Technology StocksSnap, Inc.

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From: Glenn Petersen3/11/2017 8:10:04 PM
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Snapchat Pornography to Test Advertisers’ Tolerance for Risk

New York Times
MARCH 10, 2017

Ads can appear between Snapchat’s Stories feature, which has some advertisers worried that their spot could appear before or after pornographic content. Credit Snapchat One of the most powerful advertising-buying firms has been warning its clients about the risks of their corporate marketing inadvertently showing up next to pornography on Snapchat.

GroupM, which ng firms oversees billions of digital-advertising dollars as the media investing arm of the ad giant WPP, recently sent clients a memo about their ads possibly running before or after “explicit adult content” on Snapchat’s Stories feature, if a user chooses to follow such accounts on the app. Stories are a collection of videos and images uploaded by users that disappear after 24 hours.

GroupM sent the memo after hearing from an advertiser last week that was distressed about its ad’s placement either before or after a pornographic image, said Rob Norman, the firm’s chief digital officer. While the ads do not appear on the same screen as the explicit images, Mr. Norman said that GroupM has been advising clients concerned about the issue to stick to Snapchat’s curated news service, Discover, or its filters and selfie lenses.

Snapchat lenses, which people often use to add virtual masks, such as dog ears and the like to their faces, can also be purchased by advertisers, as Taco Bell did to great effect last year with a lens that turned people’s heads into tacos.

This week, however, Mr. Norman said, “A note came to us and said, now we have a situation where one of our lenses we paid for on Snapchat has been appropriated by a porn star, and the porn star has used our lens.”

Advertisers are being advised to work with other features on the app, such as Snapchat’s popular selfie lenses. Credit Snapchat The lens was not used in an explicit manner, but the brand was concerned that it could be, according to Mr. Norman. He added that GroupM has been having similar conversations recently about risks on YouTube and other platforms, noting the management at Snap Inc., the newly public owner of Snapchat, has been “very responsive” to its concerns.

“We work hard to remove explicit content and protect our community and partners,” Snap said in a statement on Friday. “We will continue to invest in improving our tools and processes to ensure a positive Snapchat experience.” The company says it is currently testing an in-app reporting tool in Australia that may help with a variety of guideline violations.

Advertisers have been focused recently on where their content is showing up online, as the rise in user-generated content on social platforms has led to reports of brands inadvertently funding or being associated with terrorism, anti-Semitic sentiments, fake news and, most recently, sexualized images of children on Facebook.

While Snapchat’s guidelines prohibit accounts from using public Stories “to distribute sexually explicit content,” it is not foolproof. The platform is also less mature than some of its rivals in developing tools for policing content, Mr. Norman said.

Snap made almost all of its roughly $400 million in revenue last year from advertising. It has sought to distance itself from Snapchat’s early reputation as an app for “sexting,” a perception it acknowledged in its recent filing to go public.

Despite GroupM’s warning, it is difficult to quantify the risk for brands that their ads will show up near pornography on Snapchat. Ad Age reported this week that it had seen ads for household brands appear before and after Snapchat Stories that include nude videos. On Instagram, a search for the hashtag #snapchat only shows a selection of “top posts” and hides apparently 38 million “recent posts” because of community guideline violations. Reddit has hosted a number of forums devoted to sexual imagery or accounts on Snapchat. These forums often have names like “DirtySnapchat” and “NSFW_Snapchat.” (“N.S.F.W.” meaning “not safe for work.”)

“We now live in an age, having lived through generations of highly curated media like The New York Times and ABC and NBC, to a world of less curated media or not curated media, and advertisers need to learn what their tolerance for risk is,” Mr. Norman said. “If it’s zero, it leads you down a certain path, and if it’s not there, it leads you down a different path.”

The spotlight on social platforms like YouTube and Facebook will not lessen any time soon, Mr. Norman said. He added, “There’s an expectation from advertisers and regulators and consumers that these companies, which are fairly rich in revenue and certainly rich in profile and total number of users, should make it an extremely high investment priority to keep their platforms safe.”

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To: JakeStraw who wrote (8)3/13/2017 9:19:25 PM
From: Proud Deplorable
   of 55
SNAP shares Class A will do a vanishing act of their own until at least Sept.

David Blitzer, managing director of S&P Dow Jones Indices and chair of a committee overseeing its indexes, said they would not add a new stock like Snap for 6 to 12 months after its IPO in any case, and will use the time to study Snap’s structure.

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From: more1003/28/2017 4:05:39 AM
   of 55
I'm predicting a pullback to $23.15 before noon tomorrow $SNAP - Love the company, HATE the stock... so overvalued.

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From: Intelim3/30/2017 4:06:54 PM
   of 55
Facebook is taking on Snapchat. This is gonna get ugly.

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From: Glenn Petersen4/1/2017 10:59:00 AM
   of 55
How Stories Search makes Snapchat a real-time YouTube

by Josh Constine ( @joshconstine)
March 31, 2017

Snapchat is shifting from a social network limited to content shared by people you follow to an ephemeral, real-time database of what’s going on now everywhere. Today Snapchat launched Search for Stories submitted to its public Our Stories. It makes Snapchat as deep as whatever the world is sharing, creating near-infinite rabbit holes to go down, and a stronger competitor for YouTube and Twitter.

That aligns exactly with Snap IPO strategy following the slow-down of user growth after the removal of auto-advance and the launch of Instagram Stories and Facebook’s other competing clones: Snapchat wants to be where some people spend tons of engagement time, rather than where everyone spends a little time.

It also sees Snapchat break one of its cardinal rules. User-generated content is no longer limited to a lifespan of 24 hours. A Snapchat spokesperson confirms to TechCrunch that some Snaps submitted to Our Stories that appear in the new Search feature will be visible for less than a day to up to a few weeks or even months.

If content around a theme is being submitted more rapidly, what’s seen in Search results will turn over more quickly, while themes that only get submissions every few days may see Snaps stay visible for longer to make sure there’s something to watch for the theme.

How Snapchat Stories Search works

In January, Snapchat opened the ability to submit to Our Story from people in certain locations, like big events, or at certain times, like Christmas, to everyone everywhere all the time. But this meant it was pulling in way more content than its human curators could package into specific, widely visible Our Stories like ones for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or the NBA Finals.

Now, Snapchat is using algorithms to scan the caption text, time and visual elements found in Snaps submitted to Our Story and group them by theme. For example, it could pull out Snaps with the words “dog” or “puppy” in captions, or use machine vision to detect the shape of a real dog in the photos or videos, and aggregate them into an Our Story that comes up when people search for “Puppies.” Snap notes you could use this to watch a nearby basketball game, see what’s happening at a local bar, check out a specific Fashion Week runway show or explore a vacation spot. More than 1 million themes will have Search results available.

Snap says it will keep expanding the ways it categorizes submissions. Perhaps that could eventually include what background music is playing or what voices are saying.

The rollout of the feature begins with people in select U.S. cities being able to search for public Our Stories, but everyone’s submissions are already being indexed. For now, no ads, sponsored lenses or sponsored geofilters will appear in the Search collections. That makes this a play for more engagement, not a new channel to drive more ad views.

Snaps submitted to Our Story can appear in Search results for up to months, rather than disappearing after 24 hours like usual

Why Search makes Snapchat endless

Previously, you could think of Snapchat like a television with the Stories of people you follow as different cable channels. Discover and Snapchat Shows were like HBO, offering extra premium content. All you could watch was what these channels aired. If you flipped through all the channels and still weren’t satisfied, you were out of luck.

Search is like having the world’s biggest Blockbuster video rental spot open up next door. Suddenly you can browse a near-endless array of content in all sorts of categories, from popular mainstream releases to weird niche foreign films. New films arrive faster than you can watch them, so there’s always something you haven’t seen available.

For the biggest Snapchat fans, this uncaps their potential engagement time. You can now do around-the-clock movie marathons.

Another analogy is to think of Search as turning Snapchat into the ephemeral, real-time YouTube built for mobile video creation. YouTube indexes the world’s online recorded video content with Google’s search prowess. But often there’s a delay of a few hours to days from when something is recorded to when people upload it. And since YouTube was originally built for the web, the clips are typically longer, from 30 seconds to a few minutes.

That norm subtly discourages short-form, mobile-shot, real-time, off-the-cuff content. And that leaves the door open for Snapchat and its new search feature. Instead of just relying on text descriptions and manually added tags, Snapchat is using machine vision to see what’s actually in content, then categorize and index it. Since it’s all mobile and people submit to Our Story as soon as they’ve shot something, plus it’s curated mostly by algorithms, content should be more quickly searchable.

And because Snaps disappear eventually, even if not just after 24 hours here, it encourages the submission and searchability of raw, unpolished, but still compelling content YouTube isn’t getting.

Finally, you could also see Stories Search as a competitor to Twitter. If you want to read what people are saying around a topic in real time, today you search Twitter. But now if you want to SEE what people are capturing with their cameras around a topic in real time, you can search Snapchat. The camera is the new keyboard, after all.

These ideas support the narrative Snap has been pitching to investors. It can’t sell itself on future user growth and eventual massive scale like Facebook since its growth plummeted late last year around when Instagram Stories launched. Instead, while it only has 158 million daily active users, it repeatedly highlighted that they spend 25-30 minutes a day in Snapchat on average. Search thereby fuels Snapchat’s best hope for growth, not in breadth of users but in the depth of their engagement.

If Snap can’t get everyone on earth using it because Facebook’s slew of Stories competitors steal the international markets and older demographics, then Snap must get the U.S. teens it already has addicted to stick around longer. Search is how.

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (15)4/12/2017 4:27:16 PM
From: Intelim
   of 55
Especially interesting in the light of Facebook rolling out Snapchat of their own.

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To: Intelim who wrote (16)4/13/2017 4:03:20 PM
From: Glenn Petersen
   of 55
Instagram Stories now used by 200 million people daily, gets new creative tools

Ken Yeung @thekenyeung
April 13, 2017 8:00 AM

Above: Instagram has added selfie stickers and lets you pin stickers to videos within Stories.
Image Credit: Instagram

Instagram is seeing continued growth in the number of people using its Snapchat Stories-like feature. Four months after launching, the company revealed that 150 million people were using Instagram Stories daily. And four months later, that number has grown to 200 million.

Although Instagram said that 200 million people use the stories feature every day, it’s unclear what the breakdown is between creators and those who only view stories from friends and those they follow.

To mark the occasion and encourage usage, the Facebook-owned subsidiary is launching new tools, such as a selfie sticker and the ability to pin stickers to your video Stories, and is even expanding access to geo-stickers to Chicago, London, Madrid, and Tokyo. Basically, more Snapchat features are being incorporated into the photo-sharing app.

Seeing that Instagram’s main appeal is in sharing expressive works of art and creativity, more tools to facilitate that could help keep people interested in the service. There’s certainly no shortage of places where you can find ephemeral messaging, including Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook itself


With selfie stickers, the idea is to capture your facial reaction and let you quickly paste it onto a photo or video. After you’ve created a story, tap the smiley face and there will be a new sticker with a camera icon that lets you capture what Instagram calls a “mini-selfie.” You can apply different frame styles to this selfie sticker and apply it to your post, adjust the size, and use it in combination with the other special effects, filters, and stickers the app offers.

This can come in handy when you want to have a pop-up bubble showing your reaction to a moment. Say you’re at a sporting event and something wild happens, such as an amazing three-point shot by Golden State Warriors’ star Steph Curry (it’s been known to happen). Normally you’d record the moment within an Instagram Story, but how will people know what your reaction is? Now you can put a selfie sticker in the story to paint a complete picture.

Selfie stickers can also be used to trade faces with someone else in the photo — similar to a filter in Snapchat.

Instagram has also added support for sticker pinning into videos. Also bearing some similarities to Snapchat, this feature lets you place a sticker in a particular spot in your Story video. Tap and hold the sticker, move it over any object in the frame, and confirm its placement by tapping the “pin” button. This works with any text and sticker and can be used in Boomerang and hands-free video, but it doesn’t seem to work with live videos. Multiple stickers can be pinned to a video.

Last month, Instagram announced that it was bringing geostickers to Stories, but that it was still in the early stages and would only be available to those in New York City and Jakarta. Four more cities will be getting access to this feature soon, and the company has enlisted the help of local community members to create these geostickers — something like what Facebook has done with its own Stories stickers. When you see these customized stickers, you can tap on the username to view more about the artist.

While the company declined to explain how it selected the latest cities to trial geostickers, one might assume that it’s based on app activity and usage.

To access these new features, update the Instagram mobile app.

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From: Glenn Petersen4/15/2017 10:52:47 AM
   of 55
Oh Snap

Mark Zuckerberg Is Officially Crushing Snapchat

And Snap’s stock is sliding.

by Maya Kosoff
Vanity Fair
April 13, 2017 4:12 pm

Left, by Michael Nagle; Right, by Guillermo Gutierrez, both from Bloomberg/Getty Images.

When Instagram announced a new feature last summer called Stories, it looked awfully familiar. Users could share photos and videos with their friends, which would appear for 24 hours before disappearing. There were filters, and stickers, and a pen tool to draw pictures and text over each image. There was even a progress bar at the top showing how much of each story you had watched.

It was, in other words, a near exact clone of Snapchat.

It wasn’t the first time that Facebook, which bought Instagram in 2012, had copied Snapchat, and it wouldn’t be the last. In March, after folding Stories into Messenger and WhatsApp, Facebook C.E.O. Mark Zuckerberg introduced the disappearing photo and video feature to the Facebook mobile app itself, giving more than 1 billion people access to his Snapchat-killer.

This aggressive strategy—Zuckerberg’s revenge, perhaps after Snap C.E.O. Evan Spiegel turned down his $3 billion acquisition offer in 2013—has apparently paid off. On Thursday, Facebook announced that Instagram Stories now has 200 million daily active users, surpassing the 161 million Snap reported in its last filing. That’s a 33 percent jump since January, when Instagram hit 150 million daily users, showing just how quickly Facebook can increase engagement by leveraging its massive user base against competitors.

Even before Facebook released its latest numbers for Stories, investors and analysts were worried about Snap, which made its public market debut in March. Earlier this year, TechCrunch reported that Instagram’s own version of Stories was having a major impact on how people use Snap. Social-media managers said in January that they’d seen Snapchat views decline from 15 to 40 percent since Instagram Stories launched in August. Worries that Facebook could continue to take a bite out of Snapchat weighed on the stock in the weeks after its I.P.O. “Snap Inc. is becoming a public company just as its user growth and monetization growth rates are beginning to meaningfully slow,” wrote Anthony DiClemente at Nomura Instinet, which gave Snap a sell rating.

Snap’s stock slumped further Thursday on news that Instagram had surpassed Snapchat’s daily user numbers. Shares fell to $19.88 in the afternoon, closing in on a historic low, before recovering slightly, to about $20.20.

As if to twist the knife, Facebook also announced a bunch of new features for Stories on Thursday, all of which mimic Snapchat: a sticker tool called Pinning, which lets users create augmented-reality “3-D stickers”; and “Geostickers” for a handful of cities including London and Chicago, which can be applied over pictures, like a Snapchat geofilter. Snap’s first-ever quarterly conference call has been scheduled for May 10.

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From: Glenn Petersen4/19/2017 2:37:24 PM
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The tech world just witnessed a robbery. The heist was so brazen you kind of had to admire it, even if it was pulled off with all the grace of a gas station stickup.

Facebook barged into Snapchat’s happy Venice Beach, Calif., mansion, took a solid inventory of the goods, then lifted the crown jewels. First a version of Stories, the fun slide-show format that Snapchat created, appeared last year on Instagram, owned by Facebook. Then Snapchat’s features made their way to WhatsApp and Messenger, Facebook’s chat apps. A couple of weeks ago they got to the big leagues — Facebook’s main app — and the heist was complete.

Why Facebook Keeps Beating Every Rival: It’s the Network, of Course

Farhad Manjoo
New York times
APRIL 19, 2017

Credit Doug Chayka

The tech world just witnessed a robbery. The heist was so brazen you kind of had to admire it, even if it was pulled off with all the grace of a gas station stickup.

Facebook barged into Snapchat’s happy Venice Beach, Calif., mansion, took a solid inventory of the goods, then lifted the crown jewels. First a version of Stories, the fun slide-show format that Snapchat created, appeared last year on Instagram, owned by Facebook. Then Snapchat’s features made their way to WhatsApp and Messenger, Facebook’s chat apps. A couple of weeks ago they got to the big leagues — Facebook’s main app — and the heist was complete.

On Tuesday, the leader of the Facebook crew, Mark Zuckerberg, put on a conference to show off his loot. But he went further: He unveiled a vision of augmented reality — in which digital objects and effects are overlaid on images of the real world — which could undercut Snapchat’s mission to become the camera company for the next generation.

His speech had a lot of corny jokes, but that was just Mr. Zuckerberg’s way of hiding the shiv. In reality it was a performance that made plain Mr. Zuckerberg’s ruthlessness as a businessman. It also shows that he understands Facebook’s most important assets. Mr. Zuckerberg realized early on that the most important thing in his business was not necessarily creating the best new features. It doesn’t matter who invents digital mustaches. What matters is owning the biggest and most engaged network. And because he has the network, he always wins.

For years now, the world has been doubting Mr. Zuckerberg. Facebook, they said, would never beat Myspace. Then Facebook was going to get a run for its money from every other social network — Twitter, Pinterest and more. Hey, could it survive Google’s onslaught? Could it survive its own initial public offering? How would Facebook adjust to mobile? What about live video? And then there was Snapchat. By turning the smartphone camera into a communications platform, Snapchat created a novel and compelling social experience. Teenagers couldn’t get enough of it. And teenagers are the future. If Facebook lost teenagers, game over.

Hahaha. In the big picture none of these things really made a dent in Mr. Zuckerberg’s expanding kingdom.

Five years ago, after more or less cementing Facebook’s status as the world’s largest social network, he began to buy up and build future networks. He bought Instagram, which now has 600 million users. Then he bought WhatsApp, which has more than a billion users. Then he turned Facebook’s baked-in chat feature into its own chat app, Messenger, and now that, too, has a billion users.

He offered Evan Spiegel, Snapchat’s co-founder, $3 billion to buy that app. Mr. Spiegel refused — but perhaps he should have taken a closer look at the networks Mr. Zuckerberg was assembling.

Do you know what happens when you control four of the biggest social networks in the world? You get to stop worrying about competitors beating you on features.

Mr. Zuckerberg had done it before: Every time some other social company came up with social features that people seemed to enjoy — Twitter with the follower mechanism, Foursquare with checking in to stuff, Vine with short videos, Periscope and Meerkat with live video — Facebook or one of its subsidiaries (or all of them) could just copy and co-opt.

Mr. Zuckerberg didn’t win all of this stuff; sometimes the features turned out to be less important than initially thought, but that didn’t matter. At the very least he would neutralize his enemy’s growth, cutting it off before it became an existential threat to Facebook.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, at its developer conference on Tuesday in San Jose, Calif. Credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


And that’s what we’ve just seen with Snapchat. There is a debate in the tech press about whether Facebook’s shrewd copying has killed Snap, Snapchat’s parent company, or simply wounded it. After all, last week Instagram said that 200 million people a day were using its Stories feature, which is more users than all of Snapchat (160 million at last count).

But that’s not the right question to ask. Snapchat could well survive, even thrive. The world is big; it can coexist with Facebook.

What’s important is that Facebook has forced this coexistence. Facebook’s billions of users will now be introduced to Snapchat’s best features on Facebook’s own platform, eliminating, for a lot of them, any reason to switch. There is essentially no chance now that Snapchat will eclipse Facebook anytime soon, if ever. In other words, Mr. Zuckerberg has done it again; he has neutralized yet another rival.

But there is another aspect to the power of large networks: They make other people’s features better.

During his speech on Tuesday, Mr. Zuckerberg previewed a slate of new tools to turn Facebook’s built-in camera into a platform that outside developers can add to and improve. Snapchat has made a hit out of augmented reality — the tech term for adding cartoony digital effects on your pictures and videos, like rainbow vomit pouring out of your mouth or dog ears on your head. But now Facebook, with its deep investments in artificial intelligence (which it uses to power all of its other apps) and its broad connections with developers (who want to get to its billions of users), will be in a far better position to advance those ideas.

“Even if we were slow to add cameras to all our apps, I’m confident that we’re going to be the ones who push this technology forward,” Mr. Zuckerberg said.

Let’s end with a note on the ethics of all this. Some of you may find it upsetting that a big company can just lift an innovation from a small company and run with it. If it’s not illegal, isn’t it at least something we should discourage?

Miranda Kerr, who is Mr. Spiegel’s fiancée, recently told The Times of London that she couldn’t stand Facebook’s behavior. “Can they not innovate? Do they have to steal all of my partner’s ideas?” she asked. “When you directly copy someone, that’s not innovation.”

To which I say: Meh. There are lots of different kinds of innovation in the tech industry. Coming up with something first is not the only kind.

There is a rich history in this industry of taking someone else’s idea and adding your own spin on it to improve tech for everyone. Apple’s Steve Jobs and the team behind the original Mac were inspired by a bunch of ideas floating around tech research circles, including at Xerox PARC. Then Microsoft’s chief executive, Bill Gates, saw the Mac’s success and — by creating a new business model for the PC industry — he ushered in an even bigger deal: graphical computers that could get cheap enough for most people to own

Or look at the smartphone. Apple created the iPhone, but if the tech industry had stopped there, smartphones wouldn’t have swept the world very quickly. Instead, Google more or less copied Apple’s software ideas in early versions of Android, and Samsung essentially copied Apple’s hardware. Economics kicked in, smartphones got really cheap, and they flooded the globe. And everyone did better: In time, Samsung hit on its own big idea — huge phones — that Apple copied, and Apple then made a bundle.

So let’s not get too hung up on copying. All’s fair in love and rainbow vomit.

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (17)4/20/2017 5:23:03 PM
From: Intelim
   of 55
I'm surprised so many social media jumped on this "story" hype train.

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