facebook Instant Articles and Google’s AMP don’t seem to allow them to monetize as they do on their own sites. One surprising finding is how strongly Snapchat shows here relative to its overall share of ad revenue. The picture is muddied by the fact that the report covers both video and news content, and so YouTube makes a very strong showing overall too. The key takeaway for me is that these companies continue to tread a difficult and dangerous path as they work with these platforms, ceding a lot of control to them and potentially seeing less revenue as a result.
Update: the actual report is now available here in full.
via Business Insider