Morning Update: Facebook’s new chatbots; The Guardian targets trolls; Aunt Flo shakes up sanitary ads; Buzzfeed $80m under target

Facebook message bots

TechCrunch: Facebook launches Messenger platform with chatbots

Facebook will now allow businesses to deliver automated customer support, ecommerce guidance, content, and interactive experiences through chatbots. By providing utility through its huge developer and business ecosystem, Facebook could boost loyalty with Messenger, one-up SMS, and keep up chat competitors like Kik, Line and Telegram that have their own bot platforms.

This confirms TechCrunch’s scoops from February that Facebook was working with chatbot developers, and last week that a program for automated agents would launch at F8. [Update: the official name for the platform is “bots on Messenger”, not “agents on Messenger”, which was a previous codename].

The Guardian: The dark side of Guardian comments

Comments allow readers to respond to an article instantly, asking questions, pointing out errors, giving new leads. At their best, comment threads are thoughtful, enlightening, funny: online communities where readers interact with journalists and others in ways that enrich the Guardian’s journalism. But at their worst, they are something else entirely.

The Guardian was not the only news site to turn comments on, nor has it been the only one to find that some of what is written “below the line” is crude, bigoted or just vile. On all news sites where comments appear, too often things are said to journalists and other readers that would be unimaginable face to face – the Guardian is no exception.

Ad Week: Aunt Flo Comes to Town, and Is Comically Busy, in HelloFlo’s Latest

 HelloFlo, famed for its comic, disruptive ads about feminine hygiene products—see“Camp Gyno” and “First Moon Party”—has released another long-form spot. Playing off the phrase “Aunt Flo’s in town”—code for “I have my period,” for any of you who have never been a teenage girl—the spot brings Aunt Flo to life.

Instead of fresh-faced tweens staring down their first periods, the new spot seeks broader appeal—highlighting a girl waiting to get her first period, a woman kissing it goodbye with the advent of menopause, and a couple who experience the anxiety that comes with Aunt Flo showing up six days late.

BuzzFeed logo - red
Last Friday, the media industry toasted BuzzFeed for successfully drawing the attention of nearly 800,000 Facebook users to a live-stream of two employees wrapping hundreds of rubber bands around a watermelon until the fruit exploded. The gambit capped another quarter of widespreadconfidence in BuzzFeed’s business model, which sells native advertising against a mix of silly listicles and enterprise reporting published on an ever-increasing number of third-party platforms, with everything heavily underwritten by periodic injections of venture capital.

According to a new report by the Financial Times, however, the company may need to recalibrate: “BuzzFeed missed its revenue target for 2015 and has slashed its internal projections for 2016 by about half […]”

Mumbrella Asia: Sex-selective abortion tackled in Hong Kong with ‘First photo last photo’ campaign by Grey

The Hong Kong and Shanghai offices of Grey Group have launched a campaign for charity Joy of Life to combat sex-selective abortion in Hong Kong. A video draws attention to the statistic that 100m girls are aborted every year globally as a result of parents seeing a sonogram which identifies the sex of a child as female.

Grey’s idea was to stage a photo exhibition in Hong Kong displaying images of unborn girls to raise awareness. The campaign uses the hashtag #FirstPhotoLastPhoto and a website. The campaign is to run in print magazines, on bus shelters, outside an abortion clinics and on an immersive online gallery, according to the agency.

cracked screen

The E.W. Scripps Co. Buys Cracked for $39 Million

In an effort to court millennials and invest further in key content categories, The E.W. Scripps Co. has acquired the iconic humour brand Cracked from Demand Media. The purchase price was $39 million.

“We always look for brands that have an eye toward high quality,” said Scripps Chief Digital Officer Adam Symson. “So Cracked really fit the bill for us.”

Cracked magazine launched in 1958 as a competitor to Mad magazine. Since dropping a print edition in 2007, the brand has been a digital-only destination for all things pop culture, weird and funny.


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