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TikTok Ropes in Long-time Disney's Head of Streaming Kevin Mayer as New CEO

Kevin Mayer, Disney's head of direct-to-consumer division, on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, USA. (Pic Source: Reuters)

Kevin Mayer, Disney’s head of direct-to-consumer division, on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, USA. (Pic Source: Reuters)

During his career at Disney, Mayer was instrumental in facilitating a number of strategic acquisitions, including the acquisition of 21st Century Fox.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: May 19, 2020, 11:48 AM IST

Long-time Disney’s head of streaming Kevin Mayer is going to be the CEO of short-video making platform TikTok and chief operating officer of ByteDance which is the owner of TikTok. Alex Zhu, the current President of TikTok, will transition to ByteDance VP of Product and Strategy, where he will focus on his primary passion overseeing strategy and product design, ByteDance said in a statement late Monday.

Mayer led Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer and International segment since its founding in 2018 and oversaw the successful launches of ESPN+ and Disney+ and the integration of Hulu. During his career at Disney, Mayer was instrumental in facilitating a number of strategic acquisitions, including the acquisition of 21st Century Fox. Mayer will now report directly to ByteDance Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Yiming Zhang, and will be charged with driving the global development of ByteDance, as well as overseeing corporate functions including corporate development, sales, marketing, public affairs, security, moderation, and legal.

In his role as COO, he will lead music, gaming, Helo, emerging businesses, and will serve as CEO of TikTok, leading the rapidly growing platform as it continues to build its global community of creators, users, and brands. TikTok’s popularity has surged in Covid-19 times worldwide. “As one of the world’s most accomplished entertainment executives, Mayer is incredibly well placed to take ByteDance’s portfolio of products to the next level. I look forward to working very closely with Mayer on our global development and the next chapter of the ByteDance story,” said Zhang. Mayer said he is thrilled to have the opportunity to join the amazing team at ByteDance.

“I’ve been impressed watching the company build something incredibly rare in TikTok – a creative, positive online global community – and I’m excited to help lead the next phase of ByteDance’s journey as the company continues to expand its breadth of products across every region of the world,” he noted. Founded in 2012, ByteDance has more than a dozen products, including TikTok, Helo, and Resso, as well as platforms specific to the China market, including Toutiao, Douyin, and Xigua.

Mayer’s role at Disney will be taken over by Rebecca Campbell, who has been named chairman of Disney’s direct-to-consumer efforts. Disney also announced that Josh D’Amaro would become chairman of Disney’s parks, experiences, and products.



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Mark Zuckerberg is Worried About China’s Influence on The Internet; Many Would Agree With Him

Mark Zuckerberg is Worried About China’s Influence on The Internet; Many Would Agree With Him

Zuckerberg said that the 2018 overhaul of the privacy policy in the EU also meant Facebook had to reform its approach to data privacy around the world.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: May 19, 2020, 9:24 AM IST

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he is worried about the influence China is having in terms of regulating the internet and fears other countries might follow a similar example. In fact, he has urged western countries to counter China’s model with a democratic approach. He says the Chinese approach is “really dangerous”. China’s censorship of content on the internet and the fact that many global tech platforms are banned in the country, including Facebook, is often referred to as ‘The Great Firewall’.

“What I worry about is, right now I think there are emerging two very different frameworks underpinned by very different sets of values,” Zuckerberg said in a livestreamed discussion with EU official Thierry Breton. This is not the first time Zuckerberg has warned about the Chinese influence and the Chinese way of regulating the internet. He said it is the responsibility of the western countries to have a clear data privacy framework in place.

Zuckerberg in fact praised the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which implemented changes for how tech companies and social media platforms including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter collect and handle user data in the EU region. He also said that the 2018 overhaul of the privacy policy in the EU also meant Facebook had to reform its approach to data privacy around the world.

In October last year, Zuckerberg had not held back in criticizing TikTok, owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance. While speaking at the Georgetown University on free speech, he had criticized TikTok for what he called “mentions of these protests are censored, even in the U.S.” referring to the censorship around the anti-China or pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. “Just to be blunt about it, I think there is a model coming out of countries like China that tend to have very different values than Western countries that are more democratic,” Zuckerberg said.

Facebook only recently got a 20-member oversight board which has the power to correct or overrule the social media platform’s content moderation policies, including instances of hate speech and misinformation, if it feels the need to do so. The board will start hearing cases later this summer.




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NCW Asks TikTok to Delete Account of Man Glorifying Acid Attacks on Women

Image for Representation.

Image for Representation.

The TikTok video uploaded by user Faizal Siddiqui supposedly glorified violence against women and it went viral on social media platforms.

  • PTI
  • Last Updated: May 18, 2020, 3:18 PM IST
  • Edited by: Cricketnext Staff

The NCW has asked Tik-Tok India to immediately remove a video showing a man committing violence against women and directed the Maharashtra police to take action against the person responsible for making the clip. The National Commission for Women (NCW), in a letter to Grievance Officer of Tik-Tok India Anuj Bhatia, said it has come across a Twitter post in which a Tik-Tok video shows a man committing violence against women.

It also asked the Maharashtra police, in a letter, to immediately take action against the person responsible for making the video. “The commission is seriously concerned about the increase in crimes against women and the video not only seems to promote violence against women but also shows the patriarchal mindset, which would send a very wrong message to the society through this video made by Faizal Siddiqui on Tik-Tok,” NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma said in the letter to Tik Tok India.

In view of the above, the commission asked Tik-Tok India to immediately remove the video and block the ID of the person who made it. In a letter to Maharashtra Director General of Police (DGP) Subodh Kumar Jaiswal, Sharma said the NCW condemns the video of the digital content creator promoting a grievous crime of acid attack among its young followers on social media.

“The commission is concerned about the safety and security of women and disturbed by the use of cyberspace to instigate crime against women,” Sharma said in the letter to Jaiswal. “Considering the sensitivity of the matter, it is requested that immediate action shall be taken as per the Information Technology Act, 2000 against the miscreants and an action-taken report sent to the commission,” she said.




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TikTok Accused of Violating Policies Related to Data Collection From Children

TikTok Accused of Violating Policies Related to Data Collection From Children

According to the complaint, TikTok, owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, makes it easy for under-13 users to avoid obtaining parental consent and makes no attempt to notify parents.

  • AFP
  • Last Updated: May 15, 2020, 12:28 PM IST

A coalition of consumer groups filed a complaint Thursday with US regulators claiming the popular video app TikTok has failed to live up to an agreement last year limiting data collection from children. The 20 organisations said in a Federal Trade Commission complaint that TikTok continues to collect data on children under 13 without parental consent despite a February 2019 US court settlement.

The complaint called for the FTC to reopen its investigation, saying the matter is urgent now as more children flock to social media apps during the coronavirus lockdowns. According to the complaint, TikTok, owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, makes it easy for under-13 users to avoid obtaining parental consent and makes no attempt to notify parents. As a result, TikTok is able to collect detailed information about how these children use the app and applies artificial intelligence (AI) to determine what to show next, to keep them engaged online as long as possible.

“Even after being caught red-handed by the FTC, TikTok continues to flout the law,” said Josh Golin, executive director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, one of the groups in the complaint. “We urge the Commission to take swift action and sanction TikTok again — this time with a fine and injunctive relief commensurate with the seriousness of TikTok’s serial violations.” TikTok last year paid a $5.7 million (roughly Rs. 43 crores) penalty under a court settlement and agreed to implement policy changes including deleting any information collected from children under 13.

But the complaint said that TikTok destroyed “only the personal information of users who identified as under 13 at the time of the decree or at the time their personal information was collected,” which allowed it to keep some of this data. “We easily found that many accounts featuring children were still present on TikTok,” said Michael Rosenbloom of the Georgetown University Institute for Public Representation, which represents the groups.

“Many of these accounts have tens of thousands to millions of followers, and have been around since before the order.” Asked about the latest complaint, TikTok said it had implemented detailed policies on accounts for young children. “We take privacy seriously and are committed to helping ensure that TikTok continues to be a safe and entertaining community for our users,” it said in a statement. The tracking firm Sensor Tower reported last month that TikTok had topped two billion downloads amid strong growth during the virus pandemic. Research firm eMarketer estimated that TikTok had more than 52 million US users in March.




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69% Respondents Believe Brands Need to Take Care of Employees, Customers During Crisis: Survey

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

The findings showed that peoples’ trust in the government increased by 72 per cent during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: May 12, 2020, 5:38 PM IST

At least 69 percent of people in India believe it is important for brands to take care of their employees and customers and they should not take advantage of the crisis to maximise profits, a new survey revealed on Tuesday. According to research conducted by Qualtrics, an experience management company, 50 percent of the respondents said their trust in the brands they regularly engaged with has increased.

The findings showed that peoples’ trust in the government increased by 72 percent during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The study also revealed how Indians want brands to communicate with them. WhatsApp came out on top as the most preferred communication channel (63 percent), followed by Facebook (58 percent), and online media (55 percent). The bottom of the list was TikTok (18 percent), Print media (23 percent) and Radio (24 percent).

“Our study in India reveals consumers trust brands more, when brands focused on the well-being of customers, the well-being of employees, and not taking advantage of the crisis to maximise profits,” Lisa Khatri, Brand Experience and Research Lead for Qualtrics in APJ, said in a statement. When respondents were asked what behaviours increase trust during the crisis, taking care of employees was the top-ranked attribute (37 percent), followed by not taking advantage of maximising profits during a crisis (36 percent), and taking care of customers (32 percent).

What respondents found less impactful was providing new products (10 percent), having an established track record of responding well in times of crisis (17 percent) and statements about strong moral principles such as integrity (19 percent). When it comes to brand communications, Indians are more interested in the operational impact of COVID-19 compared to sales and promotional marketing.

The top three messages respondents wanted to hear were how the business is responding to the crisis (75 percent), the impact on the distribution (48 percent), and information on products and services (48 percent).




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TikTok is Looking for Fact Checking Partners by Awarding a Rs 35 Lakh Research Grant

TikTok, the viral video-based social media platform, has announced a ‘misinformation research grant’ of Rs 35 lakh. The Bytedance-backed social media platform has stated that it is now looking for credible partners to submit their applications to look into the spread of misinformation on social media in India. However, it is important to note that the grant is not solely directed at establishing a new third party or in-house fact checking unit, and is instead being undertaken as a research project — similar to how WhatsApp partnered with Proto for understanding the issue of misinformation more closely.

Announcing the initiative, TikTok’s official post reads, “The objective of this effort is to better understand the misinformation ecosystem on social media. This includes, detailed understanding for the industry as a whole, how to further improve detection of such content, how it spreads, the motivations that drive creation, and also how to design, measure and conduct effective interventions to limit the negative impact of misinformation.”

Misinformation has been a significant problem, causing the Indian government to issue a directive to all social media intermediaries to voluntarily hold themselves more accountable for the information shared on their platforms. On this note, all involved social media parties have been involved in taking steps in different forms. TikTok’s prime rivals, the Facebook Group, has set up automated helplines on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, which are designed to offer users an official information channel to get Covid-19 information.

TikTok, on that note, has already partnered with a third party fact checking service, and is rolling out a new feature to all its users in India in the coming days. The feature will offer a simple interface using which users can directly report ‘Covid-19 misinformation’ on the platform. According to a TikTok spokesperson, the feature will include both in-person curation and automated tools to identify problematic pieces of content, and take them down accordingly.

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Why is Everyone in The Silicon Valley so Obsessed With TikTok?

It’s a valid question, isn’t it? Why is everyone so obsessed with TikTok? We aren’t talking about the TikTok ‘stars’, but the rest of the Silicon Valley tech fraternity which has been noticing TikTok when they can easily ignore it and carry on. So, what’s up? Why is Reddit CEO and co-founder Steve Huffman calling “fundamentally parasitic” while speaking at the Social 2030 venture capital conference? And why is Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook worried about the fact that her kids, like millions around the world, are incredibly active on TikTok?

To better understand why TikTok is worrying a lot of tech companies, we first need to ask—What is TikTok? This started out in life as an entertainment app a few years ago. The idea was to allow users to share short duration videos, made on mobile and for mobile viewing, on anything and everything that may be on their mind. Here and now, TikTok and its format has pretty much changed the definition of social media. No longer is that space defined by Facebook Lives, Facebook posts, and Twitter rants.

TikTok’s incredible popularity can perhaps be best judged by numbers—it has over 800 million monthly active users as of January 2020. Those are numbers from Hootsuite’s Digital 2020 report released last month. This is up from 300 million in January 2019, which is nothing short of an incredible spike. TikTok was the most downloaded non-gaming app in 2019. No surprise. Also, 2020 has started off from where ByteDance left off in 2019—TikTok was downloaded 104 million times on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store in January, according to data from Sensor Tower. That’s including the Chinese version of the app called Douyin. This was more than WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and whatever else may come to your mind. There have been 1.82 billion TikTok downloads till date.

ALSO READ | TikTok Transparency Report: India Logged Maximum Interventions To Take Down Content

No wonder then that Sandberg is worried her kids and millions of others are now spending more time on TikTok than on the Facebook app or Instagram, both owned by Facebook. “In the world of tech, we compete for every minute of your attention. Every day you pick up your phone, I mean my kids pick up the phone and they’re on TikTok,” she said while speaking with NBC reporter Dylan Byers. “Sure […] they’re huge, they’re growing really quickly, they’ve gotten to bigger numbers faster than we ever did,” she added. There you have it, folks—TikTok is outpacing the growth Facebook clocked when it was in vogue.

About 60 percent of TikTok users are between the ages of 16-24, according to data from social media advertising site Wallaroo Media. TikTok surely is catching them young.

Is it perhaps the fact that the enormously successful TikTok hasn’t come from a 25-year old Silicon Valley inhabitant, which is bothering the tech giants? Instead, it is from the now 36-year old Zhang Yiming, born in Longyan in China and still lives in the country.

ALSO READ | Bad News! TikTok is Getting a Family Mode: Parents Can Set Time Limits And Disable DMs

As for catching them young, Yiming also seems to have the finger on the pulse of what the social media savvy audience seems to want. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said in January that he believes TikTok will surpass Instagram in the not too distant future. The reason? No social posturing (in other words, no faking it) but real talent is on show. “People who have spent a couple hours learning a new dance or think about a funny new creative way to tell a story, and they’re really making media to entertain other people,” he said. Spiegel was speaking at the DLD conference in Germany.

Social media, as it was before this TikTok led disruption came around, seemed to be all about constructing a post. Constructing in the sense that it had to look good, the photo or video had to be framed perfectly, lots of editing—and all that resulted in likes, comments and perhaps created a “cool” persona for yourself in the virtual world. Often, this was completely detached from reality.

In 2019, Facebook-owned Instagram’s growth reduced to single digits for the first time—it grew at 6.7% in 2019 in the US, according to numbers by market research firm eMarketer. Over the years, Snap (formerly known as Snapchat) has been at loggerheads with Facebook for what it believed was blatant copying of its features for Instagram, Facebook and even WhatsApp apps. “We don’t see copying as a limitation on the growth of our business,” he did say. Earlier this month, we had reported how TikTok is testing a user profile design that is very similar to Facebook-owned Instagram. The boot is on the other foot.

ALSO READ | Post Cambridge Analytica, Facebook Sues Data Analytics Firm for Harvesting User Data

Let us now address the proverbial elephant in the room. How private is your data on TikTok? How safe is your data? Are you being surveilled on?

A pretty common allegation against TikTok is that the data we as users give to TikTok while using the app, is not private. Because well, it is a Chinese company. Let me allow Facebook’s Sandberg to illustrate her concerns better. “They’re a Chinese company, if people are concerned about data, I think there’s a lot to be concerned about there,” she said while speaking with NBC. This is the same Facebook which has been leaking the user data of millions over the past few years, in breach after breach after breach. The same Facebook that has been pulled up by lawmakers around the world for being very inconsiderate with the privacy requirements of user data. The same Facebook that is using all possible methods to curate adverts for you across its apps. Quite ironic, considering the Cambridge Analytica scandal is still fresh in our minds and the company was at the receiving end of a $5 billion fine by the Federal Trade Commission over privacy concerns just last year—incidentally, the largest fine the agency has issued, yet.

Then there is the Reddit CEO and co-founder Steve Huffman. “Maybe I’m going to regret this, but I can’t even get to that level of thinking with [TikTok], because I look at that app as so fundamentally parasitic, that it’s always listening, the fingerprinting technology they use is truly terrifying, and I could not bring myself to install an app like that on my phone,” he reportedly said at the Social 2030 venture capital conference.

There may very well be a point of debate there. Researcher Matthias Eberl on Rufposten had detailed how ByteDance uses what are known as fingerprinting techniques to track who is sharing a video and who is watching it—this is particularly important for shortened URLs that get shared on other social media platforms and shared in groups on instant messaging apps. ByteDance says this is for identifying malicious user behavior.

Whether that clarification is correct or not, we will have to accept it in the same spirit as when Facebook said it had no idea Cambridge Analytica was collecting user data by the bucketloads. Just because ByteDance is a Chinese company doesn’t make it any less innocent or more guilty than a rival based in the US or Europe.

ALSO READ | Latest Facebook App For Android Has The Shocking Habit of Sending Notifications Even When Signed Out

We may argue about it all we want, but the reality is as clear as it can be. And it is serious stuff for people. Just the other day, Jason Clark, who has more than 403,000 followers as @jasontodolist on TikTok nearly drowned after getting trapped under ice while filming a stunt for his TikTok video. American rapper Doja Cat, or Amalaratna Zandile Dlamini, in her new single Say So is recreating a dance that was made popular in a video by TikTok user Haley Sharpe. In fact, Sharpe is part of the video for the single—and she has more than 1.2 million followers on TikTok. In India, actor and fashion icon Deepika Padukone clocked more than 1.2 million followers on the platform in less than 12 hours. The world is on TikTok.

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TikTok Testing Instagram-Like App Redesign: Facebook to Taste Its Own Medicine?

The new app design puts more emphasis on user bios, and also allows them to add links to better monetise their accounts.

IANS

Updated:February 4, 2020, 2:00 PM IST

TikTok Testing Instagram-Like App Redesign: Facebook to Taste Its Own Medicine?
The new app design puts more emphasis on user bios, and also allows them to add links to better monetise their accounts.

Chinese short-video making platform TikTok is testing a user profile redesign similar to Facebook-owned photo and video-sharing platform Instagram. “We are always looking for ways to improve the user experience on TikTok. We are currently testing profile designs and functionality to ultimately give users more ways to personalize and engage with their profiles,” a TikTok spokesperson confirmed to The Verge on Monday.

As per report, the new profile shifts follow count to the left and places more emphasis on user bios. Additionally, TikTok has also begun a limited test of a feature that lets its users to add links to e-commerce sites to their profile bio as well as offer creators the ability to send their viewers to shopping websites effortlessly to monetise its platform. Recently, TikTok reached 1.5 billion downloads worldwide on the App Store as well as Google Play and India leads the chart with 466.8 million or about 31 per cent of all unique installs.

In 2019, the app accumulated 614 million downloads — six per cent more than it had last year, reported mobile intelligence firm Sensor Tower. India has been a fast adopter in 2019, driving up 277.6 million downloads so far this year, or roughly 45 per cent of all global installs. Going forward, it will be interesting to see whether the app redesign does to TikTok what Facebook does with its rivals — beckon people over to their own platform by taking a leaf out of others’ books.

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WhatsApp Clocks 5 Billion Downloads on Android; TikTok is The Second Most Downloaded App

Facebook owns four out of the top five most downloaded apps worldwide, including WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Messenger.

Image for Representation (Image altered by News18)
Image for Representation
(Image altered by News18)

Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp for Android has now notched up a staggering five billion downloads, making it only the second non-Google app to achieve this milestone. According to Statista, WhatsApp is most popular global mobile messenger app worldwide with approximately 1.6 billion monthly active users, outranking Facebook Messenger at 1.3 billion and WeChat at 1.1 billion users in 2019. Following Facebook and YouTube, it is the third most popular social network worldwide. As with most Android applications that reach large amounts of installs, this number does not just include downloads from the Play Store, but also pre-installed copies like Samsung and Huawei has bundled the app with some smartphones in the past, AndroidPolice reported.

As for the Google Play store, South Korea was the fastest-growing WhatsApp market, with downloads of the mobile messaging app increasing almost 56 percent in 2019. Additionally, Google for the first time in five years, unseated Facebook as the top publisher of mobile apps. In the last quarter of 2019, Google amassed close to 850 million downloads compared to Facebook‘s nearly 800 million, analytics firm Sensor Tower revealed recently. When it comes to overall downloads for the year, however, Google still trails behind Facebook.

While Google raked in nearly 2.3 billion downloads, Facebook gained almost 3 billion downloads over the past 12 months. Facebook owns four out of the top five most downloaded apps worldwide, including WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, that does not come as a surprise. ByteDance-owned video sharing app TikTok was the world’s second-most downloaded app in 2019.