A while back, I posted a collection of links to articles I have been reading lately. I want to start doing this more often. We’re going to call it “Open Tabs,” because these articles are often open in my web browser.

Included in open tabs each week will be five links an a video, either funny or informative.

I hope you’re served by this!


The Follower Factory—Nicholas Confessore, Gabriel J.X. Dance, Richard Harris, and Mark Hansen

I am arguably the least eligible person to determine journalistic excellence, but this article needs to win an award of some kind.

In November, Facebook disclosed to investors that it had at least twice as many fake users as it previously estimated, indicating that up to 60 million automated accounts may roam the world’s largest social media platform. These fake accounts, known as bots, can help sway advertising audiences and reshape political debates. They can defraud businesses and ruin reputations. Yet their creation and sale fall into a legal gray zone.

“The continued viability of fraudulent accounts and interactions on social media platforms — and the professionalization of these fraudulent services — is an indication that there’s still much work to do,” said Senator Mark Warner, the Virginia Democrat and ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has been investigating the spread of fake accounts on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.

Logan Paul’s true return to YouTube hasn’t happened yet—Julia Alexander

Helpful article from Julia on the return of Logan Paul. I agree with her 100%.

After three weeks away, Logan’s return to YouTube was a rebranding moment. He cut his hair, appearing appropriately somber in his video, as he met with mental health experts and suicide attempt survivors, pledging to donate $1 million to suicide prevention organizations. Logan defined his return as a new chapter in his life. He wasn’t going to be the goofy, diss track-feuding jokester that he was only one month prior.

While Logan’s initial return is admirable, and though his efforts to create a short documentary about suicide awareness and pledge a significant amount to mental health organizations should be applauded, this isn’t Logan Paul’s return. This is a pre-meditated, six-step plan to gaining back the trust of his audience and the general public.

Rupert Murdoch says Facebook needs to pay publishers the way cable companies do—Kurt Wagner

I actually agree with Rupert Murdoch here. I think this is a great idea.

Rupert Murdoch has an idea for fixing Facebook’s relationship with publishers: The social giant should just pay them.

Murdoch, the media mogul who’s chairman of both News Corp and 21st Century Fox, issued a statement Monday saying he thought Facebook and Google’s efforts to work with publishers that post on its platform has been “inadequate commercially, socially and journalistically.”

Instead, Murdoch suggested these tech giants start paying publishers the same way cable companies pay for content: With carriage fees.

“The publishers are obviously enhancing the value and integrity of Facebook through their news and content but are not being adequately rewarded for those services,” Murdoch wrote. “Carriage payments would have a minor impact on Facebook’s profits but a major impact on the prospects for publishers and journalists.”

Crock-Pot is forced to defend itself after a heartbreaking plot twist on ‘This Is Us’—Kate Taylor

I felt so bad for Crock-Pot after my wife told me about this episode. What a nightmare.

A heart-breaking plot development on NBC’s ‘This Is Us’ had fans of the TV show threatening to throw away their Crock-Pots.

In the most recent episode, which aired on Tuesday, a faulty Crock-Pot slow cooker left unattended leads to a dish towel catching on fire. With the knowledge that the death of Jack — the Pearson family patriarch — is inevitable and fast approaching, viewers were left terrified by what the next episode would bring, as the kitchen was engulfed in flames at the end of the episode.

Many fans of the hit show blamed the Crock-Pot for the tragedy — and said that they would take action against the slow cookers in their own lives.

Google is building Bulletin, a hyperlocal community news service—Abhimanyu Ghoshal

This is a really cool idea, and I’ve applied to try out the beta in Nashville.

According to the footage above from blogger Sami Cone who reported that she was at Google’s Bulletin launch event in Nashville, users will be able to update their blogs continuously (as you would with a liveblog post) and see viewership stats to know where readers are coming from.

It’ll be interesting to see how this rolls out and fits into Google’s strategy for grabbing more eyeballs through its News and Search services. Beyond getting people to try Bulletin when they’re starting out reporting local news, it’ll have to incentivize them for sticking around once they get the hang of it and feel the need to grow an audience for themselves.

The Video

Burger King: Whopper Neutrality

Chris Martin

Chris Martin is the Co-Creator and Chief Content Officer at LifeWay Social as well as a Content Strategist at LifeWay. He and his wife Susie live outside Nashville, TN.