Splice News media trends: The week according to Alan Soon – Mashable, HuffPost and Facebook

As a leading light of the commentariat in Asia, newsroom consultant and former alumnus of Yahoo, CNBC and Bloomberg, Alan Soon knows a thing or two about the media. Here is his roundup of developments inside the bubble this week

To sign up to his newsletter, from which this content is taken, visit the The Splice Newsroom.

Facebook is making some big algo changes to its News Feed to downplay clickbait-y headlines — stuff that sound like “You’ve GOT to see this!” Time to clean up. “Pages should avoid headlines that withhold information required to understand the content of the article and headlines that exaggerate the article to create misleading expectations.”

Thailand backed away from its threat to block Facebook. Facebook was ordered to take down 309 posts allegedly showing the King in compromising positions (crop top, tatts, mistress). 178 posts were taken down within 24 hours of receiving court orders, while the rest are still in process. The ministry said it’s satisfied with Facebook’s cooperation.

Facebook had its wrists slapped in France and Netherlands by their respective privacy regulators for collecting data on users without their knowledge. France fined Facebook about $164,000, while the Netherlands, which could reach a settlement, didn’t impose a financial penalty.

…Facebook also got in trouble with the EU. Antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager issued a $122 million fine for misleading statements related to its acquisition of WhatsApp. Facebook said at that time that it wouldn’t combine FB and WhatsApp data… which it of course reneged on. Facebook says it won’t appeal the penalty.

Facebook messed up on measurements again — for the 10th time. FB says it incorrectly charged advertisers for link-based video carousel ads on mobile. It’ll refund affected advertisers.

The “share” is Facebook’s currency on the social web. But when you see something like, “270K people like this,” what exactly does that mean? According to its API data, a “share” isn’t what you think it is.

Mashable is copying Snapchat — like everyone else. It’s Stories… except it’s called Reels on Mashable. They plan to publish two Reels a day.

…Meanwhile, Instagram copied more features from Snapchat, just because it just can’t help itself. So now you have selfie filters, if you’re into koala ears and that kind of thing.

LINE appears to be losing more monthly users. Things are so bad that they’re stopped disclosing those numbers in its earnings report.

HuffPost changed the way it loads articles within its app. It now serves up articles from the app itself, instead of pulling them from the mobile web. Load times in iOS went from nine seconds to under one second. And that drove an 8% increase in article views per visit. That’s why tech matters.

Turner is moving more jobs out of Hong Kong. It’s transferring some Southeast Asia roles from Hong Kong to Singapore, resulting in job losses.

The battle for Australia’s Fairfax just got real. Hellman & Friedman, a U.S. private equity firm, put in a bid of around $2.2 billion for Fairfax, almost similar to what its rival TPG submitted last week. At the heart of it — the Domain real estate business, and definitely not the flagship newspapers (Age, Sydney Morning Herald and AFR).

Australia may have all the right attributes for a great quality of life, except one: the internet is shit. On a global scale, it ranks #51 — worse than Thailand and Kenya. “We have changes of governments every three years, which really works against the ability to undertake long-term planning, and the long-term rollouts of networks like this.”

Malaysiakini’s CEO Premesh Chandran (one of the nicest, most generous person I’ve had the pleasure of knowing in this industry) was charged in Malaysia for the company’s airing of an allegedly offensive video. He pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.

I love rants from the industry. Here’s an awesome parting shot from Simon Holt, who just left the top editorial job at Brisbane Times. He wants journalists to accept that they are responsible for finding sustainable business models for media. “People will continue to demand answers to anomalies and suspicions… If news organizations as we know them are not delivering, others will step in to fulfill the need.”

Bill Gates tweeted up a storm with a long list of advice for new grads. Worth a look. “Intelligence takes many different forms. It is not one-dimensional. And not as important as I used to think.”

A Chinese company is building a full-size replica of the Titanic. It will feature first-class cabins, a ball room and an observation deck. It will also simulate that moment when the ship hit the iceberg… so you get to experience that sinking feeling.

Quote of the week
“The world doesn’t make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do?” — Pablo Picasso


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella Asia newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing