A number of editors and others have been let go from Vanity Fair and other Conde Nast publications. CNN also fired about 50 staffers from its digital operations as it seeks to “restructure” that department.

One can only imagine the number of “Hillary Did 9/11” and “Obama’s Deep State Redistricted You” documentaries that will be available on the new OTT streaming service Fox News is planning.

I have some very strong opinions about the news that MAD Magazine is getting a reboot including a new image and more after a move to Los Angeles that wasn’t made by John Ficarra and other longtime staffers. *Very* strong opinions.

Marketing / Advertising

Considering how bit “unboxing” videos are it makes a lot of sense that consumer goods companies are introducing more experiential products that are well-suited for creating fun videos.

More and more companies are starting their own in-house creative shops, eschewing traditional agencies in the process. Those owned operations are better positioned to pivot with corporate changes and are more responsive to feedback. It also saves money (now that more people know how to effectively manage things like programmatic advertising) and builds an internal knowledge base. I have to wonder, though, how many of the people in these shops are actual employees and how many are contractors.

I get and totally understand what the author is saying here regarding brands building “belonging,” but it also seems like it’s being narrowly defined in that piece. The same concept applies to bumper stickers, jacket patches and other signals by which we use the things we like as a shorthand for who we are and what we enjoy.

Oh hey, this is why you have social media policies that apply to everyone up and down the organization, so random executives don’t go on misguided tweetstorms about company issues that later have to be walked back and contraindicated in later official statements.

Little Debbie wants to challenge MoonPie’s status as everyone’s favorite Twitter account by doling out relationship advice.

And Spotify may follow Snapchat’s example with hints it’s planning to expand into physical products.

Social Media

Regular reminder that the price of international growth of the platforms managed by tech companies is they’re occasionally all-too willing to comply with governmental requests to take down “offensive” material that’s questionably both legal and ethical. Now extrapolate that out and ask yourself what happens (if it hasn’t already) if the U.S. government asks these companies to take down posts that complicate international relations.

Last week’s news that a judge had ruled linking to content did not constitute copyright infringement is countered by this week’s less-than-great news that a different judge says embedding Tweets *is* copyright infringement. While I do have concerns, I think what this means for media companies is that they need to not use photos or other media they either haven’t licensed themselves or at least can prove the provenance of. That should be common sense and would mostly, based on my reading of the case, infringe on their rights to publish low-quality “Everyone is talking about this photo of…” content. Nieman Lab has some more informed commentary.

It’s not surprising at all that Facebook’s methodology for determining that “just 5%” of what people see in their News Feed is actual news is somewhat sketchy and rife with eyebrow-raising oversights.

Speaking of gaping holes, there are plenty in Facebook’s plan to use mailed postcards to “verify” a U.S. address for anyone looking to buy political ads that mention or endorse a specific candidate. One of the most glaring is that this won’t be applied to buying issues-based ads, where were shown to be one of the most common used by Russian agents in the last couple years. It also overlooks how one of the frequent tactics used were contracting with U.S. citizens to act as sock puppets, something easily replicable here.

There is a tangible decline in referral traffic from Facebook after the most recent changes were put into effect. Not surprising for a number of reasons, including a new report showing people are spending less time on the platform.

Snapchat has added Giphy integration along with changes to how Stories are organized.


Interesting profile of WeWork, but I’m having a hard time not going full-on cynical about the company. Not only does it seem to be filled with the same cult-of-the-genius-founder thinking I thought was played out, but its vision seems to be one of Company Town 3.0, where you never need to leave the confines of a single area for any purpose. Finally, you lose me anytime you start talking about for-profit education, bro.

AT&T has made streaming through its owned VOD services part of its “sponsored data” plan where usage doesn’t count against data usage by prepaid customers. This is exactly why net neutrality is such a big idea, though mobile companies have been doing this for a while. They want you to use their owned services instead of, say, Netflix, because you won’t burn data while doing so. That’s called “unfair advantage.”

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Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.