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The Frenemy Report: In The Red

The Facebook Cambridge Analytica drama continues with an FTC investigation while Zuck gets summoned to Congress.

YouTube is cracking down on guns — and music streaming. YouTube Red looks to increase its theater presence, while journalists note that those worker bees screening YouTube videos aren’t getting paid enough to give a damn. Avoiding the red, Snap lays off a hundred employees.

This week’s studies reveal that Gen Zers are “leaving” social media, and a new Fullscreen + MediaLab report finds that influencer-driven branded content performs well above other types of ads.

The FTC is officially investigating Facebook following the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal [Recode]

“Companies who have settled previous FTC actions must also comply with FTC order provisions imposing privacy and data security requirements,” the agency wrote in a press release. “Accordingly, the FTC takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook. Today, the FTC is confirming that it has an open non-public investigation into these practices.”

Zuckerberg will reportedly face the music before Congress instead of sending his deputies [Quartz]

Zuckerberg does not like to give interviews, and his public presence is highly managed, so the testimony is bound to be a big test for the 33-year-old executive.

‘Activism as brand strategy’: Brands capitalize on Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal [Digiday]

Unlike last year’s YouTube crisis, where multiple major brands like AT&T pulled or at least decreased spend on YouTube and Google, the Cambridge Analytica scandal is less of a “house on fire.” “I don’t know the harm that brands are going to run into in a near-term way with Facebook,” he said, “but I did know the harm when YouTube had nasty stuff on there and it was next to my advertising.”

Advertisers didn’t leave YouTube, and they won’t leave Facebook [Marketing Land]

And, just like they did with YouTube, brands are already using the political cover Zuckerberg’s statement provides. The ISBA backtracked on its tough talk, announcing a “constructive” meeting and saying, “[W]e welcome the steps they have announced.” Brands like Carlsberg say they’re sticking with Facebook. This scandal might not cost Facebook a penny. But absent a user exodus or performance-crippling regulation, advertisers aren’t going to leave Facebook. Just ask YouTube.

Infographic: For Brands, Influencers Are More Powerful Than Celebrities [Adweek]

Fullscreen partnered with research lab MediaScience to study 13- to 24-year-olds’ biometric responses to ads, brands and social influencer content. And the data is promising for brands—about 40 percent of participants have shared sponsored content.

Cheddar, the ‘CNBC for Millennials,’ Raises $22 Million for International Expansion [WSJ]

The company has booked $18 million in revenue for 2018, Mr. Steinberg said, mostly from advertisers who’ve signed six- to 12-month deals. The remaining revenue comes mostly from selling shows to networks and platforms such as Fusion and Spotify. The company finished 2017 with $11.3 million in revenue.

YouTube Plans to ‘Frustrate’ You With Ads So You’ll Pay for Music. Could It Actually Work? [Vulture]

At $8.7 billion, music revenues have reached their highest point since a decade ago, and nearly half of it comes from paid subscription revenue from the likes of Spotify and Apple Music. Meanwhile, a Wall Street Journal report shows that Apple is on the verge of overtaking Spotify in paid subscribers in America. With Apple poised to take a commanding lead in a burgeoning market, time is tight. If Google doesn’t grab a slice of it now, it likely never will.

YouTube Red plans to screen its next original film in theaters [The Verge]

Although this is largely a departure from YouTube’s past strategy of premiering its originals solely on YouTube Red, the company did give a limited theatrical release to This is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous last year, as IndieWire points out.

Some Creators Are Mad At YouTube Over Live Streaming Notifications [Tubefilter]

The epicenter of this complaint is a video released by YouTube and featuring two of the Product Managers for the site’s YouTube Live team. One of those employees, Meghan, explained that the only way for subscribers to ensure that they receive notifications every time a channel goes live is by clicking on the bell icon on that channel’s landing page. Subscribers who don’t go that extra step will be left in an “occasional notification state” that features “algorithmically-determined notifications.” In other words, “your most active subscribers…who are watching your channel and your live streams are going to get notifications as soon as you go live,” Meghan explained.

Workers Enlisted By YouTube For AI-Training Efforts Make 10 Cents A Task To Analyze Videos [Tubefilter]

YouTube isn’t using MTurk workers like LaPlante to actually moderate videos (it has a separate force for that), and it’s unclear how much the data YouTube collects from MTurk informs its machine learning efforts. What the Wired article shows, however, is that some behind-the-scenes training work related to YouTube’s all-important content moderation.

Snap Lays Off 100 Employees, Mostly in Sales [THR]

Snap signaled a path forward in February when it reported that it had grown revenue to $285.7 million during the fourth quarter of 2017 and reached 187 million daily active users. But in recent weeks, two high-profile users — Kylie Jenner and Rihanna — have been critical of the app.

Viacom Strikes Content Deal With Trevor Noah’s Day Zero Productions [Variety]

Under terms of the agreement, Viacom will have exclusive “first look” rights on all projects developed by Noah and his production company, Day Zero Productions, in all media, including television, feature films, digital and short-form video content. Viacom will also make an investment in Day Zero.

Will Smith Nabs 1 Million Subscribers In 3 Months After Going “YouTube Stupid”

Though Smith officially crossed 1 million subscribers on March 8, he vlogged his appearance on Fallon with a Snorricam strapped to his waist, after which the host presented him with his Gold Play Button. To date, Smith has posted just 14 slickly-produced vlogs, in which he has shared anecdotes about Arnold Schwarzenegger, chronicled his travels to Australia, and faced his fear of the ocean.