According to Facebook’s earnings call this past week, the social network reported less revenue and even fewer new users. Its audience actually shrunk in the U.S., Europe and Canada – its most valuable markets. Facebook lost 1 million daily active users (DAU) in Europe alone and North America’s audience stayed flat amid all the scandals and the #deletefacebook movement. Facebook added 24 million DAUs in total and all of them came from the “Asia-Pacific” or “Rest of the World” market – a segment that doesn’t generate much revenue for the social network. Facebook is now looking into building businesses around Stories which has been a huge hit while it has had trouble with its core features like messaging and video. Mark Zuckerberg even admitted it pointing out that they’re well behind YouTube in regards to Facebook Watch and that Apple’s iMessage is their biggest competitor when it comes to messaging.

Worth noting is that users send 100 billion messages per day on Facebook’s apps and its Stories are used by over 1 billion people per day. With massively declining revenue growth which as of Q3 2018 is at 33% from 59% in Q3 2016, Facebook wants to monetize its other platforms even more. Just this past week, WhatsApp announced that it will soon start to put ads in its Status section(its Stories look-like feature). Instagram is also testing ‘Promote” feature for Stories that is similar to Facebook’s boost to cater for its more than 2 million advertisers on the network. Instagram launched Instagram Analytics in beta as part of Facebook Analytics. With this, business accounts can track lifetime value and retention rates for people who do or don’t interact with the accounts’ content

Instagram also launched the ability to share an IGTV video preview in user’s Stories in a bid to increase engagement. Your followers can tap through if they want to watch the full video on IGTV. Shazam, Pandora and SoundCloud also launched their own similar Instagram Stories integration.

Interesting Reads:

Apple breathes new life to its iPad Pro, Mac Mini and MacBook Air

Apple’s popular product line finally got some significant refreshes:

  • The new iPad Pro got the new designs from the latest iPhones – the home button got replaced with gestures plus the addition of FaceID for authentication. Also, its headphone jack got dropped but was retained for the Air.
  • iOS 12 got an update to add support for the new emojis, group FaceTime and dual SIM cards for the latest iPhones as it had previously promised
  • Strangely, the new devices ditch the lightning port and get USB-C: The iPad Pro replaced the lightning connector with a USB-C port and the MacBook Air gets 2 new thunderbolt ports – technically they’re a more versatile USB-C with a few added capabilities. The Mac Mini gets both the traditional USB and the new USB-C ports

Apple also announced that from the next quarter, they will be less specific about the number of devices sold. This isn’t a good look for Apple as companies tend to stop reporting metrics when the metrics are about to turn. This is probably because of the declining number of units sold while revenue is rising – Apple is raising prices on its devices but not selling as many devices.

  • They sold 46.9 million iPhone units same as last year earning a revenue of $37.2 billion up by 29%
  • 7 million iPads were sold down 6% with a revenue of $4.1 billion down by 15%
  • 3 million Mac units sold down 2% with a revenue of $7.4 billion up by 3%


  • Twitter is testing a button to display tweets by when they were posted rather than showing an algorithmically picked feed. The feature is currently available to select iOS users and Twitter employees. The button will switch your timeline between the latest and top tweets. The toggle was previously only in settings.
  • Twitter is also improving its spam reporting tool to let users specify spam type. When you click the “Report Tweet” option, you will be presented with a new selection of choices including if it’s a fake account. Others include suing unrelated hashtags and sharing malicious links.
  • Twitter’s switch to the 280 character limit on tweets has had little effect on the length of most tweets. One good thing is that people are now more polite. 88% of tweets are still 140m characters or under and only 1% of tweets reached the 280 character limit. Use of words like “please” and “thank you” are up by 54% and 22 % respectively. More people are now typing full words with no worry for hitting the character limit as Twitter saw a decline in the use of abbreviations like “sry”, “b4” and “gr8” by 5%, 13% and 36% respectively – good news for us grammar purists.
  • Interesting Read: Twitter Should Kill the Retweet


Google rolled out a news feed on its mobile homepage. It will be algorithmically powered but questions have already been raised such as if the feed will repeat Facebook’s mistakes

  • Google announced account security updates. One important one is that Google will require Javascript to be enabled when using a Google sign-in page in order to run risk assessment
  • Google also introduced “Emoji Minis” in keyboard app – Gboard for both Android and iOs. It uses machine learning  to create customizable emoji-sized stickers and will be based on selfies from users

Tencent clones SnapChat’s Spectacle

Tencent who operate WeChat announced Snap’s Spectacle-like smart glasses it called Weishi and will be available in China from November 11. They’re named after Weishi, its own short video sharing app. It’s strange since Tencent is a Snap investor.

Samsung is reportedly working on “Bixby” capsules

Samsung is opening up its voice assistant and bringing third-party integrations and these capsules will be unveiled at this week’s Samsung’s 2018 developer conference. Samsung will also unveil more details about its foldable screen phone.

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George Kamau
I brunch on consumer tech | first.last at techweez dot com


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