FTC cracks down on paid social media influencers
The FTC announced on April 19 that it sent letters to 90 social media influencers, telling them that any "material connection" (eg, compensation arrangement) between themselves and products needs to be clearly disclosed in endorsements of those products. The FTC appears to be looking for more than an abbreviated hashtag to denote sponsored content.
Direct Marketing News
HTTPS taking a growing share of search results
According to a study by Moz, the percentage of Google Search first-page results represented by HTTPS domains has grown from 30% to 50% in just nine months. Because the increase came steadily rather than in sudden jumps, Moz attributes it to increasing industry adoption of HTTPS domains rather than any algorithm changes by Google. One analyst predicts HTTPS domains will represent 65% of Google first-page results by the end of this year.
Search Engine Journal
FCC chair seeks to relax net neutrality
On April 26, FCC chairman Ajit Pai outlined plans to loosen government oversight of internet service providers. The crucial issue at stake is net neutrality, which the Obama administration actively sought to protect. The new administration's stance is widely believed to be that net neutrality should be determined more by market forces than government regulation, and Pai's plan seems to be a step in that direction.
The New York Times
Twitter users grow while revenue shrinks
Twitter's latest quarterly financial report represented mixed results. On the positive side, Twitter added 9 million new users, and CEO Jack Dorsey reported that active daily usage has increased in each of the last four quarters. On the negative side, Twitter posted its first-ever decline in revenues, an 8% year-over-year drop.
FBI may look into fake Facebook accounts
Gannett has asked the FBI to look into the proliferation of fake accounts on Facebook, estimating that half of its followers on that platform are fakes. This has implications in terms of the true social media influence of content providers like Gannett, and also in terms of the possible manipulation of news coverage. It casts further doubt on the underlying quality of the account numbers put out by Facebook and other social media sites.
Snap cracks open the door to more advertising
While Snap has been leery of turning off users with over-commercialization, it just took a significant step toward a more enthusiastic embrace of advertising by launching tools that, beginning in July, will allow advertisers to purchase ads directly on the site rather than through Snap representatives. However, Snap did make at least a preliminary move to restrict the flow of new ads by offering this new tool to just 20 beta firms.
New Windows version restricts competing search engines and browsers
The newly-released Microsoft Windows 10S will not allow users to choose a default search engine other than Bing. It also will only allow MicrosoftEdge to be the default search browser. Further, since Windows 10S will only install apps that come from the Windows store, browsers not on that store will not be available - which currently means Chrome and Firefox would be inaccessible to Windows 10S users.
Search Engine Journal