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TikTok takes down some hashtags related to election misinformation, ignores others

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As social media platforms struggle to get U.S. election misinformation under control with varying degrees of success, TikTok has taken new actions to stop people from searching and browsing select hashtags associated with misinformation and conspiracies related to the U.S. election results.

The video app has redirected some hashtags — including #RiggedElection, #SharpieGate and others — where users have been publishing election misinformation. And it has taken down various videos making claims of “election fraud.

However, based on our scans of the app and other election-related hashtags today, it’s clear that it’s still an uphill battle for TikTok in terms of getting a handle on violating content.

Because of TikTok’s size and scale, even smaller videos from unknown publishers can rack up thousands of views before they disappear.

Media Matters, for example, reported yesterday it was able to identify 11 examples of election misinformation spreading across TikTok, with more than 200,000 combined views. The videos shared conspiracies that ranged from unfounded “magic ballot” narratives to the completely untrue allegations that Arizona poll workers handed out markers to Trump voters so their votes wouldn’t count.

Image Credits: TikTok screenshot via Media Matters

TikTok says all the videos Media Matters reported have since been removed except one where a user made a premature declaration of victory. That one was shadowbanned — meaning its discoverability on the platform was reduced. It also has a banner pointing to authoritative information about the election results.

These individual takedowns are a drop in the bucket compared to the number of videos that are still out there making claims of election fraud. And, so far, TikTok has only removed a small number of hashtags on this subject.

Image Credits: TikTok screenshot via TechCrunch

TikTok confirmed it has removed content and redirected searches for the hashtag #RiggedElection as of yesterday. Now, when you try to find videos flagged with this term in the app, you’ll get to a blank page with a notification that says the search term “may be associated with behavior or content that violates our guidelines.” The page also provides a link to TikTok’s Community Guidelines.

“Promoting a safe and positive experience is TikTok’s top priority,” the message reads.

This is the same playbook that TikTok recently used to address the spread of QAnon-related content on its platform. By redirecting searches and hashtags, it makes misinformation harder to find.

While TikTok declined to share an exhaustive list of hashtags it has taken action on during the elections, we found a few hashtags that returned either no results — like #RiggedElection and #SharpieGate — as well as those that returned only a small handful videos, or what TikTok considers “counter speech.”

The TikTok community will often create videos with counter speech or other content related to a misinformation-related hashtag. In these videos, they’ll provide factual information or will dispute the claims being made in another video. TikTok says this sort of counter speech doesn’t violate its policies. That’s why you may see videos listed under hashtags that would otherwise be associated with misinformation, as opposed to seeing the hashtag entirely silenced.

We also found some lesser-used hashtags like #RepealtheSteal and #VeritasArmy, which have been seen on Twitter, were not showing on TikTok at all. (However, upon reaching out to TikTok, the company chose to redirect these hashtags, too.)

A popular misinfo hashtag, #StoptheSteal, was also not available, but its variation, #StoptheStealing, had seven videos.

Many other hashtags were being used, too, as of the time of writing, including #VoterFraud (and its misspelling #VoterFruad), #DemsCheat, #CorruptElection, #ElectionCorruption, #StoptheStealing, #ElectionFraud (and misspelling #ElectionFruad), #CrookedJoeBiden, #CrookedDems, #Fraud (and its misspelling #Fruad), #Rigged, #Rigged2020, #MailinBallots, #CoupdEtat, #ElectionMeddling, #DemocratsAreDestroyingAmerica and #BallotHarvesting, to name a few.

While some hashtags had little content, many were filled with videos that weren’t just expressing their political views — they were making claims of election fraud. Combined, these hashtags have tens of millions of views, or even more.

Image Credits: TikTok screenshot, video republished previously removed content; screenshot via TechCrunch

For example, when we searched for the hashtag #VoterFraud (20.9 million views), we first encountered videos posted in the months leading up to Election Day that were responding to the Republican-driven claims of voter fraud associated with mail-in ballots.

But many videos under this hashtag have been published by Trump supporters this week, and are videos where the supporters are directly disputing the election results.

Among the videos we found were those reposting videos TikTok had already taken down. These included videos featuring Trump supporters’ protests against or for the counting of ballots in various states, calling them proof of election fraud.

In other videos, users opine about how Trump’s lawsuits will prove fraud took place and win him re-election. They sometimes use screenshots of website vote tallies as their “proof.”

Image Credits: TikTok app screenshot via TechCrunch

We also saw videos using text labels overtop their video footage. The text was used to make their claims of election fraud, while the video itself may have them talking in more measured terms about their disappointment with the election results. (It’s unclear if this is a viable workaround to avoiding rule enforcement, however.)

TikTok says its list of blocked hashtags continually grows as new terms and phrases emerge and it’s able to determine how the terms are being used on its platform. It also said it block more election misinformation hashtags in the hours, days and weeks to come.

To be clear, TikTok’s decision to keep this sort of content online doesn’t make it much different from other social networks.

During election season, Facebook and Twitter have taken to labeling election misinformation from high-profile accounts (like Trump’s). Facebook even ran in-app notifications to inform users that votes are still being counted. But both platforms today still easily allow users to click through on a wide range of hashtags that promote this idea of election fraud or rigged results.

TikTok may not much be doing much better, overall, in addressing the sizable amount of content promoting election misinformation on its video network. But TikTok’s ban of top election misinformation hashtags works differently from hashtag bans on other social networks.

Once TikTok has made the decision to ban a term like “SharpieGate,” for example, the content won’t be surfaced whether you use the hashtag symbol (#) itself or not. Facebook, on the other hand, may ban the hashtag specifically, but not the term entirely. That means you can still find content about SharpieGate on its platform — even if it’s largely posts and videos from news organizations.

#SharpieGate was also among the hashtags Facebook began blocking today related to election misinformation. It also blocked #StoptheSteal and a related group.

TechCrunch

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Best ASO Tips To Boost Your App Search In 2022

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You need your application to be really effective in the overpopulated application market. Then, at that point, you will have to drive downloads to endure. So when it’s all said and done, you must account for yourself. Get your application the consideration it merits.

The uplifting news, however, is that customers love to download applications – last year, we downloaded in excess of 200 billion applications around the world, and that figure is set to increment to 258 billion every year by 2022 as cell phone reception increments.

Assuming you need to be seen and have your application downloaded by however many clients as could reasonably be expected, then, at that point, you should begin by taking a gander at the application store.

Underneath, we’ve assembled probably the best application store improvement methods to assist you with creating more downloads in 2021 and then some…

Start with Your Application Name 

The odds are you as of now have an extraordinary name for your application, yet an appropriately advanced application is about significantly more than marking.

Assuming you need to amplify transparency and guarantee you’re showing up when clients look for applications like yours, you ought to remember the primary keywords for your application name or title, comparable to how you’d make a title label while improving a site page.

You could begin with your application name so it tends to be plainly recognized, thus it appears on the home screen of gadgets.

Then, at that point, you can add a scramble or vertical bar prior to adding a few pertinent watchwords to your speciality, or even put your application name in quotes as we did with FORE Business Golf Networking.

Urge Users to Leave Reviews 

You could ask for reviews by clients through the means of your site, or through an in-application notice toward the finish of their meeting, yet make sure to restrict the number of pop-ups you execute with the goal that you don’t disturb or disappoint your clients, as this could urge them to erase your application.

We’d support all application engineers and entrepreneurs to react to criticism on their applications, as this can further develop client relations and resolve issues in an open arena.

Zero in on Your Application Depiction 

Your application depiction is your principle assemblage of text your landing page content, in a manner of speaking. Utilize a site like KeywordTool.io to discover information on your picked catchphrases to expand your openness. As portrayals are shortened, ensure you remember the main data for the initial three lines of your depiction, and afterwards add things like social confirmation, emoticon, and suggestions to take action to build commitment and downloads.

Incorporate Appealings Screen Captures 

Pictures and recordings won’t help your application rank, yet they will expand changes and assist clients with working out whether it’s an application they truly need.

There’s a little guide in empowering clients toward downloading your application if in any case, they’re not going to interface with it, or download and leave a negative survey when they understand it wasn’t what was promoted.

Assuming you need to ‘tart up’ your item page, then, at that point, you can add marking and extra text and data and designs to your recordings and screen capture, yet they ought not to diminish your item.

Pay for App Store or Play Store 

As we have SEO and pay-per-click, you need to work one next to the other (one is a gradual methodology with long haul benefits – the other is a speedy success yet requires an endless spending plan), application store promotions can be utilized to get the message out with regards to your new programming and assist you with positioning at the highest point of query items pages – in front of your opposition and enormous names in the application world.

Keep in mind, you’ll need to focus on the right crowd and art an advertisement that will assist you with changing over and that since you’re paying for situations, that doesn’t mean clients will download or cooperate with your application.

Wrapping Up!

You can employ a group of  App  Store Optimization Services suppliers to benefit a scope of application store improvement administrations, including watchword advancement, resource enhancement, and restriction to guarantee your application is seen by individuals that matter.

We have long periods of involvement in creating and showcasing applications and have assisted different customers with expanding their downloads by infiltrating rewarding and regularly undiscovered business sectors.

Author:
Prachi Gupta likes to write information about Digital Marketing Trends that can help audience to grow their business.

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WhatsApp will finally let users encrypt their chat backups in the cloud

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WhatsApp said on Friday it will give its two billion users the option to encrypt their chat backups to the cloud, taking a significant step to put a lid on one of the tricky ways private communication between individuals on the app can be compromised.

The Facebook-owned service has end-to-end encrypted chats between users for more than a decade. But users have had no option but to store their chat backup to their cloud — iCloud on iPhones and Google Drive on Android — in an unencrypted format.

Tapping these unencrypted WhatsApp chat backups on Google and Apple servers is one of the widely known ways law enforcement agencies across the globe have for years been able to access WhatsApp chats of suspect individuals.

Now WhatsApp says it is patching this weak link in the system.

“WhatsApp is the first global messaging service at this scale to offer end-to-end encrypted messaging and backups, and getting there was a really hard technical challenge that required an entirely new framework for key storage and cloud storage across operating systems,” said Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg in a post announcing the new feature.

Store your own encryption keys

The company said it has devised a system to enable WhatsApp users on Android and iOS to lock their chat backups with encryption keys. WhatsApp says it will offer users two ways to encrypt their cloud backups, and the feature is optional.

In the “coming weeks,” users on WhatsApp will see an option to generate a 64-digit encryption key to lock their chat backups in the cloud. Users can store the encryption key offline or in a password manager of their choice, or they can create a password that backs up their encryption key in a cloud-based “backup key vault” that WhatsApp has developed. The cloud-stored encryption key can’t be used without the user’s password, which isn’t known by WhatsApp.

Image Credits: WhatsApp/supplied

“We know that some will prefer the 64-digit encryption key whereas others want something they can easily remember, so we will be including both options. Once a user sets their backup password, it is not known to us. They can reset it on their original device if they forget it,” WhatsApp said.

“For the 64-digit key, we will notify users multiple times when they sign up for end-to-end encrypted backups that if they lose their 64-digit key, we will not be able to restore their backup and that they should write it down. Before the setup is complete, we’ll ask users to affirm that they’ve saved their password or 64-digit encryption key.”

A WhatsApp spokesperson told TechCrunch that once an encrypted backup is created, previous copies of the backup will be deleted. “This will happen automatically and there is no action that a user will need to take,” the spokesperson added.

Potential regulatory pushback?

The move to introduce this added layer of privacy is significant and one that could have far-reaching implications.

End-to-end encryption remains a thorny topic of discussion as governments continue to lobby for backdoors. Apple was reportedly pressured to not add encryption to iCloud Backups after the FBI complained, and while Google has offered users the ability to encrypt their data stored in Google Drive, the company allegedly didn’t tell governments before it rolled out the feature.

When asked by TechCrunch whether WhatsApp, or its parent firm Facebook, had consulted with government bodies — or if it had received their support — during the development process of this feature, the company declined to discuss any such conversations.

“People’s messages are deeply personal and as we live more of our lives online, we believe companies should enhance the security they provide their users. By releasing this feature, we are providing our users with the option to add this additional layer of security for their backups if they’d like to, and we’re excited to give our users a meaningful advancement in the safety of their personal messages,” the company told TechCrunch.

WhatsApp also confirmed that it will be rolling out this optional feature in every market where its app is operational. It’s not uncommon for companies to withhold privacy features for legal and regulatory reasons. Apple’s upcoming encrypted browsing feature, for instance, won’t be made available to users in certain authoritarian regimes, such as China, Belarus, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, Uganda and the Philippines.

At any rate, Friday’s announcement comes days after ProPublica reported that private end-to-end encrypted conversations between two users can be read by human contractors when messages are reported by users.

“Making backups fully encrypted is really hard and it’s particularly hard to make it reliable and simple enough for people to use. No other messaging service at this scale has done this and provided this level of security for people’s messages,” Uzma Barlaskar, product lead for privacy at WhatsApp, told TechCrunch.

“We’ve been working on this problem for many years, and to build this, we had to develop an entirely new framework for key storage and cloud storage that can be used across the world’s largest operating systems and that took time.”

TechCrunch

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Dispo launches a test to gauge user interest in selling their photos as NFTs

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Dispo, the photo-sharing app that emulates disposable cameras, started rolling out a test yesterday that will record user interest in selling photos as NFTs. Some users will now see a sell button on their photos, and when they tap it, they can sign up to be notified when the ability to sell Dispo photos launches.

CEO and co-founder Daniel Liss told TechCrunch that Dispo is still deciding how it will incorporate NFT sales into the app, which is why the platform is piloting a test with its users. Dispo doesn’t know yet what blockchain it would use, if it would partner with an NFT marketplace or what cut of sales Dispo would take.

“I think it’s safe to say from the test that there will be an experience native to the Dispo app,” Liss said. “There are a number of ways it could look — there could be a native experience within Dispo that then connects through an API to another platform, and in turn, they’re our partner, but to the community, it would look native to the Dispo app.”

Image Credits: Dispo

This marks a new direction for the social media app, which seeks to redefine the photo-sharing experience by only letting users see the photos they took at 9 AM the next morning. From Dispo’s perspective, this gimmick helps users share more authentically, since you take one photo and then you’re done — the app isn’t conducive to taking dozens of selfies and posting the “best” image of yourself. But though it only launched in December 2019, Dispo has already faced both buzzy hype and devastating controversy.

Until about a year ago, the app was called David’s Disposables, named after co-founder and YouTuber David Dobrik. The app was downloaded over a million times in the first week after its release and hit No. 1 on the App Store charts. In March 2021, the app dropped its waitlist and relaunched with social network features, but just weeks later, Insider reported sexual assault allegations against a member of Vlog Squad, Dobrik’s YouTube prank ensemble. In response, Spark Capital severed ties with the company, leading to Dobrik’s departure. Other investors like Seven Seven Six and Unshackled Ventures, which contributed to the company’s $20 million Series A round, announced that they would donate any profits from their investments in Dispo to organizations working with survivors of sexual assault.

Liss told TechCrunch in June, when the company confirmed its Series A, that Dobrik’s role with the company was as a marketing partner — Liss has been CEO since the beginning. In light of the controversy, Liss said the app focused on improving the product itself and took a step back from promotion.

According to data from the app analytics firm SensorTower, Dispo has reached an estimated 4.7 million global installs to date since launch. Though the app saw the most downloads in January 2020, when it was installed over 1 million times, the app’s next best month came in March 2021, when it removed its waitlist — that month, about 616,000 people downloaded Dispo. Between March and the end of August, the app was downloaded around 1.4 million times, which is up 118% year over year compared to the same time frame in 2020 — but it should be expected that this year’s numbers would be higher, since last year, the app’s membership was exclusive.

Image Credits: Dispo

Now, with the announcement that Dispo is pursuing NFTs, Liss hopes that his company won’t just change how people post photos, but what the relationship will be between platforms and the content that users create.

“Why NFTs? The most powerful memories of our lives have value. And they have economic value, because we created them, and the past of social media fails to recognize that,” Liss told TechCrunch. “As a result, the only way that a creator with a big following is compensated is by selling directly to a brand, as opposed to profiting from the content itself.”

Adding NFT sales to the app offers Dispo a way to profit from a cut of user sales, but it stands to question how adding NFT sales could impact the community-focused feel of Dispo.

“I think there is tremendous curiosity and interest,” Liss said. “But these problems and questions are why we need more data.”

TechCrunch

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