Good Monday Morning
It’s July 25. This will be a full week of financial news. Google parent Alphabet and Microsoft report earnings Tuesday, followed by Facebook parent Meta on Wednesday, and Apple and Amazon on Thursday. The Fed is also meeting on Wednesday and is widely expected to increase the federal funds rate by another 75 basis points. Over two months, that would be a 1.5 point increase, a historic rate.
Today’s Spotlight is 1,054 words — about 4 minutes to read.
News To Know Now
Quoted:“This type of fraudulent activity [on LinkedIn] is significant, and there are many potential victims, and there are many past and current victims.”
— FBI special agent Sean Ragan during a CNBC interview in which he called cryptocurrency investment scams on LinkedIn “a significant threat.”
Driving the news: Earnings reports abound. Look for Big Tech companies to uncharacteristically address expenses and layoffs.
a)Working remotely could become a legal right in the Netherlands. Dutch lawmakers approved a bill that would require employers to provide an explanation when rejecting an employee’s request to work remotely. That bill is now being considered by that country’s senate. About 28% of Dutch people work remotely according to Euronews.
b)Media attention will be focused on Amazon’s $3.9 billion acquisition of One Medical, a primary care practice with 180 offices in 25 cities, the Wall Street Journal reports. In addition to providing remote telemedicine services, AmazonCare entered pharmacy services two years ago by purchasing online pharmacy PillPack. The company also owns 500 Whole Food stores and 33 Amazon Fresh stores, all of which could provide pharmacy services to the public.
c) Misinformation about abortion proliferates online, and Alphabet and Meta are tackling it in different ways. On Thursday, YouTube announced that it will no longer allow misinformation related to abortion on its platform. CNN reports that TikTok has also begun removing abortion videos containing inaccurate information.
Despite this, Facebook is allowing companies to continue to use an unapproved process they falsely claim can “reverse” an RU-486 dose. The Markup found 17 ads placed by two advertisers between October and May on Facebook. When Facebook users clicked on the links in those ads, they could connect with a physician online to receive what is described as scientifically unsound prescriptions.
Trends & Spends
Spotlight Explainer — Facebook Feed Changes
Your Facebook feed is changing in ways that might have seemed off-brand only a year ago. Using Instagram videos as material for its Reels product, video will take on an even bigger role. There are also new audio options and a new sidebar for Groups. In Instagram chat, you will also be able to buy products directly.
The Facebook Feed Changes
Home is the new name for the tab you see when you first open the app. There will still be personalization, but you’ll also start seeing videos that Meta’s algorithm expects you to engage with. Observers say that’s a direct influence of TikTok’s usage metrics. US TikTok users averaged 25 hours per month on that app last year, far above Facebook’s engagement.
The new Facebook feed (below) is categorized by your designated favorites or by content from friends, groups, or pages. Toggling between the categories is the equivalent of TikTok choosing your content or you choosing to only see creators that you follow.
One of the most popular requests on Facebook has been “just let me see my friends.” You may want to revisit that choice, but here is a short explainer showing how you can fine-tune your Facebook feed to show only posts from your friends.
What’s This About Reels and Instagram?
Instagram’s Remix functions are expanding to include more stitching options including chronological and different split screens, remixing public photos, and Reels templates. The big news, though, is that all new public Instagram posts that are under 15 minutes will be repurposed as Reels. (Yes, minutes.)
Instagram Buying Via Chat
Meta is also offering merchants the opportunity to interact with customers using e-commerce widgets directly in chat. Here’s a look at how that might function when sales close in five seconds.
Did That Really Happen? — COVID Vaccine Data Misinterpreted
Multiple social media posts are mispresenting a Swedish organization’s study about COVID-19 vaccines and inaccurately claiming that they alter the recipient’s DNA. The Associated Press explains how this isn’t accurate. It seems that lay people aren’t very good at comprehending scientific studies about genetics.
Following Up — Lawmakers Complain About VPN Advertising
We wrote last week about VPNs, incognito mode, and passwords (and thanks for the many comments!). Now, two members of Congress have written the FTC and requested that the agency crack down on deceptive VPN advertising that purports to offer complete anonymity. We’re not saying that Congress reads Spotlight, but I dunno, they sure cited a lot of the issues we told you about first.
P.S. The total anonymity claim is garbage. Our article tells you which software and services we use.
Protip — Blur Faces & Remove Metadata From Pictures
You know that your images for the last 25 years have been stored with EXIF data that specifies the date and time, location, and other info about the file. Here is how you can remove that data as well as effectively blur faces. Then you can upload it to Instagram where Meta will convert it to a reel and share it with up to two billion people, but that’s showbiz, baby.
Screening Room — Mattress Firm
Science Fiction World — Dedicated Drone Space
It’s not quite at the level of The Jetsons, but the UK government is creating a dedicated drone corridor spanning 165 miles that is centered on the town of Reading.
Coffee Break — Blue Peter’s 1976 Computer Demo
BBC1 once aired a geeky feature called Blue Peter. Here is a glimpse back at 45 year old technology showing maps and directory information summoned via a phone line.