Instagram is paying media companies to post Reels, short-form vertical video that first gained popularity on TikTok.

According to Digiday’s reporting, “Instagram is paying media companies for posting Reels that reach certain view count thresholds, according to executives at media companies participating in the program”. The program is part of Instagram’s broader attempts to get creators post Reels and wrestle with TikTok, an increasingly serious competitor for Meta. 

This money is not a meaningful source of revenue for publishers now (and likely will never be, as Meta’s previous attempts to lure publishers show). However, as Digiday reports, the payments have incentivised some media companies to produce more Reels. 

US digital media company Vice Media is exploring a potential sale to Greek broadcaster Antenna Group, The New York Times reports.

Vice Media was among the several digital media companies that attracted high valuations half a decade ago, but it has recently been struggling because of advertising decline and other factors. Vice and Antenna have “a longstanding business relationship”, with Antenna being a long-time investor. 

The deal is far from certain, NYT notes, and Antenna Group is not the only company that has expressed interest in purchasing Vice Media.

The head of Greece’s National Intelligence Service (EYP) admitted that Greek intelligence spied on a journalist, Reuters reports.

EYP’s director Panagiotis Kontoleon made the disclosure at the closed hearing of the country’s parliamentary committee in late July, according to Reuters’ sources. His service surveilled Thanasis Koukakis, finance journalist who has worked for CNN Greece and contributed to other international outlets.

Koukakis had previously announced he was monitored by the Predator surveillance software in mid-2021, having learned of this fact in early 2022. “[Digital rights group] Citizen Lab researchers [believe] his phone was infected through a text message containing a link that he clicked on July 12 [2021]”, Koukakis previously told the Committee to Protect Journalists.

In recent years, there’s been growing concern over governments’ use of surveillance software to spy on journalists and activists. Last year, a media consortium revealed the scope of authoritarian regimes and other governments surveilling activists and journalists using NSO Group’s Pegasus surveillance software.

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