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.

Also Read: Facebook’s Top-Secret Content Moderators Smoke Marijuana to ‘Numb Their Emotions,’ Report Says

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. 

Related stories from TheWrap:

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

Candace Owens Ripped for ‘LOL’ Reaction After New Zealand Massacre Suspect Named Her Biggest Influence

Death Toll in New Zealand Mosque Shootings Rises to 49

How Wattpad Is Courting Streamers and Producers Worldwide With User-Generated Stories (and Data)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

With studios like Disney and WarnerMedia hoarding content in preparation to launch streaming services, original content has become a priority among streamer’s attempting to build their subscriber base.

Hoping to capitalize on this trend is Wattpad, a text-based storytelling platform with more than 500 million user-generated stories and over 70 million users around the globe. The first fruits of Wattpad’s push into filmed content can already be seen: “Light as a Feather,” a supernatural thriller based on Zoe Aarsen’s episodic Wattpad stories that has gotten 3.3 million reads, debuted as a 10-part Hulu series last October — and last month got greenlit for a second season.

Sony Pictures Television last year announced plans to develop a series based on Katarina E. Tonks’ “Death is My BFF,” a story about a sarcastic Angel of Death who meets his match that garnered 92 million reads on Wattpad.

The Toronto-based company has also partnered with Universal Cable Productions (a division of NBCUniversal), eOne, Syfy and the CW Seed to create additional projects. And after raising $117.1 million from investors including Tencent, BDC, Globe Telecom’s Kickstart Ventures, Peterson Group, Canso and Raine, the text-based app hopes to expand its initial success with filmed entertainment projects into territories like Korea, Germany, Indonesia and India, where it has a growing readership.

Also Read: Wattpad to Launch Video Content in Korea via New Partnership With Huayi Brothers

Wattpad offers more than just tens of thousands of user-generated stories to be adapted for film, TV and other entertainment projects — and a built-in fan base for its most popular content. By analyzing the trends emerging within its platform, the company believes it can offer entertainment partners data-backed content that will successfully connect with audiences worldwide.

“Right now the industry uses test audiences to understand how viewers will react to finished products,” head of Wattpad Studios Aron Levitz said. “We want to turn that process upside down, starting with audience insights first, and then making decisions based on what people are already excited about.”

The most popular stories on the platform, who are already compensated through in-story ads and donations from readers, receive additional compensation if a story is picked up by a studio or streamer (the amount varies).

Wattpad’s promise for international markets is data-backed content that can target specific demographics. Using machine-learning artificial intelligence, the company said it can identify plot line and subject trends taking place throughout content posted to its site. It can then narrow down the trends to specific regions and languages. These trends could include highlighting underlying themes, pointing out genres that drive the most interaction and identifying the most-read subjects on the platform.

Also Read: Hulu Orders Horror Series ‘Light as a Feather’ From Kelsey Grammer and Awesomeness TV

“In a country like Indonesia, we found that the most popular romance stories tend to fall into a sort of Muslim romance, arranged-marriage kind of trope,” said Dexter Ong, who oversees Wattpad Asia Studios, which last August partnered with the Asian streaming company iflix to produce 26 films based on stories and trends on the platform.

Ong’s data is derived from the more than 9 million Indonesian readers engaging with stories by “liking” or commenting, down to a specific paragraph.

“It’s a bit tough in this part of the world to fill the demand for original content,” Ong said, noting that many Asian countries have small entertainment business and less creative talent compared to Hollywood. “So when you’re able to bring a solution where we have a tremendous volume of locally relevant authentic stories that are written in a local language and we have the data to back,” he added, it’s a big plus for a company like iflix.

Iflix, which is to announce the first slate of titles to come out of its Wattpad deal in the coming weeks, sees the advantages. “We now have the opportunity to work with thousands of talented Indonesian writers to bring their stories to life for millions of iflix users in Indonesia,” iflix chief content officer Sean Carey said.

Also Read: Wattpad Launches Virtual Currency to Help Its Creators Get Paid

Wattpad also sees opportunities in India, announcing a partnership on Wednesday with Times Bridge, the global investment arm of the Times Group in India, to develop locally-produced Wattpad stories for adaptation into books, TV shows, films, and digital projects.

The platform currently has 2.6 million users and stories in multiple Indian languages including Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, Assamese, Marathi and Oriya. Given the diverse number of languages spoken in India, a promise of content that can target a specific group is something that is welcomed by those breaking into the country.

“Millions of Indian readers and writers have already found a home Wattpad,” Devashish Sharma, Wattpad’s head of India operations, said. “Times Bridge and The Times Group have an unmatched media and entertainment portfolio, and connections with some of India’s most respected authors and cultural figures. We’re excited to work together to create new opportunities for Indian storytellers.”

Also Read: How YouTube Has Outpaced Netflix and Amazon in India

Additionally, Wattpad recently laid roots in Korea, where it partnered with a talent agency and production company Huayi Brothers Korea to produce content based on Wattpad IP. The partnership is open to any Wattpad stories available on the platform internationally. The Huayi Brothers Korea partnership follows a similar deal Wattpad signed in June with the German-based company Bavaria Fiction, which will also adapt content based on Wattpad stories.

“All across the industry, projects fail. Shows are canceled and films bomb. Why? Because executives make decisions based on what they think will work. People rely on their experience to rationalize intuitive decision-making,” Levitz said. “We’re coming to the end of that era.”


Related stories from TheWrap:

Wattpad to Launch Video Content in Korea via New Partnership With Huayi Brothers

Wattpad Launches Virtual Currency to Help Its Creators Get Paid

‘Light as a Feather’ Renewed for Season 2 at Hulu

Cinedigm to Buy Future Today Ad-Supported Video Network in $60 Million Deal

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Digital entertainment company Cinedigm on Friday announced plans to acquire Future Today Inc., a video platform company and AVOD channel network, for $45 million in cash and $15 million in Cinedigm common stock.
Future Today brings with it a network of…

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.”

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

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.”

Also Read: Brie Larson to Star in CIA Drama Series at Apple

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.

Related stories from TheWrap:

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

Spotify Files Antitrust Complaint Against Apple and Its ‘Unfair Advantage’

Spotify Premium Members Now Get Ad-Supported Hulu for Free

Why Social Impact Entertainment Is Ready for the Spotlight in Hollywood (Guest Blog)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Last month’s Oscars represented a breakthrough — not only for the diversity of winners, but for a larger idea that has been gaining momentum in recent years: that mass entertainment and deeper social messages are not mutually exclusive, but rather an opportunity for Hollywood to do well and do good at the same time.

The extraordinary range of winning films, which addressed themes of racism to social class to sexual identity, put a spotlight on the growing desire of large audiences to grapple with — and in many cases influence — some of the world’s most thorny issues. Winners and nominees like “Green Book,” “Roma,” “If Beale Street Could Talk,” “The Wife,” “BlackKklansman,” “Vice” and “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” show us that in a world of “fake news” and “alternative facts,” people are hungering for more reality.

“The State of Social Impact Entertainment” (SIE), released on March 5, is a landmark report that explores this emergent field in depth, examining what actually works to capture and engage audiences in this noisy and mobile age; why social impact entertainment’s financial potential keeps growing; and how creators can learn from the successes and failures of others.

Also Read: Ruth Carter and Hannah Beachler Reflect on Being First Black Winners in Their Oscar Categories

SIE comes in many forms. From digital short form to feature films, TV series, plays and virtual reality, the increasing diversity of media gives social conscious creators great flexibility to tell their stories in ways that maximize engagement and impact with target audiences. Of course, good intentions are not enough — a great story is still of paramount importance. And so is building strong and early partnerships with leaders, organizations and communities to enable organic support for a project to grow and flourish. After all, buzz drives distribution, especially in the age of social media.

In the run-up to the Oscars, I was struck by a February 12 essay by Carvell Wallace in The New York Times Magazine, anticipating the opening night of Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther,” for which Wallace bought eight tickets “as soon as they were available — the first time in my life I’ve done that.” He added, “Beyond the question of what the movie will bring to African-Americans sits what might be a more important question: What will black people bring to ‘Black Panther’? The film arrives as a corporate product, but we are using it for our own purposes….”

Also Read: Why the ‘Green Book’ Oscar Victory Has Divided Hollywood

That’s the promise, potential and power of social impact entertainment — to engage audiences in larger ideas, and empower them to translate emotions into actions in the world around them. As Leonardo DiCaprio — himself a champion of SIE — writes, “you want to make sure that your audience walks away with a clear understanding of the steps they can take in their own lives to be part of the change you are seeking to create.”

Of course, there is no formula for success in SIE. As “The State of SIE” reveals, however, there are approaches that tend to yield greater dividends. Ultimately, this report is intended as a guidebook for current and future industry leaders and storytellers who want to engage others in addressing issues that are too complex for any single person to solve. And for those hoping to make a difference in this world, the spotlight has never been brighter.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Roma’ Star Yalitza Aparicio on That ‘Shocking’ Hospital Scene: ‘I Didn’t Know What Was Going to Happen’ (Video)

How ‘Black Panther’ Designers Hannah Beachler and Ruth E Carter Built Wakanda With ‘a Root in Africa and Functionality’

Is ‘Black Panther’ About Survivor’s Remorse? (Podcast)

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

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

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…

Gary Barber’s Spyglass Media Group Hires Cheryl Rodman as Chief Legal Officer

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Gary Barber announced on Thursday that he’s brought on former colleague Cheryl Rodman to serve as chief legal officer for his latest venture, Spyglass Media Group.

Rodman’s hiring comes a day after Spyglass CEO Gary Barber and Lantern Entertainment co-presidents Andy Mitchell and Milos Brajovic partnered to launch the independent content company. The new venture will develop, finance and produce premium content for theatrical, network, cable and streaming platforms as well as acquire assets and explore strategic opportunities.

In her role, Rodman will oversee all legal matters and business & legal affairs for the company, including corporate matters and strategic growth initiatives. She will report to Barber.

Also Read: Lantern Entertainment Partners With Gary Barber to Launch Spyglass Media Group

“I have had the pleasure of working alongside Cheryl at several companies over the years and always relied on her measured and savvy counsel,” Barber said in a statement. “Cheryl is a powerhouse whose extensive legal experience, negotiating skills, and business acumen will serve our company well as we continue to build Spyglass into a formidable premium content company.”

Rodman recently held the position of executive vice president and deputy general counsel for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., serving on the business and legal affairs team handling major corporate and financial transactions and strategic investments.

Before MGM, Rodman was the general counsel and executive vice president of Spyglass Entertainment, the production, finance and distribution company Barber co-founded in 1998.  Prior to joining Spyglass Entertainment, Rodman was an associate of Troop Meisinger Steuber & Pasich and Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP. She holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA.

“I am thrilled to rejoin Gary at Spyglass and be a part of the company’s evolution and growth,” Rodman said in a statement.

Also Read: MGM Partners With Lantern Entertainment to Develop, Distribute ‘Boys in the Boat’

In addition to Lantern, the Spyglass Media Group partnership includes as strategic investors Italy’s largest indie distributor, Eagle Pictures, and Cineworld Group, one of the world’s largest cinema chains..

In July 2018, Lantern acquired the assets of The Weinstein Company out of bankruptcy for $289 million. It walked away with three unreleased films after haggling with filmmakers and producers over the rights to some of the projects, and a library of content.

Through the new venture, Spyglass will own and control all of Lantern Entertainment’s current assets, including a wealth of development projects and more than 250 film library titles, as well as scripted and unscripted television series, such as “Project Runway,” which will return home to Bravo for its 17th season when it premieres March 14.

Lantern’s library of films acquired in the TWC sale include Academy Award winners “The King’s Speech” and “The Artist;” box office hits “Inglourious Basterds,”Silver Linings Playbook,” “The Hateful Eight” and “Django Unchained” and genre franchises “Hellraiser” and “Scream.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘The Current War,’ ‘Polaroid’ Get Overseas Distribution in Lantern Entertainment Partnership With 13 Films

STXFilms Lands Global Rights to Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston Film ‘The Upside’ From Lantern Entertainment

Lantern Finally Owns The Weinstein Company’s Remains – Now What?

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

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

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…

Layoffs Strike CMT as Part of Reorg: Heads of Marketing and Nashville Office Both Let Go

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Layoffs struck CMT on Wednesday as part of a company reorg, TheWrap has learned. Anthony Barton, the head of CMT marketing, and Suzanne Norman, the head of its Nashville office, are among those out.

A number of employees — we’re told in the double digits — had their positions eliminated today, with the majority of the job cuts coming in the former Country Music Television’s marketing department. Other departments hit include music, scheduling, communications and events, as the groups move toward full integration into Viacom’s music group, which also houses MTV, VH1 and Logo.

A “significant” number of employees in those departments will remain, a network insider told us. The restructuring is for growth potential and is not unlike what MTV went through a few years ago.

Also Read: CMT Orders Nashville Version of ‘Hollywood Squares’ (Exclusive)

Chris McCarthy, the president of MTV, VH1, Logo and CMT, sent the below memo to his staff today:

Hi everyone,
We have made great progress over the last couple of years to fully harness the creative power of our collective group.
By integrating our departments across brands, removing silos and developing best-in-class creative teams, we are building a stronger group together.
Today, we are taking the next step – as we finalize the integration of CMT with a new, simplified structure.  Moving forward, the CMT marketing, music, scheduling, communications and event production teams will be fully integrated within our group, under our existing unified leadership team. Several CMT leads will be taking on expanded roles working across all of our brands, particularly in partnership marketing and event production.
Unfortunately, however, this new structure does mean some hard changes. A number of our CMT marketing colleagues will be leaving including Anthony Barton, the head of CMT marketing, and Suzanne Norman, the head of our Nashville office.
Suzanne and Anthony are passionate champions for the CMT brand and we are very grateful for their many years of dedication. Without them, and many of our CMT colleagues, it would not be as strong as it is today. Please join me in thanking them and wishing everyone continued success.
The heart and soul of CMT is our music programming, tentpoles and deep connection to Nashville – which will be at the center of CMT’s growth plan forward. Through increased programming and events, we will further amplify Nashville and its thriving country music scene. More to come on this shortly.
Thank you for your continued support as we transform our group and the company for the future.

Also Read: Lionsgate Lays Off 20 More Staffers

The Nashville office will remain the center for CMT as the channel doubles down on branding around the Tennessee city. The Viacom-owned cable channel is going hard on country music, and fans of that strategy can expect more content — including tentpole series — to be announced in the coming weeks.

Last week, Paramount Network (which is also owned by Viacom, as is VH1) announced that it was taking the “Wife Swap” revival off of CMT’s plate — err, slate.

Keith Cox, president of development of Paramount Network and (Viacom’s) TV Land, who developed “Wife Swap” for CMT, pushed to keep it with him at Paramount Network after CMT moved out of their network group, an insider said. The series will debut on the Paramount Network Thursday, April 4. Get more info — and a trailer — here.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Pluto TV CEO on Impact of $340 Million Viacom Deal – and a Possible Premium Streaming Plan

Paramount Network Hit With Layoffs Amid Viacom Restructuring

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.

Also Read: Twitter Co-Founder Ev Williams Steps Down From Company’s Board of Directors

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

— Gene Park (@GenePark) March 13, 2019

Related stories from TheWrap:

Twitter Experiments With Feature That Hides Replies

James Woods Denounces Handshakes as ‘The Most Barbaric Custom’ in Twitter Vent

Jacob Wohl Banned by Twitter for ‘Operating Fake Accounts’

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, a website that tracks outages, receiving more than 10,000 reported problems between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. PT.

Also Read: Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick to Voice Facebook Watch Animated Series From ‘BoJack Horseman’ Producer

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

— Nic???? (@HeyNicky_) March 13, 2019

Everyone running to twitter to see if facebook and instagram are down

— VT (@vtdotco) March 13, 2019

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

Related stories from TheWrap:

How Doing Things Media Laughed It Up to 30 Million Instagram Followers and a TV Show in 2 Years

‘Gay Muslim’ Instagram Account Vanishes After Pressure From Indonesian Officials

Lena Headey Goes Full Cersei Lannister on Instagram Troll Who Disses Her No-Makeup Look

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.

Also Read: Rupert Murdoch and Sons Pay Soars as Fox-Disney Deal Awaits Completion

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.

Also Read: Google and Facebook’s Complete and Total Digital Ad Domination Explained in 1 Chart

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.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal Rips Trump for ‘Absurd’ and ‘Cracked History’ of Afghanistan

Did Nick Clegg Audition for Top Facebook Job With 2017 Essay Defending Company Against Rupert Murdoch?

Malcolm McDowell to Play Rupert Murdoch in Roger Ailes Film

Elizabeth Warren Rips Facebook After It Reinstates Pulled Ads

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

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.”

Also Read: Facebook Removes 783 Iranian Accounts for ‘Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior’

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

— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) March 11, 2019

Also Read: ‘Gay Muslim’ Instagram Account Vanishes After Pressure From Indonesian Officials

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.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Facebook Commits to New ‘Privacy First’ Mantra, Mark Zuckerberg Says

Is Facebook Stuck in a No-Win Position When It Comes to Moderating Content?

Facebook’s Top-Secret Content Moderators Smoke Marijuana to ‘Numb Their Emotions,’ Report Says

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

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

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.

Also Read: Google Employee Found Dead in Company’s New York City Headquarters

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.

Also Read: Google Workers Walk Out Globally Over Handling of Sexual Harassment

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.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Google and Facebook’s Complete and Total Digital Ad Domination Explained in 1 Chart

FX Boss John Landgraf Bashes Google and Facebook’s ‘Winner-Take-All’ Mentality: ‘Not a Good Thing for Society’

Google’s Top Trending Terms of 2018: You Might Be Able to Guess the Top Pick

Spotify Premium Members Now Get Ad-Supported Hulu for Free

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

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.

Also Read: Former ESPN Anchor Jemele Hill to Host New Spotify Podcast ‘Unbothered’

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.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Michael Jackson Songs Still Streaming on Spotify, Apple Music – Unlike Post-Accusation Ban on R Kelly

Spotify Bets Big on Podcasts With Gimlet and Anchor Deals, Pegs Another $500 Million for Acquisitions

Spotify in Talks to Buy Podcast Company Gimlet for More Than $200 Million in Cash (Report)

Disney’s Acquisition of Fox Expected to Close Next Week

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

We finally have a date for Disney’s official takeover of most of 21st Century Fox’s film and TV assets: The media landscape’s latest megadeal should officially close next Wednesday.

“The acquisition is expected to become effective at 12:02 a.m. Eastern Time on March 20, 2019,” Disney said Tuesday a media release.

The head’s-up to reporters was actually part of an announcement stating that Disney expects “No further extension of exchange offers and consent solicitations” tied to the acquisition. The real news was buried in the middle of the fifth paragraph.

Also Read: Bob Iger Stands by New Disney-ABC Execs Peter Rice, Dana Walden After ‘Bones’ vs Fox Judgment

Earlier this month, Disney chief Bob Iger said the agreement would be consummated “soon.” The companies had been shooting to get all regulatory approvals cleared in the first quarter of 2019, but technically had until the end of Q2.

The Hollywood-shaking deal was first announced back in December 2017. At the time, the Walt Disney Company’s takeover of much of 21st Century Fox was a bargain at $52.4 billion in stock. Enter Comcast and cue a subsequent bidding war, and the purchase price eventually skyrocketed all the way to $71.3 billion in cash and stock. Comcast’s offer was $65 billion in cash.

For all that dough and those DIS shares, the Mouse House will take in almost everything Fox owns, with notable exceptions including news, sports and the Fox broadcast channel. Disney also does not get Fox’s studio lot, but it has a long-term lease on the property.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Disney Boss Bob Iger Says 20th Century Fox Will Continue to Make Films Under Its Own Brands

Original Disney Mouseketeer Dennis Day Has Been Missing Since July

Adult Swim Signs New Programming Partnership With Crunchyroll, Expands Distribution Agreement

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Adult Swim has expanded its distribution partnership with Crunchyroll, allowing it to tap the streaming service’s content library to fill its “Toonami” programming block, which consists mostly of anime programming.

Crunchyroll is an anime-centric streaming service owned by AT&T via OtterMedia, a division that was recently placed under the WarnerMedia umbrella following the telco’s acquisition of the company.

Previously, Crunchyroll partnered with Adult Swim to premiere its original series “Mob Psycho 100” on the cable network.

Also Read: Inside Crunchyroll’s 4-Prong Approach to Driving Revenue

Under the new agreement, Crunchyroll will distribute a collection of anime TV series on Adult Swim’s Toonami. However, there are no current plans to make Adult Swim’s programming available on Crunchyroll’s streaming platform, which has over 45 million registered subscribers.

“We’re exploring all options to maximize distribution for our series,” a spokesperson for Crunchyroll told TheWrap.

In addition to the expanded distribution deal, the two companies say they will continue to collaborate on licensed content and co-productions. Previously, the two worked together on “Blade Runner – Black Lotus,” an anime series and co-production with Alcon Television Group based on the Oscar-winning movie “Blade Runner 2049.” The English-dubbed episodes are expected to premiere on “Toonami” while Crunchyroll will handle worldwide streaming.

Also Read: Crunchyroll’s ‘Mob Psycho 100’ to Play in More Than 500 Movie Theaters

“Our partnership with Crunchyroll will open up exciting new possibilities for both of us,” said Jason DeMarco, SVP and creative director for on-air at Adult Swim. “This will expand Toonami’s already great programming to include even more premiere and original anime. It’s a great time to be an anime fan!”

Adult Swim reaches an estimated 94 million households, while Crunchyroll says it has 45 million registered users and two million paying subscribers.  The expanded partnership between the two companies is another product of AT&T’s takeover of Time Warner, which has resulted in WarnerMedia’s assets working more in tandem, and a series of layoffs and resignations as the company looks to eliminate redundancies.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Inside Crunchyroll’s 4-Prong Approach to Driving Revenue

‘Blade Runner 2049’-Inspired Anime Series in the Works From Crunchyroll, Adult Swim

5 Questions With Ellation’s Eric Berman on the Importance of Aggregation in a Saturated OTT Market

How Doing Things Media Laughed It Up to 30 Million Instagram Followers and a TV Show in 2 Years

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The key to a booming network of Instagram accounts? Making people laugh, according to Doing Things Media co-founders Reid Hailey and Derek Lucas.

Two years after launching, Doing Things Media now has more than 30 million people following its array of social media accounts, combining for 500 million views each month. On Instagram, where the lion’s share of its fans are, you can find a small army of “Doing Things” accounts — “Animals Doing Things,” “Drunk People Doing Things” — dedicated to finding and posting funny videos. Staples include dogs wearing sunglasses and looking cute on boats and drunk people doing, well, stupid stuff.

Doing Things Media is also leveraging its library of 100,000 clips, partnering with Netflix, Tinder and MTV’s “Ridiculousness” to share content. It’s also brought a TV show, “Howie Mandel’s Animals Doing Things,” to Nat Geo Wild, where the comedian narrates the funniest and quirkiest videos from the “Animals Doing Things” Instagram account. The show’s second season will air this summer.

“Everything is lighthearted and fun on all of our brands,” 28-year-old Hailey told TheWrap. “We come from a place where we started in memes, where if it isn’t funny it doesn’t work. All of our pages have that theme to it.”

Also Read: Pluto TV CEO on Impact of $340 Million Viacom Deal – and a Possible Premium Streaming Plan

But how do you know which videos will and will not rack up the likes, follows and views on Instagram? It’s an inexact science, but one they’ve “definitely learned over time,” Hailey said, after going through “hundreds of thousands of videos” in the last few years.

The most important thing to their millennial and Gen-Z audience is the internal urge to share a video to someone else after first seeing it. “If you want to show it to someone else, if you think it’s funny or interesting, then other people are going to want to show it to other people, too,” Hailey said.

That’s the mantra Hailey and Lucas have passed on to their Atlanta-based team of 20- to 30-year-old employees who are now charged with going through thousands of video submissions each month.

Also Read: How Instagram Has Given Classic Shows Like ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘The Simpsons’ a Second Life

Still, when pressed on what it takes to make videos really pop on Instagram, Lucas said it takes more than just a good clip. Instagram, after an early-2017 algorithm shift placed an increased emphasis on video, is now flooded with an endless stream of clips. Lucas said it’s critical to “create a narrative” around clips — even if it doesn’t necessarily fit the video’s original theme — that will resonate with Instagram’s young audience. Sometimes, finding that narrative can take months.

“We [received] a video where a mom and a dad, probably middle-aged, and some 20-year-olds were all drunk eating fast food. And one kid had food spilled all over himself. And the description that got sent to us what they were bar-hopping. I tested that video out on ‘Drunk People Doing Things’ and it did mediocre,” Lucas, 29, recounted.

“I came back to it about six months later and decided to put a caption on it that they ate edibles with their parents and we tried it out with that, a totally different narrative, and it went super-viral.”

Also Read: Instagram Stories Just Passed 500 Million Daily Users

Doing Things Media, like many other media companies, has grown in large part thanks to repurposing content generated by everyday users of the internet. This budding industry has recently been in the spotlight, with F—Jerry, the wildly popular Instagram account, skewered in the last month for taking jokes and memes and failing to acknowledge their original creators. Barstool Sports was also roundly criticized last week for the same transgression.

Lucas said Doing Things Media doesn’t want to make the same mistake as F—Jerry, where it’s essentially stealing other people’s work. Instead, Lucas and Hailey credit creators for their video and give a “submitted by” shout-out on all Doing Things” Instagram posts.

“We’re definitely well aware of what’s happening with F—Jerry,” Lucas said. “We want people to have an incentive to submit videos to us. That’s kind of what powers the business, and we also want to help them out.

“We grew our whole business with originals memes and content and crediting people, and I think that’s what kind of makes us different from some of the other people in this space,” he added. “We really respect creative voices.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Gay Muslim’ Instagram Account Vanishes After Pressure From Indonesian Officials

Lena Headey Goes Full Cersei Lannister on Instagram Troll Who Disses Her No-Makeup Look

Instagram Stories Just Passed 500 Million Daily Users