Weekly Digital News Roundup: APRIL 9 – APRIL 14
The Bots Are Coming!
- According to Bloomberg, Mark Zuckerberg has said that Facebook thinks a new product is ready to become a real business only once it has a billion users. The company’s Messenger app isn’t quite there yet—Zuckerberg said on Tuesday the app has 900 million people using it each month—but he’s already started laying out his vision for the software’s commercial future. And the future, it seems, is bots.
- The kinds of bots Zuckerberg is referring to are software programs that can discern what people type in plain language, then provide an appropriate response. Zuckerberg said at Facebook’s F8 developer conference in San Francisco that the company is rolling out tools that will allow other businesses to build such bots to live within Messenger. In one example he showed from the stage, a CNN bot sent out a daily news update and responded to a user’s messages with information about a specific topic. In another, Zuckerberg requested a bouquet of flowers by sending a message to 1-800-Flowers.
- Facebook’s bot strategy goes beyond grabbing a cut of digital transactions. It’s also a way to wrest more control of its users’ mobile experiences away from companies such as Apple and Google, which make the dominant smartphone platforms. Before the shift to mobile apps, Facebook successfully carved out a slice of the software developer economy with FarmVille and other Web apps that live on the social network. The social network, however, hasn’t yet outlined how it plans to make money from bots. Maybe it’s waiting until Messenger actually gets to a billion users. “Today there is no revenue,” David Marcus, the head of Facebook Messenger, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV’s Cory Johnson on Tuesday. “Gradually, we’ll build monetization on the platform.”
Google Fights Clickjacking
- According to Marketing Land, if you’ve ever clicked on a button or tried to play a video on a web page and been taken unexpectedly to another web page, you’ve likely been a victim of clickjacking. Hackers essentially overlay a transparent page over a legitimate web page. To the user, the web page looks perfectly normal, but when a user clicks on a video play button, for example, the action actually occurs on the transparent overlay. Clickjacked pages can be used to trigger one-click orders from Amazon, gain Facebook likes and Twitter followers, download malware to gain access to users’ phones, and of course, to enable click fraud on invisible ads. Clickjacking also goes by more technical names like UI redress, User Interface redress attack, UI redressing.
- Google is addressing the use of clickjacking for display ad click fraud. The company says it discovered clickjacking going on in the Display Network earlier this year. Google says publishers engaging in clickjacking from the network are being removed, and a new filter was developed to exclude invalid traffic on display ads from clickjacked pages on both mobile and desktop devices.
How One Watermelon Proved That Facebook Live Is No Joke
- According to Marketing Land, BuzzFeed started a Facebook Live video broadcast featuring two employees testing how many rubber bands it would take to explode a watermelon. By the time the 44-minute broadcast ended, the video had attracted more than 800,000 concurrent viewers and made “watermelon” a trending topic on both Facebook and Twitter. Since the broadcast five days ago, more than 10 million people have watched BuzzFeed’s exploding watermelon experiment. Filmed with nothing more than iPhone on a tripod and a mic connected to a drumstick, the video now has more than 320,000 comments and 17,000 shares.
- Briggs says BuzzFeed has seen a growing audience of engaged followers since it began experimenting with Facebook Live.
“One of the benefits of using Live video is that it allows us to connect with our audience in real time, and creates a level of intimacy with our viewers.”
- With the launch of its first broadcast on March 1 for Super Tuesday, BuzzFeed has created more than 80 Facebook Live videos to date.