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Short-Form Video App Zynn Has Been Removed From the Google Play Store



Hey, remember how a few weeks back we reported on the sudden rise of TikTok clone Zynn, which is partly funded by the Chinese rival of TikTok’s parent company?


As a brief summary, Zynn is an almost direct copy of TikTok, and is funded by Kuaishou, which is a rival app for Douyin (the Chinese version of TikTok). Kuaishou has also been funded, in part, by Tencent, which is the biggest social media company in China, and is working to fend off rising competition from TikTok’s parent company ByteDance.

So there are a lot of moving parts to Zynn’s sudden arrival in the US market – but what’s shot Zynn to the top of the app charts is that it’s using, essentially, a pyramid scheme as a growth tactic. When you watch videos in the app, you earn money, while you can also boost your in-app earnings by getting your friends to also download Zynn. Those earnings can then be used to buy gift cards, and even, reportedly, transferred through to PayPal – so it’s, again, like TikTok, but with the option to also earn money through usage.

Which sounds questionable already – but now Zynn seemingly been caught out in even more questionable tactic.

According to Wired, Zynn has been removed from the Google Play Store amid accusations that it’s been stealing people’s content from other apps. Zynn remains available in the App Store for now, but Wired notes that Apple is also investigating the app.

Now, it’s not unusual for people to replicate popular accounts in new apps, and even steal their content – and it wouldn’t be surprising, given the financial incentive, to see this happen on Zynn. But as Wired reports, there’s a more concerning element at play in this case:

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Zynn officially launched in the Apple App Store on May 7th, and was first installed by Google Play users on May 5th, according to Sensor Tower. Many of the impersonator accounts [however] uploaded their first posts on February 19th. The significance of that date isn’t clear, and Zynn did not respond to a request for comment sent to an email address listed on its website.”

So it seems, at least based on this evidence, that the duplicate videos must have been uploaded by Zynn staff, possibly in an attempt to fill it with engaging content, in order to maximize its performance.

To be clear, Google hasn’t said that this is why Zynn was removed from the Google Play store, but Wired provides a range of examples of influencers who’ve had their content re-posted to Zynn, under profiles in their name, without their knowledge. 

That’s a pretty significant concern – as noted, there’s already something about Zynn’s growth hacking that feels not quite right, and seems likely, at best, that it’ll attract a range of scammers looking to cheat its system in order to get as much money from the app as they can.

Stealing content from other apps could cause a sudden shut down of the rising app – and while people will still be active in the app, and as noted, you can still download it on iOS, if an investigation finds that Zynn has knowingly done this, that will bring a lot of scrutiny, and pressure on the app.

Zynn could, however, remove all the offending content and be reinstated, this could be a minor bump in the road in the broader scheme. But the reputational hit might be more significant. People are already attached to TikTok, they have connections and networks within the app. Zynn’s cash giveaway is it’s only true lure – and that may well work, but it could also see it banned entirely, while additionally bringing more scrutiny onto Chinese-owned apps.

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As noted, the app remains under investigation, and is not available in the Google Play Store. Maybe the short-form video app battle will have to wait.

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TikTok Launches ‘TikTok Tactics’ Online Course to Help Marketers Level-Up their Platform Approach



TikTok Launches 'TikTok Tactics' Online Course to Help Marketers Level-Up their Platform Approach

TikTok has launched a new, video-aligned platform training course for marketers, designed to provide tips and insights on how to make best use of the platform for brand promotion and development.

The new ‘TikTok Tactics’ course is an ‘easy to follow, best-practice guide to advertising on TikTok’, which provides a range of lessons on attribution, targeting, creative best practices and more.

The course, which you can sign-up for here, focuses on four key elements:

Each course segment includes a video overview, which eventually points to three varying approaches to each, based on where you’re at in your marketing program.

TikTok Tactics course

For example, as you can see here, in the ‘Attribution’ element, TikTok notes that beginners with limited development resources should start with the standard website pixel, to help track user response data for your campaigns, while more advanced marketers are organizations can move on to its Pixel developer mode and API integration for advanced tracking.

Each element follows the same path, outlining how it can contribute to your overall TikTok marketing strategy, and how you can level up each aspect relative to where you’re at in your process.

TikTok Tactics course

It’s an interesting approach, which, in some ways, seems like TikTok is looking to gamify the progress of your TikTok marketing efforts, with each progressive step putting more reliance on its various tools.

For example, in the ‘Creative’ element, the three steps progress from utilizing your own assets, to partnering with creators via the TikTok Creator Marketplace. Which is logical, that’s one way in which you could scale up your creative elements as you grow your platform presence. But it also guides you further into TikTok’s own tools, and the features that will benefit the company, by bringing more ad dollars into its creator eco-system.

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That’s not to say that this approach is merely self-serving, but basically, TikTok is also looking to boost its own products and services, and in most cases, you don’t necessarily have to use TikTok’s own tools, specifically, to maximize your efforts.  

But you can, and these basic overviews, which also connect through to more information on each element, provide more specific outlines on how to go about leveling up your on-platform promotions as you progress over time.

As a singular guide, the insights here are fairly basic, but at each step, you are invited to dig deeper to develop your understanding, while TikTok has also included a 19-page guide book to help in your planning and implementation.

TikTok Tactics course

It’s interesting, and definitely worth a look for TikTok marketers, but it maybe doesn’t go into the specifics of on-platform tactics as much as the name might suggest.

Still, it could be worth a look if you want to make best use of TikTok for promotions.

You can sign-up and go through the TikTok Tactics course here.

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Op-Ed: Education tipline launched by Virginia governor is a slap in the face to teachers



Op-Ed: Education tipline launched by Virginia governor is a slap in the face to teachers

The first order of business for newly sworn-in Governor Glenn Youngkin of Virginia was to rescind the mask mandate for public schools.
Source – Virginia Governor Glenn Younglin

A bland-looking email address launched by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin designed to allow parents to report incidents at Virginia schools where they feel their parental rights are being undermined has created quite a storm on social media.

Much like Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s making neighbors snitches if they think someone is having an abortion, Governor Youngkin is allowing people to go to a website he has created so they can snitch on a teacher, librarian, school board member, and I guess, even the custodian or your child’s bus driver.

The Governor’s Office launched [email protected] with the intent for parents to report violations of his first two Executive Orders, which allow parents to opt their students out of school masking requirements and bans the teaching of “inherently divisive topics” including critical race theory in schools.

It appears that Youngkin went on the John Fredericks Radio Show Monday,  and said during his interview that “… [It’s] for parents to send us any instances where they feel that their fundamental rights are being violated, where their children are not being respected, where there are inherently divisive practices in their schools.”

The backlash over the order and the tip-line began to build on social media, with celebrities like John Legend and comedian Patton Oswald sharing the address with their followers.

“Black parents need to flood these tip lines with complaints about our history being silenced,” Legend wrote on Twitter, referring to the critical race theory ban.

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7News spoke to Oveta Scott, a Prince William County middle school teacher who has spent more than a decade in the classroom.

We are human beings too. We are going through it too,” she said when asked about her reaction to the governor’s new email tip line. ‘Why are you vilifying us and attacking us? What are we doing? We’re trying to stay afloat. We have a shortage of substitutes. We have a shortage of bus drivers. Every day, I have to look for an email to see if I’m covering someone’s class. Every day.”

Nothing but a big distraction by an irresponsible public servant

State Senator Louise Lucas, a Democrat representing the 18th District in the southeast part of the state, said she does not expect the tip-line to lead to much of anything.

“Like a lot of other gimmicks that a lot of other governors have put forward, this one is going to fall flat like a led balloon,” she said, adding that most people she has spoken to see it as an “intimidation” tactic, reports

“I have never seen a Governor act in such an irresponsible way as to reach down to the parents and by step the teachers, by step the principal, the superintends of school, just to try to intimidate,” Lucas said. “There’s more than just one segment of parents in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Is he listening to Black parents, Hispanic parents, Asian-American parents? Which parents is he listening to? He needs to listen to all parents. Last I checked, parents in the Commonwealth of Virginia want their children to be safe in school.”

Senator Lucas is letting Governor Youngkin off easy. I personally think Youngkin is taking a page from Texas Governor Abbott’s playbook, because just last week, at the public charter school, Founders Classical Academy of Lewisville, Abbott told hundreds of parents “The essential role of parents is being threatened by government itself.”

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Abbott isn’t relying on a web address for snitches. He wants to change the Texas state constitution to make sure that “parents will be restored to their rightful place as the pre-eminent decision-makers for their children.”

The Governor also told the crowd he wants to toughen penalties against educators, including teachers and librarians who give students inappropriate books. “Texas will ensure that any education personnel who is convicted of providing minors with obscene content will lose their educational credentials and state licensing, forfeits their retirement benefits, and be placed on a do not hire list.”

It is time for all this craziness to come to an end. Good grief – I am getting too old to deal with all this “Bull S—” going on today.

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Instagram Adds Scheduled Live Display on User Profiles to Improve Discovery of Upcoming Streams



Instagram Adds Scheduled Live Display on User Profiles to Improve Discovery of Upcoming Streams

After previewing it as a coming feature within its announcement of the expansion of remixable videos on the platform last week, Instagram has now outlined its new display of scheduled live streams on creator profiles, providing another way to raise awareness of upcoming live broadcasts in the app.

As you can see in these screenshots, shared by Instagram chief Adam Mosseri, the new display option will enable you to list your upcoming IG live streams on your profile, which, when tapped, will provide additional info in a pop-up prompt, where people can also sign-up for a reminder of when the stream is set to begin.

As explained by Mosseri:

“Creators have been able to schedule lives for a while now, but now, you can separate scheduling a live from creating a feed post, or even now a Story post, about that Live. You also get a little badge on your profile that’s lets followers know, or anybody know that goes to your profile, that there’s a Live coming up and they can subscribe to be reminded.”

Mosseri further notes that users can create as many scheduled lives as they like, with a side-scrolling list then added to your profile display.

It could be a handy addition for those who broadcast via IG Live, which could prompt more people to tune in, by raising more awareness about your broadcasts. Up till now, the only way to notify people about your upcoming streams in the app has been, as Mosseri notes, through posts and Stories, which limits the reach of those notifications to, generally, your existing followers. Now, anyone who comes by your profile will be able to see that you have a live broadcast coming up, which could bring in more viewers.

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IG Live has become a key connection surface in the app, particularly throughout the pandemic, and as Instagram looks to expand the option into eCommerce, facilitating more direct engagement between brands and fans, the capacity to map out a more effective IG Live strategy could be a big help in maximizing your on-platform efforts.

It may seem like a relatively small addition in the broader scheme, but it could be a big help in raising awareness, and getting more viewers to your upcoming broadcasts.

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