Splice News media trends: Neo-Nazi sites, China investigates WeChat and Bloomberg mulls Masshable sale

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

Haters gonna hate

Google and GoDaddy both cancelled the domain registration for the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer. GoDaddy said its content “could incite additional violence, which violates our terms of service.”

…Facebook also took on Daily Stormer for publishing posts that attacked Heather Heyer (she was killed in the racist violence in Charlottesville). Facebook said it’ll delete any shares of that article unless it contains a caption. It also removed the profile account of a white supremacist.

…And this is where it gets interesting. Tech companies have always had a soft approach to such matters on concerns over free speech. Are we at a turning point where big tech companies intervene?

…So on the one hand, you have tech companies taking a stand against evil. On the other, you still have journalists insist on equalising “both sides.” The events in Charlottesville should also finally put the end to this journalism of false equivalence. Journalism needs to drive truth, not objectivity.


And speaking of truth, here’s something I missed last week. Philippine President Duterte is giving out media press passes to bloggers, celebrities and social media influencers who’ve been supporting him. This is a new chapter in “fake” news: formalised misinformation.

WeChat, Weibo and Tieba are under investigation in China for failing to comply with the country’s cyber laws. “Users are spreading violence, terror, false rumours, pornography and other hazards to national security, public safety, social order.”

…China is also going after Alibaba. It alleges that the company’s e-commerce platform Taobao allows vendors to sell VPN services and tools to hack computer systems. It told Alibaba to start a “self-investigation.”

Facebook apparently launched a photo-sharing app in China without anyone noticing. Maybe not even the government. The app looks and feels like Facebook’s Moments app, but without any branding. It’s a risky move.

Facebook opened its first full office in Jakarta. It comes at a time of higher scrutiny of international internet companies operating in the country. Some have questioned the accuracy of the business license that Facebook secured: management consulting.

This would be funny. Except it’s from Xinhua. And it’s racist. This is what propaganda-for-millennials looks like.


If you haven’t yet heard of China’s hot news aggregator Toutiao, here’s why you should start paying attention. It’s reportedly raised at least $2 billion on a valuation of more than $20 billion. The service boasts 100 million daily active users and expects a revenue of $2.5 billion this year.

Apple is apparently setting aside about $1 billion to buy and produce original video shows. WSJ says Apple wants a line up of as many as 10 TV shows of similar quality to HBO’s Game of Thrones. There’s never been a better time to be a Hollywood producer.

Sigh. Here it is again. This time, Mic is pivoting to video. And it’s laying off staff.

Mashable may be prepping a sale. Bloomberg says the company has hired bankers to sell a part of, or all of the business. The business is valued at around $250 million, according to The Information.

A petition is underway to save the BBC World Service’s 24-hour broadcast in Hong Kong. The government-owned RTHK will drop the World Service in favour of a shortened broadcast, supplemented by programming from China’s Central People’s Radio.

Medium has gone mad. Instead of “Recommend,” they’re now using “Applause.” You can now “clap” once if you like the article. But if you really like it, hold it down and it will keep “clapping.” Wtf. This is what they want to solve: “A simple, binary vote has its limitations. It shows you how many people thought something was good, not how good was it?”

Finally, a simple but big improvement in Instagram. Threaded comments.

Do you need to record phone interviews on your Android device? Try these apps.


What’s the best advice you’ve received as a reporter? Here are some good ones. “Report against your own biases. That is, include the reporting that has a chance of proving you wrong, not just confirming what you already think or think that you know.”

Random shower thoughts
“Technically, because Earth is the 3rd closest planet to the sun, every problem is a third world problem.” — @rShowerThoughts


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