The Splice Slugs: Week 56

I was just in Yangon this week, where Pokemon Go is all the rage. Myanmar wasn’t actually on the official list of launch countries. But everyone seems thrilled that the game works there.

Also, here’s an interesting thing about Yangon: Phone shops are charging US$3 to set up Facebook and Gmail (only because you need email to validate your FB account) if you’re getting on the internet for the first time. We’ve seen this before in other emerging markets like Indonesia. The internet = Facebook. 
 — Alan Soon

Analytics firm SimilarWeb says referral traffic from Facebook to some of the top news publishers plunged by half in Q2, compared with Q1. We’re seeing the effects of the algo changes that Facebook announced a few weeks back. Check out the numbers here.

There’s a bit of cynicism around Google’s fast-loading AMP format. It’s a fair alternative to Facebook’s Instant Articles but some people are calling bullshit.

New York Times is killing its NYT Now app. It will pull the app off the Apple app store on the week of August 29. One of my favorite news apps on iOS, NYT Now unfortunately never got as many usersas the company had hoped.

The Wall Street Journal is changing its paywall policies. You’ll now get a 24-hour guest pass to read stories shared by subscribers. You just have to give them your email address.

Australia’s Fairfax is deciding whether to stop printing The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age on weekdays. That would be a major blow to the media industry there. Here’s a look at the changing times at Fairfax and what it represents for civic journalism in Australia.

The Huffington Post has been going through a midlife crisis for some time. Traffic has been slipping while its experiments, like those in the video space, have failed to gain traction.

Univision picked up Gawker Media for $135 million. Gawker filed for bankruptcy recently after losing a privacy case against Hulk Hogan. Univision will shut Gawker.com; the site goes dark next week.

Which international media company has the best reach among millennials? CNN, says comScore.

Egyptian state TV suspended 8 female presenters for being fat.They’ve been given a month to get on a diet and will be allowed back after they achieve an “appropriate appearance”.

India has a new tech unicorn. Hike — the messaging app — closed a $175 million Series D round of funding led by Tencent, valuing the company at $1.4 billion.

WeChat recorded 806 million monthly active users in Q2. That’s a 34 percent jump from a year ago.

Twitter says it shut 360,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts since mid last year. It says it’s increased the size of the team monitoring and responding to reports.

You can now add stickers to your photos in Twitter. And if you click on someone’s sticker, you’ll see a timeline of other people using that sticker. Twitter calls it a “new, visual spin on the hashtag.” Meh.

Many companies get it wrong when developing products for emerging markets. It’s one thing to ask the wrong questions. It’s another to ignore the answers because it’s inconvenient. Here’s how to think about the problem.

It’s happening. The city of Pittsburgh will get self-driving Uber cars later this month. It’s happening faster than anyone had expected — a big win for Uber in their quest to get something on the road before Google. “The minute it was clear to us that our friends in Mountain View were going to be getting in the ride-sharing space, we needed to make sure there is an alternative [self-driving car]. Because if there is not, we’re not going to have any business.”

Justin Bieber took great offense at people hurling abuse at his new girlfriend. So he deleted his Instagram account.

Looking for a Sherman tank? Normandy’s Tank Museum is closing down and selling its entire collection next month. Here are some other items on auction.

The Airliner 10 helium blimp is airborne. It’s the world’s largest aircraft. It flies at up to 150 kmh and will stay afloat for up to two weeks. It’ll also use less fuel than a plane. The problem: It looks like a massive flying butt. “It’s a great British innovation.”

Quote of the week:
“If you’re not an entrepreneur in journalism these days, you should get out of journalism.” — Kara Swisher, on the importance of breaking away. She talks about her career as a “traditional” journalist and why she’s glad she started her own thing. Listen to this.

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