Apple Buys Texture, Diving into Journalism in the wake of Facebook’s Fake News Problem

Texture on iPhone and iPad

Apple on Monday bought Texture, a media aggregation app that currently allows access to a wide range of publications for a monthly fee of $10 a month. The move appears to be quite a significant strategic play from Apple. At the time when Facebook has very publicly moved away from news and media, Apple appears to be moving further into that space.

Texture on iPhone and iPad
Texture on iPhone and iPad

Commenting on the acquisition, Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services said: “We’re excited Texture will join Apple, along with an impressive catalog of magazines from many of the world’s leading publishers. We are committed to quality journalism from trusted sources and allowing magazines to keep producing beautifully designed and engaging stories for users.”

John Loughlin, CEO of Texture and its parent company Next Issue media, said that “We could not imagine a better home or future for the service.” The firm is collectively owned by media giants Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, Rogers Media and KKR.

Apple and Facebook and Journalism

Joseph Evans, a Senior Research Analyst at leading UK tech and media analysis firm Enders Analysis told TMO, “the context of Facebook pulling away makes this an opportune time, I think Twitter is probably trying to do much the same right now”.

“I think it is partly just publicly positioning,” said Mr. Evans. “They want to be seen to be friendly with journalism at this point, kind of politically”.

He said this strategy comes as a response to, “all the worries around misinformation and filter bubbles and all the stuff..foreign elections”, something Facebook has been directly implicated in.

Mr. Evans highlighted the quote from Cue emphasising the “quality journalism from trusted sources,” calling it “rather revealing” and “quite clever positioning.”

“It’s about signalling to journalists and journalism and the public at large that this is a value of Apple’s, that they’re committed to journalism,” he said.

Mr. Evans rightly noted that the purchase of the so-called Netflix for news, “will be a kind of a drop in the bucket of their cash pile” and said we can expect to “see a lot more M&A activity from Apple” in the near future as it looks to spend the cash pile it is currently sitting on.

Of course, while the owners of Texture will be delighted with their payday, but Apple purchasing a single app does not mean they have saved the under pressure media industry. “How effective it is as a means of helping journalism is open to question,” said Evans. “If they really wanted to help news and journalism, for example, they could waive the 30 per cent cut of in app revenue for news organisations.”

2 thoughts on “Apple Buys Texture, Diving into Journalism in the wake of Facebook’s Fake News Problem

  • If it really is a move to avoid the kind of regulation that’s been threatened for Facebook if it doesn’t fall in line with the Russian story* it’s a clever move by Apple. But the way I see it, it does nothing of the sort…

    Yes, Apple has swallowed print media whole, but it’s unlikely Apple will still offer the Texture app in the long run. It seems Apple will fold Texture’s ability to isolate articles into Apple News, in which case Apple is still curating or algo-ing information, leaving it vulnerable to similar allegations of fake-news, filter bubbles, etc – even if it avoids the advertising/interest group manipulation allegations social media suffers, more so because Apple News isn’t actually social media.

    (initially Facebook couldn’t find any Russian “manipulation”, but when it was threatened with regulation, it found $46k of advertising and some fake accounts, which we are to believe swayed the entire US election – but people seem to believe anything they want to at the moment)

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