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TikTok Launches New Tools to Help Protect Users from Potentially Offensive and Harmful Content



Amid various investigations into how it protects (or doesn’t) younger users, TikTok has announced a new set of filters and options to provide more ways to limit unwanted exposure in the app.

First off, TikTok has launched a new way for users to automatically filter out videos that include words or hashtags that they don’t want to see in their feed.

As you can see in this example, now, you can block specific hashtags via the ‘Details’ tab when you action a clip. So if you don’t want to see any more videos tagged #icecream, for whatever reason (weird example TikTok folk), now you can indicate that in your settings, while you can also block content containing chosen key terms within the description.

Which is not perfect, as the system doesn’t detect the actual content, just what people have manually entered in their description notes. So if you had a phobia of ice cream, there’s still a chance that you might be exposed to disturbing vision in the app, but it does provide another means to manage your experience in a new way.

TikTok says that the option will be available to all users ‘within the coming weeks’.

TikTok’s also expanding its limits on content exposure relating to potentially harmful topics, like dieting, extreme fitness, and sadness, among others.

Last December, TikTok launched a new series of tests to investigate how it might be able to reduce the potentially harmful impacts of algorithm amplification, by limiting the amount of videos in certain, sensitive categories that are highlighted in user ‘For You’ Feeds.

It’s now moving to the next stage of this project.

As explained by TikTok:

“As a result of our tests, we’ve improved the viewing experience so that viewers now see fewer videos about these topics at a time. We’re still iterating on this work given the nuances involved. For example, some types of content may have both encouraging and sad themes, such as disordered eating recovery content.”

This is an interesting area of research, which essentially seeks to stop people from stumbling down rabbit holes of internet information, and becoming obsessed with possibly harmful elements. By restricting how much on a given topic people can view at a time, that could have a positive impact on user behaviors.

Finally, TikTok’s also working on a new ratings system for content, like movie classifications for TikTok clips.

“In the coming weeks, we’ll begin to introduce an early version to help prevent content with overtly mature themes from reaching audiences between ages 13-17. When we detect that a video contains mature or complex themes – for example, fictional scenes that may be too frightening or intense for younger audiences – a maturity score will be allocated to the video to help prevent those under 18 from viewing it across the TikTok experience.”

TikTok censored content

TikTok has also introduced new brand safety ratings to help advertisers avoid placing their promotions alongside potentially controversial content, and that same detection process could be applied here to better safeguard against mature themes and material.

Though it would be interesting to see how, exactly, TikTok’s system detects such content.

What kind of entity identification does TikTok have in place, what can its AI systems actually flag in videos, and based on what parameters?

I suspect that TikTok’s system may be very well advanced in this respect, which is why its algorithm is so effective at keeping users scrolling, because it’s able to pick out the key elements of content that you’re more likely to engage with, based on your past behavior.

The more entities that TikTok can register, the more signals it has to match you with clips, and it does seem like TikTok’s system is getting very good at figuring out more elements in uploaded videos.

As noted, the updates come as TikTok faces ongoing scrutiny in Europe over its failure to limit content exposure among young users. Last month TikTok pledged to update its policies around branded content after an EU investigation found it to be ‘failing in its duty’ to protect children from hidden advertising and inappropriate content. On another front, reports have also suggested that many kids have severely injured themselves, some even dying, while taking part in dangerous challenges sparked by the app.

TikTok has introduced measures to combat this too, and it’ll be interesting to see if these new tools help to reassure regulatory groups that it is doing all that it can to keep its young audience safe, in more respects.

Though I suspect it won’t. Short-form video requires attention-grabbing gimmicks and stunts, which means that shocking, surprising and controversial material generally performs better in that environment.

As such, TikTok’s very process, at least in part, incentivizes such, which means that more creators will keep posting potentially risky content in the hopes of going viral in the app.

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Growth Stock Surges On Ad Fraud Discovery, Analyst Upgrade



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.


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



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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'Astonishing' New Cognitive Research Shows Gaining Knowledge, Learning New Skills, and Achieving Mastery Comes Down to the Rule of 7



'Astonishing' New Cognitive Research Shows Gaining Knowledge, Learning New Skills, and Achieving Mastery Comes Down to the Rule of 7

While talent matters, the good news is we all learn at basically the same rate–and can “learn anything we want.” Think you don’t have the talent for entrepreneurship? For leadership? For programming, for design… for whatever pursuit you may want to, um, pursue? According to HubSpot co-founder …

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