The Weekly Bias: Facebook’s New News and AOL is Acquired

May 15, 2015

Casey Petersen

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There was a lot of moving and shaking in the social world this week. Let us know in the comments what you found the most useful!

Facebook now hosts full news articles

Starting Wednesday, May 13th, Facebook began hosting full news articles in the newsfeed itself. This new service, called Instant Articles, will allow Facebook users to read an entire article right inside the newsfeed, without leaving for an external site. Facebook heralds this new feature as a huge speed improvement for the mobile apps. News articles apparently take about 8 seconds to load, and Instant Articles improves that speed by 10 times. Only 9 publishers can access these features at launch, which brings new capabilities like auto-play videos within a news story. Despite speed increases, the big play here is obviously about ad revenue. With articles hosted on Facebook, Facebook can place ads on them, and one would assume, share that ad revenue with publishers, who hope to get more impressions there, than via click-thru to their own website. It also makes sure you have fewer reasons to leave Facebook than ever before. Is this as good for publishers as it is for Facebook? That remains to be seen. Expect new ad options for News Articles in future, though. [Source: Gizmodo]

Verizon Buys AOL’s Media Business

This may seem like an odd marriage on its surface. AOL is predominantly known these days as the parent company of Huffington Post, Engadget, and many other online news sites.  That, and a frequent butt of jokes related to old-school internet humor. This $4.4 billion cash acquisition comes as many ISP’s and telecom companies try to find ways to bundle additional services, and be anything but “dump pipes” to the internet. AOL gives Verizon a hodgepodge of media properties, and an ad business that focuses on video. With more and more people (especially Millennials, the current prettiest girl in the room for marketers), consuming video via mobile, this ad business gives Verizon the ability to reach their customers in new ways, and perhaps bundle in interesting video options, which of course uses more data. [Source: NYTimes]

Apple Reportedly Launching Social Network for Musicians

No, this headline wasn’t misplaced from 2010. Apple is, yet again, attempting to launch a social network for musicians to talk to fans. The rumors paint this as disturbingly similar to Ping, their failed 2010 attempt at the same thing, with a few new additions. Artists will be able to share studio mixes, exclusive music tracks, videos, tour updates, etc, with their fans, and even cross-promote with other artists. As with Ping, it will be baked into iTunes and iOS, to make sure you at least TRY to use it. Unlike with Ping, this is expected to launch at WWDC along with a new subscription music service and the support of most major record labels.  We’ll find out more in June at WWDC. [Source: Guardian]

Other news you shouldn’t miss:

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