Friday Wrap #150: Gaming Wikipedia, BuzzFeed ethics, FM’s fade, greenwashing, news by GIF

Friday Wrap 150
Pixabay photo courtesy of FraukeFeind

The Friday Wrap is a review of news, posts, reports, and other items appearing in the last week that will help you stay on top of the forces shaping communication in this fast-paced, ever-changing environment. These are stories that may have been lost in the flood of headline news stories. I collect all of the items from which I choose the Wrap stories in my link blog, which you’re welcome to follow.


Another object lesson on gaming Wikipedia—Grant Sharps is the chairman of the conservative (or Tory) party in the UK. He’s also been blocked from Wikipedia after the only encyclopedia’s administrators suspected he “or someone on his behalf” was editing not only his own page but those of his rivals inside the party and political opponents from other parties. Admins connected him to a sock-puppet account (a fake one established to hide one’s real identity) and suspended his account. The lesson here is simple: Abide by Wikipedia’s rules. If you don’t, you’ll get caught and you’ll be outed. Read more

Google rolls out wireless service—If you still think of Google as a search engine, nothing will change that view if this doesn’t: The company has introduced a $20-per-month wireless service, going head-to-head with the likes of Verizon and TMobile. Dubbed Fi, the service is initially available only for the Nexus 6 and only by invitation. The monthly fee gets you voice and text; data is $10 per gigabyte. That’s considerably less than the traditional players charge unless you use more than 4GB of data. Read more

Latest Facebook News Feed tweak comes at brands’ expense—The latest change to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm will make it even harder for brands and media companies to get their content in front of users. Items that appear in your News Feed because a friend has liked or commented on it are being demoted, meaning they’ll show up less. That means fewer opportunities to extend the reach of brand content. Facebook says (and I believe them) that it’s an effort to make the News Feed more relevant and appealing, but there’s no doubt a lot of brands will feel pressured to start buying Facebook ads. (Why do I buy Facebook’s reasoning? If the News Feed is too littered with marketing material and uninteresting media content, users will visit less and everybody loses.) Read more

BuzzFeed advertisers wield influence over editorial content—Among the 1,112 posts BuzzFeed removed its site, there were three that stood out: the ones removed because of advertiser complaints. Among them was a post critical of Pepsi’s Twitter efforts at the same time BuzzFeed was producing Super Bowl content for Pepsi. Ben Bradlee is spinning in his grave. Read more

Brace yourself: Now anybody can tweet you a direct message—Twitter has signaled that it was coming. Now it’s reality. You don’t have to be followed by someone to send them a direct message. Marketers are sure to be all over this capability, but don’t worry too much. It’s an option that will be turned off by default. You have to turn it on to get DMs from strangers. Read more

Facebook crashes the YouTube party—Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the first video upload to YouTube. It was also the day Facebook announced its Anthology program, which pairs video producers with advertisers to create content exclusively for distribution as Facebook ads. With producers from The Onion, Vox, Funny or Die, and (wait for it) Disney offering creative takes on brands, Facebook could soon eclipse YouTube as the preferred venue for video promotions. Read more

Twitter, your source for last-minute sports tickets—You know how you rely on CraigsList or StubHub when you want a last-minute ticket to the game? Soon, you may find better deals on Twitter. The social network is where the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks sold off a few tickets remaining for Wednesday’s playoff game; the tweet from the Hawks included a “buy” button. Twitter isn’t taking a cut, but that could change if its e-commerce efforts bear fruit. Read more

SocialRank introduces Instagram analytics tool—Want more insights into your Instagram audience? SocialRank has moved its Instagram analytics tool out of beta; it’s now open to anybody. Using the tool, you’ll be able to sort and filter Instagram followers by location, keyword, engagement level, value, and other criteria. The tool also shows you the top three images shared by each of your followers, along with captions. Read more

App makes it easy to find and remove offensive posts—Ethan Czahor was the CTO of Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign for just over a month before he was fired over offensive tweets and blog posts dug up by researchers and opponents. To keep it from happening to others, he created an app called Clear that scours your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts, letting you delete your posts before a prospective employer (or current boss) can spot them. Czahor plans to add blog posts, emails, and other content to the realm of material the app can find. Read more

Twitter to expand ban on violent threats—Any tweet that promotes violence against others can now get a Twitter account suspended. The ban previously applied only to specific threats targeting individuals. While some might decry the move as an assault on free speech, Twitter maintains speech is muted by such threats. Read more

Ever wonder about everything you’ve ever searched for?—Now you can find out. Google has enabled the ability to download your entire search history. Warning: You may not want to know everything you’ve searched for. Read more

Norwegian radio will all be digital by 2017—Norway plans to shut down FM radio by 2017, switching to an entirely Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) standard, making it the first country to take the step. Read more

Federal government employees get a social media policy—Finally, government workers have clear guidance about what they can and can’t do on social channels. The policy looks a lot like typical business policies. Read more

Listen up: Twitter gets audio—The audio explosion continues apace with the release of an app called Chirrp, currently for the iOS platform only, that lets users post 12-second audio clips directly to Twitter. Read more


The Earth Day greenwashing phenomenon—Companies that rarely use marketing resources to tout their sustainability efforts are suddenly paragons of environmental consciousness on Earth Day. Consider it part of the addiction some companies have to real-time marketing tied to cultural events and activities. In the early going on Earth Day, brands posted 221,000 items to Facebook and Twitter about Earth Day, including the likes of Red Bull, Cap’n Crunch, Burger King, Tyson Foods, Domino’s Pizza, and Petco. Some of the posts were pretty good, if disingenuous Read more

News via GIF—The UK’s Channel 4 has developed a platform for delivering news to younger viewers via GIF. Hosted on Tumblr, 4NewsWall lets users click through to longer-form content written in a chatty style aimed at Millennials. Businesses looking to get the 18-to-34 set to consume their content might give this approach a try. Read more

What were marketers smoking on 4/20?—It’s a Schedule 1 narcotic according to US federal law—just like heroin—but the tide is turning on acceptance of marijuana for medical and recreational use. Sure, the states of Washington and Colorado have legalized it, and the consensus on medicinal use is fairly settled. But the real evidence of the cultural shift was on full display on April 20—the day smokers celebrate their weed—when brands from Denny’s and Applebee’s to lifestyle site refinery29 took to Twitter to join in the celebration. When mainstream companies see a pot celebration as a marketing opportunity, you can be pretty sure the tide has turned. Read more

Social media is driving retail investing—Retail investment customers who share information via social media trade four times as often as those who don’t, according to one online broker, and even lurkers trade twice as much. Social media is at the heart of a surge of retail investment, with customers sharing charts, templates, and trades. The most successful investors are gleaning insights from the noise. Read more

LinkedIn files patent for profile fact-checking—LinkedIn profiles have become the resume of the digital era, but can you trust what everybody includes in their profiles? (NBC’s Brian Williams has demonstrated how easy it is to embellish one’s real achievements.) The patent, acquired from an external inventor, is for software that would compare the profile with information from other sources. The goal is to build greater trust between LinkedIn and its users. Read more


More is better—A study led by an assistant teaching professor from University of Missouri reviewed social media activities by Major League Baseball teams and found that the more original content they shared via social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook—such as scores and player profiles—the more followers they gained and engagement they initiated. The researchers see lessons in the study results for businesses. Read more

What do the emojis we use say about us?—Swiftkey, the keyboard app for smartphones, is popular enough that it can see how its customers use emojis and draw some conclusions—and those conclusions are timely, since emojis have been available on Swiftkey for only the last three months. Happy faces represent nearly 45% of all ejojis people have used, followed by sad faces, hearts, and hand gestures. After that, you’re looking at less than 3% of all emjoi uses (e.g., flowers: 0.9%). Overall, Americans send mostly happy images, along with chicken legs, skulls, birthday cakes, fire, pizza, and eggplant. In Brazil, they share a lot of cat emojis. Read more

Open communication is the most desired employee perk—A survey of 1,000 U.S. workers found a surprising majority—81%—would prefer to work for a company that values open communication over organizations with free cafeteria food, gym memberships, or other costly perks. Read more

Mobile and Wearables

Facebook introduces Hello, an alternative dialer—Calling someone on your smartphone is a lot like dialling someone on a desk phone: push the appropriate buttons. Facebook wants to change that while taking over more of your phone functions. Hello is an app designed to replace your phone dialer. The iOS-only app lets you make calls from within Messenger; it also provides you with caller ID information (even if you don’t have the phone number of the person calling you in your contact list) and lets you block calls from numbers a lot of other people have blocked (putting the brakes on all those irritating telemarketing calls). Read more

NHL bans streaming video apps—Want to stream some live video from a National Hockey League game? The NHL has announced it’s against the rules. Why the NHL thinks people would watch a Meerkat or Periscope video rather than the official broadcast escapes me, but you’re not allowed to stream video anywhere in or around an NHL venue from 30 minutes before the puck is dropped. From my perspective, streams of fans having a great time at a game is free marketing the NHL is foolish to pass up. The NHL ban comes after HBO reached out to Twitter, which in turn warned its users that live-steaming episodes of Game of Thrones would result in account suspension. Read more

Nick Jonas concert will be free on Periscope—While the NHL fears Periscope, singer Nick Jonas is embracing it. Hilton streamed an intimate concert at its Hilton Anatole property in Dallas. The link was shared over the Hilton Honors loyalty program’s Twitter account. Katy Perry was the first performer to take to a streaming video app. Read more

Ads viewed more on mobile—Prerolls are viewed more often on mobile devices than on computer screens, according to YouTube. A study released by the video sharing platform also found people are 1.4 times more likely to share ads they’ve seen on their mobile devices. Read more

WhatsApp passes 800 million users—Facebook’s domination continues. The social network with 1.4 billion users owns Instagram, the most popular image-sharing platform. Its texting tool, Messenger, has attracted well over 600 million users. And WhatsApp, its over-the-top messaging app, has just surpassed 800 million active users, which puts it on track to pass a billion users by year’s end. Read more