August 9, 2016 Last Updated 12:50 pm

Facebook will block the ad blockers; La Presse+ update adds picture-in-picture video

The Roger Ailes horror show continues, with more talk of harassment, block ops, and a possible huge payout to Gretchen Carlson – meanwhile, some wonder if there will be a rush of talent heading for the exit

The summer lull is likely worse this year – at least it feels that way – thanks to the combination of the Summer Olympics taking place and exhaustion from the far-too-long election cycle (bad news, we still have 90 days to go). And as for those Olympics, the US women’s team plays Columbia late this afternoon and needs to put a hurt on ’em as it was the Columbia men’s team that prevented the US men’s team from making the Olympics (though it is fair to say that they were 100 times better than the US team).

So, what’s up?

Facebook will start to block the ad blockers.

“Facebook is ad-supported. Ads are a part of the Facebook experience; they’re not a tack on,” Andrew Bosworth, vice president of Facebook’s ads and business platform, told The Wall Street Journal.

The change comes in the form of ad preferences. In essence, Facebook is saying that it is giving its customers more control, but they are also forcing the ads through.

“As more and more content has shifted to the internet, online experiences have improved dramatically, becoming more immersive and intuitive,” Bosworth wrote on Facebook. “But many digital ads haven’t kept up. We’ve all experienced a lot of bad ads: ads that obscure the content we’re trying to read, ads that slow down load times or ads that try to sell us things we have no interest in buying. Bad ads are disruptive and a waste of our time.”

“Some ad blocking companies accept money in exchange for showing ads that they previously blocked — a practice that is at best confusing to people and that reduces the funding needed to support the journalism and other free services that we enjoy on the web,” Bosworth said. “Facebook is one of those free services, and ads support our mission of giving people the power to share and making the world more open and connected. Rather than paying ad blocking companies to unblock the ads we show — as some of these companies have invited us to do in the past — we’re putting control in people’s hands with our updated ad preferences and our other advertising controls.”

I think a lot of people will call BS on this, but we’ll see.

As far as media app updates, there aren’t many to speak of. Things will heat up at the end of September, though, when Apple releases the next version of iOS and developers realize that their apps are broke again.

La Presse+, the French-Canadian newspaper’s app, was updated to add picture-in-picture for video viewing. The app descriptions says (in French, of course) that it works on the iPad Pro, iPad Air or later model, and iPad Mini 2 or later model.

The Fox News – Roger Ailes story just keeps getting worse and worse.

Earlier this week Gabriel Sherman at New York magazine wrote about how Ailes had his own ‘Black Room’ which worked to help destroy those that might pose a threat to the Ailes empire.

How was Ailes able to spend millions of dollars to settle sexual-harassment claims without setting off alarm bells?

According to three highly placed sources, part of the answer is that there were few checks on Ailes when it came to the Fox News budget. “It was the culture,” one Fox executive said. “You didn’t ask questions, and Roger wouldn’t entertain questions.” One former News Corp executive explained that because Fox made more than $1 billion in annual profits, the funds that were used for settlements amounted to little more than “a rounding error.”

…According to one highly placed source, Solivan worked out of what Fox insiders called “the Black Room,” an operation Ailes established around 2011 to conduct PR and surveillance campaigns against people he targeted, both inside and outside the company. The “Black Room” was located on the 14th floor of the News Corp building at 1211 Avenue of the Americas, a quiet part of the office that housed Fox News Latino and some marketing and promotions employees.

Then yesterday afternoon Sherman reported on Fox News Host Andrea Tantaros who said she was taken off the air after speaking up about sexual harassment by Ailes.

Through her lawyer, Judd Burstein, Tantaros says that both she and her agent told Fox executive vice-president Bill Shine, senior vice-president Suzanne Scott, and general counsel Dianne Brandi about episodes of Ailes’s alleged harassment. “She made multiple harassment and hostile-workplace complaints,” Burstein says. As far as Tantaros knows, Fox executives never investigated her complaints, Burstein says; instead, they claim, Fox sidelined her. “I believe it’s retaliatory,” says Burstein.

Of course, Fox’s attorneys dispute the report.

Menawhile, Vanity Fair is saying that a settlement in the Gretchen Carlson lawsuit could end up costing 21st Century Fox, the owner of Fox News, and maybe Roger Ailes, a fair bit of money.

Meanwhile, 21st Century Fox has begun discussing a settlement in the Gretchen Carlson lawsuit against Ailes, according to two people familiar with the negotiations. The company is requesting that Ailes, who has denied all Carlson’s allegations, fund at least a portion of the settlement, which is expected to reach eight figures, these people said. At issue in the settlement talks is the existence of audio tapes recorded by multiple women in conversation with Ailes, two people familiar with the tapes said. Ailes’s lawyers have argued that any negotiation with Carlson should take place in private arbitration, but the specter of a public trial looms. “If they litigate the case, all the tapes will become public, directly and through others,” this person said. “Then you will have a parade of women come in. Nobody wants that.”

Read that? Eight figures.

Some are speculating that some of the on-air personalities may decide that now is a good time to bolt Fox News. That may explain why Sean Hannity has been particularly crazy these days. He continues to go after the Muslim American Gold Star parents Khzir and Ghazala Khan, spurring WSJ columnist Bret Stephens to call out at Hannity in a column published last night.

“Mr. Hannity’s excuses are even more disgraceful, combining oily self-absolution with venomous obloquy for the very conservatives who have spent the year warning that a Trump candidacy is an epic GOP disaster that all-but guarantees Hillary Clinton’s election. The habit of shifting blame and refusing to take responsibility is supposed to be the curse of the underclass and its political hucksters, but Mr. Hannity is giving Al Sharpton a run for his money.”

Wonder what Rupert is thinking about all this? He used to go on Twitter to air his views, but he has not tweeted since March, and the rumor is that his sons took his phone aways from him (metaphorically).

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