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3:00 PM ET, December 20, 2019


 Top News: 
Georg Szalai / Hollywood Reporter:
ViacomCBS acquires 49% stake in Miramax, which is owned by BeIN, for $375M  —  The L.A.-based company, which has been owned by Doha-based BeIN Media Group and run by CEO Bill Block, has a library with 700-plus titles, including such Oscar winners as ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘Chicago.’
Makena Kelly / The Verge:
Facebook and Twitter shut down a network of fake accounts using AI-generated faces to “masquerade” as Americans; Facebook links the network to Epoch Media Group  —  Its accounts used AI-generated faces to ‘masquerade’ as Americans  —  On Friday, Facebook and Twitter shut …
Deanna Ting / Digiday:
Small publishers see more traffic from mobile news aggregators like TopBuzz, News Break, and Flipboard, than Facebook and Google  —  This November, Inquisitr CEO Dominick Miserandino noticed that TopBuzz News, the news aggregator app from ByteDance, the same company behind wildly popular …
Business Wire:
Triton to start publishing monthly reports on top networks and podcasts ranked by weekly downloads; NPR, Stitcher,, and Cumulus have signed on  —  NEW YORK—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Triton Digital®, the global technology and services provider to the digital audio and podcast industry …
Discussion: RAIN News, @nwquah and Radio Ink
Alex Sherman / CNBC:
Sources: NBC's Peacock to integrate NBC News Now, have a free, limited-content tier, a limited-ads tier for $5/month, and an ad-free tier for $10/month  —  - NBCUniversal is looking to differentiate its streaming service Peacock from rivals through its pricing structure and user interface.
Charlotte Tobitt / Press Gazette:
NY judge dismisses appeal by Michael Leidig of Central European News in libel case against BuzzFeed, saying he failed to prove BuzzFeed's reporting was false  —  News agency boss Michael Liedig has had his appeal against a libel judgment that backed Buzzfeed's 2015 story dubbing him the “king of bullshit news” thrown out.
Discussion: @craigsilverman
Keida Kostreci / Voice of America:
Albania approves a set of anti-defamation laws which critics see as an attempt to muzzle the media and give the nation's top media regulator too much power  —  Albania's Parliament approved a controversial set of government-proposed anti-defamation laws on Wednesday, which critics say grant …
Omar Rashid / The Hindu:
The Hindu's Omar Rashid recalls how police detained and threatened him before letting him go, amid a crackdown in India on protests against a citizenship bill  —  At the very first instance, I revealed my identity as a journalist and asked them what the matter was all about.
Sara Guaglione / MediaPost:
The Atlantic's feature on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which was read for 30M+ “total engaged minutes”, is #1 in Chartbeat's Most Engaging Stories of 2019  —  Chartbeat, the digital publisher data and analytics company, has revealed its annual list of most engaging stories of the year.
Discussion: Chartbeat Blog
Stanford Internet Observatory:
Microsoft's Bing appears to return an alarming amount of disinformation for user queries, far more than Google does, based on a test of 13 queries  —  Bing's importance in the information landscape of the U.S. shouldn't be overlooked.  While its share of the search market in the U.S. might …
Megan Graham / CNBC:
Ad exchange Rubicon Project agrees to merge with video advertising management platform Telaria, to better compete with Google and Facebook  —  - Public ad tech companies Telaria and Rubicon Project have agreed to merge as they try to make a stronger play in the growth of connected television …
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 More News: 
Chris Eggertsen / Billboard:
Jury finds Cox Communications liable for its customers' piracy of 10,000+ musical works, awards $1B to Sony Music, EMI, Universal, and Warner Music
Lucas Shaw / Bloomberg:
Sources: Facebook is pursuing rights to music videos from record labels to boost interest in Watch, has already begun testing music videos in Thailand and India
Discussion: CNET and Engadget
 Earlier Picks: 
Sara Fischer / Axios:
NBC News forms a team to report on US election security issues, led by SVP Janelle Rodriguez, and has created a dedicated landing page called Vote Watch
Gavin Bridge / Variety:
Analysis: Netflix has released 371 original TV shows and movies in the US in 2019, a 54.6% increase over 2018 and more than the entire US TV industry in 2005