Stream Fatigue? Streaming Subscriptions Drop So Far This Year – Just as Apple, Disney Prepare to Enter Market

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Forget about cord-cutting — the new trend in 2019 might be TV fans cutting back on their streaming service budgets.

New research from Ampere Analysis shows that Americans are subscribing to fewer streaming services in the first three months of this year — and also paying less overall. Between January and March, the average U.S. household subscribed to 2.6 services and paid about $30 per month altogether, marking a slight dip from last June, when the average household paid about $33 per month for 2.8 services.

The decline is admittedly modest so far but it’s a notable drop that comes just as Apple, WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal and, oh yeah, Disney are poised to enter an increasingly crowded streaming market within the next year. “Streaming fatigue” could be setting in as customers balk at the idea of dropping their cable and satellite plans only to juggle a half dozen different streaming subscriptions.

“Cord cutters, like me, are realizing that skinnier bundles still add up, price-wise, and how many [streaming] monthly fees can one viewer afford and navigate?” said Neil Landau, screenwriter and author of “TV Writing On Demand: Creating Great Content in the Digital Era.” “We now live in a world with over 500 scripted series, so in addition to getting noticed and breaking through the noise in this glutted TV landscape, the technologically challenged may not even be able to find a desired new show.”

Also Read: Streaming Officially Bigger Than Cable and Satellite TV in US, Research Shows

Landau’s “too many choices” concern was echoed by Kevin Westcott, Deloitte’s vice chairman and head of U.S. Telecom and Media and Entertainment: “With more than 300 over-the-top video options in the U.S., coupled with multiple subscriptions and payments to track and justify, consumers may be entering a time of ‘subscription fatigue.’”

To be clear, this doesn’t mean streaming is falling out of style or that cable and satellite are poised to make a comeback. Indeed, new survey data from Deloitte this week showed that streaming has officially passed traditional pay TV in popularity in the U.S., with 69 percent of survey respondents subscribing to at least one streaming service, compared to 65 percent of respondents that pay for cable or satellite.

However, the new trends indicate that streamers are reticent to sign up for new subscriptions. Cord-cutting was intended to drop monthly expenses while still giving viewers content they desire. And the addition of more big-name services on the market doesn’t guarantee that customers will open their wallets.

Look at the prices of the already established streaming players: Netflix’s premium plan runs $16 per month; Hulu’s “no commercials” plan is $12 per month; HBO Now is $15 per month. Amazon Prime Video comes with a $120 annual Prime membership fee. And Live TV options from YouTube and Hulu hover between $40 and $45 each month. On their own, these prices don’t break the bank, but they quickly add up in combination.

Also Read: Inside Facebook, YouTube and Twitter’s Struggle to Purge Video of the New Zealand Mosque Attacks

“Soon we’ll all start looking at our credit card bills and start saying, ‘Why am I subscribing to all of these services? Something’s got to give,’” said Paul Hardart, former Warner Bros. and Turner executive and current head of the Entertainment, Media and Technology Program at New York University.

Making matters tougher for new streamers is Netflix’s overwhelming dominance in the market. The company has nearly 60 million U.S. customers and has built a devoted following behind trademark shows like “Narcos,” “Queer Eye” and “Stranger Things.”

The company’s first-mover advantage is real. New streamers will have a chance to carve out their share of the pie — Disney’s slew of top content, from “Star Wars” to its seemingly never-ending supply of Marvel movies, will bolster its Disney+ service, and Apple has more than $200 billion in cash to throw around if it chooses to bulk up its content offereings.

Still, it will be next to impossible for newcomers to bump Netflix from the select few services that Americans will pay for, Hardart said, leaving the rest of the field to battle for the remaining dollars customers are willing to shell out.

Also Read: Apple’s Streaming Service on Track to Have 100 Million Subscribers in 3-5 Years, Analyst Says

“There will be losers in this. Walmart basically abandoned their streaming service earlier this year,” Hardart noted, referring to the retail giant’s scrapped plans for an $8 per month service. “If a big player like Walmart is abandoning it, it’s a treacherous path.”

“We’ve almost reached a saturation point,” Ampere senior analyst Toby Holleran added of the streaming landscape. While he said the downturn in overall streaming subscriptions isn’t necessarily permanent — Holleran said the “sweet spot” for streaming subscriptions will likely land around three per household in the next year — customer loyalty will be difficult to secure. Instead, churn rates will increase, as a lack of contracts will allow viewers to nomadically bounce from service to service, binging a series or two before moving on to another service.

These key factors — price sensitivity, the ability to easily move from service to service and a finite amount of time for customers to watch all of the content that’s available — could hamper Apple, Disney and WarnerMedia’s fashionably late entrance to the streaming party.

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Streaming Officially Bigger Than Cable and Satellite TV in US, Research Shows

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Traditional TV is slowly headed the way of the dinosaur and Betamax, with more Americans subscribing to a streaming service than paying for satellite TV or cable for the first time ever, according to a new survey from Deloitte.

The numbers are close —  69 percent of respondents are paying for at least one streaming service, compared to 65 percent paying for cable or satellite — but traditional TV is trending in the wrong direction, with the 13th annual Digital Media Trends Survey showing 27 percent of respondents have dropped their pay TV packages in the last year. That stat has been reflected in the struggles of the usual TV juggernauts, with DirecTV reporting it lost 400,000 subscribers during the fourth quarter of 2018 alone.

Netflix, on the other hand, has continued to flourish, with the world’s dominant streaming service adding nearly 30 million customers last year. It now has about 60 million subscribers just in the U.S.

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One reason viewers are continuing to drop cable and satellite: they hate advertisements. 75 percent of Deloitte’s respondents said there are too many ads when they watch traditional TV.

Still, the report shows streaming versus traditional TV isn’t necessarily an “either/or proposition,” at least right now for many viewers, with 43 percent of respondents paying for at least one streaming service and one pay-TV package.

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Binge watching, which Deloitte defines as watching four hours or more of content in a single sitting, continues to play a major role in streaming’s rise, with 37 percent of millennials saying they binge at least once per week. Another 40 percent of U.S. millennials said they stream at least one movie per day.

Perhaps ironically, one red flag for streaming, according to the report, could be an increasingly crowded market. The more streaming services there are — and with more on the way from Apple and WarnerMedia — the more frustrating it will get for viewers to follow and pay for.

“With more than 300 over the top video options in the U.S., coupled with multiple subscriptions and payments to track and justify, consumers may be entering a time of ‘subscription fatigue,’” said Kevin Westcott, vice chairman and U.S. Telecom and Media and Entertainment leader at Deloitte.

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President Trump Rips ‘Mr Kellyanne Conway’ as a ‘Husband From Hell,’ ‘Stone Cold Loser’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

President Trump isn’t letting the latest barbs from George Conway go easily, with the president ripping the husband of White House advisor Kellyanne Conway as a “stone cold loser” who is “jealous of his wife’s success.”

In his public tweet-lashing came on Wednesday morning, Trump channeled his inner Richard Lewis by calling Conway the “husband from hell.”

The president also chided Conway for not getting a White House job he “desperately wanted.”

George Conway, often referred to as Mr. Kellyanne Conway by those who know him, is VERY jealous of his wife’s success & angry that I, with her help, didn’t give him the job he so desperately wanted. I barely know him but just take a look, a stone cold LOSER & husband from hell!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 20, 2019

Also Read: Kellyanne Conway’s Husband Steps Up Trump Attacks, Quotes From Manual of Mental Disorders

Conway simply retweeted Trump’s lambasting on Wednesday with the comment: “The President of the United States.”

The president’s response came after Conway criticized his wife’s boss once again on Monday, tweeting that Trump’s mental state is “getting worse.” Conway included a definition of  “Narcissistic Personality Disorder,” which mentioned that the afflicted are “preoccupied with fantasies.”

“Don’t assume that the things he says and does are part of a rational plan or strategy, because they seldom are. Consider them as a product of his pathologies, and they make perfect sense,” Conway added.

Also Read: Kellyanne Conway Says ‘Unhinged’ Woman Assaulted Her in Maryland Restaurant (Video)

The tweet battle escalated on Tuesday, with Trump retweeting a post on Conway and adding his comment that he was a “total loser.” Conway shot back, saying “Congratulations! You just guaranteed that millions of more people are going to learn about narcissistic personality disorder and malignant narcissism. Great job!”

Congratulations! You just guaranteed that millions of more people are going to learn about narcissistic personality disorder and malignant narcissism! Great job! https://t.co/Dk9bI3sBs7

— George Conway (@gtconway3d) March 19, 2019

This wasn’t the first time Conway has went after the president.. Last November, Conway creative referred to the Trump administration as a “s–storm in a dumpster fire.”

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New Zealand PM Says Tech Giants Bear ‘Responsibility’ for Mosque Shooting Attack Video

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

New Zealand politicians and businesses are calling on tech giants like Facebook and Google to accept a measure of accountability after last week’s deadly mosque shooting killing 50 people that was live streamed and shared on social media.

“We cannot simply sit back and accept that these platforms just exist and that what is said on them is not the responsibility of the place where they are published,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told Parliament on Tuesday.

“They are the publisher. Not just the postman,” she added. “There cannot be a case of all profit, no responsibility.”

Also Read: YouTube Blocked 1 Video Upload Per Second of New Zealand Mosque Shooting

Ardern’s criticism comes right after Facebook released more information on the video of the deadly shooting on Monday night.

Facebook deputy general counsel Chris Sonderby said the live stream of the attack was viewed 200 times and wasn’t reported by anyone watching it; Facebook ultimately received a user complaint 29 minutes after it started, or about 12 minutes after the live stream ended. The video was ultimately viewed about 4,000 times, according to Sonderby, and the video was deleted 1.5 million times in the 24 hours after the attack — including 1.2 million uploads that were instantly removed.

On Friday, a Facebook rep explained that the company’s artificial intelligence tools scanned the original attack video, allowing its system to immediately spot similar scenes and remove most uploads.

Also Read: Inside Facebook, YouTube and Twitter’s Struggle to Purge Video of the New Zealand Mosque Attacks

Despite the efforts of Facebook, Google-owned YouTube and Twitter to purge the attack video — with varying degrees of success — from their platforms, New Zealand telecom execs felt the companies could’ve done more. The heads of Vodafone, 2Degrees and Spark in New Zealand signed a joint letter on Tuesday calling for Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter chief Jack Dorsey, and Google chief Sundar Pichai to join an “urgent discussion” on how to completely stop violent videos from being shared.

“Content sharing platforms have a duty of care to proactively monitor for harmful content, act expeditiously to remove content which is flagged to them as illegal and ensure that such material — once identified — cannot be re-uploaded,” the execs said in the letter. They added that the attack video “should never have been made available online.”

That might be easier said that done. Looking at the 24-hour period after the attack, Google and Twitter, like Facebook, were leveraging moderators and AI tools to remove posts sharing the attack video. At its peak in the few hours after the shooting, YouTube said on Monday it was seeing up to 1 video of the attack being uploaded each second.

Also Read: PewDiePie Is ‘Sickened’ After New Zealand Mosque Shooter Names Him in Attack Video

The telecom execs concluded by recommending New Zealand adopt laws similar to Europe, where tech companies are fined if certain content isn’t removed within a specific amount of time.

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Fox News, Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire Dominate Facebook’s Most Popular Stories of 2019

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Even as conservatives grow increasingly skeptical of Silicon Valley, Facebook appears to be a paradise for right-leaning news outlets, with Fox News dominating the social network’s most popular stories so far this year.
Fox News accounts for 438 …

YouTube Blocked 1 Video Upload Per Second of New Zealand Mosque Shooting

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

YouTube has struggled to keep video of the New Zealand mosque shooting off its platform, with Neil Mohan, chief product officer of the world’s biggest video hub, telling The Washington Post on Monday that the site’s moderators were pulling …

Kellyanne Conway’s Husband Steps Up Trump Attacks, Quotes From Manual of Mental Disorders

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

George Conway, husband of White House advisor Kellyanne Conway, spent much of Sunday and Monday morning tweeting his concern about President Trump’s mental health — with the attorney even playing doctor for a moment by giving his own diagnosis of the president.

Conway tweeted on Monday that all Americans should be “thinking seriously” about the president’s “mental condition and psychological state.” Minutes earlier, Conway had tweeted a definition of “Narcissistic Personality Disorder,” which mentioned that the afflicted are “preoccupied with fantasies.”

“Don’t assume that the things he says and does are part of a rational plan or strategy, because they seldom are. Consider them as a product of his pathologies, and they make perfect sense,” Conway added.

Also Read: Kellyanne Conway Says ‘Unhinged’ Woman Assaulted Her in Maryland Restaurant (Video)

Agree with this, but would add that *all* Americans should be thinking seriously *now* about Trump’s mental condition and psychological state, including and especially the media, Congress—and the Vice President and Cabinet. https://t.co/OoxgLJpltE

— George Conway (@gtconway3d) March 18, 2019

Conway’s Monday morning tweets continued a theme he touched on several times on Sunday,  after Trump made a number of eyebrow-raising comments — including threatening to have the FCC look into “Saturday Night Live” for mocking him.

“Should Federal Election Commission and/or FCC look into this?” Trump tweet. “There must be Collusion with the Democrats and, of course, Russia! Such one sided [sic] media coverage, most of it Fake News. Hard to believe I won and am winning. Approval Rating 52%, 93% with Republicans. Sorry! #MAGA”

“His condition is getting worse,” Conway tweeted on Sunday morning. He later pinned the tweet to the top of his account, which has 379,000 followers.

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Conway also retweeted several accounts calling into question the president’s mental state. He retweeted conservative commentator Bill Kristol, who said his “fellow Republicans” would be “refusing to come to grips with Trump’s mental condition and psychological state” if they ignored his Sunday tweets.

Re-upping this in light of Trump’s retweets in the last hour. And I repeat: Fellow Republicans, read today’s tweets and retweets. Don’t avert your eyes. Averting your eyes is refusing to come to grips with Trump’s mental condition and psychological state. It’s avoiding reality. https://t.co/PCNzhCD0ql

— Bill “Slightly Dangerous” Kristol (@BillKristol) March 17, 2019

Also Read: Kellyanne Conway’s Husband Calls Trump Administration a ‘S–show in a Dumpster Fire’

This wasn’t the first time Conway has went after his wife’s boss. Last November, Conway creative referred to the Trump administration as a “s—storm in a dumpster fire.”

pic.twitter.com/54ffIL0zcg

— George Conway (@gtconway3d) March 18, 2019

pic.twitter.com/k40Z2oJR2P

— George Conway (@gtconway3d) March 18, 2019

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Inside Facebook, YouTube and Twitter’s Struggle to Purge Video of the New Zealand Mosque Attacks

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The daunting, near-impossible challenge of purging violent attacks from major tech platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube was made clear on Friday in the minutes and hours after the horrifying mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques that killed 49 people and left dozens of others wounded.

The attack, and others like it, isn’t something that can be proactively blocked from social media. Instead, the shooting, which the shooting suspect livestreamed using Facebook Live and then recirculated on other platforms, is something that forces human moderators and artificial intelligence tools to act quickly to block. But the reaction isn’t instantaneous or flawless.

The responses of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube underscore the whack-a-mole nature of policing massive social media platforms — with massive audiences. Facebook has more than 2 billion users. YouTube pulls in more than 1 billion views each day and has hundreds of hours of content uploaded each minute. Twitter has 321 million users.

Entirely eradicating the video is immensely difficult, if not impossible. While the platforms are busy deleting posts, some users are working to share the attack. It’s the digital equivalent of capping a busted fire hydrant.

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The attacker, a 28-year-old Australian named Brenton Tarrant, may have known this would be the case. By livestreaming the bloodshed as he entered a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, and opened fire, he was able to maximize the anguish while allowing a faction of the internet to pick up where he left off, re-sharing the attack and thereby searing it into the memory of anyone that watches it.

And as one person familiar with Facebook’s review process told TheWrap, taking the draconian measure of banning new uploads that mention keywords like “mosque” or “shooting” isn’t feasible. Not only would it fail to block all uploads of the attack video, it would stifle innocuous reports and commentary on the tragedy.

The livestream, which captured the anguished cries pierce the brief moments between gun shots, remained up for nearly 20 minutes before Facebook was alerted by New Zealand police officers that the attack was being broadcast.

Also Read: Death Toll in New Zealand Mosque Shootings Rises to 49

Facebook spokesperson Mia Garlick said the company then “immediately removed” the livestream and deleted both the suspected shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. Facebook is also “removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters,” Garlick said, adding that the social media giant is continuing to work with police on its investigation of the case.

TheWrap has been unable to find video of the livestreamed attack on Facebook on Friday. That’s largely due to the measures Facebook took after removing the livestream — which include producing a scan of the video that allowed the company to detect new uploads that include the same scenes as the livestream.

According to one Facebook rep, the company’s AI technology is also able to spot blood and gore from the livestream — enabling Facebook to immediately remove uploads showing the most gruesome aspects of the livestream while allowing news reports on the massacre (which are unlikely to include graphic footage). The company is actively looking for links to the livestream on other sites, then alerting those sites to take the video down, the rep added.

But the recorded shooting continues to linger on other platforms, despite a unified push to remove it.

A person familiar with Twitter’s review process said the company is using a combination of AI and an international team of moderators to scan the platform and remove the offending video. This process hasn’t been foolproof, however; several tweets sharing video of the attack have remained easily findable on Twitter on Friday, with many of the tweets remaining up for hours at a time. An individual familiar with Twitter’s moderation team said the company strongly encourages users to flag tweets sharing the video so that its moderators can more quickly remove the clips. (Sharing the video violates Twitter’s rule against “glorification of violence.”)

Twitter declined to share how many tweets of the video it has removed.

Also Read: PewDiePie Is ‘Sickened’ After New Zealand Mosque Shooter Names Him in Attack Video

YouTube, the biggest video hub on the planet, has run into similar issues keeping the video off its site. A person familiar with YouTube’s response said it has removed thousands of uploads of the shooting on Friday. News reports showing segments of the attack will not be removed from YouTube, as the company allows exceptions to its ban on graphic content if it contains news value. But the company, like Facebook and Twitter, is leaning on machine-learning tools and its human moderation team to remove uploads of the raw video.

Our hearts are broken over today’s terrible tragedy in New Zealand. Please know we are working vigilantly to remove any violent footage.

— YouTube (@YouTube) March 15, 2019

Even after thousands of uploads have been removed, a constant stream of new uploads are added each hour by users looking to skirt YouTube’s enforcement mechanisms. Most are quickly caught and taken down, as a YouTube search of the last hour of uploads showed, but some slip through the cracks and allow viewers to watch the attack.

Right now, these tech giants are left with an imperfect solution — a reliance on flawed technology and moderators with a finite amount of time and energy —  to the problem of completely blocking video of violent attacks from spreading.

Jon Levine contributed to this report. 

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Apple Fires Back at Spotify: Music Streamer Wants to ‘Squeeze’ Its Competitors and Artists

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

We’ve got an old fashioned tech fight on our hands. Apple shot back at Spotify late Thursday night, saying the music streamer has been “misleading” the public while spending much of the past week lambasting Apple’s “unfair advantage” against its competitors, adding that Spotify is looking to take advantage of the App Store in the same way it’s taken advantage of artists in recent years.

At the heart of the matter is Spotify’s complaint that Apple charges its competitors a 30 percent “Apple tax” anytime users upgrade their service within the App Store. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said earlier this week that Apple forces the world’s biggest music streamer to “artificially inflate” its prices — putting it at a disadvantage compared to Apple Music, its chief rival.

Spotify stopped paying the fee in 2015, opting to have its customers upgrade their service outside the App Store. Apple, in its response, said Spotify wants to “keep all the benefits” of the App Store without contributing to its upkeep.

Also Read: Spotify CEO Daniel Ek Says Apple’s Stiff Rules Place a ‘Gag Order’ on Its Competitors

“We share Spotify’s love of music and their vision of sharing it with the world. Where we differ is how you achieve that goal,” Apple said in its response. “Underneath the rhetoric, Spotify’s aim is to make more money off others’ work. And it’s not just the App Store that they’re trying to squeeze — it’s also artists, musicians and songwriters.”

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The company response comes after Apple had stayed mum for the last two days. On Tuesday, Spotify filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission against Apple, and on Wednesday, Ek said in Berlin Spotify’s relationship  with Apple had turned from something that was “mutually beneficial” to something that was “completely unsustainable.”

Apple said Spotify’s framing of the cut it receives from apps has been wrapped in “misleading rhetoric.”

“The only contribution that Apple requires is for digital goods and services that are purchased inside the app using our secure in-app purchase system,” Apple said. “As Spotify points out, that revenue share is 30 percent for the first year of an annual subscription — but they left out that it drops to 15 percent in the years after.”

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Spotify left out other important information, according to Apple, including that most of its 207 million subscribers only use the free version of its service. (Apple Music has gained 56 million paying customers, compared to 97 million for Spotify, since launching four years ago.) Apple argued much of Spotify’s success is due to the App Store — and failing to contribute part of its revenue is unethical.

“Spotify wouldn’t be the business they are today without the App Store ecosystem, but now they’re leveraging their scale to avoid contributing to maintaining that ecosystem for the next generation of app entrepreneurs. We think that’s wrong,” Apple said.

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Lori Loughlin’s YouTuber Daughter Olivia Jade Is Dropped by Sephora as College Admissions Bribe Case Unfolds

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Sephora has dropped its partnership with YouTuber Olivia Jade Giannulli on Thursday, two days after her parents, “Fuller House” star Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, were charged in a nationwide college admissions cheat…

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek Says Apple’s Stiff Rules Place a ‘Gag Order’ on Its Competitors

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Spotify CEO Daniel Ek continued to rip Apple on Thurday, one day after the music streaming service filed an anti-competition complaint against the tech giant with the European Commission, saying what started off as a “mutually beneficial relation…

Twitter’s Camera-Driven Redesign Mirrors Popular Snapchat and Instagram Features

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Twitter is rolling out a major redesign on Wednesday, aiming to encourage users to share more pictures and videos, with its new features mirroring some of the more popular aspects of competitors like Snapchat and Instagram.

The app update’s key difference is that it will make it easier for users to quickly access the camera function. Once the app update hits their phone, users can swipe left from their timeline in order to take pictures. Previously, users had a more circuitous route to adding a picture or video, needing to tap the camera icon after clicking its compose tweet button on the bottom right of its app. Another swipe allows users to record video or live audio.

The easy-access camera isn’t the only change that’s similar to Snapchat. Users can add color, hashtags, location, and up to its standard 280 characters of text on pictures, drawing on some of the staple features of Snapchat and Instagram.

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Twitter will also recommend locations for users to tag in their pictures based on events that they’re close to, with Engadget reporting that Twitter will initially place an emphasis on sports games and other big events. Twitter wants the new features, which were unveiled at South-by-Southwest in Austin, Texas, to allow users to better engage with topics and events that they’re interested in or nearby.

“It knows where you are and what’s going on around you,” Keith Coleman, Twitter’s head of product, told NBC. “So if you’re at SXSW, it knows that, and it will suggest you add the SXSW hashtag.”

Additional major changes could also be released. Twitter is experimenting with hiding the number of likes and retweets each tweet gets behind a tap, according to NBC. The outlet had to issue a correction on Wednesday afternoon after initially reporting Twitter was considering completely removing the number of likes and retweets each tweet receives, something that would’ve fundamentally altered the app. The move could be another push towards improving the “health of the conversation” on Twitter, something that chief executive Jack Dorsey and other company execs have stressed in the last year.

NBC has a CORRECTION on its New Twitter story and it’s important pic.twitter.com/6VEHv34XCg

— Gene Park (@GenePark) March 13, 2019

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Facebook and Instagram Are Down for Some Users

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

If you’re unable to access Facebook or Instagram, you’re not alone. The social network and the popular pictures/video sharing app are both experiencing an outage on Wednesday, with many frustrated users venting on Twitter.

“We’re aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps. We’re working to resolve the issue as soon as possible,” a Facebook spokesperson told TheWrap.

Facebook has been down since about 10:15 a.m. PT for many users, with downdetector.com, a website that tracks outages, receiving more than 10,000 reported problems between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. PT.

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Some users who are unable to access Facebook from their desktop computers have been able to use its app without issue on an iPhone. According to The Independent, many Facebook users were greeted with a message that said that the site was “down for maintenance” when they visited on Wednesday. Instagram, meanwhile, has had difficulty loading user profiles and refreshing pictures on its timeline.

Rather than wait for Instagram or Facebook to go back online, many people — including Soulja Boy — raced to Twitter to joke and complain.

Facebook???? Instagram???? Atleast the Soulja App isn’t down ????????‍

— Soulja Boy (@souljaboy) March 13, 2019

Hello to everyone who has come back to twitter while Facebook and Instagram are down. Yes everything is still terrible and yes we are still all arguing with each other.

— TechnicallyRon (@TechnicallyRon) March 13, 2019

Me: Instagram and Facebook are down.

Wife: Oh, no. You’ll have to interact with people in person.

Me: No. There’s still Twitter.

— James Breakwell, Exploding Unicorn (@XplodingUnicorn) March 13, 2019

When #instagram is not working … Everybody run to twitter to check on it…

— Eddy Manolo (@syahchixchad) March 13, 2019

Everyone running from Instagram to twitter to see if other peoples Insta is down lmao #instagram pic.twitter.com/jKj6bnXxR9

— Nic???? (@HeyNicky_) March 13, 2019

Everyone running to twitter to see if facebook and instagram are down pic.twitter.com/lXCcHdASFx

— VT (@vtdotco) March 13, 2019

We’ll update you when both are back up and running at full capacity.

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Rupert Murdoch and News Corp Push for Google’s Breakup

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is calling for Australian regulators to break up Google, saying in a petition that the company enjoys “overwhelming” search and advertising dominance.

“Google leverages its market power in both general search services and ad tech services to the detriment of consumers, advertisers and news publishers,” News Corp. said in its petition to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. News Corp. owns several major publications, including Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and a number of high-profile international outlets.

The petition comes a week after presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) unveiled her plan to break up tech companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google. Warren’s proposal to rein in Silicon Valley compared the current tech landscape to a modern day Gilded Age, where smaller companies are “bulldozed” by the big players. “We need to stop this generation of big tech companies from throwing around their political power to shape the rules in their favor and throwing around their economic power to snuff out or buy up every potential competitor,” Warren said.

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News Corp. recommended Google could either sell Google Search or “divest the rest of its businesses to a third party” to “remedy” the “harms” its placed on its competitors. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, reported last month it earned nearly $137 billion in revenue last year, with the vast majority of its sales stemming from its advertising business.

The company added: “While News Corp Australia recognises that divestment is a very serious step, and not a foregone conclusion in cases where there is a finding of market power, News Corp Australia considers that divestment is necessary in the case of Google, due to the unparalleled power that it currently exerts over news publishers and advertisers alike.”

Google did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

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It’s unclear how the Australian regulators, even if they’re inclined to follow each recommendation from News Corp., would begin to break up the American tech giant. Still, the proposal shows once again Murdoch’s willingness to take on Silicon Valley. Last year, Murdoch pushed Facebook, the internet’s second-biggest ad company after Google, to pay publishers a “carriage fee,” similar to cable television.

“If Facebook wants to recognize ‘trusted’ publishers then it should pay those publishers a carriage fee similar to the model adopted by cable companies,” Murdoch said.  “The publishers are obviously enhancing the value and integrity of Facebook through their news and content but are not being adequately rewarded for those services.”

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Elizabeth Warren Rips Facebook After It Reinstates Pulled Ads

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren ripped Facebook on Monday night, saying it has “too much power,” after the social network removed — and later reinstated — her ads lambasting the company and other tech giants for trampling competition.

The ads came after the presidential candidate recently unveiled her plan to break up “anti-competitive” tech mergers, like Facebook’s buyout of WhatsApp and Instagram.

“Three companies have vast power over our economy and our democracy. Facebook, Amazon, and Google,” the ads, which started running last Friday, said. “We all use them. But in their rise to power, they’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field in their favor.”

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The ads were taken down for violating Facebook’s ad policy, Politico first reported Monday. A Facebook rep told the outlet the ads were pulled for using the company’s logo but were later reinstated to encourage “robust debate.” Facebook did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

Warren weighed in on the matter on Twitter soon after Politico’s story broke. “Curious why I think [Facebook] has too much power? Let’s start with their ability to shut down a debate over whether [it] has too much power.”

Curious why I think FB has too much power? Let’s start with their ability to shut down a debate over whether FB has too much power. Thanks for restoring my posts. But I want a social media marketplace that isn’t dominated by a single censor. #BreakUpBigTech https://t.co/UPS6dozOxn

— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) March 11, 2019

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Warren added in a follow-up tweet, “you shouldn’t have to contact Facebook’s publicists in order for them to decide to ‘allow robust debate’ about Facebook. They shouldn’t have that much power.”

Warren’s proposal to rein in Silicon Valley last week compared the current tech landscape to a modern day Gilded Age, where smaller companies are unable to compete with the big players. “We need to stop this generation of big tech companies from throwing around their political power to shape the rules in their favor and throwing around their economic power to snuff out or buy up every potential competitor,” Warren said.

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Google Paid Former VP up to $45 Million to Leave Company After Being Accused of Sexual Misconduct

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The board of directors at Alphabet, Google’s parent company, agreed to pay a former high-ranking executive up to $45 million when he left the company in early 2016 following an accusation of sexual misconduct, according to court documents released on Monday.

The payout to Amit Singhal, a former senior vice president overseeing Google Search, came after he was accused of drunkenly groping an employee at an off-campus event, according to The New York Times. The company investigated the employee’s accusation and found it to be “credible,” per the Times.

The previously undisclosed exit package was revealed in a shareholder lawsuit against Alphabet, which said that the board acted irresponsibly by paying former executives accused of sexual misconduct rather than firing them for cause.

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Singhal was paid a combined $30 million for the first two years after he left Google in February 2016, according to the suit, and between $5 million and $15 million for his third year away from the company, depending on whether he worked for a competitor. According to the Times, Singhal took a job at Uber a year after he left Google, but resigned a few weeks later after the accusations became public.

Google has “made many changes to our workplace and taken an increasingly hard line on inappropriate conduct by people in positions of authority,” a company spokesperson told the NYT. “There are serious consequences for anyone who behaves inappropriately at Google.”

For Google’s critics, the payout reinforces a disturbing trend. Last fall, it was reported Google paid Android co-founder Andy Rubin $90 million when he left the company in 2014 after an employee said that he “coerced” her into having oral sex. A rep for Rubin denied any sexual misconduct accusations in October.

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In a company-wide email from CEO Sundar Pichai in October, he said Google had fired 48 people in the last two years for sexual misconduct, including 13 people who were “senior managers and above.” The following week, hundreds of Google workers around the world walked out to protest the company’s perceived mishandling of sexual misconduct accusations.

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Spotify Premium Members Now Get Ad-Supported Hulu for Free

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Starting Tuesday, Spotify Premium subscribers will now receive access to ad-supported Hulu at no additional cost, signaling the latest partnership between the world’s biggest streaming service and the streaming home of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

New Spotify Premium customers can get a free 30-day trial, then are charged $10 per month for both services. The offer is also available to existing Spotify Premium subscribers, who are able to immediately activate their Hulu accounts.

The $10 per month combo package comes almost a year after Hulu and Spotify offered a similar package for $13 per month last year. (Customers paying the old prices will be automatically migrated to the new prices.) Hulu recently dropped the price of its ad-supported streaming from $7.99 per month to $5.99 per month; its “no commercials” plan remains $11.99 per month.

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One hangup, as The Verge pointed out, is that customers won’t receive Showtime — something that is included in Spotify’s $5-per-month student plans when they sign up for Hulu’s ad-supported streaming.

Spotify Premium subscribers will be “restricted,” per The Verge, from adding HBO or Showtime to their free Hulu service, meaning they’ll need to download and pay for the individual apps to watch the latest seasons of “Game of Thrones” or “Billions.”

The companies said the offer is available until June 10 or as long as supplies last.

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