PR pitch to Ola reveals the inner workings of UK ride-hailing politics

A UK PR firm pitching to run an account for Ola has proposed running a campaign to politicize ride-hailing as a tactic to shift regulations in its favor. The approach suggests that, despite the appearance of ride-hailing platforms taking a more conciliatory position with regulators that are now wise to earlier startup tactics in this […]

Backed by Serena Williams and Usain Bolt, Let’s Do This raises $15M from EQT

Back in September, endurance events marketplace Let’s Do This (a YC alumni) raised a $5 million seed round from a number of U.S. investors, including Olympic star Usain Bolt and tennis star Serena Williams. As much as I’d like to get excited, this is slightly par for the course for a lot of sports-oriented startups […]

Ex-Facebook CPO Chris Cox now advises on climate & campaign tech

Chris Cox’s motivational speeches were at the heart of Facebook’s new employee orientation. But after 14 years at the social network, the Chief Product Officer left in March amidst an executive shake-up and Facebook’s new plan to prioritize privacy by moving to encrypt its messaging apps. No details on his next projects were revealed. Now […]

Sinclair leads $10.3M investment in rideshare advertising startup Octopus

Octopus Interactive, a startup bringing an interactive TV and ad experience into Uber and Lyft rides, has raised a $10.3 million funding round led by Sinclair Digital Group. Backseat TVs mixing show snippets and commercials have become a common part of the taxi experience in New York City and elsewhere. Octopus is offering something a […]

Amperity acquires Custora to improve its customer data platform

Amperity announced today that it’s acquiring another company in the customer data business, Custora. Amperity co-founder and CEO Kabir Shahani told me that Custora’s technology complements what Amperity is already offering. To illustrate this point, he said that customer data tools fall into three big buckets: “The first is know your customer, the second is […]

Seismic acquires Percolate to expand its marketing tools

Seismic is announcing that it’s acquiring Percolate in a deal that it says is combining “two essential pillars of the marketing technology stack.” It sounds like the two companies aren’t direct competitors, but they offer related tools: Seismic helps companies create and manage the content they use in sales and marketing, while Percolate expanded from […]

Twitter’s political ads ban is a distraction from the real problem with platforms

Sometimes it feels as if Internet platforms are turning everything upside down, from politics to publishing, culture to commerce, and of course swapping truth for lies. This week’s bizarro reversal was the vista of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, a tech CEO famed for being entirely behind the moral curve of understanding what his product is platforming […]

Zuckerberg defends politician ads that will be 0.5% of 2020 revenue

As Jack Dorsey announced his company Twitter would drop all political ads, Facebook CEO Zuckerberg doubled-down on his policy of refusing to fact-check politicians’ ads. “At times of social tension there has often been an urge to pull back on free expression . . . We will be best served over the long term by […]

Facebook shares rise on strong Q3, users up 2% to 2.45B

Despite ongoing public relations crises, Facebook kept growing in Q3 2019, demonstrating that media backlash does not necessarily equate to poor business performance. Facebook reached 2.45 billion monthly users, up 1.65%, from 2.41 billion in Q2 2019 when it grew 1.6%, and it now has 1.62 billion daily active users, up 2% from 1.587 billion […]

Facebook staff demand Zuckerberg limit lies in political ads

Submit campaign ads to fact checking, limit microtargeting, cap spending, observe silence periods or at least warn users. These are the solutions Facebook employees put forward in an open letter pleading with CEO Mark Zuckerberg and company leadership to address misinformation in political ads. The letter, obtained by The New York Times’ Mike Isaac, insists […]