Reddit just raised $200 million at a valuation of $1.8 billion, Recode reports. “The new funding round, the company’s largest ever, should expedite a number of internal product and business efforts, including a redesign of its homepage and its first foray into user-uploaded video,” it writes. Investors include Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital.
Twitter is in trouble. It lost $116.5 million last quarter and failed to grow its monthly user base from the prior quarter, the company said Thursday. The stock dived 14% on the news. On a per-share basis, the San Francisco company said it had a second-quarter loss of 16 cents. Twitter has never had a profitable quarter. One hope for future is Twitter Lite, launched in April to reach more international users.
Facebook is in victory mode -- bringing Snapchat’s Stories format to the rest of the world before its originator. WhatsApp Status, its version of Snapchat Stories, now has 250 million daily active users. The Stories engagement, voice and audio calls, as well as text messaging, has propelled WhatsAppp to 1 billion total daily users and 1.3 billion monthly users. That means 76% of WhatsApp’s monthly users come back daily.
Marketers have experimented with augmented reality for a while, but now big brands are getting in on the action. Apple, Snapchat and Facebook build their own AR versions that work well on mobile. Lifestyle brands like L’Oréal and Estée Lauder are even incorporating AR into stores and ecommerce sites.
Pages administrators can create their own groups on Facebook, which could supply brands and media companies new ways to boost engagement with targeted groups. The feature will let brands create their own pages without having to rely on admins to set up groups from their own personal accounts.
Alexa is finally coming to Android, TechCrunch reports. “This spring, Amazon introduced Alexa to a wider audience by making the virtual assistant a feature that could be accessed within the retailer’s main shopping app,” TC reminds us. “However, that integration … was available only for iPhone users.”
Forbes considers messaging startup Discord, and its fast rise in popularity among the gaming community. “Discord’s embrace by famous Twitch and YouTube gamers … helped turn the free desktop and mobile chat service into one of the biggest app breakout hits in recent memory,” it writes. “Growing virally since its May 2015 launch, it has more than 45 million registered users, who send some 200 million messages daily.”
Verizon is testing a new video optimization system, but the company insists that does not affect video quality. “But some YouTube users are reporting degraded video, saying that using a VPN service can bypass the Verizon throttling,” Ars Technica reports. “The Federal Communications Commission generally allows mobile carriers to limit video quality as long as the limitations are imposed equally across different video services despite net neutrality rules that outlaw throttling.”
Come September, YouTube is shuttering its Video Editor and photo slideshows, Android Police reports. Why? “Limited usage, and … YouTube wants to focus its efforts on creating new tools and updating other, more popular features,” it writes. “That's understandable, as neither the Video Editor nor the photo slideshows is especially useful.”
Partly explaining the success of “fake news,” people are pretty bad a spotting manipulated images, Nieman Lab reports, citing research just published in the Journal of Cognitive Research. “People don’t necessarily appear to be better at pinpointing ‘implausible manipulations (such as a shadow in the wrong place) than ‘plausible’ ones (such as removal or addition of something into the photo),” it writes.