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Clubhouse Expands Clips Access to All Users on iOS, Adds New Link-Sharing Option for Rooms



After launching its new ‘Clips’ option in beta last week, which enables users to share 30-second audio clips from public rooms, Clubhouse has now expanded the option to all users on iOS, while it’s also launching another new sharing feature, in the form of room links for re-distribution outside of the app.

First off, on Clips – as noted, Clubhouse announced the launch of Clips last week, which provides a new scissor icon that, when tapped, will grab the last 30 seconds of audio from a public room for third-party sharing.

The option must have performed well in early testing, because Clips has now been expanded to all iOS users.

As you can see in this example, the Clips functionality is pretty straightforward – you tap the icon, Clubhouse stitches the audio clip, and you can then share it to other platforms.

The option is not available on Android as yet, but Android broadcasters can enable clips to assist in sharing of their broadcasts.

In addition to this, and as noted by audio social expert Morgan Evetts, Clubhouse is also adding QR codes on shared Clips, which link back to the live room in progress.

Clubhouse clips QR code

It’s a handy option, which will no doubt help to increase awareness of Clubhouse broadcasts – and right now, that’s a key issue, with discovery proving a key challenge for all audio social apps.

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Twitter’s still working on its Spaces tab to maximize awareness, and Clubhouse, now that it’s open to all, is working to help users sift through the 700,000 rooms being broadcast in the app every day, and highlight the most relevant discussions for them.

Clips will help in this respect, by enabling users to let their followers on other platforms know about topical discussions that may be of interest.

Which is also where this feature comes in – in addition to clips, Clubhouse has also added a new link-sharing option for private rooms, providing direct connection back to Clubhouse chats.

Clubhouse link sharing

As you can see here, now, you’ll be able to tap on ‘Share a Room Link’, which you can then use to direct people outside of the app back to live chats.

As explained by Clubhouse:

“Many people have told the team it would be great if you could just grab a private Clubhouse room link and drop it in a calendar invite akin to a phone call or video chat. Now you can — with Clubhouse Links. Users can share this private link out with friends, family, or just about anyone you might want to chat with on a regular basis.”

Clubhouse links will provide an easy way to spark engagement in the app, with the links also being re-usable, meaning that anyone that’s been invited can reactivate the room at any time to strike up a conversation.

“To grab a Clubhouse Link, just tap “+ Room” in the hallway, then tap “Gather a room using a link.” A unique link will get copied to your clipboard so you can text it to a group, drop it in a calendar invite, or add it to an event listing anywhere. The room will be private – open just to the people who have the link – and you’ll get notified when people join.

That could be another way to spark more engagement in the app, and help Clubhouse carve a niche for itself in the broader social media space.

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Because with Facebook and Twitter now also offering audio social tools, Clubhouse is simply not the leader in the space that it was initially, which means that the app has to find its sweet spot in facilitating audio engagement, in compliment to the tools available on the bigger apps.

The sheer scale advantage of those platforms will make it difficult for Clubhouse to become a real competitor. But if it can focus on niche usage, and maximizing community engagement, it can still become a key tool for many, similar to how Snapchat has established its foundations, despite being much smaller than the competition.

And there are good signs for Clubhouse on this front, with usage remaining high, particularly in growth regions like India, where it could serve unique purpose.

It remains a favorite of many, and it still offers plenty of opportunity. And if Clubhouse can continue to add new tools and functionality like this, it could maintain, and grow its relevance, even if it’s no longer the cool new app.

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Meta’s Developing and ‘Ethical Framework’ for the Use of Virtual Influencers



Meta's Developing and 'Ethical Framework' for the Use of Virtual Influencers

With the rise of digital avatars, and indeed, fully digital characters that have evolved into genuine social media influencers in their own right, online platforms now have an obligation to establish clear markers as to what’s real and what’s not, and how such creations can be used in their apps.

The coming metaverse shift will further complicate this, with the rise of virtual depictions blurring the lines of what will be allowed, in terms of representation. But with many virtual influencers already operating, Meta is now working to establish ethical boundaries on their application.

As explained by Meta:

From synthesized versions of real people to wholly invented “virtual influencers” (VIs), synthetic media is a rising phenomenon. Meta platforms are home to more than 200 VIs, with 30 verified VI accounts hosted on Instagram. These VIs boast huge follower counts, collaborate with some of the world’s biggest brands, fundraise for organizations like the WHO, and champion social causes like Black Lives Matter.”

Some of the more well-known examples on this front are Shudu, who has more than 200k followers on Instagram, and Lil’ Miquela, who has an audience of over 3 million in the app.

At first glance, you wouldn’t necessarily realize that this is not an actual person, which makes such characters a great vehicle for brand and product promotions, as they can be utilized 24/7, and can be placed into any environment. But that also leads to concerns about body image perception, deepfakes, and other forms of misuse through false or unclear representation.

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Deepfakes, in particular, may be problematic, with Meta citing this campaign, with English football star David Beckham, as an example of how new technologies are evolving to expand the use of language, as one element, for varying purpose.

The well-known ‘DeepTomCruise’ account on TikTok is another example of just how far these technologies have come, and it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where they could be used to, say, show a politician saying or doing something that he or she actually didn’t, which could have significant real world impacts.

Which is why Meta is working with developers and experts to establish clearer boundaries on such use – because while there is potential for harm, there are also beneficial uses for such depictions.

Imagine personalized video messages that address individual followers by name. Or celebrity brand ambassadors appearing as salespeople at local car dealerships. A famous athlete would make a great tutor for a kid who loves sports but hates algebra.

Such use cases will increasingly become the norm as VR and AR technologies are developed, with these platforms placing digital characters front and center, and establishing new norms for digital connection.

It would be better to know what’s real and what’s not, and as such, Meta needs clear regulations to remove dishonest depictions, and enforce transparency over VI use.

But then again, much of what you see on Instagram these days is not real, with filters and editing tools altering people’s appearance well beyond what’s normal, or realistic. That can also have damaging consequences, and while Meta’s looking to implement rules on VI use, there’s arguably a case for similar transparency in editing tools applied to posted videos and images as well.

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That’s a more complex element, particularly as such tools also enable people to feel more comfortable in posting, which no doubt increases their in-app activity. Would Meta be willing to put more focus on this element if it could risk impacting user engagement? The data on the impact of Instagram on people’s mental health are pretty clear, with comparison being a key concern.

Should that also come under the same umbrella of increased digital transparency?

It’s seemingly not included in the initial framework as yet, but at some stage, this is another element that should be examined, especially given the harmful effects that social media usage can have on young women.

But however you look at it, this is no doubt a rising element of concern, and it’s important for Meta to build guardrails and rules around the use of virtual influencers in their apps.

You can read more about Meta’s approach to virtual influencers here.

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Meta Publishes New Guide to the Various Security and Control Options in its Apps



Meta Publishes New Guide to the Various Security and Control Options in its Apps

Meta has published a new set of safety tips for journalists to help them protect themselves in the evolving online connection space, which, for the most part, also apply to all users more broadly, providing a comprehensive overview of the various tools and processes that it has in place to help people avoid unwanted attention online.

The 32-page guide is available in 21 different languages, and provides detailed overviews of Meta’s systems and profile options for protection and security, with specific sections covering Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

The guide begins with the basics, including password protections and enabling two-factor authentication.

It also outlines tips for Page managers in securing their business profiles, while there are also notes on what to do if you’ve been hacked, advice for protection on Messenger and guidance on bullying and harassment.

Meta security guide

For Instagram, there are also general security tips, along with notes on its comment moderation tools.

Meta security guide

While for WhatsApp, there are explainers on how to delete messages, how to remove messages from group chats, and details on platform-specific data options.

Meta security guide

There are also links to various additional resource guides and tools for more context, providing in-depth breakdowns of when and how to action the various options.

It’s a handy guide, and while there are some journalist-specific elements included, most of the tips do apply to any user, so it could well be a valuable resource for anyone looking to get a better handle on your various privacy tools and options.

Definitely worth knowing either way – you can download the full guide here.

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Twitter bans account linked to Iran leader over video threatening Trump



Twitter bans account linked to Iran leader over video threatening Trump

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets with relatives of slain commander Qasem Soleimani ahead of the second anniverary of his death in a US drone strike in Iraq – Copyright POOL/AFP/File Tom Brenner

Twitter said Saturday it had permanently suspended an account linked to Iran’s supreme leader that posted a video calling for revenge for a top general’s assassination against former US president Donald Trump.

“The account referenced has been permanently suspended for violating our ban evasion policy,” a Twitter spokesperson told AFP.

The account, @KhameneiSite, this week posted an animated video showing an unmanned aircraft targeting Trump, who ordered a drone strike in Baghdad two years ago that killed top Iranian commander General Qassem Soleimani.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s main accounts in various languages remain active. Last year, another similar account was suspended by Twitter over a post also appearing to reference revenge against Trump.

The recent video, titled “Revenge is Definite”, was also posted on Khamenei’s official website.

According to Twitter, the company’s top priority is keeping people safe and protecting the health of the conversation on the platform.

The social media giant says it has clear policies around abusive behavior and will take action when violations are identified.

As head of the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Soleimani was the architect of its strategy in the Middle East.

He and his Iraqi lieutenant were killed by a US drone strike outside Baghdad airport on January 3, 2020.

Khamenei has repeatedly promised to avenge his death.

On January 3, the second anniversary of the strike, the supreme leader and ultraconservative President Ebrahim Raisi once again threatened the US with revenge.

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Trump’s supporters regularly denounce the banning of the Republican billionaire from Twitter, underscoring that accounts of several leaders considered authoritarian by the United States are allowed to post on the platform.

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