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February 2018
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2017 Social Video Rankings for Branded Content From Shareablee

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Shareablee Releases 2017 Social Video Rankings for Branded Content: BuzzFeed, Turner, NBA lead video engagement, Adult Swim tops TV Networks Shareablee Inc. today released social data ranking branded video creators in 2017, which revealed strong engagement for branded content published by top U.S. media publishers on Facebook. The top 50 media companies generated more than […]The post 2017 Social Video Rankings for Branded Content From Shareablee appeared first on Adotas.

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posted at: 12:00am on 22-Feb-2018
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An English-Language, Algorithmically-Personalized News Aggregator, Based In China -- What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

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Techdirt has been exploring the important questions raised by so-called "fake news" for some time. A new player in the field of news aggregation brings with it some novel issues. It's called TopBuzz, and it comes from the Chinese company Toutiao, whose rapid rise is placing it alongside the country's more familiar "BAT" Internet giants -- Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent. It's currently expanding its portfolio in the West: recently it bought the popular social video app Musical.ly for about $800 million:

Toutiao aggregates news and videos from hundreds of media outlets and has become one of the world's largest news services in the span of five years. Its parent company [Bytedance] was valued at more than $20 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter, on par with Elon Musk's SpaceX. Started by Zhang Yiming, it's on track to pull in about $2.5 billion in revenue this year, largely from advertising.
An in-depth analysis of the company on Ycombinator's site explains what makes this aggregator so successful, and why it's unlike other social networks offering customized newsfeeds based on what your friends are reading:
Toutiao, one of the flagship products of Bytedance, may be the largest app you've never heard of -- it's like every news feed you read, YouTube, and TechMeme in one. Over 120M people in China use it each day. Yet what's most interesting about Toutiao isn't that people consume such varied content all in one place... it's how Toutiao serves it up. Without any explicit user inputs, social graph, or product purchase history to rely on, Toutiao offers a personalized, high quality-content feed for each user that is powered by machine and deep learning algorithms.
However, as people are coming to appreciate, over-dependence on algorithmic personalization can lead to a rapid proliferation of "fake news" stories. A post about TopBuzz on the Technode site suggests this could be a problem for the Chinese service:
What's been my experience? Well, simply put, it's been a consistent and reliable multi-course meal of just about every variety of fake news.
The post goes on to list some of the choice stories that TopBuzz's AI thought were worth serving up:
Roy Moore Sweeps Alabama Election to Win Senate SeatYoko Ono: "I Had An Affair With Hillary Clinton in the '70s"John McCain's Legacy is DEMOLISHED Overnight As Alarming Scandals LeakJulia Roberts Claims 'Michelle Obama Isn't Fit To Clean Melania's Toilet'
The post notes that Bytedance is aware of the problem of blatantly false stories in its feeds, and the company claims to be using both its artificial intelligence tools as well as user reports to weed them out. It says that "when the system identifies any fake content that has been posted on its platform, it will notify all who have read it that they had read something fake." But:
this is far from my experience with TopBuzz. Although I receive news that is verifiably fake on a near-daily basis, often in the form of push notifications, I have never once received a notification from the app informing me that Roy Moore is in fact not the new junior senator from Alabama, or that Hillary Clinton was actually not Yoko Ono's sidepiece when she was married to John Lennon.
The use of highly-automated systems, running on server farms in China, represents new challenges beyond those encountered so far with Facebook and similar social media, where context and curation are being used to an increasing degree to mitigate the potential harm of algorithmic newsfeeds. The fact that a service like TopBuzz is provided by systems outside the control of the US or other Western jurisdictions poses additional problems. As deep-pocketed Chinese Internet companies seek to expand outside their home markets, bringing with them their own approaches and legal frameworks, we can expect these kind of issues to become increasingly thorny. We are also likely to see those same services begin to wrestle with some of the same problems currently being tackled in the West.Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+

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posted at: 12:00am on 09-Feb-2018
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Classified Cabinet Docs Leak Down Under Via An Actual Cabinet Sale... Just As Aussies Try To Outlaw Leaking

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Back in December, we reported on an effort underway in Australia to criminalize both whistleblowers and journalists who publish classified documents with up to 20 years in prison. 20 years, by the way, is also the amount of time that Cabinet documents are supposed to be kept classified in Australia. But just recently Australia's ABC news suddenly started breaking a bunch of news that appeared to come from access to Cabinet documents that were still supposed to be classified. This included stories around ending welfare benefits for anyone under 30 years old as well as delaying background checks on refugees. Some explosive stuff.On Wednsday, ABC finally revealed where all this stuff came from. It wasn't an Australian Ed Snowden. It was... government incompetence. Apparently, someone bought an old filing cabinet from a store that sells second-hand government office furniture. The cabinet had no key, so he drilled the lock and... found a ton of Cabinet documents in an actual cabinet.So... if that law were to go through in Australia... would that mean the government employee who didn't check the filing cabinet would get 20 years in jail? Or the store that sold out? Or the guy that drilled it? Or do all of them get 20 years? Why don't we just support whistleblowers and the press for reporting on important news that the public should know about?

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posted at: 12:00am on 07-Feb-2018
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Community Backlash Leads Adult Diaper Company To Drop Its Trademark Application for 'ABDL'

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When a company goes down a wrong or abusive road regarding trademark rights, the public has a lot of tools for remedy. Legal disputes between interested parties can often times correct a company attempting to secure trademark rights it ought not have. Invalidating a trademark that never should have been granted is another tool. But often times, the best and quickest remedies can come from the public itself in the form of a good old fashioned backlash.The likelihood of such a backlash is necessarily a function of the devotion of a particular fanbase. The craft beer industry has had to learn this lesson several times, with a portion of the public devoted to seeing the industry thrive also being unwilling to let stand aggressive trademark bullying that threatens that same industry. We saw another of these backlash instances cause a company to reverse course recently and I struggle to think of a more potentially devoted fanbase to an industry than those among us whose fetish is role-playing as adult babies.

A company that makes diapers for the adult baby/diaper lover fetish community (known as ABDL) gave up on its attempt to trademark the term “ABDL” on Thursday after message boards for the community exploded in anger last week.Rearz, a Canadian-based supplier of adult diapers with cutesy patterns and other adult baby accessories, like pacifiers, told BuzzFeed News, “we had no malicious or strange intentions in trying to register it, but obviously it struck a nerve with people. This is a community we love and serve, and we don't want to make people feel less valuable.”
It will be both tempting and facile for our comments section to devolve into opinions about this specific fetish, but that is entirely besides the point. The real story here is that a company attempted to register a trademark that is essentially the identity of an entire community which it serves and was immediately slapped around by that same community. It seems that many of the same folks that enjoy wearing diapers as adults for any reason other than necessity were also perfectly willing to let Rearz know that trademarking their communal identity would not be tolerated. Boycotts were threatened with promises to patronize other makers of these products, which, yes, this is an industry with multiple players.As is typical, Reddit communities led the way.
Rearz filed to trademark “ABDL” in October 2017, but it was only this week that someone in the community noticed. At this discovery, the /r/ABDL subreddit filled with angry threads about Rearz’s trademark filings. “This is scummy. Period,” wrote one user. In another thread, angry ABDL redditors planned to ruin Rearz’s standing on Facebook by rating it one star on its business page. On a forum for adult babies called ADISC.org, one adult baby said, “Rearz is now off my shopping list.” People even made memes about the scandal.
In rescinding its trademark application, Rearz went on to post its reasoning for applying for in the first place on its blog. That reasoning had mostly to do with the company's complaints about certain online ads and online payments not being accepted due to the products' stigmitized status in popular culture. What a trademark for "ABDL" would do to correct any of that is a question nobody seems interested in answering, but Rearz's claim that it would not enforce its trademark against competition if it had received it doesn't pass the smell test. Even if that were true, it would mean losing the trademark to genericide.But, in the end, the community Rearz served did all of that work long before the legal system had a chance to swing the bat. If nothing else, this ought to show the rest of the public what a good old fashioned backlash can do to correct poor trademark behavior.

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posted at: 12:00am on 18-Jan-2018
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