Five things worth sharing from the last week or so, brought to you by a different member of the Browser Media team every Friday.
This week’s My Five is by Ali.
1. Twitter gets chirpy about design update
In a series of tweets this week, Twitter announced a number of changes to its design to make the platform ‘more accessible, unique, and focused on you and what you’re talking about’.
I don’t know what this statement really means either but it manifests itself in several updates.
The first is a new font, called Chirp, that was announced a while back but wasn’t immediately available. Like the BBC, that created its own font recently, Twitter had been reliant on someone else’s typeface and was probably paying a premium for the privilege. The company describes the new font as being ‘sharp and legible (with good density), but with personality and distinctiveness’. Twitter adds that all Western-language text now aligns left, making it easier to read as you scroll, while non-Western languages remain unchanged.
Twitter has also updated its colours to be high-contrast a lot less blue and will be rolling out a fresh colour palette soon.
And the company says it has cleaned up some of the ‘visual clutter’ – removing unnecessary divider lines, increased space to make text easier to read and fewer grey backgrounds.
Of course, inevitably, the changes were met with mixed reaction in the twittersphere with some people saying these changes were unnecessary and don’t tackle the real user issues. Edit button anyone?
2. Controversial PaddyPower goes too far in targeting children
PaddyPower’s owner, Flutter Entertainment, also owner of Skybet and Betfair, has seen revenues surge 99% to £3.1bn, following the return of sport after the Covid-induced break.
However, the brand has been caught trying to lure under 18s into the murky world of gambling by advertising on social media with tempting gifs/cartoons that appeal to this age group: sadly there are 55,000 problem gamblers between the ages of 11-16 in the UK
In some tweets, the gambling giant was compared to the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang under the hashtag #paddypowerleavethekidsalone.
3. YouTube going big on ‘Shorts’
YouTube is putting some serious wedge behind a campaign to promote its short-form video content, ‘Shorts’. With stiff competition in the form of TikTok and other platforms also jumping on the short-video bandwagon, YouTube is trying to appeal to Gen Z (also known as ‘Zoomers) by promoting the ease of posting via a create button.
The main focus of the campaign is tie-ups with high-profile artists including The Weekend and Camila Cabello.
Whilst all the big platforms are developing new tech and splashing the cash to drive engagement and build trust in their new initiatives, they know that they are ultimately going to earn even bigger bucks from brands and businesses, keen to tap into the audiences that they win over.
4. Twitter’s image cropping software bias
Twitter had come under fire for its image cropping software back in 2020 when users noticed that it seemed to focus on white faces over those of black people.
This embarrassment caused the company to launch ‘the algorithmic harms bug bounty’, in which it promised to pay prizes to researchers who could prove that the company’s image cropping algorithm was biased or had harmful consequences.
Bogdan Kulynych, a swiss student, was the first winner of the prize ($3,500) this week as by producing artificial faces with different skin tones and features, he was able to demonstrate that Twitter’s algorithm was indeed biased.
5. Ring doorbells having a hoot
This sweet story to round up my My Five is courtesy of Ring doorbells. During their first night in their new home, an Arizona family received some surprise visitors that were caught in action – a group of three owls.
In a statement to Ring, the homeowner, who just happens to be an owl lover, said: “The first night in our new home, I received three notifications, one after the other at 10:30 pm! I finally answered the Ring and caught three amazing owls on our new porch having dinner!”