Digitally Lead: Graphite's November Roundup
5 mins read
Published on Monday 28th November 2016
Welcome to Digitally Lead – a monthly segment where we look back on the news stories that turned our collective heads during the last four weeks.
Facebook saves the day with Break Up Tools
There’s nothing worse than constantly being reminded of an ex-partner on Facebook. It’s like bumping into them at your favourite bar night after night but never talking to them. This month the social media giant finally did something to help us with this bleak phenomenon by implementing a break up tool, available in the US. It allows you to see less of an ex’s name and profile picture around Facebook without having to unfriend or block them, as well as making photos of the two of you together private. One small step for Facebook, one giant leap for the broken hearted.
Twitter mistakenly suspends own CEO
We’ll get this out the way right at the beginning - it has been an interesting month for world politics. But Twitter took a stand against ‘Alt-Right’ (Neo-Nazi) accounts by suspending them permanently to stop them from spreading dangerous agendas. Unfortunately, they managed to temporarily suspend their own CEO Jack Dorsey for a couple of hours. Fortunately he was back and playing it off pretty quickly, despite reportedly losing almost 700,000 followers. It goes to show that even the big guys make blunders.
Black Mirror shocks with experimental marketing strategy
What better way to promote arguably the most unsettling TV show of the year than with some truly dark marketing? The ‘Rate Me’ app appeared in the first episode of the show’s new series and you can now give it a go yourself. Other smart marketing targeted people using ad blocker with display ads with unnerving messages such as 'You cannot see the ad. But the ad can see you.' - a reference to the third episode. We’ve enjoyed Black Mirror here at Graphite this month - hats off to Charlie Brooker; long live his reign of dysterror.
Google’s AI can now lip read better than humans
Speaking of an unclear future, Google’s AI team DeepMind have teamed up with the University of Oxford to train a neural network to successfully lipread. They did this by using over 5,000 hours of television from the BBC (including Newsnight and Question Time) to develop new software known as ‘Watch, Listen, Attend and Spell.’ This has shown to have a 46.8% accuracy which - while far from perfect - is nearly four times better than a professional human lip reader only reaching 12.4% The possibilities are endless but there are already fears about surveillance potential.
Tinder celebrates non-binary sexualities
Tinder continues to work against its reputation as a promiscuity-enabler this month by working with transgender and GNC (Gender Non-Conforming) activists. Together they worked to increase its gender categories from the binary 2 to an incredible 37. This was done in line with Transgender Awareness Week (Nov 14-20) and met with high praise from all sides. The promo video showed the process and also worked to shine a spotlight on the struggles of those who identify as something other than male or female.
John Lewis Christmas ad lands with Snapchat filter
It’s that time of year again - where the Coca Cola truck used to act as the harbinger of the festive season, the title now belongs to John Lewis. The formula of heartwarming story backed by a twee cover of a well known song lives on and this year we got a bouncing boxer - Buster. Interestingly, they paired with Snapchat to provide users with their own Buster filter, transforming their face into the loveable Boxer. This was a smart move as the dog filter is a favourite among users so it worked a lot better than an old man with a telescope would.
The 5-second video crashing iPhones
In a bug issue reminiscent of horror film The Ring, iPhone users have discovered a video that, when watched, will crash the iPhone. The 5-second Chinese video shows a boy standing beside a bed with an overlaid graphic on top reading ‘HONEY.’ Opening the mp4 link will play the video in the default player and after ending gives the user about 10 seconds of normal use before the phone completely grinds to a halt and crashes. The only way to recover activity is to do a hard reset. Various people testing the bug have confirmed that this affects all levels of iOS - so it’s worth keeping an eye out for.
Instagram launches live streaming
Following their launch of ‘Instagram Stories’ this summer, the platform is now rolling out live video broadcasting. This comes after Facebook (Instagram’s Parent Company) has been boosting awareness of the functionality across digital ads and television. The main difference for the Instagram live videos will be that users won’t be able to save or share them after the stream has ended. When the stream ends the video will disappear, similar to their Instagram Stories which are erased after 24 hours. This will be available to all users in the coming months.