Splice News: Facebook Live dies, hope rises for Rappler and fake news enters classroom

In this week’s media roundup, The Splice Newsroom’s Alan Soon looks at Facebook's latest publishing victim, the end of the Winter Olympics and Indonesia’s most progressive media site


First Rupert. Now CNN chief Jeff Zucker wants regulators to start probing Facebook and Google for their role in disrupting the advertising industry and media. “That’s where the government should be looking, and helping to make sure everyone else survives. I think that’s probably the biggest issue facing the growth of journalism in the years ahead.” Ultimately, journalism survives if people find it useful. I don’t think it’s up to government to make that happen.

Live by the platform, die by the platform. Women-focused LittleThings is shutting following Facebook’s algo tweaks. LittleThings reached 50 million uniques in just three years by sharing feel-good content on Facebook. Now, not so much. This is what happens when you try to build your house in someone else’s backyard.

But it seems the top U.S. publishers are still doing reasonably well on Facebook despite the algo change. Engagement remained high for the big publishers. Fox News and NBC even managed to grow engagement. This is what Newswhip found.

Facebook Live is practically dead for publishers. The number of videos created by paid partners more than halved by the end of 2017. Glad to see no one has any illusions about the costs associated with creating these videos.


Omidyar Network donated its investments in Rappler to managers of the newsroom. Its investment, made through Philippine Depositary Receipts, was the central issue in the SEC’s case against Rappler. The regulator revoked Rappler’s license in January claiming the investment broke laws on foreign ownership of media. Well played, Omidyar. Your move, SEC.

In Myanmar, the use of the notorious 66(d) anti-defamation law has risen sharply since Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy took power. So there’s now a new site that tracks cases brought against journalists under that article.


Washington Post studied thousands of anonymous posts about the Parkland attack. It found a conspiracy in the making — something that rises out of the corners of the web.

An Australian anchor was slammed for his interview of New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Charles Wooley asked her about her child’s conception and then went on to say how smitten he was by her. “I’ve met a lot of Prime Ministers in my time, but none so young, and never so attractive.” What a dick. In closing his interview, in a final flirt, he says, “Perhaps we can go fishing sometime.”

Comcast made a surprise bid for the UK’s biggest pay-TV company Sky. A kick in the pants for Rupert. It’s valuing Sky at about $31 billion, more than what 21 Century Fox is putting on the table.


Magdalene is one of Indonesia’s most progressive media sites. It covers ‘taboo’ subjects such as gender and sexuality in a feminist context. They’re doing an important job by adding new voices to the country. But can they build a business around itA Splice Original. 


The Washington Post wants to hire a journo who can help identify and use new storytelling tools, and evangelise the newsroom’s work internally and externally. Public speaking is a must. Sounds like a dream job to me (though I’d rather keep doing these newsletters).


Schools around the world have been teaching students how to spot fake news. This is Singapore’s approach.

Singapore extended the date for public submissions to the government’s committee on fake news. March 7 is the new deadline, so if you want to tell Big G there’s no need for new laws (there are at least 10 existing pieces of legislation on speech), make sure you write in.

The Winter Olympics are over. Finally, we won’t have to deal with American networks butchering the name of the host city.

Quote of Week

There is a huge underserved audience for investigative sandwich journalism.” — From the movie A Futile and Stupid Gesture, about the National Lampoon, when the founders were pitching ideas to a major publisher. On Netflix.

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