Weekly Digital News Roundup: Mar 5 – March 9
Wikimedia Sues NSA Over Mass Surveillance
- According to TechCrunch, The Wikimedia Foundation, the not-for-profit behind the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia, hasannounced it’s suing the U.S. National Security Agency and Department of Justice over the “large-scale search and seizure of internet communications” — aka the dragnet digital surveillance programs detailed in documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
- Wikimedia says it’s bringing the lawsuit to protect its users around the world, noting that the 2008 U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act (FAA) has been used to authorize so called ‘upstream’ surveillance of online communications with the ostensible aim of capturing ‘foreign intelligence information’.
- The group intends to argue that the NSA’s current practices “far exceed the already broad authority granted by the U.S. Congress through the FAA”, and violates free speech and association protections enshrined in the U.S. First Amendment, and also trample over Fourth Amendment rights, which protect against unreasonable search and seizure.
HBO’s Streaming Service Will Start in April, Initially on Apple Devices Only
- According to New York Times, HBO has linked withApple for the start of its much-anticipated Internet streaming service, uniting two premium brands from the media and technology worlds in a quest to reinvent the way people watch television. Called “HBO Now,” the service does not require a traditional TV subscription and will be available exclusively on Apple devices when it makes its debut in early April.
- Timed to coincide with the start of the new season of its most-watched series, “Game of Thrones,” the service will cost $14.99 a month and offer all of HBO’s original programming, past and present, as well as its movie offerings. People who subscribe to the service in April through Apple will receive the first month free.
- Anticipation for HBO’s new digital streaming service has been growing since October, when the company announced plans to start an Internet offering. The new service steps up its rivalry with digital-first streaming outlets like Netflix and Amazon. It also puts more pressure on the established television business, which takes in $170 billion a year in revenue.
Instagram Offers New Clickable Carousel Ads
- According to Marketing Land, Instagram took a big step forward as a marketing tool, giving advertisers the ability to link out from Instagram posts for the first time. The functionality is part of a new carousel-based ad unit, the ad format features multiple images that users can view by swiping left within the mobile app. In ablog post announcing the new wrinkle, Instagram compared the ad format to splashy print media campaigns.
- The ability to link to other sites will certainly be a welcome change for marketers, at least those given access to the ad format. One of Instagram’s shortcomings as a promotional tool is that there’s no way to include clickable links within posts. Because of that limitation, Instagram has long been considered a place for businesses to build their brand and plant their flag rather than drive traffic back to their websites.
- Instagram typically moves deliberately with new advertising features and this is no exception; the company said carousel ads are being introduced on a limited basis. “In the coming weeks,” the blog post stated, “you may see carousel ads and might notice variations of the format as we learn what people are most interested in and what performs best.”