Plus, when Facebook met Snapchat, aspiring tech hubs don’t want to be “the next Silicon Valley,” and the tyranny of convenience.
President Donald Trump used skeptical remarks by Facebook ads executive Rob Goldman as ammunition in a Saturday Twitter tirade, insisting that Russia didn’t influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. On Friday, a federal grand jury indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities, alleging illegal interference in the elections in support of Donald Trump. But Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies did exactly what they tell marketers they can do — they let Russia’s troll factory more efficiently deliver disruptive messages to large groups of targeted people than if they had bought TV ads or any other traditional ad campaign. [Peter Kafka / Recode]
A new book about Snapchat contains a juicy story about how Facebook’s earliest efforts to kill the rival communications app backfired — and may have inadvertently saved Snapchat. In “How to Turn Down a Billion Dollars: The Snapchat Story,” former TechCrunch writer Billy Gallagher says Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met in 2012 with Snap CEO Evan Spiegel and expressed interest in buying the one-year-old Snapchat; when Spiegel declined, Zuckerberg launched a wannabe Snapchat-killer clone called Poke, which was intended to kill Snapchat for good. Meanwhile, Spiegel sold about $50 million worth of Snap stock last week, his first personal stock sale since the company went public last March. [Kurt Wagner / Recode]
Although they may nickname themselves Silicon Beach and Silicon Prairie, Desert, Hills and so on, many aspiring U.S. tech hub cities don’t aspire to be “the next Silicon Valley.” And as the tech backlash builds, the leaders of smaller tech scenes are eager to foster the area’s good aspects — jobs and innovation — while avoiding any association with the bad. Toronto is one noteworthy tech guinea pig — it turned over a 12-acre chunk of land to Google sister company Sidewalk Toronto to create a “smart” neighborhood built from the internet up. [Erin Griffith / Wired]
New data from Re:Create shows how much the internet has enabled a new creative economy. Findings show that nearly 15 million people used the Amazon Publishing, eBay, Etsy, Instagram, Shapeways, Tumblr, Twitch, WordPress and YouTube platforms to earn approximately $6 billion in 2016. And that’s not even counting key indie platforms like Kickstarter, Patreon, Indiegogo, Wattpad, Bandcamp, Apple, Spotify and others; in 2016 alone, Kickstarter had close to $600 million in pledges. [Mike Masnick / Techdirt]
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