Last week, I wrote about the state of Virtual and Augmented Reality. What I completely forgot to mention was Snapchat 🙈 Snapchat is at its core a camera company and relies heavily on the extensive use of augmented reality experiences in the form of Snapchat Lenses.
A few weeks ago, after ignoring the app for months if not years, I opened Snapchat again. The reason: I wanted to try out the new baby filter that I saw so many people using at the time (as well as the gender-swap).
Turns out, I was not alone.
The filters also seemed to drive a sharp increase in the daily downloads of the Snapchat app across iOS and Android. Snapchat was downloaded across the platforms an estimated 41.5 million times worldwide in May, more than twice the number of downloads from the previous month (16.8 million) and in May of last year (17.6 million), according to third party data.
After many months of rumors, Facebook finally revealed first details on its cryptocurrency, Libra. The pitch: With almost zero fees, you can send money or pay for things - worldwide. All you have to do is exchange real-world money into Libra and transfer it to your crypto wallet. Don’t have one? No worries, Facebook has you covered as well with its own Calibra wallet.
The story is much more complex and to everyone who’s into crypto, you should check out this in-depth article by Jameson Lopp on Medium.
Facebook has several partners on board for the launch, who become some sort of control consortium, but also benefit from the platform. For example Spotify, or Uber, who hope to reach new markets where payment has usually been a major headache.
To give the quasi-monopoly Facebook even more power is something politicians react allergically to and rightfully so. French and German officials raised concerns within hours of the announcement and on July 16th the US Senate will hold a hearing about Libra. David Marcus, head of Blockchain at Facebook and former president of PayPal, will probably attend the meeting - not Mark Zuckerberg.
Also, Facebook stole the Libra logo from fin-tech startup Current…
In the second big Facebook story of the week, The Verge’s Casey Newton (who’s newsletter ‘The Interface, which covers mostly Facebook and social medias impact in general on society, I can highly recommend), reveals the horrendous working conditions of Facebook’s content moderators.
At Facebook’s worst-performing content moderation site, operated by Cognizant in Tampa, FL one contractor has died, others have developed PTSD and fear for their lives.
In the powerful long-read, Newton describes in detail how bad Facebook is at handling content moderation and keeping it’s moderators sane.
Instead of reading, you could also watch this video:
In a rather unusual way, Slack hit the public market yesterday. Just like Spotify last year, Slack opted for a direct listing and it seems to have turned out nicely.
Slack Technologies’ shares closed its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange at $38.62, about 49% higher than the NYSE reference price.
It’s an interesting move and you can learn more about direct listings vs. ‘normal’ IPOs in this WSJ explainer.
Slack’s focus on enterprise business clearly paid off (ha!) and it will be interesting to see how and if the decision to go public will change the company. There is a lot going on in the 'enterprise productivity’ market with Atlassian, Asana and recently even Dropbox and so many other players all fighting for enterprise wallets. The cash infusion will bring Slack in a comfortable position and stock up its war chest for the fights to come.
I'm a freelance UX strategist. Think of this newsletter as everything that is on my mind (hence the name): New and emerging tech and design trends, tools and ideas that I stumble upon and think are worth talking about.