Welcome to The Fix’s weekly news digest! Every week, we bring you important news stories from the world of media – and try to put them in a wider context.
This week, we look at quarterly results of some social platforms and other news stories around the intersection of tech and media.
Recently, Facebook has been facing constant criticism from both left and right, ranging from its potential antitrust behavior to poor handling of hate speech to alleged censorship of US conservatives. The company’s financial results, however, tell a different story.
As the results of Q1 published last week show, Facebook revenue rose by 48% thanks to both higher prices for ads and higher volume of advertising sold. As CNBC notes, the results beat Wall Street expectations and caused Facebook stock price to go up.
According to Reuters, “he S&P 500 closed at a record high on [last] Thursday, fueled by gains on Facebook following its strong earnings report.”
This week, however, Facebook learned it would be facing a dilemma over what to do with former US president Donald Trump’s account.
On Wednesday, Facebook’s Oversight Board, a quasi-independent structure within the company that’s composed of 20 experts, activists and former politicians, decided to uphold Donald Trump’s January ban from Facebook and Instagram. However, the Board decided that it’s inappropriate for the ban to be indefinite and instructed the company to review the decision within six months.
As The New York Times’s Kevine Roose puts it, Facebook “tried to punt its Trump dilemma to a panel of experts [but] the experts punted back.”
As Facebook keeps growing its ad business, Twitter is betting on a cleaner internet.
This week, it was announced that the company is purchasing Scroll, a subscription-based service that aggregates content from news sites and removes ads. The service has deals with major publishers and charges users $5 a month.
Twitter is reportedly working on creating a new subscription service that would integrate Scroll, Revue (another subscription service recently purchased by the company), and its own services. As The Fix’s Heghine Gyulnazaryan notes, “Twitter expects to please readers frustrated by ads, while also satisfying publishers, who will be integrated into the revenue model.”
More from The Fix on the deal: Twitter is betting on a “cleaner” Internet
YouTube is instituting a new initiative designed to help journalists grow on the platform.
The company will invest $7 million on two year-long programs, Axios notes, “Creator Program for Independent Journalists” and “Sustainability Lab for Digital-First Newsrooms.” The initiatives will be designed to do what their names suggest – help individual journalists (40-60 reporters) and digital-first newsrooms (20-30 organisations).
According to Axios, “it’s the first time YouTube is spending money to fund journalism independently of the $300 million Google has dedicated to journalism programs through its Google News Initiative.”
Although one of the largest companies in the world, Amazon is not particularly known as an advertising giant. However, its ads business is in good shape and growing.
As the company’s first-quarter results suggest, Amazon’s ad revenue probably reaches almost $7 billion a quarter, with a 44% year-over-year growth rate. As CNBC reminds, “that’s almost seven times as much revenue as Twitter, which generates substantially all of its revenue through advertising.”
The perspectives for growth are good. Amazon has huge and growing traffic to its site, thanks to its crucial role during the lockdowns, and the company is developing new ad technologies.