Weekly Industry News Round-Up
Welcome back to Tuesday News Day! Find out the latest and biggest news from the tech and internet giants and stay up-to-date with all that is happening in the digital world around you.
Putting the ‘fake’ into news
If you’ve been on the internet, watched the news or read a paper in the past six months you’ll have heard of the new phenomenon that is ‘fake news’. MPs have warned that the rise of fake news articles online is threatening real news as it quickly begins to overtake and become more-and-more convincing.
But why has fake news been able to take hold so much and so fast? Where the average person consumes their news has changed over time as digital technology has evolved: from newspapers to the radio, to television, to news websites, and now social media. Because we spend so much time on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter – the average UK adult spends almost three hours per day on social media (source) – it makes sense that we’d prefer to use this to keep up-to-date on world news as well as the lives of family, friends, colleagues (and exes!). And since we tend to connect with people we know and trust, we’re more likely to believe information that they’ve shared over other news (even if they weren’t the original poster).
The problem with this is how easy it is to share something on social media, and how quickly that can take off due to the viral nature of shocking and emotive content on these channels. And because people are inclined to believe anything that looks like an article and has a reasonable amount of likes and comments, many of us will, unfortunately, fall for this spread of disinformation.
But this isn’t the only issue with fake news, as more people become aware of the issue they’re less likely to trust reports, not just on social media but on news outlets, which means more people will stop trusting and believing the real news. So where do we draw the line? How do we distinguish between real news and fake news? Here are our tips:
Check who wrote it – is it a journalist from a credible news outlet? Or a random blog you’ve never heard of?
Look for sources – if they’re making bold claims and citing numbers and statistics, look for a source for the information they’re reporting on. If there isn’t one, they could have gotten the information from anywhere, or even made it up. If there is a source, check that it’s credible and that the original information hasn’t been exaggerated or distorted.
Find similar articles – Google the story you’ve seen, if there are no other articles or news websites reporting on the same story, then it’s probably fake. If it’s real news, the chances are it will be covered by more than one website
Look for an article – don’t believe every status you see, especially if there’s no linked article. Any user can type anything they want into a social media post, so unless there’s an accompanying article, it’s just virtual Chinese whispers.
The ABC according to Google
Whether you’re in a rush and premature with your enter button, or you struggle with the tiny keys on your phone – most people have experienced the frustration of accidentally pressing enter after only typing in one letter into Google (or Bing, we won’t judge).
This article shows the alphabet according to what appears if you search for each letter. Take a look here.
This week has seen some big changes in the performance of the biggest names in the digital industry – with some clear winners and losers.
Google is fine after fine
Even with a $5 billion fine and regular court fights and lawsuits, Google remains unphased and has proven it by continuing to rake in the money. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, reported that the last quarter saw their fastest revenue growth in four years, and a massive 25.4% increase in their year-on-year net revenue.
This shows that despite the stricter GDPR laws and the European Commissioner’s vendetta against them, there’s probably no stopping Google in their quest for digital (and physical!) world domination.
Amazing Amazon profits
As Amazon continues to dominate the online retail market, with continual expansion into new areas and product offering (such as Alexa and Amazon Fresh), it should come as no surprise that its profits are increasing.
Amazon recently reported that for the last quarter their profits broke the $2bn mark for the first time. If $2bn dollars doesn’t seem like much (tell us your secrets!), here’s a few ideas for what you can get with that amount of money.
What you can get with $2bn
A country, with $1bn change
The Whitehouse would set you back a mere $398m
A trip to the moon for $750m
A 27-floor house with 600 fulltime staff, with a budget of $1bn left to redecorate
This now makes Jeff Bezos (the founder of Amazon) the richest man in the world, with a net worth of £113bn, making him worth even more than Bill Gates. It’s hard to believe he’s made this much from what started as an online second-hand book shop. Find out more about how he did it for inspiration on replicating his success for yourself here.
Facebook faces repercussions
It’s no surprise that the regular data privacy scandals and fears of fake news have damaged Facebook’s reputation. This has led to the biggest fall in corporate history, with Facebook’s value plummeting by a massive £91bn (yes billion!). However they have confirmed that their number of active users has grown to 2.23 billion, up 11% on the same time the previous year and roughly 29% of the population of the world! With his newfound status as richest man in the world, we wonder how long it will be before Jeff Bezos takes over?
Twitter deactivates loads of accounts, reports fall in user numbers
Twitter reported a fall in users of one million last quarter, largely due to its purge of inactive or fake accounts (ICYMI – https://www.brightdesign.co.uk/weekly-industry-news-round-up-6), leaving them with 335 million users and a 20% drop in shares. Despite this they’ve posted record quarterly profits of $100m, with sales up by 24%.
These profits could, however, be a temporary victory, as they were largely due to the 115 billion user impressions that were a result of the World Cup. If they learn from this event and use these insights to encourage further user engagement during future national and international events, they could see this success continue.
Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44978245