Facebook Pushes News to Edge; Bitcoin Falls Off; Logan Paul Punished

Every Friday, we cut through the noise to keep you at the forefront of what’s happening now. Here are the most important stories to break this week in social-first marketing, advertising and tech…

The end is nigh for publishers and possibly a few brands, too

Facebook’s philanthropic CEO is on a mission to save the world, and by this we mean reconnect you with the people who matter – your family and friends. In a move that will affect publishers worldwide, Mark Zuckerberg will make major changes to the News Feed, which could come into play as early as next week.

Announcing the plans, Silicon Valley’s $74 billion man said: “The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health.”

The update follows Facebook’s clamp down on click-bait to combat the spread of fake news. So, is there hope for publishers? No, is the short answer. Speaking anonymously to Digiday this week, one insider revealed how Facebook has told several publishers to focus their efforts elsewhere.

Facebook voices its plans to take on Amazon’s Echo and Google Home

Facebook has dominated the news this week, which is ironic considering its recent stance on the media; nevertheless, as one portal closes, another opens, and that portal is voice. According to reports, Facebook is planning to launch its assault on Amazon and Google with a new consumer hardware device. But rather than focus on voice alone, Mark Zuckerberg’s Portal will also incorporate video.

So, when can you get your hands on one? Rumour has it that the Portal will sell for an eye-watering $499, with prices falling as interest increases. The device is believed to hit the shelves in the latter half of 2018, with the big reveal set for May.

YouTube throws the book at vlogger Logan Paul after a week of silence

On New Year’s Eve, YouTuber Logan Paul posted a vlog of himself and his team trekking through Japan’s Aokigahara woodland – dubbed the ‘suicide forest’. The tasteless video sparked outrage and upset across the world, with social media users, celebrities, media outlets and even fellow YouTube stars condemning the 22-year-old. But Paul wasn’t the only party to face criticism: the internet also expressed frustration with YouTube for failing to penalise one of its highest earners.

For the best part, YouTube has stayed silent… until now. Taking to Twitter on Tuesday (Jan 9), the video-sharing site released an open letter to the public, which threatened action against the vlogger. That action has since materialised in YouTube removing Paul from Google’s top-tier ads programme. YouTube has also halted business ties and original projects for the time being. But will it be enough to hurt the millionaire? A petition to have Paul’s channel removed is gaining traction.

Bitcoin price plummets as South Korea moves to ban cryptocurrency

In other news, the world’s favourite cryptocurrency has taken a considerable knock, following months of growth. Bitcoin’s value fell by 13.5% on Thursday (Jan 11), after South Korea, home of Samsung, Hyundai and LG, announced plans to ban the cryptocurrency over tax evasion fears.

The country’s justice minister Park Sang-ki said: “There are great concerns regarding virtual currencies and [the] justice ministry is basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges.” It’s clear that Bitcoin doesn’t have a friend in South Korea; perhaps they’ll have more luck in Canada, where KFC has begun accepting the cryptocurrency. Now Canadians everywhere can purchase The Bitcoin Bucket, as part of an ingenious marketing stunt.

Snapchat’s redesign flops as users beg for a return to the days of old

Snapchat’s redesign was intended to save the app by separating the social from media. Unfortunately for CEO Evan Spiegel, a wave of bad reviews have surfaced from initial users. Many have already taken to the App Store to voice their opinions, and it’s not great news. According to TechCrunch and Sensor Tower, 83% of 1,941 reviews were found to be negative. In addition, Snapchat’s Support account on Twitter has been inundated with requests from people wanting to revert to the original. Once again, it seems Snapchat can’t catch a break.

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