News at NowThis, Vox and Facebook

NowThis News is launching a new app, called Tap for News. Aimed at delivering news to the user who’s snatching a quick update, the app provides a polished package and a big red button which gives instant access to a feed of short form video news. Here’s a typically short, short form video, which introduces the new product.

Meanwhile, Vox has been busily engaged in a spat with Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight this week. Silver had openly accused Vox of ‘stealing charts without attribution’ after a graphic summarizing the popularity of various key political players and how well-known they are, was republished by Vox without a link to the original work. Politico published the series of angry tweets from Silver and highlights of the subsequent reply from Vox Editor-in-Chief Ezra Klein. Klein went on to publish a full description of his organisations approach to news aggregation, on the Vox blog. The piece has an apology (of sorts) buried in it, but is also quite an interesting piece about news aggregation and adding value to the original whilst sending readers back to the source.

Also on the subject of ethics in Journalism, Trevor Timm, executive director of Freedom of the Press Foundation and twice-weekly columnist for the Guardian, writes for the Columbia Journalism Review

about his concerns over the potential partnerships between Facebook and news organisations. He’s worried about the potential new power Facebook may have to impose censorship on journalism which is deemed unfriendly to the organisation or it’s revenue. >‘The New Yorker was famously banned from Facebook for a short period in 2012 for posting a cartoon with a tiny bit of nudity in it. Breastfeeding photos have been the source of takedowns and controversy. And that’s even when they’re not censoring other photographs or news commentary by “mistake.” Then there are the hostage negotiations country’s governments are increasingly engaging in. Turkey blocked Facebook and Twitter across the entire country just this week because users were sharing a photo that was clearly newsworthy, and vowed to continue blocking it unless the social networks removed it (which they did). Two weeks after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Facebook began censoring images of prophet Muhammad after Turkey made yet more demands. And what happens when Mark Zuckerberg brings Facebook to China? Will Facebook be just as quick to censor the New York Times posts at the whims of foreign governments as it does for individual users?’


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