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ByteDance Names Current Company CFO Shouzi Chew as the New CEO of TikTok

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So after all the efforts of the US Government to force TikTok to detach itself from its Chinese roots, after the threats of a full ban on the app unless it was sold into US ownership, after various court cases challenging and defending the US Government’s ruling.

After all of this, the single outcome of that entire process, the only thing that’s actually happened in response, is that TikTok has lost a US-based CEO and appointed one from its Chinese parent company instead.

Which seems somewhat ironic, really.

Today, TikTok has announced that current ByteDance CFO Shouzi Chew has been appointed as the new CEO of TikTok. Chew will succeed former Disney exec Kevin Mayer, who lasted around 3 months in the role, before leaving in August last year in the midst of the platform’s stoush with the Trump Administration. 

At the time, it seemed as though Mayer wanted to avoid the potential negative fallout from the company’s ongoing battle with the US Government, but Mayer has since explained that he left because it did indeed seem that a full sale of TikTok was imminent.

As explained by Mayer (to CNBC):

“It did look as if that was a serious ruling by the CFIUS guys, that it had to be divested, and it was going to be divested. The fact is, the job that I signed up for was going to be gone, and I didn’t want to go run a division of Microsoft or Oracle.”

Microsoft and Oracle, of course, were the leading candidates to acquire TikTok at that time, but the deal, in the end, didn’t end up going ahead. TikTok managed to delay a final ruling through repeated (and costly) legal challenges to the US Government’s order, which meant that the final decision was pushed back till after the US Election. Which then put TikTok’s fate largely in the hands of US voters. If Trump was returned, there was a good chance that he would continue to push for TikTok’s full separation from China.

But with a Biden victory, that meant a fresh set of eyes to look at the TikTok deal. And while the Biden admin is still, reportedly, weighing if and how it tackles security concerns related to TikTok, and the potential that it could share data on US citizens with the CCP, right now, it seems like the push to separate TikTok from its Chinese ownership is off the cards. Which, as noted means that the company has continued unimpacted by the challenge.

And now, it’s appointed a ByteDance exec into the top job at the company.

That also, of course, will mean a change in role for interim head of TikTok Vanessa Pappas, who stepped into the top job to replace Mayer in a temporary capacity. Recognizing her efforts, Pappas will now become the COO of the company, advancing from her previous title as general manager before the acquisition saga.

Pappas has helped guide the company through an incredibly challenging transition period, which has also incorporated the COVID-19 pandemic, and many legal and regulatory challenges, in several regions, as the app expands throughout the world.

Pappas has also had to face a slew of challengers rising up for the app, with Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat all adding TikTok clone functionalities over the past 12 months. 

Now Pappas moves into a role more aligned with her skills and experience, with Chew taking on the more CEO-type responsibilities involved with expansion of the app.

And for clarity, while Chew is currently the CFO at ByteDance, he is actually based in Singapore, so that could lessen the concerns around ongoing linkage with the Chinese Government.

But probably not. The issue that regulatory authorities have is that under China’s cybersecurity laws, any Chinese-owned company has to share user data with the CCP, on request. Whether such a request has been, or will ever be made, we don’t know, but if a request for such did come through, under the law, as it’s constructed, TikTok would, theoretically, have to comply, putting all of TikTok’s user info, on millions of people around the world, into the Chinese Government’s hands.

TikTok has tried to reassure authorities that this won’t happen, repeatedly noting that it would not share foreign user data with the Chinese Government, while ByteDance also, at one stage, tried to say that it was now ‘a Cayman Islands-based business‘, not a Chinese one, as it was now incorporated in the tax haven. 

But it does still seem that its links to China remain strong, which will maintain those concerns.

And as the Chinese regime continues to exert its power, in various global conflicts and relations, those tensions, and issues, will remain.

Whether that will be enough for the new US administration to take a harsher view of TikTok itself, we’ll have to wait and see.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Twitter Blue Subscribers Can Now Post Tweets Up to 4,000 Characters Long

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Twitter Blue Subscribers Can Now Post Tweets Up to 4,000 Characters Long

So, this is a thing…

Twitter has rolled out longer tweets to Twitter Blue subscribers in the US, with paying users now able to post tweets up to 4,000 characters in length.

If anyone needed or wanted that.

Longer tweets will be displayed in the main feed at standard length, with a ‘Show more…’ indicator pointing users to the remainder of the content.

Honestly, it’s sadly ironic that not even Twitter could come up with a good use of the extra characters in its example, but yes, Twitter Blue users – all 300,000 of them – will now be able to post super long rants about whatever they choose in the app.

As explained by Twitter:

“[Twitter Blue users] can also compose longer Tweets in a Quote Tweet or reply. Standard functionality like posting media, creating polls, and using hashtags still apply. Everyone will be able to read longer Tweets, but only Blue subscribers can create them.

I don’t know if anyone requested this, but Twitter 2.0 chief Elon Musk seems convinced that by enabling users to post long-form content, that will eventually open up new avenues to monetization, and will see more top voices posting more stuff to the app.

I mean, the recent Twitter Files are probably the best example – Elon’s hand-picked team of journalists have been trawling through Twitter’s archives to uncover accusations of corruption and Government meddling, all ended up posting their findings in ridiculously long tweet threads in the app.

It would make more sense to post them on a more long-form focused format, but Musk obviously wants all the attention on Twitter – and in instances like this, maybe having longer tweets could be valuable.

But I don’t know.

It also seems short-sighted to only provide this functionality to Twitter Blue users. As noted, only a small fraction of Twitter’s 250 milllion total user base is paying for a blue tick, and while Twitter is now expanding the offering into new markets, it’s hard to see it catching on in any real way.

That means that a lot of the most popular creators won’t even be able to use the option, which seems counterintuitive. But then again, Elon will probably look to add in a new monetization element, which you have to pay up to qualify for, which is probably his broader view for limiting access at this stage.

Who knows – maybe it ends up being amazing, and maybe it makes it way easier to post what would have been multi-tweet threads in a more engaging, interesting way in the app.

It’s different, for sure, very different from Twitter’s usual offering.



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Growth Stock Surges On Ad Fraud Discovery, Analyst Upgrade

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Growth Stock Surges On Ad Fraud Discovery, Analyst Upgrade

Ad data and analytics provider DoubleVerify (DV) is building the right side of a cup base with a buy point of 32.53. The growth stock is today’s selection for IBD 50 Stocks to Watch.




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DoubleVerify has a strong Composite Rating of 94 and a Relative Strength Rating of 89. Its stellar EPS Rating of 96 is even better.

Company sales grew 35% to $112.3 million in the third quarter while earnings per share of 6 cents grew 20% from the previous year.

On Jan. 10, analysts at Barclays upgraded the stock to overweight from equal weight with a price target of 29. Shares gapped up over 6% on the news, and the move helped the stock start its recovery from the January low.

Growth Stock Surges After Finding Fraud Scheme

DoubleVerify helps advertising companies that target users on video, mobile, and social media platforms. The company also has an analytics side that provides data on consumer engagement.

The digital media analytics platform ensures that ads reach their target customers in a safe way. This means that ads reach actual people with the right context. The software also has tools to adapt ads to different devices.

Its technology also seeks to address ad fraud. On Thursday, the company discovered “BeatSting,” the first large-scale ad-impression fraud scheme that targeted audio ads.

DV Fraud Lab first identified the fraud scheme in 2019, which is largely responsible for advertisers losing $20 million in several scams, according to reports. DoubleVerify was credited for unveiling the fraud. Shares last Thursday surged nearly 4% in strong volume.

Deals With Twitter, LinkedIn, Meta, Facebook

The company has partnered with leading social media and mobile platforms like LinkedIn and TikTok to improve ad impact and experience. DoubleVerify has a long-standing relationship with Facebook parent Meta Platforms (META). The social media platform faced a massive boycott in 2020 when several companies removed their ads due to concerns over their brand safety.

In June of last year, DoubleVerify brought features that will allow marketers to see where their ads appear in a user’s timeline. The feature uses artificial-intelligence tools to understand the context in which ads appear. The feature also enhanced brand safety  and attracted Twitter and other social media platforms to try it out. Nonetheless, marketers did not buy in entirely, according to reports, as Twitter’s ad revenue continued to struggle.

The growth stock ranks second in the specialty enterprise software group. The stock went public in April 2021. The New York-based company has locations in the U.S., U.K., Europe, Asia, Australia and South America.

Mutual funds own 39% of shares outstanding. That may not seem like much, but more funds have been picking up the growth stock over the past eight quarters, according to MarketSmith. The stock has an Accumulation/Distribution Rating of B-.

Exchange traded funds hold shares of DoubleVerify as well. The Invesco S&P Small Cap Information Technology ETF (PSCT) and the SPDR FactSet Innovative Technology ETF (XITK) own DV.

Please follow VRamakrishnan on Twitter @IBD_VRamakrishnan for more news on growth stocks.

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YouTube Will Now Enable Brands to Buy Specific Time Slots Around Major Events for Masthead Ads

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YouTube Will Now Enable Brands to Buy Specific Time Slots Around Major Events for Masthead Ads

YouTube has added a new time targeting element to its Masthead Ads, which will enable brands to display their promotions in key times leading up to key events.

As explained by YouTube:

In a time of multiple screens and countless ways to stay entertained, it can be challenging to get your audience’s attention. But even with so much content available at any time, people are drawn to moments they can experience together: a new movie release, a big game, a product launch, a holiday. And these are key opportunities to connect with a brand. Marketers, you know this well: you center advertising campaigns around the tentpole moments most likely to inspire your audience, shift perceptions or influence a purchase decision.”

YouTube’s Cost-Per-Hour Masthead enables brands to own the most prominent placement in the app during the hour(s) leading up to, during or after priority moments.

For example:

“[During the recent World Cup], McDonald’s Brazil turned to the YouTube Cost-Per-Hour Masthead. Their strategy was savvy: reach anyone in Brazil who was watching YouTube an hour before the Brazil vs. Cameroon match and remind them to pick up McDonald’s before the game started. This perfectly timed execution delivered tens of millions of impressions at the very moment fans were preparing for the match.

It could be a good way to hook into key moments, and build momentum for your campaigns, while also establishing association with key events and subjects.

“Just a few weeks ago, Xiaomi, the leading smartphone manufacturer in India, prepared to launch their highly anticipated Redmi Note 12 series via YouTube livestream. To drive viewership, Xiaomi ran the Cost-Per-Hour Masthead during the event. Not only did this activation drive scaled awareness, it led to over 90,000 concurrent livestream views. The Redmi Note 12 went on to generate a record number of first-week sales, making it one of their most successful launches to date.

It’s an expansive, but potentially significant targeting option, which could hold appeal for big brands looking to make a big splash around major events and releases.

You can learn more about YouTube’s Cost-Per-Hour Masthead process here.

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