Uber, Lyft show divergent strategies; Twitter tackles meddling – Do Not Read Until Monday
Don’t labor over this – or anything. Do Not Read Until Tuesday!
Shower thought: Is Lyft v Uber having a Coke v Pepsi moment?
Uber made a lot of noise this week with several disparate announcements:
- It might be building its own electric scooters.
- It’s going to deliver food via drones.
- It’s looking for more participants in its flying-taxi pilot (haha) program.
- It also wants to get in on the bike share trend.
Truly, it was a week to make the company look like one at the cutting edge of transportation technology and cultural trends. And it paid off too, as to do all this, it got a massive cash injection from Toyota.
Meanwhile, ride-hailing competitor Lyft’s biggest news for the week was the announcement its riders have raised over $1 million for the Girls Who Code charity since it debuted its Round Up and Donate feature.
It really shows a contrast in how the companies portray themselves: League-leader (and sometimes ethically beleaguered) Uber sinks cash into R&D, while Lyft portrays itself as a champion of community. Uber is also seeking to distance itself from its Kalanick-era scandals, which Lyft saw a niche opportunity to be a sensible alternative.
In a sense, it’s a Coke-Pepsi moment – they have different flavors that appeal to different people, and each have diehard proponents, though they essentially do the same thing*. Uber for the tech-minded, Lyft for the vote-with-your-wallet contingent.
*And have the same background-checking issues. Eek.
Twitter tags in with its own “issue ad” policy
While Facebook draws most eyes (and ire) for its policies seeking to prevent political meddling, Twitter has been facing a reckoning of its own the part it plays in misinformation. This week, it kicked things off by banishing 486* accounts.
While that may seem like a relatively small amount, it shows the company will continue to weed out bad actors, as it just last week banned about 300 more. It has also made sure to document misinformation is coming from both ends of the political spectrum.
However, what might have more impact is its decision to label political ‘issue’ ads. With this change, money spent to promote issues and opinions will be made more apparent to users. And while, following some backlash from publishers, there will be some exemptions for promoting dialogue, the standards for those exemptions are pretty rigid. For example, any publisher wishing to skirt the label will need at least 200,000 followers.
There’s still the issue of orchestrated ‘organic’ campaigns though, and that’s concerning considering there are still some ‘huge’ campaigns out there.
*What’s next, a Pentium?
I’m so sorry.
Odds + The End
- Surprise, but c’mon not really: New iPhones debut September 12.
- Slightly higher on the Supris-o-meter: Apple scooped up an AR lenses startup.
- YouTube can now tell you how much time you’ve spent watching videos. Oh dear.
- It also now has an array of fundraising tools. Take that, Facebook birthdays.
- Following suit from other platforms, Tumblr got tough on hate speech and violence.
- Instagram enhanced authentication, plus opened the floodgates for authentication. Bring on the blue checks!
- “I’m here to chew bubblegum and … live in fear of being brainwashed by LED signs.”
- Facebook / Twitter broke up for a minute.
- A new RPG mobile game from Nintendo is on the way.
- Facebook’s head of news bailed for the Atlantic. Can’t say I blame him really.
- There were more internal woes, too, as 100+ employees rallied to decry the lack of poltiical diversity in the Facebook workplace.
- Watch, Facebook’s streaming service, went worldwide this week, one can only think in hopes of finding a country that cares more than the U.S.
- The Google Assistant is now bilingual.
- Twitter may soon recommend users you should unfollow.
- Facebook wants to go fully renewable in powering its operations by 2020.
- It’s also looking to find you friends based on common interests.
- August 30, 2018