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TikTok May Still Face Restrictions in the US, as Final Details of Proposed Oracle Deal are Ironed Out

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It seems TikTok may not be out of the woods just yet, with various conflicting stories around the pending Oracle/TikTok deal.

On Saturday, US President Donald Trump told reporters that he had given the Oracle-lead deal for TikTok’s operations in the US ‘his blessing‘, which was enough for TikTok to put out two official statements about the app being ‘here to stay‘.

The President’s verbal approval seemed to be the final step in the negotiation process – but then, on Sunday, following an official statement from TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, things got a little murkier on the specifics of the proposed deal.

First off, ByteDance clarified that it will not be transferring algorithms and/or technologies to Oracle, or any other US company, as part of the deal.

As per ByteDance:

“The current plan does not involve the transfer of any algorithms and technologies. Oracle has the authority to check the source code of TikTok USA.”

So Oracle and its consortium partners will be able to use the source code as a reference point, but going on this statement, it seems that they will need to develop a new, unique algorithm for the platform – which could be problematic.

TikTok’s algorithm, which keeps users glued to the app, is seen as a key component of the platform’s success, and if Oracle, which has no social media experience, is forced to re-write or re-create is own version, that could have major impacts on its performance.

ByteDance is restricted in what it can transfer in this regard due to China’s new laws on the transfer of technology, including algorithms, in foreign trade deals, but the initial understanding was that by having ByteDance retain ownership of the platform, Oracle and Co. would be able to essentially license the source code, which would meet the legal requirements in this respect. That may not be the case.

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And that’s just the first potential stumbling block for the new deal.

In addition to this, ByteDance also said that it was not aware of President Trump’s claim that it would be investing $5 billion into a new US education fund as part of the agreement.

President Trump touted the $5 billion investment as a key element in the deal. When originally announcing the Government’s action against TikTok, President Trump had called for the US Treasury to receive some form of payment for facilitating the eventual takeover deal, but transferring direct compensation to the government from commercial arrangements is not possible under US law. The $5 billion education fund seemed like a way to indirectly meet this request. Trump reportedly plans to use the funding to create a new ‘patriotic education commission’ to help re-establish national pride and identity.

But ByteDance says that it’s not paying it – which means it must be coming from somewhere else.

This, apparently, is another element that’s still being ironed out.

But the biggest potential stumbling block for the Oracle/TikTok deal thus far came on Monday, when President Trump stated that he would not be approving any deal for TikTok if its Chinese ownership did not fully sell its interest in the product.

As reported by The New York Times:

“Asked about reports that TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, would still own 80% of the service after the deal, Mr. Trump said that they would “have nothing to do with it, and if they do we just won’t make the deal.”

The current arrangement, as per reports, would see Oracle and Walmart take a 20% stake in a new ‘TikTok Global’ entity, which would be separated from ByteDance and launch as a new, independent company sometime in the new year.

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That, according to reports, should be enough to meet the requirements of the US Government in separating the app, but the understanding many have reported is that ByteDance would still remain the majority owner of TikTok Global, at least for some time. Which may not be the case – and if ByteDance has no stake, and it’s not sharing its algorithms, that could also spell trouble for the future of the app in the US. If, of course, this is how the final deal ends up being constructed.

So, right now, TikTok is still under a cloud. The US Department of Commerce has extended its deadline for the removal of the app from US app stores by a week, so negotiators have a few more days to sort out the final details in order to get a deal through before it sees any impacts. But the depth of these potential concerns is significant, and not only for the immediate future of the app, but in the longer term as well.

If Oracle, for example, has to re-write TikTok’s algorithms, will that ruin the app? If ByteDance is forced out completely, earlier than expected, will that make the transition more rushed? 

We still have at least a week of negotiations to come on the deal.

Socialmediatoday.com

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LinkedIn Announces the Retirement of its LinkedIn Lite App

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LinkedIn Announces the Retirement of its LinkedIn Lite App


LinkedIn has announced that it’s shutting down LinkedIn Lite, its pared-back version of the platform, designed for users in regions with more restricted connectivity and data access provisions.

Originally launched back in 2017 as a way to help “level the playing field for all members when it comes to accessibility”, LinkedIn Lite includes the basic functionality of LinkedIn, and is designed to load faster, while also using less data, handy for regions with more restrictive data plans.

But as LinkedIn continues to evolve, the Lite app gets further behind, with the full app’s more advanced functionalities – like video connection, full profile display features, Creator Mode, etc. – all getting more and more distant from the streamlined tool.

And with global connectivity evolving, LinkedIn now feels confident that it can move on without the scaled-back variation, which could also help boost in-app engagement and usage, and make LinkedIn a more significant presence in key markets.

Which, as you can see here, are growing. Now at 810 million total members, LinkedIn continues to gain momentum in developing regions, especially India (85m members, up from 60m in 2019), South Africa (+2m since 2019), the Philippines (+3m) and Nigeria (+1m)

LinkedIn Member Map

As with most social apps, India is a key focus, and LinkedIn says that Indian adoption of the full version of the app is now rising at 4x the global average, as mobile adoption continues to soar in the nation.

At the same time, retirement of the Lite app could also give LinkedIn’s team more opportunity to develop and maintain its new ‘InJobs’ app in China, with the full version of LinkedIn removed from China last October due to increasing regulatory pressure and scrutiny.

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At 56 million users, maintaining connection with China is key, and maybe that’s another factor in LinkedIn’s decision to step away from its scaled-down version.

Either way, the LinkedIn Lite app will be removed from Android app stores on 27th January 27th, before being deactivated completely March 15th.

LinkedIn says that it will transition Lite app users over to the full LinkedIn experience over the next few weeks.



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Twitter Shares New Insights into Rising Discussion Around the NFL Playoffs [Infographic]

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Twitter Shares New Insights into Rising Discussion Around the NFL Playoffs [Infographic]


Super Bowl LVI is just around the corner, which also means that we’ll soon see the biggest showcase of ad content of the year, highlighting new trends, creative activations and opportunities, which can sometimes re-shape advertising approaches from that moment forward.

And this year looks set to be particularly significant. As more people look towards a post-pandemic future, there’s a big opportunities for clever marketers to tap into this enthusiasm, and the various trends that come with it. That’ll likely see more innovative, integrated ad approaches, which will extend beyond the initial big game activations, and showcase new opportunities.

Twitter’s keen to cash in on that excitement. This week, Twitter’s published a new overview of user trends around the NFL playoffs, highlighting the huge boost in tweet activity heading into Super Bowl weekend.

As Twitter notes:

In the 2022 Divisional Round alone, we saw 27% more impressions on Tweets about the NFL, 58% more Tweets overall, and 42% more unique authors, compared with one year ago.”

It could be a key platform for boosting your tie-in efforts – and if you are considering the potential of Twitter ads for your campaigns, then these new stats might help.





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Twitter Shares New Insights into the Rising K-Pop Discussion in the App [Infographic]

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Twitter Shares New Insights into the Rising K-Pop Discussion in the App [Infographic]


Do you like K-pop?

Increasingly, the chances are that you do, given the massive growth of K-pop fandom around the world, with megabands like BTS and Blackpink building huge audiences, and each becoming cultural forces within themselves.

That fandom is most significantly present on Twitter, which has become a key hub for K-pop enthusiasts. K-pop tweeters are now so prominent that they even have the power to quash controversial hashtag movements, by banding together to flood the streams with K-pop-related tweets instead. 

It’s amazing to see, and today, Twitter has shared some new insights into the rising K-pop conversation, which got even bigger, once again, in 2021.

As explained by Twitter:

With a massive 7.8 billion global Tweets in 2021, #KpopTwitter once again showed its power by breaking its previous record of 6.7 billion Tweets in 2020. Registering a notable 16% increase in Tweet volume globally, #KpopTwitter conversations became more diverse and vibrant in 2021.”

So where, exactly, is K-pop discussion trending, and who are the big bands of note? Check out the below insights from Twitter – which also includes a list of rising K-pop stars if you want to get ahead of the curve.





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See also  Spotify prototypes Tastebuds to revive social music discovery
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