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Are We Entering a New Phase for Social Media Regulation?



The US Government made a range of significant announcements last week which could end up having major impacts on how social media platforms operate, including potential limitations and restrictions on what digital platforms can do in regards to buying other platforms, operating their ad businesses, utilizing user data and more.

On Friday, four separate bills were introduced to the House of Representatives which all take aim at various elements of big tech monopolies.

As reported by Reuters, those four bills could potentially see: 

  • A law against platforms giving preference to their own products on their platforms. For example, Google would no longer be able to promote its own products in search,  Apple wouldn’t be allowed to preference Apple Music over Spotify, etc.
  • A restriction on business mergers in the tech sector unless the acquirer can demonstrate that the acquired company was not in competition with any product or service the platform already offers. Facebook would not have been allowed to acquire WhatsApp or Instagram under this provision.
  • A ban on digital platforms owning subsidiaries that operate on their platform, if those subsidiaries compete with other businesses. This is aimed at reducing preferential behavior, and could potentially force the sell-off of certain elements. 
  • Improved user data portability, with platforms under legal obligation to allow users to transfer their data elsewhere if they choose, including to a competing business.

A separate bill would also give the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice a significant boost in funding, in order to help it enforce antitrust cases, like those currently underway against both Facebook and Google.

Really, there are always antitrust cases in progress against the tech giants, and the funding increase would help to address these outstanding issues and fund further investigations.

If these bills are passed, or even if some of them make it through, that will put a new range of restrictions on how the tech giants can operate, while further investigations are also underway in Europe and other regions around potential restrictions on data sharing, due to concerns around possible misuse by foreign governments.

This also comes as the US Government continues to examine the implications of data sharing with China, which includes Chinese-owned digital platforms, and could end up impacting TikTok at some stage, as well as WeChat. While TikTok was able to avoid a ban in the US last year, after the Trump administration sought to force it into US ownership, it may still face a potential shut down in America, dependent on simmering US-China tensions.

Altogether, these elements could force major shifts in the digital marketing landscape, and it’ll be important for anyone working in the sector to take note, and prepare for changes as a result. 

Though, really, these moves come as no big surprise.

Given the rise of social media, and the key role that it now plays in our everyday interactive process, it seems somewhat inevitable that, at some stage, new rules will be introduced to reign in the power of Facebook and Co., particularly as the platforms are increasingly being asked to weigh in on things like political censorship, and their networks are beings used to influence massive global shifts.

That last note may seem like an exaggeration, but with foreign-based, government-funded groups seeking to influence voter response outside their own borders via social apps, and politicians increasingly leaning on Facebook and Twitter, in particular, as a direct line to their constituents, enabling them to, among other things, cast doubt on mainstream media coverage, it’s very clear that social media is indeed causing seismic shifts in the political landscape.

If the rise of former US President Donald Trump showed us anything, it’s that social media is now the prime platform for connecting with audiences at scale, and in real-time – and with 71% of people now getting at least some of their news input from social media platforms, and rising, this is only going to become more significant.

That already has various government officials and lawmakers spooked, while the recent banning of Trump from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube also raised further concerns about political censorship, and the fact that decisions on who can and cannot have a public platform are now being made by tech CEOs in Silicon Valley. That gives private enterprise direct control over an element of politics, which, whether you agree with the Trump ban or not, is a significant issue.

Which is why Facebook has been calling for external regulation, and has even formed its own third-party regulatory group, made up of a diverse group of experts, to address such concerns. Facebook’s hope is that by showing how its independent Oversight Board can help it make such decisions, that could provide a new way forward for broader regulation, and take such decisions out of its hands.

Essentially, Facebook, and other platforms, would rather the rules not be set by their internal teams either – but within the current process, they have little choice. As such, these new bills could be a step forward, but at the same time, they would also limit Facebook’s opportunity to grow, and expand even further through acquisition.

Which, really, only means that we’ll see more Facebook clone functions, like Stories and Reels, and less attempts to buy opposing platforms, like WhatsApp and Instagram. 

Would that be a better scenario? I mean, probably. Facebook’s clones have traditionally not fared as well as the originals, which leaves more room for competition in the sector. 

But either way, the implications here are significant, and could spark major change across the industry. There’s a long way to go yet, but it’s worth keeping an eye on each element within this shift.


Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer: Born or made great?



The Big 3 have won a total of 56 Grand Slams in their career.

Ecogastronomy, puppet arts, viticulture and enology, influencer marketing, or bakery science. In 2022, you can become anything you want and there are even specialized undergraduate degrees to help you gain all the relevant skills at university. Essentially, you can now be academically trained in any subject and learn practically everything you need to excel at your job.

In the context of sports, and particularly tennis, this is no different. There are plenty of degrees you can pursue to complement your career as an athlete, physiotherapist, or coach with useful knowledge about the human body, anatomy, and health.

This basically means that professional tennis players of the 21st century can complement their extraordinary talent and training routine with a relevant education and an elite team of professional and eminent physiotherapists, coaches, PR, and strategists. Ultimately, players have countless tools that can help them win matches, stay healthy, and be well-liked by the press and the fans.

You can find these ‘A teams’ all around the tour nowadays: players of the former next gen have taken advantage of their early success to incorporate experts on every specialty into their team and others like Carlos Alcaraz or Holger Rune have come directly in the tour alongside first-class teams headed by former World No. 1 and Slam champion Juan Carlos Ferrero and respected coach Patrick Mouratoglou respectively.

Understandably, tennis legends who have been on tour for almost two decades have progressively adapted to the quest for perfection too. You must remember Novak Djokovic’s radical diet change mid-career or Rafael Nadal’s loyal sports doctor for most of his injury-prone career.

21st-century professional tennis players have learned it all as far as tennis skills are concerned. In fact, objectively any top-100 player can produce Djokovesque cross-court backhands or Nadalese down-the-line forehands any time – we have seen rallies of the highest level in practices, Challengers and junior tournaments.

So, one must think that if every player on the tour can produce top-level tennis and is surrounded by the perfect team, what is stopping them from winning 20+ Grand Slam titles like Nadal, Roger Federer, and Djokovic?

Nadal, Federer and Djokovic — the Big 3

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in discussion at the 2022 Laver Cup.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in discussion at the 2022 Laver Cup.

The Big 3 — Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic — are living proof that in life there are things you just can’t learn, despite our self-help books saying otherwise. Tennis is different from other mainstream sports in that it remains an individual and extremely mental sport.

These three players belong at a higher level than anyone else, and it is not only the 63 combined Slam titles that separate them from their opponents. It is clearly not their physical form either, quite the opposite currently. It is the ability to remain serene, focused, confident, and indifferent to the crowd, pressure, and expectations, to play one point at a time, whether it is a break or a championship point, and to extract it from the surrounding context.

Being the best of all time does, however, not imply being the better player in all matches. We don’t have to go far back to find an example of a time when Nadal and Djokovic were the clear underdogs in a match. For instance, in Wimbledon 2022 we saw Nadal win a match with an abdominal tear and an average 80-mph serve speed (on a grasscourt!) against Taylor Fritz, a top American player in his best-ever season.

In essence, the three GOATs have had the ability to know how to win even when they are the worst players on the court, and if that greatness is something we all could learn or train for, it would stop being called so and we would see it more often.

Whether it is the experience, intelligence or just intrinsic and unique talent that has led to Big 3’s unprecedented achievements we won’t ever exactly know and, I am afraid, they are giving no opportunity to the so-called Next Gen to even dream of replicating their record book and help us make sense of what it takes to become a tennis master.

In any case, we can only feel extremely fortunate to have lived on the same timeline as the greatest trivalry in sports history. All of us, but the Next Gen, can only hope Nadal and Djokovic do not follow Federer’s retirement path anytime soon. And one only needs to watch their last matches against each other to (rightfully) assume that might not happen anytime soon.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

Poll : Who will end up with most Grand Slam titles?

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Meta Could be Exploring Paid Blue Checkmarks on Facebook and Instagram



Meta Could be Exploring Paid Blue Checkmarks on Facebook and Instagram

It seems like Elon Musk’s chaotic management approach at Twitter is having some broader impacts, with more companies reportedly considering lay-offs in the wake of Musk culling 70% of Twitter staff (and keeping the app running), and Meta now apparently also considering charging for blue checkmarks in its apps.

Yes, the Twitter Blue approach to making people pay for verification, which hasn’t proven overly popular on Twitter itself, is now also seemingly in consideration at Meta as well.

According to a new finding by reverse engineering pro Alessandro Paluzzi, there’s a new mention in the codebase of both Facebook and Instagram of a ‘paid blue badge’.

Paluzzi also shared a screenshot of the code with TechCrunch:

That does appear to refer to a subscription service for both apps, which could well give you a blue verification badge as a result.

Mets has neither confirmed nor denied the project, but it does seem, at least on the surface, that it’s considering offering checkmarks as another paid option – which still seems strange, considering the original purpose of verification, which is to signify noteworthy people or profiles in the app.

If people can just buy that, then it’s no longer of any value, right?

Evidently, that’s not the case, and with Twitter already bringing in around $7 million per quarter from Twitter Blue subscriptions, maybe Meta’s looking for a means to supplement its own intake, and make up for lost ad dollars and/or rising costs of its metaverse development.

It seems counter-intuitive, but I guess, if people will pay, and the platforms aren’t concerned about there being confusion as to what the blue ticks actually mean.

I guess, more money is good?

Meta has, in the past, said that it won’t charge a subscription fee to access its apps. But this, of course, would be supplemental – users wouldn’t have to pay, but they could buy a blue checkmark if they wanted, and use the implied value of recognition for their own purposes.

Which seems wrong, but tough times, higher costs – maybe every app needs to start digging deeper.

Meta hasn’t provided any info or confirmation at this stage, but we’ll keep you updated on any progress.

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YouTube Shorts Exceed 50B Daily Views, Meta’s Reels Doubles Plays 02/03/2023



YouTube Shorts Exceed 50B Daily Views, Meta's Reels Doubles Plays 02/03/2023

YouTube Shorts and Meta’s Reels are both making
headway in the intensely competitive video shorts sector.  

During Alphabet’s Q4 earnings call on Thursday, CEO Sundar Pichai reported that YouTube Shorts has surpassed 50 billion
daily views. That’s up from the 30 billion reported in Q1 2022.

However, it still …

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