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Situational awareness: Sources tell Wired that Facebook VP of Ad Product Rob Goldman apologized internally for his weekend tweetstorm about Russian interference, saying, "I conveyed my view poorly.” The backlash from his statements threw a wrench in the company's months-long, carefully orchestrated political strategy to portray itself as empathetic and accountable for its mistakes that led to Russian election meddling.
Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images
AT&T is looking to discredit the Department of Justice's lawsuit to block its proposed $85 billion merger with Time Warner by proving that the government's decision is politically motivated. A U.S. district court judge will decide today if they have a case.
Why it matters: If the judge rules in AT&T's favor, it will mean that President Trump's personal and public vendetta against CNN, which is owned by Time Warner, is working against him.
Where it stands: The judge is currently weighing whether the government is being transparent enough about any communications between the White House and the DOJ. The key is whether the White House is attempting to influence the DOJ's decision, which would strengthen AT&T's position in court.
The irony is that had the president never meddled with any of the the cases being reviewed, the DOJ's decisions likely would support the outcomes he wants. Axios' tech editor Kim Hart predicted this in January 2017 when Trump took office.
Go deeper: More in the Axios stream.
AT&T is fighting the DOJ in court because it refuses to settle the case over a request by the government to divest one of two properties involved in the Time Warner deal — (DirecTV, AT&T's video streaming business, or Turner, the content business that controls CNN).
The telecom giant has been adamant about not giving into the demand, but as a March 19th court date looms, executives are toying with the competition.
“I have DirecTV, I live in Beverly Hills. It’s not that good.”— Turner CEO John Martin at Recode's Code Media conference Tuesday
Critics are speaking out against using endorsements such as "likes" and "retweets" to surface content on social media platforms. The criticism comes in light of special counsel Robert Mueller's latest round of indictments on Friday, which cited Facebook more than any other platform as a tool used for Russian meddling.
Our thought bubble: While Mueller's indictment did not touch on the commercial incentives for bad actors to use some platforms over others, it's becoming obvious that gaming social engagement was a part of the Russians' strategy and will be something Facebook and Twitter will need to address moving forward.
Why it matters: Open platforms that give prominence to content based on popularity rankings as opposed to personal or professional recommendations are now facing the reality that these rankings can be easily manipulated, sometimes by only a few bad actors, inflating the authority of some content.
Worth your time: WSJ's Christopher Mims has a must-read piece on historical examples of this kind of "hierarchical" platform abuse, dating back to the printing press during The Reformation.
Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Fox News is expected to announce that it's creating Fox Nation, its own stand-alone subscription service available without a cable package.
By 2021, the ratio of Pay-TV viewers (cable and satellite subscribers) to non-Pay TV viewers (cord-cutters and cord-nevers) will drop from 4:1 to nearly 2:1, eMarketer predicts. The trend is forcing more programmers, especially ones that focus on live content (sports and news), to build streaming products.
According to new data from Chartbeat, the vast majority of traffic growth publishers are seeing from platforms is now coming from Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) — or fast-loading mobile article pages on Google Search and Google News.
Go Deeper: Digiday's Lucia Moses reports that Facebook referrals are down 15% in 2017.
Google launched the long-anticipated new version of its Chrome web browser Thursday that includes an ad-blocker.
Worth noting: As New York Times' John Herrman points out, the move is also good for Google's ad business. "The company hopes to come out ahead by lessening the temptation of web users to install more comprehensive ad-blocking software." (Google makes roughly $80 billion annually on digital ads.)
Millennials, males, streamers, researchers and heavy downloaders are most likely to use an ad blocker, according to a media Dimension study from Kantar Media, a leading advertising analytics company.
Go deeper: See the full demographic breakdown.
Disney's Black Panther blew past industry expectations with a roughly $235 million debut over the four-day President's Day, Variety reports.
Why it matters: The movie is making history for its overnight success. It's blown past industry expectations after a year of reckoning around issues of race.
Note: Data describes engagement (or total actions) with the official pages promoting Black Panther and Wonder Woman.