An interesting week in digital news, we’ve had stories about clickbait, sexism, buyouts and bioelectronics.
As usual, here’s your five minute roundup. Nom nom.
Airbnb launches design studio
Samara will build hardware and software to further the aims of the broader brand.
Its first completed project is a community structure called the Yoshino Cedar House, built with a Tokyo based architect and let as an Airbnb to help fund and enrich the local area.
Facebook wages war on clickbait
Yesterday, Facebook announced the latest step in its war on clickbait. Previously, the company has clamped down on clickbait through its quality panel, or by targeting content that leaves the user unimpressed enough to jump straight back to their Newsfeed.
Facebook is now getting more sophisticated, using headline analysis to understand if an article is indeed clickbait or not.
The Facebook blog explains as follows:
“We are focusing more effort on this, and are updating News Feed by using a system that identifies phrases that are commonly used in clickbait headlines.
“First, we categorized tens of thousands of headlines as clickbait by considering two key points: (1) if the headline withholds information required to understand what the content of the article is; and (2) if the headline exaggerates the article to create misleading expectations for the reader.
“For example, the headline “You’ll Never Believe Who Tripped and Fell on the Red Carpet…” withholds information required to understand the article (What happened? Who Tripped?) The headline “Apples Are Actually Bad For You?!” misleads the reader (apples are only bad for you if you eat too many every day).
“A team at Facebook reviewed thousands of headlines using these criteria, validating each other’s work to identify a large set of clickbait headlines.”
Kevin Roberts resigns
The big story from ad land this week saw Kevin Roberts, Saatchi & Saatchi Chairman and Head Coach of Publicis Groupe, resign after causing a furore over perceived sexist remarks he made in an interview with Business Insider.
Roberts’ issued a contrite resignation statement.
Full statement from Kevin Roberts on his resignation: pic.twitter.com/bC6zakftxO
— Lara O’Reilly (@larakiara) August 3, 2016
Facebook allows cameras into its hardware lab
Perhaps not a massive story, but one that brings home the reality of the scale and ambition of a big tech company like Facebook.
Wired includes some nice shots of Area 404, Facebook’s hardware lab where products from VR headsets to solar planes are pioneered.
Uber China is bought by Didi
Didi Chuxing has bought Uber China, bringing to an end Uber’s difficult time in the Chinese market. The $35bn deal includes $1bn investment in Uber globally.
Bloomberg reports that major losses in China have been one factor holding up an Uber IPO. Didi, its previously fierce rival in China, is backed by Apple, Alibaba and Tencent and is valued at around half that of Uber.
Instagram Stories launched
Essentially a copy of Snapchat Stories, but as Patricio Robles points out, Instagram UX is an improvement and the network offers greater reach for brands.
GSK and Alphabet partner
GSK has set up a company with Alphabet’s life sciences subsidiary Verily.
The company, Galvani Bioelectronics, will pioneer miniature implants that alter the body’s electric signals.
See the FT for more detail.
The Sun launches betting service
Newspapers are looking for new revenue streams and The Sun has found one in Sun Bets, allowing its sports mad audience to bet with the publisher.
The paper claims that 50% of the betting audience in the UK are Sun readers, making the move a natural fit.
Sun Bets has been in development since 2014.
Time Warner takes 10% stake in Hulu
Time Warner’s entertainment network will be added to Hulu’s streaming service.
Confused.com ditches Brian the Robot
It seems gimmicks have had their day at price comparison site Confused.com, which is hoping to put its head above the annoying parapet with a new TV campaign featuring James Corden.
The campaign is part of Confused.com’s refocussing on car insurance and car products, which makes up the majority of the price comparison market.