Facebook’s News Feed Changes Again; AT&T-Time Warner On The Boil

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Facebook Changes

“Recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post published late on Thursday. He goes on to break the news that the company will demote that brand content in the news feed to favor more personal modes of communication. It’s a continuation of changes made last year, and means Page owners should plan to rely less on organic reach. Interestingly, Zuck says users will spend less overall time on Facebook, but “if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.”

AT&T’s Day In Court

AT&T and the US Justice Department appear set to go to trial over alleged anticompetitive advantages from the mobile carrier’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner, according to The Wall Street Journal. It could be a landmark case for the new media environment. WSJ reports that Starz, a rival to Time Warner’s HBO channel, has told the DOJ that its subscriptions fell dramatically after AT&T quietly stopped promoting it to cable customers, and Starz couldn’t lower its price to drive new downloads due to its AT&T contract. More. Does this mean companies like YouTube that haven’t drawn the same regulatory spotlight will come under scrutiny? Stay tuned.

What’s In A Name?

Publishers have taken to buying their own inventory as a way to identify fraud in their supply chain. But even when they do uncover bad actors, they rarely name and shame offenders, preferring to release bulk data and comment on the industry as a whole. Why? For one thing, the publisher could end up in a messy lawsuit, and it’s hard to prove a tech intermediary breached its “duty of care,” which protects entities from negligence claims if they took efforts to prevent foreseeable violations. Publishers also don’t want to burn vendors and scare off potential partners. “It’s bad business [to name names],” one anonymous publisher executive tells Digiday. “The industry is small and they may mention someone that’s trying to improve.” More.

Built On Sand(boxing)

In terms of what publishers can do to address fraud, one trendy fix-it approach has been to try sandboxing, a method to test browser code and filter out malicious software before it executes on the site. “But because this is ad tech, there’s gotta be a catch,” writes AdMonsters. As much as the industry lambasts CTR as a shoddy metric, clicking on ads remains a staple measure of engagement (and often triggers revenue for the publisher) – but sandboxed iframes can sometimes disable click-through functions on ads. More.

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