The Splice Slugs: The end of the anonymous internet in China, Cambodia’s press freedom, and Mediacorp’s transformation
Here’s your weekly intelligence report on the biggest trends, threats and tools in media.
- This is what we’ve done this week in building the newer, better Splice.
- Last week’s newsletter was embarrassing in the sheer number of typos. Sorry. Drop me an email if you spot any here.
- Btw, I’m in Belgrade next week for a conference. Who’s in town for a coffee?
Welcome to our new subscribers from Asahi Shimbun, Chartbeat, Atlantic Media, Thomson Reuters, Republic Polytechnic, Channel NewsAsia and Toimitus (our first from Finland!). — Alan Soon
Anonymity in China’s internet is practically dead. The government is further tightening its efforts on “real-name registration,” this time going after community sites and forums.
At least four journalists from Hong Kong were prevented from entering Macau to cover the typhoon clean-up. Macau immigration said the journos “posed a risk to the stability of internal security.”
The Philippine Daily Inquirer has been under pressure by the Duterte government and its supporters for its reporting on politics. In July, the owners decided to sell the paper to one of Duterte’s friends, leaving the newsroom worried about their independence. Here’s a look at the media clampdown in the Philippines.
…Philippines is also a battleground for media credibility. A recent survey shows that Filipinos trust social media more than they do traditional media.
Cambodia also deserves attention given the drastic deterioration in press freedom. 19 radio stations have been shut, while the Cambodia Daily faces closure next week.
The UN’s migration agency slammed Facebook for allowing “horrifying” videos showing gangs in Libya threatening a group of terrified migrants. Facebook says it’s allowing the video because the footage comes from a journalist documenting human rights violations. “This specific video was posted to condemn smuggling and raise [awareness] of the issue, so we would not consider it a violation of our policies.”
…Facebook says despite culling more than a million accounts a day to keep spammers and hate speech off the platform, it can’t stop all “threat actors.” Security chief Alex Stamos says the problem isn’t about policy, but the limits of their technical capability.
…Facebook is also going after accounts that consistently put out “fake” news by barring them from advertising. “We’ve found instances of Pages using Facebook ads to build their audiences in order to distribute false news more broadly.”
…Facebook hired Liz Spayd, the former New York Times public editor, as a consultant. Her job — to get Facebook to open up and explain itself better.
TRANSFORMATIONS & TRENDS
It was long overdue. Singapore’s Mediacorp will stop printing the Today newspaper as ads and readers shift to digital platforms. 40 people will lose their jobs.
…PN Balji is a former editorial head at Today. In an op-ed, he questions the sustainability of state-supported media in Singapore. “The current political leadership must decide if such government interventions are still useful for an industry struggling with declining revenues and fewer and fewer eyeballs.”
…Mediacorp will have to decide whether to integrate the operations of Today and Channel NewsAsia. A no brainer. Some of my thoughts are captured here.
Al Jazeera is turning off comments on its site because it can’t keep hate speech out of conversations. “The comments section was hijacked by users hiding behind pseudonyms spewing vitriol, bigotry, racism and sectarianism. The possibility of having any form of debate was virtually non-existent.” Instead, they’re telling people to have these conversations on social media. It’s someone else’s problem now.
BuzzFeed, which has long resisted banner ads, will now let advertisers run their creatives on the home page, articles and mobile apps. BuzzFeed is looking for ways to diversify its revenue as it heads toward an IPO next year.
For publishers, Medium is a mess. It’s hard to figure out where the platform is headed, especially because it’s ruled out ads altogether. “We’ve made clear that anyone who is dedicated to pursuing an ad-driven business model is probably not the best fit. We’re not going to be developing or incorporating ad technology.” I get it, you don’t want banner ads. But branded content would be perfect for a canvas like Medium.
The Atlantic is starting a membership program for its fans. It promises exclusive content and insights “into issues you’ve told us you care about deeply.”
CBS made a surprise bid to buy Australia’s Network Ten, which has been in receivership since July. CBS is looking for growth in the English-speaking market. This move would allow it to launch its streaming service in Australia.
If you’re still building apps, consider this: Most U.S. consumers still aren’t downloading any new apps on a monthly basis.Millennials are generally more open to new apps, but unless you have something incredible and essential, don’t count on it.
YouTube finally got a new logo — its first change in 12 years. See it here.
If you’re traveling to Kenya, you’ll have to leave your plastic bags at the airport. A new rule is in effect to stop the use, manufacture or import of plastic bags. The penalty is a fine of up to $38,000. And this isn’t the first time they’re trying this.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“The world is wide, and I will not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum.” — Frances Willard
From our partners
The Asian Conference for Political Communications takes place on September 4/5 at the Shangri-La Hotel Singapore. Readers of this newsletter will get a special SGD$200 discount by using the promo code FIRSTMOVER. Sign up here.
From our partners
Among the sessions at Mumbrella360 Asia, a polygraph test on leading industry figures to find out how effectively they are spending their ad dollars. All part of a 3-day media and marketing conference at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore on November 7–9. For tickets, sponsorship or exhibiting, get in touch with the publisher Dean Carroll (firstname.lastname@example.org or +65 9296 4242).
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