Facebook Censorship Claims, New Amazon Video Service, Axel Springer’s U.S. Expansion, Google’s Update to Mobile-Friendly Algorithm, AEM Mobile Tip: Partial Match Support for Filtering Content, Adobe Experience Manager Mobile v2016.6 Release

Welcome to Technology for Publishing’s roundup of news and tips for media industry pros! This week, we’re sharing stories about claims that Facebook censors conservative news, Amazon’s plan to compete directly with YouTube, Axel Springer’s mission to become the No. 1 digital publisher in the U.S., Google’s rollout of an update to its mobile-friendly algorithm, and more.

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  • There was an uproar this week following a Gizmodo story claiming Facebook censors conservative-leaning news stories in its Trending Topics feed, prompting calls from a top Senate Republican and others for an explanation. Although the company denied the charges, posting a response by Facebook’s Tom Stocky, there’s been ongoing concern about “biased algorithms” pushing social and political agendas—especially given Facebook controls the information seen by a billion users every day. Recode said Stocky’s response was in line with what Facebook told it earlier: Human editors don’t select content but simply “approve” stories found by the platform’s algorithm. Still, a Guardian report said while Facebook is continuing to investigate, leaked documents show it “relies heavily on the intervention of a small editorial team to determine what makes its ‘trending module’ headlines.” For more on the topic, check out a column by Ken Doctor on the “growing power of the funnel filter.”
  • Amazon launched “a head-on attack” on YouTube with its new Amazon Video Direct service, Fortune columnist Mathew Ingram reported, adding that with Facebook Live also in the mix, there’s an “all-out war” for viewers’ attention. As with YouTube, the Amazon offering lets users upload videos and make money from advertising and royalties. Bloomberg noted Amazon has already thrown its hat in the ring with Netflix, offering online movies and television programs, including its own original programming. It said with the new service, consumers will have “more options about what to watch without an upfront fee because many of those posting videos will be paid based on how their content performs.” Amazon has some catching up to do, though: YouTube boasts more than a billion viewers, helping to drive billions of dollars in advertising revenue each year.
  • In a Wall Street Journal article, German media giant Axel Springer laid out aggressive plans to become the top digital publisher “in every market it enters,” including the U.S. The publisher of “old-line” print newspapers Bild and Die Welt has successfully transitioned its revenue model from print to online in Germany with its bild.de news site, and with the purchase of news outlet Business Insider and minority stakes in other popular millennial-focused sites, it says it’s prepared to execute on its mission. But, while the performance of its digital business is strong and its investments have been on target, the report pointed out that the company faces some stiff competition in its quest for world domination—including the likes of Google and BuzzFeed, among others. Axel nevertheless is planning more U.S. acquisitions, it added, noting that company chief Mathias Döpfner said one of the reasons behind its push is “growth potential in Germany is exhausted” and European markets are “relatively small.”
  • And finally, as Search Engine Land detailed, Google finished rolling out the latest update to its mobile-friendly algorithm, which aims to boost search rankings for mobile-optimized websites. Though not considered “Mobilegeddon Part 2,” the update was expected to impact ranking and traffic results for mobile-friendly sites starting this week. Not sure if your site is fully optimized and benefitting from the updated algorithm? Check out Google’s mobile-friendly tool and mobile guidelines to find out. And thanks to Search Engine Land for highlighting those resources.

On the Technology for Publishing Blog

  • Adobe Experience Manager Mobile: Filtering content is most helpful when organizing articles into collections or looking for specific content to add to a Content Map. See this week’s tip from Monica Murphy to learn more about AEM Mobile’s partial match support for filtering content.
  • New AEM Mobile Release: Get information on new and improved features and bug fixes in Adobe Experience Manager Mobile Version 2016.6.
  • ICYMI: Brought to you by blogger Jane Friedman, our latest infographic pick highlights traditional, alternative, and hybrid approaches to book publishing.

Image: Recode/Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

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Posted by: Monica Sambataro

Monica Sambataro is a contributing editor and copyeditor for Technology for Publishing. Her publishing background includes work for leading technology- and business-related magazines and websites.