Author: Catherine Shu

Social media content and analytics startup PressLogic raises $10M from popular Chinese selfie app Meitu

PressLogic founders Ryan Cheung and Edward Chow

PressLogic, a Hong Kong-based social media content and data analytics startup, announced today that it has raised a $10 million Series A+ round from Meitu, developer of the popular Chinese selfie app. PressLogic will use the funds to launch its new lifestyle brand GirlStyle and enter e-commerce with its proprietary algorithms, which predict what topics will trend on social media among specific groups.

The new round brings PressLogic’s total raised to $15 million. Meitu first acquired a minority stake in PressLogic last year.

After launching a data-analytics service for social media managers called MediaLens in 2016, founders Ryan Cheung and Edward Chow began creating social media publishing and marketing brands in order to show potential clients how their technology could boost audience engagement. PressLogic, their social media publishing platform, now claims a total of 8 million Facebook and Instagram followers and more than 700 million monthly content impressions across its social media profiles and websites, with about 75 percent of its visitors aged 18 to 34.

MediaLens still serves as PressLogic’s core technology, underpinning its content brands, as well as the insights it provides to partners in order to increase their social media engagement and return on investment. CEO Cheung (Chow serves as PressLogic’s CTO) told TechCrunch that MediaLens “creates a pipeline from data sourcing to content suggestion to optimization” and has an edge against its competitors because it is able to make more granular suggestions about what content is likely to be popular among specific groups based on trending topics.

With its new round of funding, PressLogic will launch GirlStyle, a lifestyle and fashion-based social network targeted to young women, as an app and website in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, India, Korea and Malaysia by the end of this year. In terms of e-commerce, Cheung says the company will start by focusing on skincare and cosmetics by leveraging data from its online traffic and readers.

PressLogic hasn’t revealed if Meitu’s photo imaging technology will be integrated into its platform, but Cheung says it would like to extend MediaLens’ analytics to images, too, as data from photos and videos shared on social media is potentially valuable, but still difficult to transform into the kind of insights that help predict which content will go viral next.

Progressive advocacy groups call on the FTC to ‘make Facebook safe for democracy’

A team of progressive advocacy groups, including MoveOn and Demand Progress, are asking the Federal Trade Commission to “make Facebook safe for democracy.” According to Axios, the campaign, called Freedom From Facebook, is set to launch a six-figure ad campaign on Monday that will run on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, among other platforms.

The other advocacy groups behind the campaign are Citizens Against Monopoly, Content Creators Coalition, Jewish Voice for Peace, Mpower Change, Open Markets Institute and SumOfUs. Together they are calling on the FTC to “break up Facebook’s monopoly” by forcing it to spin-off Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger into separate, competing companies. They also want the FTC to require interoperability so users can communicate across competing social networks and strengthen privacy regulations.

Freedom From Facebook’s site also includes an online petition and privacy guide that links to FB Purity and the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Privacy Badger, browser extensions that help users streamline their Facebook ad preferences and block online trackers, respectively.

The FTC recently gained a new chairman after President Donald Trump’s pick for the position Joseph Simons was sworn in early this month, along with four new commissioners also nominated by Trump. Simons is an antitrust lawyer who has represented large tech firms like Microsoft and Sony. The FTC is currently investigating whether or not Facebook’s involvement with Cambridge Analytica violated a previous legal agreement it had with the commission, but many people are wondering if it and other federal agencies are capable of regulating tech companies, especially after many lawmakers seemed confused about how social media works during Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional hearing last month.

Despite its data privacy and regulatory issues, Facebook is still doing well from a financial perspective. Its first-quarter earnings report showed strong user growth and revenue above Wall Street’s expectations.

TechCrunch has contacted Freedom From Facebook and Facebook for comment.

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