Zuckerberg on Chinese censorship: Is that the internet we want?

China is exporting its social values, political ads are an important part of free expression and the definition of dangerous speech must be kept in check, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg argued today in a speech at Georgetown University. He criticized how American companies that do business with China were becoming influenced by the country’s values. “While our services like WhatsApp are used by protestors and activists everywhere due to strong encryption and privacy practices, on TikTok, the Chinese app growing quickly around the world, mentions of these same protests are censored, even here in the U.S.!” Zuckerberg said. “Is that the Internet that we want?” Because Facebook couldn’t come to an agreement with Chinese censors and thereby doesn’t operate in …

Cracking the code on podcast advertising for customer acquisition

Krystina Rubino & Lindsay Piper Shaw Podcast advertising is used very successfully as a direct-response channel with CAC on par with other consideration-stage activities. It is not just for awareness. Ads read by hosts outperform canned “programmatic” ads. Even though the term ‘podcast’ was coined in 2004, advertising in the medium has exploded in the last ~5 years. The IAB has been tracking podcast ad revenue since 2015, when the entire medium generated #105.7 million in ad sales. It recently released its third study of podcast ad revenue, which estimated the US market at $479 million in 2018, with growth accelerating to a projected  $1 billion+ by 2021. Create the team (and time!) needed to execute a campaign, whether in-house …

The Tech Oligarchs Are Going to Destroy Democracy Unless We Stop Them

When there is a general change in conditions, it is as if the entire creation had changed, and the whole world altered. Ibn Khaldun, 14th-century Arab historian the worlds five most wealthiest companiescontinue to rapidly consolidate economic, cultural, and, inevitably, political power on a scale not seen for over a century. This tiny sliver of humanity, with their relatively small cadre of engineers, data scientists, and marketers, represent a challenge to democracy, competitive capitalism, and the future of the middle class. Given their virtual monopoly status, a laissez faire approach will likely result in more consolidation; only government action of some kind can stop them now. Current concerns are large enough now that both the Trump administration and many Democrats …

Higher Ground Labs is betting tech can help sway the 2020 elections for Democrats

When Shomik Dutta and Betsy Hoover first met in 2007, he was coordinating fundraising and get-out-the-vote efforts for Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign and she was a deputy field director for the campaign. Over the next two election cycles the two would become part of an organizing and fundraising team that transformed the business of politics through its use of technology — supposedly laying the groundwork for years of Democratic dominance in organizing, fundraising, polling and grassroots advocacy. Then came Donald J. Trump and the 2016 election. For both Dutta and Hoover, the 2016 outcome was a wake-up call against complacency. What had worked for the Democratic party in 2008 and 2012 wasn’t going to be effective in future election …

Senators Want Facebook to Put a Price on Your Data. Is That Possible?

In these days of anti-tech ire, it’s a popular cocktail hour topic: How much is Facebook making off my data? Last year, I spent a month trying to find out, hawking my personal data on blockchain-based marketplaces. I came away with $0.003. On Monday, when Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia) announced a proposal to force tech companies to tell users the value of their data, he was slightly more generous, ballparking the average at $5 a month. In truth, it’s probably only Facebook or Google (and their advertisers) who could hazard a good guess. “The cards are really stacked against us,” says David Carroll, a professor of media design at the New School known for his extensive quest to reclaim his …

Africa Roundup: Jumias post-IPO earnings, Gokadas $5.3M raise, Facebooks fake-news purge, Joe Montanas fintech investment

Jumia held its first post-IPO earnings call and weathered a short-sell assault in May, with Wall Street showing confidence in the Pan-African e-commerce company. On the numbers, key takeaways were that Jumia’s Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) — the total amount of goods sold over the period — grew by 58% to €240 million. Marketplace revenue grew 102% to €16 million, and gross profits as a percentage of GMV grew by 6.5% in Q1 2019. Overall, Jumia’s operating losses for the period widened to €45.4 million from €34.3, and negative EBITDA increased to €39.5 million from €30.2. So the startup’s still losing money — see the big losses reported in the IPO filing — but is improving its ability to earn. …

Co-founder of Facebook now wants it broken up

Really?Image: MANDEL NGAN / AFP / getty Who needs deepfakes when you can just run a video at reduced speed? An edited clip of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, altered to make it look like she’s slurring her words, is making the rounds online following a Wednesday discussion at a Center for American Progress event.   The news comes by way of the Washington Post, which notes that the only digital trickery required to fool millions of Americans into thinking the Democratic congresswoman was drunk in public was to run the video at 75 percent speed and tweak the pitch.  That’s it. No fancy AI or special video editing skills were needed. If you just let out a heavy sigh, you’re …

When it comes to elections, Facebook moves slow, may still break things

This week, Facebook invited a small group of journalists — which didn’t include TechCrunch — to look at the “war room” it has set up in Dublin, Ireland, to help monitor its products for election-related content that violates its policies. (“Time and space constraints” limited the numbers, a spokesperson told us when he asked why we weren’t invited.) Facebook announced it would be setting up this Dublin hub — which will bring together data scientists, researchers, legal and community team members, and others in the organization to tackle issues like fake news, hate speech and voter suppression — back in January. The company has said it has What is not at all clear is how quickly Facebook acted to removed …