Representation

Please speak to me directly about any information which may be true or false.

New chapter in health out soon.

How to deal with dodgy doctors.

You can’t eat their food. And their lies are hard to digest.

You could just take the drugs and pretend you’re no longer here anymore.

There isn’t any point in any of this. Or anything else.

Why do doctors use false information or information that is outdated to make decisions?

If a doctor doesn’t have any value for their patient, they don’t have any value for themselves or their career.

The pros and cons of mental health

I’ve never suffered from mental illness, and have never claimed to either. However there are organisational advantages which can be gained for public services which members of the public use, or are forced to use, so these services continue being funded.

Live police story – Bedfordshire

Knock. Knock. Knock. They want to enter my property without warning whilst I am working in my office. They apparently have a warrant and are desperate to get in to ‘chat’ with me.

The mental health people want their fame again. Oh joy. They are rude people who don’t appreciate intelligent women who work and run their own businesses.

They may enforce entry. There are about seven people standing outside my property at the moment from different occupations who look like they’re on a trip from their workplace.

I might be used for more research again. Not sure which market yet – could be any. Or they might want to do another love story with a dance at the end.

  • I don’t smoke or drink, have my own gym, and a perfect lifestyle.

This is harassment on the behalf of desperate police officers.

Low class PR receptionist in a PR firm – Hanover Communications

You can’t get the staff these days. A girl with no education or manners. They must be cutting back on wages.

Didn’t know anything about public relations and had never heard of reputation management. Must be new or just plain common.

Working class people aren’t natural media people. Just glorified fans.

New Streaming Outlet that brings Golf Content to Overseas Markets

Discovery Inc. is looking to launch a new streaming outlet that brings golf content to overseas markets which will become a “Netflix for golf.”

Behind the impetus for some – not all – of the glitzy new service is a gloomy old problem: As media companies work to build new connections through broadband streaming, they continue to lose links to consumers via cable and satellite subscriptions.

According to data from Kagan, a market research firm that is part of S&P Global Market Intelligence, satellite broadcasters lost 726,000 subscribers, the industry’s worst quarter on record. Combined with cable and telecom distributors, the sector shed 1.2 million video subscribers in the three-year period ending September 30, 2018.

At Pivotal Research, analysts have predicted 2019 pay-TV losses will “continue at a similar pace to ’17 and ’18 as consumers continue to rebel against the rising price of PayTV amidst the continued emergence of budget entertainment alternatives.”

Hopes that new customers for broadband services such as Sling TV, DirecTV Now, Playstation Vue or live-TV options from Hulu or YouTube may have been tempered during the period: Those services have gained about 2.1 million new subscribers in the first nine months of the year, but traditional outlets lost 2.8 million, according to Kagan.

To make up for the subscriber shortages, the industry is working to create a swarm of new Netflixes – and fast.

“Consumers have much more flexibility to pick and choose the things they want to subscribe to, and I think that is going to be more attractive to a greater majority of people than a traditional pay TV company giving them a handful of restrictive bundles to choose from,” says Tim Hanlon, CEO of Vetere Group, who consults for media and marketing companies.

“Most programmers need to gently land their pay TV model while greatly ramping up their direct-to-consumer offerings. That is the concern that most television managers have over the next five-plus years – manage the decline of the bundle and shift to the expertise of being a direct-to-consumer proposition.”

To be certain, some of the declines have been driven by distributors themselves. AT&T and other video conduits have decided to get out of the business of hanging on to low-profit subscribers, the ones who sign up when it’s time for another season of “Game of Thrones” or another football cycle.

Even so, it’s clear the industry is trying to look past its traditional business. Walt Disney in 2018 launched ESPN +, a subscription-based broadband service for sports fans that gives them new programs and games coverage they won’t see on the flagship cable network.

In September, Disney said the service had notched more than 1 million paying subscribers in just five months (a portion of them came from ESPN Insider, a now-defunct ESPN subscription service).

In 2019, media companies will bet even more heavily on streaming. AT&T plans to unveil a subscription-based offering using its WarnerMedia content – with three different pricing tiers.

Disney has grand hopes for Disney +, a subscription service that will feature programming from its Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel lines. CBS is placing more emphasis on its “CBS All Access” streaming service. AMC Networks has backed Shudder, a streaming service devoted to horror.

One can easily imagine a new world in which TV fans decide to get their primetime entertainment from Disney, Amazon, Netflix, WarnerMedia or Hulu, rather than CBS, NBC, Fox and ABC. But that future is in no way guaranteed.

Can the average family – even without cable and satellite – afford to subscribe to so many different services, let alone other things like Apple Music or Sirius XM radio? “We simply don’t think it is plausible, in a world of rampant password sharing and of two home subscriptions collapsing to one, that we will continue to see anything like a sustained 1:1 conversion rate.

That’s obviously bad news for all cable networks,” said a recent report from media-analysis company MoffettNathanson. Meanwhile, the firm’s analysts suggest, linear TV networks will need to latch on to “the most passionate viewership, driven predominately by live news and sports.”

In that world, some traditional TV outlets may not survive. NBCUniversal has not been afraid to shut down several cable networks in recent years.

Source: Variety Media

Instagram Apologizes for Horizontal-Scrolling Test Glitch

Instagram has rolled out what it thought was a small-scale test of a new tap-to-advance feature that lets users scroll through posts horizontally.

But the new feature went to more users than it expected — with a high number of complaints from Instagram users, leading the social network to swiftly pull the plug on the test.

Adam Mosseri, whom Facebook recently installed as head of Instagram with the departure of the photo-and-video-sharing app’s founders, responded Thursday morning to users on Twitter, explaining that the horizontal-scrolling feature was “supposed to be a very small test that went broad by accident. Should be fixed now. If you’re still seeing it simply restart the app. Happy holidays!”

The test “went to a few orders of magnitude more people than intendedā€¦ sorry about that,” Mosseri posted on Twitter. He also tweeted, “Sorry for the confusion! Always trying new ideas, usually with a much smaller number of peopleā€¦”

An Instagram rep blamed a “bug” for the unwelcome appearance of the feature. “Due to a bug, some users saw a change to the way their feed appears today. We quickly fixed the issue and feed is back to normal,” the rep said.

Many users who received the Instagram app with the new scrolling feature immediately decried it as a step backward compared with the vertical-feed orientation — making it harder to see updates and slowing down the ability to navigate through posts.

Reactions to the test on social media were overwhelmingly negative.

Instagram — like other popular apps — has faced a backlash in making design changes. In 2016, Instagram switched users’ feeds from chronological to algorithmically sorted presentation; that led to a Change.org petition to keep Instagram chronological signed by 343,000 people (but Instagram did not revert to the previous design).

Mosseri is a 10-year Facebook veteran who most recently was head of Facebook’s News Feed. He took over the reins at Instagram this fall following the surprise announcement that co-founders CEO Kevin Systrom and CTO Mike Krieger were departing.

Instagram, which Facebook acquired for $1 billion, is a key asset for its parent company. Instagram would be worth more than $100 billion if it were a standalone company, according to an estimate by Bloomberg Intelligence. This summer, Instagram topped 1 billion monthly active users and says it has 25 million businesses that maintain accounts on the service.

Source: Variety Media

Facebook’s Ongoing Privacy Crises: What Happens Next After a Disastrous 2018?

Facebook investors, alarmed by latest privacy problems, pushed the stock down more than 7% in Dec — wiping out around $30 billion in market value.

At the start of the year, CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Jan. 4 post that his “personal challenge for 2018 is to focus on fixing” issues Facebook was wrestling with, including “defending against interference by nation states.” Instead, 2018 has delivered a steady drumbeat of public failings for Facebook, with Zuckerberg and his company under more scrutiny than ever.

Here’s a summary of the scope of the problems Facebook is dealing with and what’s likely to happen.

Facebook was sued after it was alleged that the company failed to protect the private data of millions of users that wound up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm that used the information to target voters during the 2016 presidential election. That came less than a day after a damaging report by the New York Times, which alleged Facebook has given large tech partners, including Microsoft and Amazon, data on hundreds of millions of users each month, including email addresses and phone numbers — which those partners were able to access without users’ knowledge or consent, according to the Times.

How big a deal are the revelations that Facebook gave big partners extensive access to user data, including the ability for some to write and delete private messages?

Facebook is downplaying them, but the new information has renewed calls for more comprehensive U.S. privacy legislation and could fuel the Federal Trade Commission’s probe into whether the company violated its consumer-privacy deal with the agency. Facebook says many of the data deals documented in most recent Times report have expired, while it is pledging to review “all our APIs and the partners who can access them,” Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, director of developer platforms and programs, wrote in a blog post. The company also claims that it never granted access to user data without the permission of its users.

On the issue of letting partners like Netflix and Spotify access Facebook users’ messages, Facebook essentially says that this has been overblown. By necessity, Facebook had to enable read/write/delete access for those partners to Messenger accounts of users who had opted-in to the features in order to make those integrations possible. “These experiences are common in our industry — think of being able to have Alexa read your email aloud or to read your email on Apple’s Mail app,” VP of product partnerships Ime Archibong wrote in a blog post response Wednesday. At the same time, Facebook noted, those messaging features have been discontinued.

How do the latest issues compound what came to light about Facebook earlier in 2018?

For context: Other internet players including YouTube and Twitter have been targets of controversy, including for failing to curb hate speech, misinformation and abuse, while Google’s CEO was called in front of Congress earlier this month to address topics including its data-collection practices, anticompetitive actions and alleged political bias. And data-privacy problems aren’t unique to Facebook (see: Marriott’s disclosure of a hack compromising info on 500 million Starwood guests).

But Facebook has spent more than its share of the time in the spotlight. A string of negative headlines and disclosures about the company’s business practices and security breaches have rattled Facebook. Those include:

The Cambridge Analytica scandal: After news reports in March that Facebook user data was improperly obtained by the U.K.-based political consulting firm, Facebook disclosed that info on up to 87 million users was actually in the possession of Cambridge Analytica, which subsequently shut down.

In May, Facebook suspended 200 apps that had access to large amounts of user data prior to 2014, as part of its efforts to clean up the mess from the Cambridge Analytica situation. In June, Facebook confirmed it had data-sharing agreements with Chinese manufacturers including Huawei Technologies and Lenovo, which granted the device makers special access to user data.

In response, Facebook noted that it was already winding down access to such partners. It also said the program was launched a decade ago when app developers (including Twitter and YouTube) “had to work directly with operating system and device manufacturers to get their products into people’s hands,” according to Facebook’s Archibong.

In August, Facebook said it identified and removed several hundred pages and accounts associated with Iranian state media. The company said it also removed content associated with Russian intelligence services and a group of accounts associated with Middle East media organizations that acted in concert while pretending to represent independent entities.

In September, Facebook announced the biggest hack in its history after it discovered a security hole had compromised up to 50 million user accounts. The company later said hackers had successfully accessed data from 29 million Facebook members.

In November, a New York Times investigative report detailed Facebook’s response to scandals over misuse of its platform and data-privacy gaffes, including that it withheld knowledge of Russia’s weaponizing the platform to spread propaganda.

It also revealed that Facebook hired a D.C.-area political consulting firm to push negative coverage of competitors and critics — including urging journalists to investigate ties between billionaire financier George Soros and anti-Facebook groups.

In early December, a U.K. parliamentary committee released a 250-page report, which included numerous internal company emails, detailing how Facebook granted favored partners including Netflix “whitelist” access to user info while it blocked rivals from accessing its data. (Facebook said the documents, obtained through an app developer’s 2015 lawsuit against the company, were “cherry-picked” and lacked context.)

Facebook (on Dec. 14) disclosed that it had discovered a bug in photo-sharing system that may have exposed the private photos of as many as 6.8 million users. (It said it fixed the bug and was notifying affected users.)

Is Facebook going to face other regulatory or legal repercussions?

Other government actions are growing more probable with every new revelation. The year of “bad publicity and significant issues” for Facebook makes it “more likely that the U.S. government will take action to penalize and/or regulate FB,” CFRA Research’s Scott Kessler wrote in a Dec. 19 research note. At the same time, the analyst reiterated a “buy” rating on the company because “we still see its fundamentals as healthy and valuation as attractive.”

On Capitol Hill, both Democrat and Republican lawmakers this week criticized Facebook, with some questioning whether Zuckerberg lied in his testimony during congressional hearings when he said Facebook users have “complete control” over their own data. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), who serves on U.S. Senate committees including Commerce, Science and Transportation, tweeted Tuesday, “It has never been more clear. We need a federal privacy law. [Facebook is] never going to volunteer to do the right thing. The FTC needs to be empowered to oversee big tech.” Analysts expect the U.S. to adopt legislation similar to Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation; Zuckerberg has said Facebook will apply GDPR-compliant controls worldwide.

Meanwhile, the FTC initiated its investigation into Facebook’s privacy practices this spring, which remains ongoing. The agency is expected to specifically examine whether Facebook violated the terms of its agreement with the FTC, approved in 2012, under which Facebook is required to give consumers “clear and prominent notice” and must obtain “their express consent before sharing their information beyond their privacy settings.” (Facebook insists that none of its data-sharing partnerships violated the FTC agreement.) The FTC has the authority to impose fines on Facebook, which Facebook would have the right to appeal. The agency also may seek additional restrictions on the company’s data-handling practices.

Are heads going to roll at Facebook because of these scandals?

It doesn’t seem like anything will change on the senior-management front right now. Despite calls from some investors for Zuckerberg to step aside, when asked in a CNN interview last month if he was going to resign as chairman, he said “That’s not the plan.” (Because he controls 60% of the voting shares in Facebook, only Zuckerberg can decide to exit.) COO Sheryl Sandberg — who acknowledged that she directed Facebook’s communications staff to look into Soros’ financial interests after Soros called internet companies like Facebook “a menace to society” — has the support of the board (which includes, of course, Zuckerberg as well as Sandberg).

Meanwhile, Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s longtime VP of communications and public policy who was already set to leave the company, in a memo just before Thanksgiving took the blame for hiring Definers, the political consulting firm that tried to push journalists to look into Soros’ backing of Facebook critics.

Is Facebook going to see a drop in users?

It’s unclear how big an impact the ongoing privacy problems are having on Facebook’s user growth. Immediately after the Cambridge Analytica erupted in public, Facebook actually boosted its daily active users in the U.S. and Canada. But in Q2 and Q3, daily active users have effectively been flat in the U.S. — and have dropped in Europe. Partly, the leveling-off of growth is because Facebook is already so massive it doesn’t have more runway to add more users. But privacy concerns clearly don’t help.

Is the privacy of Facebook users at risk?

Facebook says it’s doing everything it can to safeguard user data and remediate holes in its systems — but given its privacy track record, an increasing number of users are likely to either cancel their accounts, reduce their usage, or more tightly restrict their privacy settings. Facebook introduced new privacy tools this year, designed to consolidate controls that were previously in separate places. More information is on Facebook’s website at this link. The company also offers instructions on how to deactivate or permanently delete Facebook accounts at this link.

Source: Variety Media

Samsung to Add Google Assistant, Better Sound to 2019 TV Sets

Samsung is preparing to integrate third-party voice assistants into its 2019 line of TV sets. The company may announce a partnership with Google to integrate Google Assistant as early as next month, when it will unveil next year’s TVs at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Samsung is likely also going to put a bigger emphasis on audio quality, and could include technology that mimics the way Apple’s HomePod tunes music to its environment into some of its high-end TV sets. A Samsung spokesperson declined to comment on those features, and instead pointed to the announcement of 2019 models of Samsung’s the Frame and Serif TV models.

Samsung’s embrace of third-party voice assistants comes just months after the company added its own voice assistant Bixby to its 2018 TVs. However, the current integration of Bixby on TVs is fairly limited. Consumers can use the voice assistant to control playback of videos, but Bixby can’t yet open and control third-party apps.

The company has also not opened up Bixby development to third-party TV app developers, but plans to do so next year. “We are at the very early stage of development for Bixby for TV,” admitted Samsung senior staff engineer James Jung during a session at the company’s recent developer conference in San Francisco.

By adding third-party assistants, Samsung can offer developers more flexibility, and take advantage of the growing number of smart speakers to bring far-field voice control to TVs without built-in microphones. Emarketer estimated this week that 74.2 million people will use a smart speakers in 2019. Samsung introduced its very first Bixby smart speaker in 2018, but has not made the device available for sale yet.

According to Emarketer, Amazon is expected to capture around 63% of the smart speaker market in 2019, with Google coming in second with 31%. An Adobe Analytics report revealed this week that 63% of smart speaker owners have such a device in their living room. In other words: People are already using third-party voice assistants in proximity to their TVs, so it only makes sense for Samsung to plug into those ecosystems.

Samsung’s integration of third-party voice assistants is expected to be similar to the way competitors like LG and TCL have integrated these assistants. On LG TVs, consumers can access local weather, their calendar, and more through the Google Assistant, and also use the assistant to control smart home devices. However, universal search is still being handled by LG’s own software. This helps TV makers to build commercial relationships with app developers and service providers, and keeps them in control of a key aspect of their smart TV systems.

Samsung is also expected to emphasize sound quality as a key area of improvements over previous TV generations. The company registered for a number of trademarks in late November that are related to TV audio, including one for “audio spatial intelligence,” one for “volume intelligence,” and one for “audio scenic intelligence.”

Audio spatial intelligence is being described as “software for televisions, namely, software for use in optimizing sound quality depending on the surrounding environment, such as space size and ambient noise,” whereas scenic intelligence improves TV sound quality based on the type of content users are watching.

Smart speakers like Apple’s HomePod and Google’s Home Max already automatically optimize sound based on their surroundings by monitoring music through built-in microphones. Sonos previously developed a technology to manually tune a speaker for the room it is placed in, which required consumers to wave their phone around while listening to test tones. It’s unclear whether Samsung will integrate microphones directly into its TV sets to optimize audio for consumers’ living rooms, or whether it will rely on a phone or remote control with integrated microphone to optimize these settings.

Samsung is also expected to further build out its TV Plus service, which presents over-the-top streaming channels in a linear-like environment. These types of offerings have seen significant growth in 2018, with Samsung content partner Jukin recently revealing that it was streaming more than 70 million minutes of linear OTT content to consumers per month.

TV Plus is important to Samsung because it allows the company to generate additional revenues after the sale of a TV set. Samsung has for some time tried to transform its smart TV system into a services business that would generate ancillary revenue streams, but the company has at times struggled to turn its TV software into more than just a way for consumers to launch Netflix and YouTube.

Case in point: Samsung acquired failed smart TV startup Boxee in 2013 to build an ambitious smart tvOS that would have replaced the traditional TV remote with a tablet for second-screen control — something that was internally known as “perfect experience.” However, the project was scrapped, and most of Boxee’s staff was laid off, before it ever shipped.

This year, the smart TV team saw another significant departure: content and services chief product officer Gilles BianRosa parted with the company over the summer, Variety has learned. BianRosa was hired in October 2016 from Tivo, and previously led the smart TV device startup Fan TV.

Source: Variety Media