Hilaria Baldwin and the Strange Allure of Celebrity Fertility

Why we can’t stop talking about her … whole thing.

#babies-and-infants, #celebrities, #parenting, #pregnancy-and-childbirth, #social-media, #surrogate-motherhood


Kelly Marie Tran: ‘I’m Not Afraid Anymore’

The actress has left the “Star Wars” bullies behind to star as Disney’s first Southeast Asian princess in “Raya and the Last Dragon.” She says, “I’m finally asking for the things I want.”

#actors-and-actresses, #asian-americans, #content-type-personal-profile, #cyberharassment, #discrimination, #disney-plus, #movies, #race-and-ethnicity, #raya-and-the-last-dragon-movie, #social-media, #star-wars-movie, #star-wars-the-last-jedi-movie, #tran-kelly-marie, #vietnamese-americans, #walt-disney-company, #women-and-girls


Influencers Are the New Televangelists

How did they become our moral authorities?

#doyle-glennon-1976, #instagram-inc, #millennial-generation, #social-media, #women-and-girls


TikTok launches ‘TikTok Q&A,’ a new feature for creators to engage with viewers’ questions

Earlier this year, TikTok was spotted testing a new Q&A feature that would allow creators to more directly respond to their audience’s questions using either text or video. Today, the company has announced the feature is now available to all users globally. With the release of TikTok Q&A, as the feature is officially called, creators will be able to designate their comments as Q&A questions, respond to questions with either text comments or video replies, and add a Q&A profile link to their bios, among other things. The feature also works with live videos.

TikTok Q&A grew out of a way that creators were already using the video platform to interact with viewers. Often, after posting a video, viewers would have follow-up questions about the content. Creators would then either respond to those questions in the comments section or, if the response was more involved, they might post a second video instead.

The Q&A feature essentially formalizes this process by making it easier for creators — particularly those with a lot of fans — to identify and answer the most interesting questions.

Image Credits: TikTok

To use Q&A, viewers will first designate their comment as a Q&A question using a new commenting option. To do so, they’ll tap the Q&A icon to the right side of the text entry field in comments. This will also label their comment with the icon and text that says “Asked by” followed by the username of the person asking the question. This makes it easier for creators to see when scanning through a long list of comments on their video.

The feature will also feed the question into the creator’s new Q&A page where all questions and answers are aggregated. Users can browse this page to see all the earlier questions and answers that have already been posted or add a new question of their own.

Creators will respond to a Q&A question with either text or video replies, just as they did before — so there isn’t much new to learn here, in terms of process.

They can also add Q&A comments as stickers in their responses where the new video will link back to the original, where the question was first asked, similar to how they’re using comment stickers today.

The feature will also be available in TikTok LIVE, making it easier for creators to see the incoming questions in the stream’s chat from a separate panel.

Image Credits: TikTok

As a part of this launch, a Q&A profile link can be added to creators’ Profile bios, which directs users to the Q&A page where everything is organized.

During tests, the feature was only made available to creators with public accounts that had more than 10,000 followers and who opted in. Today, TikTok says its available to all users with Creator Accounts.

To enable the feature on your own profile, you’ll go to the privacy page under Settings, then select “Creator,” tap “Q&A” and then “Turn on Q&A.” (If users don’t already have a Creator account, they can enable it for themselves under settings.)

The feature is rolling out to users worldwide in the latest version of the TikTok app now, the company says.

@tiktokYou can now ask and answer any questions on LIVE with the new Q&A feature. Check it out now!

♬ original sound – TikTok

#apps, #media, #mobile, #qa, #social, #social-media, #tiktok, #videos


The Era of Audio Creators Has Arrived

A new company called Audio Collective has launched to help build businesses on Clubhouse as brands rush to leverage the platform.

#advertising-and-marketing, #clubhouse-mobile-app, #social-media


Twitter tests new e-commerce features for tweets

Twitter confirmed it’s testing a new way to display tweets that link out to e-commerce product pages — like products on a Shopify store, for example. With a new Twitter card format, the company is experimenting with tweets that include a big “Shop” button and integrate product details directly into the tweet itself, including the product name, shop name, and product pricing.

The experiment was spotted by social media consultant Matt Navarra who tweeted out screenshots of the new experience. The original poster, based in Qatar, had seen the experiment on an Android device, he tells TechCrunch.

While these tweets would work well as ads, Twitter confirmed to us the tweet is an example of a new treatment for “organic” tweets focused on e-commerce.

This format could potentially come into play as part of Twitter’s larger push to become a creator platform, with its recently announced plans for a “Super Follow” subscription. The new product will allow Twitter users to follow a particular account for subscriber-only perks like newsletters, exclusive content, a supporter badge, and other deals and discounts. A more “shoppable” tweet format could allow these creators to direct their fans to products and merchandise, perhaps.

Twitter also briefly touched on its plans for future investments in e-commerce during its Investor Day last week, but not in great detail.

“We’re…starting to explore ways to better support commerce on Twitter,” said Twitter Revenue Lead, Bruce Falck, during the event.

“We know people come to Twitter to interact with brands and discuss their favorite products. In fact, you may have even noticed some businesses already developing creative ways to enable sales on our platform,” he explained.

“This demand gives us confidence in the power of combining real-time conversation with an engaged and intentional audience. Imagine easily discovering, and quickly purchasing a new skincare product or trendy sneaker from a brand you follow with only a few clicks,” Falck added.

But he cautioned investors that while Twitter was “excited about the potential of commerce,” it was still something that’s in “very early exploration.”

The idea that Twitter could become more of discovery network for e-commerce products is an interesting one — especially given the growth in the social commerce sector in recent months. This includes increased investment from Facebook into shopping features across Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, as well as the growing attention being paid to video-based shopping.

The latter has been particularly popular, in terms of both live streamed product demos and pre-recorded short-form videos, like those on TikTok.

Shopify, for instance, partnered with TikTok on social commerce last fall. And Walmart — a suitor for TikTok’s potential U.S. spin-out (which is now on hold)ran its own live-streamed shopping event on the video app over the holidays. A number of video shopping startups have been taking on funding in recent months, too.

Twitter, meanwhile, may have dialed down its video ambitions over the years with the closure of Vine and now, Periscope, but it’s not without tools to make shopping more interesting on its platform, if it chose to do so. It still has integrated tools for posting photos, videos and even live video content. Combined with a Twitter Card that includes pricing and a big “Shop” button, people’s tweets could drive sales.

Or, in other words, a Twitter Card that points you directly to a product page could be just the start of what’s to come.

In fact, Twitter itself says it has a number of plans for social commerce.

“This is the first of many experiments in the commerce space and we will enrich the experience as we learn more,” a spokesperson said.

#e-commerce, #ecommerce, #shopping, #social, #social-commerce, #social-media, #twitter


Amazon Quietly Tweaks Logo Some Say Resembled Hitler’s Mustache

The app icon, which shows a blue patch above Amazon’s signature smile-shaped arrow, was given smoother edges and a folded corner after claims that it bore a resemblance to the German dictator.

#amazon-com-inc, #berlin-germany, #social-media


Facebook Ends Ban on Political Advertising

The social network had prohibited political ads on its site indefinitely after the November election. Such ads have been criticized for spreading misinformation.

#computers-and-the-internet, #corporate-social-responsibility, #facebook-inc, #online-advertising, #political-advertising, #politics-and-government, #presidential-election-of-2020, #rumors-and-misinformation, #social-media, #united-states-politics-and-government, #zuckerberg-mark-e


Facebook Lifts Ban on Political Advertising

The social network had prohibited political ads on its site indefinitely after the November election. Such ads have been criticized for spreading misinformation.

#computers-and-the-internet, #corporate-social-responsibility, #facebook-inc, #online-advertising, #political-advertising, #politics-and-government, #presidential-election-of-2020, #rumors-and-misinformation, #social-media, #united-states-politics-and-government, #zuckerberg-mark-e


Biden Drops Tanden Nomination Amid Bipartisan Opposition

The White House had insisted that it would stand by Neera Tanden as President Biden’s top budget official, but it became clear that she did not have the Senate votes to be confirmed.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #office-of-management-and-budget-us, #senate, #social-media, #tanden-neera, #united-states-politics-and-government


Love Factory: Becoming a Social Media Star in China

Livestreaming your life to a devoted audience is big business. A new short film explores what happens when the cameras are off.

#china, #content-type-service, #documentary-films-and-programs, #social-media, #video-recordings-downloads-and-streaming


Lady Gaga’s Dog Walker Recalls Being Shot and Cradling ‘Guardian Angel’ Dog

Ryan Fischer wrote on Instagram about his “recovery from a very close call with death.”

#associated-press, #dogs, #firearms, #fischer-ryan, #hollywood-calif, #instagram-inc, #lady-gaga, #los-angeles-calif, #police-department-los-angeles-calif, #robberies-and-thefts, #social-media


Minneapolis Abandons Plan to Pay Influencers During Officers’ Trials

The city had faced criticism over plans to pay social media influencers $2,000 each to fight misinformation during the trials of Derek Chauvin and three other former police officers charged in George Floyd’s death.

#black-lives-matter-movement, #black-people, #chauvin-derek-1976, #floyd-george-d-2020, #george-floyd-protests-2020, #minneapolis-minn, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #police-brutality-misconduct-and-shootings, #police-department-minneapolis-minn, #social-media


How Do Influencers Get Jobs? It’s Changing

A new service is designed to help formalize relationships that are typically forged through personal connections or cold DMs.

#advertising-and-marketing, #social-media


Instagram launches ‘Live Rooms’ for live broadcasts with up to four creators

Instagram today announced it’s adding a much-requested feature to its app with the launch of “Live Rooms,” which allow up to four people to broadcast live together at the same time. Previously, the app only allowed users to live stream with one other person, similar to Facebook Live. The company says it hopes Live Rooms will open up more creative opportunities in terms of live broadcast formats to allow for things like live talk shows, expanded Q&A’s or interviews, jam sessions for musicians, live shopping experiences, and more.

In addition to the ability to live stream with more people, Instagram also touts how the new feature can help creators to make more money. Last year, in the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, Instagram introduced badges as a way for fans to support their favorite creators during a live video. Once purchased, the badges appear next to a fan’s name throughout the live video, helping them to stand out in the comments and unlock other special features, like placement on the creator’s list of badge holders and access to a special heart.

Badges became more broadly available last fall, at three price points: $0.99, $1.99, or $4.99.

With Live Rooms, fans can buy badges to support the hosts (one badge per person) as well as use other interactive features like Shopping and Live Fundraisers. The company says it’s also now developing other tools, like moderator controls and audio features that will roll out in the months to come.

To start a Live Room, you’ll swipe left and select the Live camera option, then title the Room and tap the Room icon to add guests. Here, you’ll see a list of people who’ve already requested to go live with you and you’ll be able to search for other guests to add.

Image Credits: Instagram

When you start the Live Room, you’ll remain at the top of the screen while guests are added. The guests can be added all at once or individually, depending on your preference. This allows for opportunities to add “surprise guests” to live streams to keep fans engaged.

The ability to add more guests to a live stream can also help a creator grow their follower base, as all the guests’ followers are notified about the Live Room, in addition to your own.

For safety reasons, any person that’s been blocked by any of the Live Room participants will not have access to join the live stream. Plus, any guests who have previously had their live access revoked due to violations of Instagram’s Community Guidelines won’t be able to join any Live Rooms.

During live broadcasts, the hosts can also report and block comments and use comment filters to maintain a safer experience for all viewers.

Live broadcasts became an increasingly important way for creators, business owners and brands to stay connected with followers during the pandemic, which shut down in-person live events, including concerts, shows, classes, conferences, meetups, and more. Instagram reported a 70% increase in Live views from February to March, for instance, as creators and businesses shifted their work online.

Image Credits: Instagram

As the pandemic wore on throughout 2020 and into 2021, the lack of in-person connection has allowed for other opportunities and even new social networks to grow. Live audio platform Clubhouse, for example, has seen rapid adoption, particularly by the tech and creative crowds, who today use the app to tune into live shows, chat sessions, and even big-name interviews. Twitter is now building a rival, and reportedly, so is Facebook.

But while Clubhouse offers a very different experience, it still operates in the same broader space of allowing fans to connect with high-profile individuals of some sort — entrepreneurs and founders, celebrities, market experts, thought leaders, influencers, and so on. And because users’ time is limited, seeing this type of activity shift to non-Facebook owned platforms is likely of concern to Instagram and its parent.

Meanwhile, in the live video broadcasting space, Instagram today faces a number of competitors, from those focused on a particular niche — like game streaming site Twitch, live shopping apps, and more— as well as general purpose live platforms offered by YouTube and TikTok. (The latter was spotted offering a four-up live stream format just last month, in fact.)

Instagram says Live Rooms are rolling out now to both iOS and Android to all global markets. The company expects the rollout to reach 100% of its user base within the week.


#apps, #clubhouse, #facebook, #instagram, #instagram-live, #livestreaming, #mobile, #social, #social-media, #social-networks, #streaming, #tiktok, #video-hosting


Seniors Seeking Vaccines Have a Problem: They Can’t Use the Internet

Older adults living alone often lack access or an understanding of technology, and many are unsure how to sign up for an appointment.

#administration-for-community-living, #computers-and-the-internet, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #elderly, #older-adults-technology-services, #smith-tina-f, #social-media, #vaccination-and-immunization


Maldives Courts Influencers Amid Covid-19

By urging travelers to visit, the Maldives is reviving its luxury resorts. It’s also risking new outbreaks and courting controversy on social media.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-risks-and-safety-concerns, #instagram-inc, #maldives, #social-media, #travel-and-vacations


Bangladeshi Writer, Detained Over Social Media Posts, Dies in Jail

The death of Mushtaq Ahmed has renewed alarm about the country’s use of a draconian digital security law to crack down on dissent.

#ahmed-mushtaq-d-2021, #bangladesh, #censorship, #deaths-fatalities, #freedom-of-speech-and-expression, #political-prisoners, #politics-and-government, #social-media, #wazed-hasina


Minneapolis Will Pay Influencers to Fight Misinformation During Officers’ Trials

The city will pay six social media influencers $2,000 each to share messages during the trials of Derek Chauvin and three other former police officers charged in the killing of George Floyd.

#black-lives-matter-movement, #black-people, #chauvin-derek-1976, #city-councils, #floyd-george-d-2020, #george-floyd-protests-2020, #minneapolis-minn, #police-brutality-misconduct-and-shootings, #police-department-minneapolis-minn, #rumors-and-misinformation, #social-media


The Season of the Snitch

Narc-narc, who’s there?

#computers-and-the-internet, #facial-recognition-software, #social-media, #surveillance-of-citizens-by-government


How TikTok Helped a Finnish Baked Feta Pasta Go Viral

Cheese suppliers have been swept up in the video recipe phenomenon known as baked feta pasta.

#cheese, #cooking-and-cookbooks, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #recipes, #social-media, #tiktok-bytedance


Brandwatch is acquired by Cision for $450M, creating a PR, marketing and social listening giant

Online consumer intelligence and social media listening platform Brandwatch has been acquired by Cision, best known for its media monitoring and media contact database services, for $450 million, in a combined cash and shares deal. TechCrunch understands Brandwatch’s key executive team will be staying on. The move combines two large players to offer a broad range of services from PR to marketing and online customer engagement. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.

Cision has a media contact database of approximately 1 million journalists and media outlets and claims to have over 75,000 customers. Brandwatch applies AI and machine learning the practice known as ‘social listening’.

Along the way, Brandwatch raised a total of around $65 million. It was Series A-funded by Nauta Capital, followed by Highland Europe and then Partech.

IN a statement, Giles Palmer, founder, and CEO of Brandwatch said: “We have always built Brandwatch with ambition… Now is the time to take the next step – joining a company of significant scale to create a business and a suite of products that can have an important global impact.”

Abel Clark, CEO of Cision said: “The continued digital shift and widespread adoption of social media is rapidly and fundamentally changing how brands and organizations engage with their customers. This is driving the imperative that PR, marketing, social, and customer care teams fully incorporate the unique insights now available into consumer-led strategies. Together, Cision and Brandwatch will help our clients to more deeply understand, connect and engage with their customers at scale across every channel.”

Brandwatch has been on an almost case-study of a journey from fundraising to acquisition to a merger, but less characteristically for a well-funded tech company, it did much of it from its home-town of Brighton, on the southern coast of England.

The financing journey began for Giles Palmer, with Angel funding in 2006. In 2010 Brandwatch raised $1.5m from Durrants, a marketing and PR firm, and Nauta Capital. In 2014 it raised $22 million in funding in a Series B round led by Highland Capital. That was followed by a $33M Series C financing led by Partech Ventures in 2015.

With the war chest, it went on to acquire BuzzSumo in 2017, a content marketing and influencer identification platform, for an undisclosed sum. And in 2019 Brandwatch merged with a similar business, Crimson Hexagon, creating a business with around $100 million in ARR. It also acquired the London-based SaaS research platform Qriously.

Brandwatch was recently named a leader in Forrester’s guide for buyers of social listening solutions.

#artificial-intelligence, #brandwatch, #business, #buzzsumo, #ceo, #cision, #communication, #content-marketing, #crimson-hexagon, #europe, #executive, #highland-capital, #highland-europe, #leader, #london, #machine-learning, #marketing, #media-monitoring, #nauta-capital, #partech-ventures, #saas, #social-media, #tc


Neera Tanden: First Cabinet-Level Casualty of the Twitter Age?

Republicans have criticized her tweets, but Democrats say former President Donald J. Trump’s were much worse as they assail what they call a double standard.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #office-of-management-and-budget-us, #republican-party, #social-media, #tanden-neera, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government


Dispo, David Dobrik’s Photo-Sharing App, Is Taking Off

Some are calling David Dobrik’s new photo app, Dispo, the next Instagram.

#photography, #social-media


Can Clubhouse Move Fast Without Breaking Things?

The 11-month-old audio social network is compelling. It also has some very grown-up problems.

#clubhouse-mobile-app, #computers-and-the-internet, #mobile-applications, #privacy, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #social-media


Sacha Baron Cohen Has a Message for Mark Zuckerberg

The actor who, as Borat, drew our attention to racism, misogyny and autocratic propaganda calls out the social media companies who profit off these trends.

#cohen-sacha-baron, #facebook-inc, #giuliani-rudolph-w, #social-media, #united-states-politics-and-government


Facebook Bans Myanmar Military Accounts in Aftermath of Coup

The move plunges the social network into the post-coup politics of the roiled nation, after years of criticism over how Myanmar’s military had used the site.

#aung-san-suu-kyi, #censorship, #computers-and-the-internet, #corporate-social-responsibility, #coups-detat-and-attempted-coups-detat, #defense-and-military-forces, #facebook-inc, #instagram-inc, #myanmar, #news-and-news-media, #politics-and-government, #social-media


Australia’s Social Media Law Won’t Save Journalism

Google and Facebook have objected to a law that will require them to pay media outlets for content. But the legislation won’t protect the businesses it aims to help.

#australia, #computers-and-the-internet, #facebook-inc, #google-inc, #news-and-news-media, #newspapers, #politics-and-government, #social-media


The Golden Age of Free Stuff Is Upon Us

The pandemic has spawned an enormous wave of items tossed out on New York City’s streets — including kitchen sinks, a Korean wedding chest and even a Tiffany bracelet.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #furniture, #new-york-city, #social-media


When Influencers Make Fools of Themselves

We can all use a reminder that envy-inducing content looked ridiculous behind the scenes.

#instagram-inc, #social-media, #tiktok-bytedance


Twitter relaunches test that asks users to revise harmful replies

Twitter is running a new test that will ask users to pause and think before they tweet. According to the company’s announcement, when Twitter detects what appears to be a potentially harmful or offensive reply to someone else’s tweet, it will prompt you to consider revising your text instead of tweeting.

Users whose tweets are flagged in this way will see a pop-up message appear on their screen, which asks, “Want to review this before Tweeting?” There are three buttons to then choose from: one to tweet the reply anyway, an Edit button (this is as close as we’ll get, apparently), and a delete button to discard the tweet entirely. There is also a small link to report if the system got things wrong.

This is not the first time Twitter has run a test like this.

In May 2020 and again in August 2020, Twitter ran variations on this same experiment. In those cases, the text on the pop-up screen was largely the same, but the layout of the three buttons looked different and were less colorful.

The earlier tests ran on Android, iOS and web, but this current iteration is only on iOS, for the time being.

At the time of the initial test, Twitter explained its systems were able to detect harmful language based on the kind of language that had been used in other tweets that had been reported in the past.

It’s been shown that these sorts of built-in small nudges can have an impact.

For example, when Twitter began prompting users to read the article linked in a tweet before retweeting it, the company found that users would open the articles 40% more often than without the nudge. Twitter has also built similar experiments to try to slow down the pace of online conversation on its platform, by doing things like discouraging retweets without commentary or slow down “Likes” on tweets containing misinformation.

Other social networks use small nudges like this, too, to influence their users’ behavior. Instagram back in 2019 launched a feature that would flag potentially offensive comments before they were posted, and later expanded this to captions. TikTok more recently launched a banner that would ask users if they were sure they wanted to share a video that contains “unverified content.”

It’s unclear why Twitter hasn’t simply rolled out the pop-up to combat online abuse — still a serious issue on its platform — and then iterated on the design and style of the message box, as needed.

Compared with the much larger engineering and design efforts the company has had underway — including its newer Stories feature known as Fleets and a Clubhouse rival called Spaces — a box asking users to pause and think seems like something that could have graduated to a full product by now.

#abuse, #bullying, #social, #social-media, #tweet, #twitter


Facebook to restore news sharing in Australia after government amends proposed law

Facebook said it will begin restoring news sharing to Australian users’ feeds in “the coming days” after reaching an agreement with the country’s government. The social media giant made the drastic move of restricting news content in Australia last Wednesday after a dispute over a proposed media bargaining code that is expected to be voted into law soon. The code would have forced Facebook, and other major tech companies like Google, to make revenue-sharing agreements with publishers for content posted to their social media platforms.

Australian treasurer Josh Frydenberg said changes have been made to the code to “provide further clarity to digital platforms and news media businesses about the way the Code is intended to operate and strengthen the framework for ensuring news media businesses are fairly remunerated,” reported Seven News.

The amendments mean the code now includes a two-month mediation period to allow digital platforms like Facebook and publishers to agree on deals before they are forced to enter into arbitration. The Australian government will also consider commercial agreements tech platforms have already made with local publishers before deciding if the code applies to them, and give them one month’s notice before reaching a final decision.

William Easton, managing director of Facebook Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement that the company was “satisfied” with the changes, adding that they addressed Facebook’s “core concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognize the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them.”

Facebook’s restrictions last week meant Australian publishers were restricted from sharing or posting content from Facebook Pages, and users in Australia were unable to view or share Australian or international news content.

The Australian government announced in April 2020 it would adopt a mandatory code ordering Google, Facebook and other tech giants to pay local media for reusing their content, after an earlier attempt to create a voluntary code with the companies stalled.

As it lobbied against the proposed law, Facebook first threatened to restrict the public sharing of news content in Australia last September. Google also claimed that user experience in Australia would suffer and suggested it may no longer be able to offer free services in the country.

#australia, #facebook, #news, #policy, #publishing, #social-media, #tc


Facebook Strikes Deal to Restore News Sharing in Australia

The agreement means users and publishers in Australia can once again share links to news articles, after Facebook had blocked the practice last week.

#australia, #brown-campbell, #computers-and-the-internet, #facebook-inc, #frydenberg-josh, #law-and-legislation, #news-and-news-media, #politics-and-government, #social-media


Tanden’s Confirmation on Shaky Ground as More Senators Voice Opposition

Two Republican senators said they would not vote to confirm President Biden’s nominee to head the budget office, further dimming her chances to secure enough support in an evenly divided chamber.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #collins-susan-m, #office-of-management-and-budget-us, #presidential-transition-us, #romney-mitt, #sanders-bernard, #senate, #social-media, #tanden-neera, #united-states-politics-and-government


Positive Coronavirus Test? Canadians Worry Their Neighbors Will Find Out

The fear of public shaming is becoming so prevalent in some Canadian provinces that doctors worry it is driving virus cases underground.

#canada, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #discrimination, #facebook-inc, #instagram-inc, #new-brunswick-canada, #quarantines, #social-media


Team Molly: The Family After Molly Steinsapir’s Death

While her daughter was hospitalized, one mother built more room for our national grief.

#computers-and-the-internet, #grief-emotion, #social-media, #twitter, #your-feed-fashion, #your-feed-selfcare


China Censors the Internet. So Why Doesn’t Russia?

The Kremlin has constructed an entire infrastructure of repression but has not displaced Western apps. Instead, it is turning to outright intimidation.

#censorship, #freedom-of-speech-and-expression, #mobile-applications, #politics-and-government, #putin-vladimir-v, #russia, #social-media, #telephones-and-telecommunications


What is Clubhouse?

A simple explainer to the newest, buzziest social media app around.

#clubhouse-mobile-app, #computers-and-the-internet, #content-type-service, #mobile-applications, #podcasts, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #social-media


Neera Tanden, Biden’s Budget Nominee, Faces Challenge to Confirmation

Senator Joe Manchin III said he would oppose President Biden’s nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget, a move that could scuttle her chances for her confirmation.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #democratic-party, #federal-budget-us, #manchin-joe-iii, #office-of-management-and-budget-us, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #social-media, #tanden-neera, #united-states-politics-and-government


Stephen Curry Sees Your Tweets, and Your Team’s Weaknesses

An up-and-down season for the ailing Golden State Warriors has social media abuzz with people doubting Curry, but he’s playing better than ever.

#basketball, #curry-stephen, #golden-state-warriors, #social-media


Kim Kardashian West Files for Divorce From Kanye West

A tumultuous seven-year marriage lived largely in the spotlight.

#bipolar-disorder, #celebrities, #keeping-up-with-the-kardashians-tv-program, #reality-television, #social-media


A New-Media Showdown in Australia

What to make of a proposed law that would require tech companies to pay for news that appears on their platforms.

#australia, #facebook-inc, #google-inc, #news-corporation, #newspapers, #social-media


Following backlash, WhatsApp to roll out in-app banner to better explain its privacy update

Last month, Facebook-owned WhatsApp announced it would delay enforcement of its new privacy terms, following a backlash from confused users which later led to a legal challenge in India and various regulatory investigations. WhatsApp users had misinterpreted the privacy updates as an indication that the app would begin sharing more data — including their private messages — with Facebook. Today, the company is sharing the next steps it’s taking to try to rectify the issue and clarify that’s not the case.

The mishandling of the privacy update on WhatsApp’s part led to widespread confusion and misinformation. In reality, WhatsApp had been sharing some information about its users with Facebook since 2016, following its acquisition by Facebook.

But the backlash is a solid indication of much user trust Facebook has since squandered. People immediately suspected the worst, and millions fled to alternative messaging apps, like Signal and Telegram, as a result.

Following the outcry, WhatsApp attempted to explain that the privacy update was actually focused on optional business features on the app, which allow business to see the content of messages between it and the end user, and give the businesses permission to use that information for its own marketing purposes, including advertising on Facebook. WhatsApp also said it labels conversations with businesses that are using hosting services from Facebook to manage their chats with customers, so users were aware.

Image Credits: WhatsApp

In the weeks since the debacle, WhatsApp says it spent time gathering user feedback and listening to concerns from people in various countries. The company found that users wanted assurance that WhatsApp was not reading their private messages or listening to their conversations, and that their communications were end-to-end encrypted. Users also said they wanted to know that WhatsApp wasn’t keeping logs of who they were messaging or sharing contact lists with Facebook.

These latter concerns seem valid, given that Facebook recently made its messaging systems across Facebook, Messenger and Instagram interoperable. One has to wonder when similar integrations will make their way to WhatsApp.

Today, WhatsApp says it will roll out new communications to users about the privacy update, which follows the Status update it offered back in January aimed at clarifying points of confusion. (See below).

Image Credits: WhatsApp

In a few weeks, WhatsApp will begin to roll out a small, in-app banner that will ask users to re-review the privacy policies — a change the company said users have shown to prefer over the pop-up, full-screen alert it displayed before.

When users click on “to review,” they’ll be shown a deeper summary of the changes, including added details about how WhatsApp works with Facebook. The changes stress that WhatsApp’s update don’t impact the privacy of users’ conversations, and reiterate the information about the optional business features.

Eventually, WhatsApp will begin to remind users to review and accept its updates to keep using WhatsApp. According to its prior announcement, it won’t be enforcing the new policy until May 15.

Image Credits: WhatsApp

Users will still need to be aware that their communications with businesses are not as secure as their private messages. This impacts a growing number of WhatsApp users, 175 million of which now communicate with businesses on the app, WhatsApp said in October.

In today’s blog post about the changes, WhatsApp also took a big swipe at rival messaging apps that used the confusion over the privacy update to draw in WhatsApp’s fleeing users by touting their own app’s privacy.

“We’ve seen some of our competitors try to get away with claiming they can’t see people’s messages – if an app doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption by default that means they can read your messages,” WhatsApp’s blog post read.

This seems to be a comment directed specifically towards Telegram, which often touts its “heavily encrypted” messaging app as more private alternative. But Telegram doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption by default, as apps like WhatsApp and Signal do. It uses “transport layer” encryption that protects the connection from the user to the server, a Wired article citing cybersecurity professionals explained in January. When users want an end-to-end encrypted experience for their one-on-one chats, they can enable the “secret chats” feature instead. (And this feature isn’t even available for group chats.)

In addition, WhatsApp fought back against the characterization that it’s somehow less safe because it has some limited data on users.

“Other apps say they’re better because they know even less information than WhatsApp. We believe people are looking for apps to be both reliable and safe, even if that requires WhatsApp having some limited data,” the post read. “We strive to be thoughtful on the decisions we make and we’ll continue to develop new ways of meeting these responsibilities with less information, not more,” it noted.

#apps, #encryption, #facebook, #messaging-apps, #policy, #privacy, #security, #signal, #social-media, #tc, #telegram, #whatsapp


Report: social audio app Clubhouse has topped 8 million global downloads

Social audio app Clubhouse has now topped 8 million global downloads, despite still being in a prelaunch, invite-only mode, according to new data released today by mobile data and analytics firm App Annie. Per its estimates, Clubhouse grew from over 3.5 million global downloads as of Feb. 1, 2021, to reach 8.1 million by Feb. 16, 2021. This sharp growth is attributed to several high-profile guest appearances, including those from Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, for example.

App Annie also estimates that 2.6 million-plus of the total global installs took place in the U.S. — a figure that highlights the app’s global appeal.

Image Credits: App Annie

Clubhouse, meanwhile, hasn’t officially shared its total number of downloads or registered users, but CEO Paul Davison revealed in January the app had grown to 2 million weekly active users — which means the app’s monthly active user figure and total registered user count would be much higher. Other estimates have put the app’s registered user base in between 6 million and 10 million (the latter citing unnamed sources.)

Reached for comment on App Annie’s report, Clubhouse said it doesn’t publish user numbers.

It’s worth noting that app install figures aren’t typically a valid proxy for registered users as many people often download an app but then never open it or sign up. But in Clubhouse’s case, the two figures could be more closely aligned as people who are installing the app are motivated to join. The app is not open to the public, so the users installing the app are likely either in possession of a Clubhouse invite or are aiming to get one from a friend or trusted contact who’s already joined.

Also in the new report, App Annie noted how Clubhouse phenomenon is having an impact on the larger app ecosystem. Local rivals to Clubhouse offering their own social audio experience have also gained downloads in recent days, including Dizhua, Tiya and Yalla, which have attracted users in China, the U.S., Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. 

Dizhua, for example, has 174,000 downloads; Tiya has 6 million; and Yalla has 34.5 million, the report says. Yalla, notably, has been live since 2016, but Clubhouse’s popularity is giving it a boost. 

Beyond this small handful, there’s been an explosion of social audio experiences, including those in  from startups like Sonar, Locker Room, Quilt, Yoni Circle, Roadtrip, Space, Capiche.fm, Yac, Cappuccino, and others. Twitter, meanwhile, is building its own Clubhouse rival with Spaces, which it said yesterday will expand to Android by March. Facebook, too, is reportedly planning a Clubhouse competitor.

The question on everyone’s minds now is how much of this growth is sustainable. Skeptics say Clubhouse lends itself to those who tend to dominate conversations by talking at length; that many of its conversations are just kind of boring; that the app favors the “hustle culture”-obsessed; and so on. Some also wonder to how well social audio apps will fare when the world reopens post-COVID and there’s more to do — including the return traditional networking events.

But these concerns don’t take into account that social audio has the potential to carve out space for itself by supplanting users’ other mobile spoken-word audio activities, like podcast listening or audiobooks. Of course, questions about Clubhouse’s future can’t really be answered now, as the pandemic continues, and with an app that’s not fully open to the public.

#app-annie, #apps, #audio, #clubhouse, #mobile-applications, #social, #social-audio, #social-media


Facebook’s New Look in Australia: News and Hospitals Out, Aliens Still In

The social network’s decision to block journalism rather than pay for it erased more than expected, leaving many outraged and debating what should happen next.

#australia, #censorship, #news-and-news-media, #social-media


Don’t Go Down the Rabbit Hole

Critical thinking, as we’re taught to do it, isn’t helping in the fight against misinformation.

#computers-and-the-internet, #conspiracy-theories, #kennedy-robert-f-jr, #rumors-and-misinformation, #social-media


Facebook and Google Diverge in Response to Proposed Australian Law

With Australia moving to make the tech companies pay for news, Facebook said it would block news links in the country while Google has struck deals to pay publishers.

#antitrust-laws-and-competition-issues, #australian-the-newspaper, #computers-and-the-internet, #corporate-social-responsibility, #facebook-inc, #google-inc, #law-and-legislation, #news-and-news-media, #news-corporation, #social-media, #youtube-com


How a Health Food Store Became L.A.’s Hottest Hangout

With a little help from celebrities and influencers, the health food store became the place to see and be seen.

#erewhon-market, #los-angeles-calif, #social-media, #supermarkets-and-grocery-stores


TikTok Is Behind Your Favorite Pop Star Remix. Here’s How.

After a song by an unknown gains attention on the app, a trend-hopping remix with a superstar usually isn’t far behind.

#banks-erica-rapper, #buss-it-song, #derulo-jason, #jawsh-685-2003, #knowles-beyonce, #lil-nas-x-rapper, #megan-thee-stallion-rapper, #pop-and-rock-music, #rap-and-hip-hop, #social-media, #tiktok-bytedance, #tyga


Facebook restricts users in Australia from sharing or viewing news links

Australian Facebook users will be forced to go elsewhere to read news after the company announced Wednesday that they will be restricting users in the country from sharing or viewing news links on the platform. The drastic move follows debate on proposed legislation from the Australian government that seeks to push internet platforms — with a particular focus on advertising giants Facebook and Google — to pay news publishers directly for access to share their content.

Pulling back entirely was a nuclear option for Facebook which had previously floated the possibility. In a blog post, the company sought to minimize the material impact of the decision to Facebook’s bottom line, while emphasizing what the move will cost users in Australia and around the globe. The company disclosed that just 4% of the content in Australian users’ feeds was news, though the platform did not break out other engagement metrics tied to news consumption.

In their post, Facebook sought to drive a distinction between how news content was shared on Facebook by users while content is algorithmically curated by Google inside their search product. “Google Search is inextricably intertwined with news and publishers do not voluntarily provide their content,” William Easton, Facebook’s managing director for the region, wrote. “On the other hand, publishers willingly choose to post news on Facebook, as it allows them to sell more subscriptions, grow their audiences and increase advertising revenue.”

Google has already begun working with publishers to drive lump sum payments so that they continue to surface news content in the country, striking a deal Wednesday with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, despite their own earlier threats to shut down in Australia. Facebook’s action has ramifications for global users outside Australia who will be unable to share links on the platform to news publications based in the country.

This legislation is an aggressive example of regional legislation having the potential to drive global change for how internet platforms continue to operate. It’s clear that plenty of other countries are watching this saga play out. Facebook taking a hard line approach while Google seeks to strike private deals to stay active showcases different approaches from very different platforms being forced to reckon with how they operate in the future.

#australia, #computing, #facebook, #facebook-platform, #google, #murdoch, #news-corp, #rupert-murdoch, #social-media, #software, #tc, #world-wide-web