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TikTok Faces More Challenges, Pausing Expansion Plans in UK and Dealing with Penalties in South Korea

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While there’s no doubting the popularity of TikTok, as reflected in the apps rapid, ongoing growth around the world, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to know what the future holds for the app, with various investigations and considerations in play that threaten to stop the platform in its tracks, and relegate it to the history books with various other short-term hits.

And while questions over TikTok’s Chinese ownership, and its potential links to the Chinese Government, have always been present, they do seem to have gained momentum recently, with global tensions rising, and nations looking at ways in which they can hit back over economic sanctions, and even military incursions, putting TikTok, once again, in the firing line.

The latest significant blow on this front is news that TikTok has decided to pull back on its plan to establish a new global headquarters in London, due to ongoing disagreement between the UK Government and China over the development of 5G infrastructure in Britain. 

As reported by The Guardian, earlier this month, the UK Government banned Chinese firm Huawei from developing its 5G network, which has sparked a new trade dispute between the UK ad China. That’s now forced TikTok to reconsider its plans in the nation. TikTok had reportedly been negotiating with the UK Government for months on the possible expansion of its operations in the nation.

As noted, this is just the latest example of how TikTok’s future is tied to global disputes. Already, TikTok has been banned in India, the app’s second-largest user market, due to border disputes between India and China, while TikTok itself recently pulled out of Hong Kong amid rising tensions sparked by Chinese intervention in the region.

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And it doesn’t end there – the Australian Government recently cited rising global tensions as a reason for it to boost its defence spending, which has also sparked new questions in that nation about whether TikTok should be allowed to operate, and potentially gather data on Australian citizens. The US has also raised similar concerns, with President Donald Trump additionally noting that the US Government is considering a TikTok ban as punishment for the COVID-19 outbreak.

Trump has also taken personal credit for prompting other nations to re-consider allowing Huawei to develop their 5G projects, while his campaign has also been using a potential ban on TikTok in a rallying effort among supporters via Facebook ads.

TikTok ban ad

The various concerns mean that TikTok’s future hangs in the balance, and is dependent on diplomatic efforts which are entirely out its hands. If a western nation ends up following India’s lead, and does indeed move to ban TikTok, it seems likely that the others will follow – which is why TikTok’s been spending big on lobbyists and other efforts as it tries to convince the world that it’s not beholden to the Chinese regime, and that it is working to separate its operations, and improve its moderation systems and processes in line with expectation.

That’s also been a key issue – as reported by Reuters, last week, TikTok was recently fined $154,320 by South Korean officials for “collecting personal information of children under 14 years of age without consent from guardians, and failing to disclose or notify when sending personal information overseas”.  

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TikTok was fined a record $5.7 million by the US FTC for similar violations early last year. 

Given its various issues, on various fronts, it seems like something has to give, something, at some stage, will need to change, whether that’s through TikTok being sub-licensed into separate regional entities, or by the app being banned outright in many nations. Already, TikTok users are campaigning to keep the app alive, and platform influencers are migrating across to other platforms as they seek to protect themselves, and the presences they’ve built, from any impacts.

It seems, at some stage, that TikTok will have to deal with some level of impact. What exactly that will be is not clear, but as the Chinese Government contends with other nations, on various fronts, that puts increased pressure on all Chnese-owned businesses and their dealings in other nations.

TikTok, because it gathers user data, will likely come under even more scrutiny in this respect, which could see it face even bigger impacts, as tensions continue to simmer.

There’s nothing definitive, and millions of users are still logging in and scrolling through their TikTok feeds every day. But the challenges are clearly stacking up, which could make it harder to TikTok to continue, at least in its current formulation. 

Socialmediatoday.com

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

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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 WTVR.com.

“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

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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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LinkedIn Publishes New Report into Workplace Culture Shifts, and What They Mean for Employer Branding

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LinkedIn Publishes New Report into Workplace Culture Shifts, and What They Mean for Employer Branding


LinkedIn has published a new report into the latest shifts in company and work culture, largely as a result of the pandemic, with many people’s approach to their career and professional development changing amid the ongoing re-shaping of the workforce and place.

As outlined by LinkedIn:

Because of the pandemic, employees are rethinking their priorities and their relationships with employers. They’re seeking flexible work arrangements and more work-life balance. They want to work for employers who value their physical and emotional well-being. And they’re ready to walk away from those who don’t.

LinkedIn’s 67-page ‘Reinvention of Company Culture’ report provides a detailed analysis of these changing attitudes and approaches, and how businesses can look to cater to employee needs, in order to build a better work environment.

The report looks at how people’s approach to their work is changing, particularly in regards to who they work for, and what they both represent and provide.

As you can see in this graphic, company culture is becoming a much bigger consideration, which is arguably because we now have more insight than ever into what each company represents, via social media posts and profiles. That underlines the importance of brands managing their external perception, and building a strong employer brand, which could also include empowering their employees to share relevant updates, reinforcing culture and ethos.

The report also looks at the changing approach to workplace flexibility, which is fast becoming a must-have for many organizations.

LinkedIn workplace trends report

The pandemic has shown that many companies can, in fact, operate remotely, and many employees have found that the freedom that can bring affords them many lifestyle benefits, which they’re not so willing to give up by returning to the office full-time.

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Of course, that varies. Some people like the structure and organization of the office environment, along with the social benefits, and there are strong arguments to be made for both approaches. But the stats here, and included in the report, point to the potential value of incorporating more flexible working arrangements.

Employee well-being is another point of focus, with interest in the topic on the rise:

LinkedIn workplace trends report

Which is another valuable element to this report – in addition to the overall notes on workplace shifts, LinkedIn has also incorporated data on key platform posting trends, which could help to inform your own strategy.

LinkedIn workplace trends report

Clearly, there is significant, and rising interest in these elements, and it’s worth considering how you can integrate such, both in terms of how you evolve your own workplace models to cater to such demand, and how you represent the same in your external posts and updates.

There are some valuable notes here, and some interesting points to consider in the coming post-pandemic shift. Because we’re not there just yet, with newer COVID variants still parking new waves of concern, and subsequent mitigation efforts. But as we progress towards the next stage, it is worth noting the broader impacts that the COVID shift has had on work, and how prospective employees are now looking at job postings and companies in their job search efforts.

Your social media presence can play a big role in this, and your LinkedIn presence in particular, and it’s worth taking in the various trends and considering what they could mean for your brand.

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You can read LinkedIn’s full ‘Reinvention of Company Culture’ report here.



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