THE NEWS WRAP: Facebook opens up video ads, takes on Twitter

Facebook will now allow advertisers to capitalise on its lucrative auto-play videos, which it says perform seven times better than the traditional banner ads.


As Tech Crunch reports, the new ad formats also include multi-image carousal ads to give more insight into a product, and dynamic product ads that can retarget users.


It comes the social network is working on its own standalone mobile news application that seems very, very similar to Twitter, according to Business Insider.


Currently in an alpha testing phase, the app will allow users to pick which partnering publications to follow, and then receive breaking news alerts from them with a link to that website.


Virtual assistant startup disappears overnight

Zirtual, a US-based virtual assistant company, appears to have spontaneously combusted overnight, after deleting its Twitter, Facebook and Google+ accounts and putting a note on its website saying it is “pausing operations”.


As Business Insider reports, Zirtual employees were sent an email in the dead of night without any warning telling them they were all fired.


Ironically, Zirtual CEO Maren Kate Donovan recently espoused the importance of transparency in an op-ed for Forbes.


“Because what my employees don’t know could ultimately hurt the entire business,” she said.


“Give your employees ample time to adjust, as change in a company can often lead to people feeling unstable in their positions.”


It looks like she couldn’t take her own advice.


StumbleUpon fails to secure further funding

Content discovery platform StumbleUpon has let go up to 70 employees after it failed to secure additional venture capital funding.


According to Venture Beat, this is a hefty chunk of its formerly 100-strong workforce.


The startup had more than 25 million users during its heyday, and its last disclosed funding round was of $17 million in 2011.


StumbleUpon emerged before social networks really took off, but it now looks like it’s struggling to compete with the giants that are now in this realm.



The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 212.33, falling 1.21% overnight to 17,402.84. The Australian dollar is currently trading at US73 cents.


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