Online & Digital Media News In Brief – Rogers Media not commenting on Twitter hack attacks

Rogers Media isn’t commenting on two incidents last week that saw hackers gain control of radio station Twitter accounts in Halifax and Vancouver. The first attack happened Tuesday evening (Jan. 15) when Tweets coloured with offensive language began to post from the News 95.7 (CJNI-FM) Halifax Twitter account. A group called the “Spank Gang” claimed credit and suggested that its next intended target was @CTVNews. The hackers struck again the next night, targeting Rogers’ Vancouver station News 1130 (CKWX-AM) and its @News1130traffic account. The Spank Gang is the same group that hacked the account of Conservative Canadian Senator Linda Frum on Jan. 6 and shared her personal information, including a photo of her driver’s license. Read the full story here.

Momentum Media Marketing’s in-house digital experts James Wallace and Christian Lind offer insight into how the hacks occurred and how media organizations can take steps to protect themselves.

Rebel Media is facing a possible $5,500 fine after a complaint by Elections Alberta that the right-wing, online publication engaged in political advertising while not registered as a third-party advertiser in violation of election financing laws. The alleged breach is connected to a billboard, unveiled in November near Innisfail, AB, targeting provincial Education Min. David Eggen. An investigation by election commissioner Lorne Gibson revealed the company spent $2,730 on a billboard containing the message “40% of Grade 9 students failed provincial exams — Alberta can do better than David Eggen” Considered a political ad, a third party is required to register with Elections Alberta when it spends more than $1,000 on election or political advertising. Rebel Media has indicated it intends to file an appeal.

Spotify has launched an app called Car View with a goal to making the audio streaming app easier to use while in your vehicle. When users connect to their car’s Bluetooth, Car View is enabled automatically as music or podcasts start playing. The app is initially rolling out to Android users globally.


Amazon is test driving giving Alexa a “newscaster” voice in the U.S. When American users now ask to hear the latest news, Alexa will respond using a voice similar to a professional newscaster. Amazon says the voice intuitively knows which words should be emphasized for more realistic delivery thanks to Neural TTS technology, or NTTS. Amazon developers additionally applied direct waveform modeling to produce the speech signal.

Deezer has launched a new, free dedicated mobile app for radio listening. Radio by Deezer offers access to 30,000 radio stations, however the app’s initial rollout is limited to Android devices in the UK market. Deezer expects the app to gradually be extended to the rest of Europe, with an iOS version available soon.


Buzzfeed announced its intention Wednesday to layoff 200 staffers, or 15 per cent of its workforce. Jonah Peretti, the company’s co-founder and CEO, sent a memo to staff indicating the cuts will hit the web content and international units, including the news division, starting next week. This is the company’s third round of layoffs in 14 months, following cutbacks in Nov. 2017 and Sept. 2018.

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