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TikTok Says it Will Stop Grabbing Data From User Clipboards After New iOS Update Exposed the Process

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TikTok has said that it will remove a feature which reads data from the clipboard on user devices as they use TikTok, after a recent iOS update exposed the practice.

Jeremy Burge of Emojipedia posted this example of the process on Twitter:

As you can see, the new iOS notification repeatedly informs Burge that ‘TikTok pasted from Instagram’ as he types in the app.

The process works like this – when you have something that you’ve cut from someplace else (like a section of text or a URL), it sits on your clipboard, from which you can paste it into another app. The latest version of iOS (14) now informs you when this happens. The process has been happening for years in the background, in various apps, users just haven’t been made aware of such till now.

And it’s likely not all that nefarious. As noted, a range of apps utilize the same functionality, so that they can check to see if what you have ready to paste may be of relevance to what you’re doing in that app – i.e. you’ve cut that info to paste somewhere, and you’re using this app, in all likelihood, you’re going to paste it here.

In practice, it’s probably not a big deal, but perceptually, it doesn’t look great. And with TikTok already under scrutiny over how it moderates certain content, and even, according to some reports, records audio in the background, it makes sense that TikTok has quickly moved to remove the functionality from its app.

In the case of the latter, the rumor is similar to reports that Facebook is listening into your every day conversations, which Facebook has repeatedly denied. Such access is prohibited by OS developers, which makes this increasingly unlikely (as they risk having their apps disabled outright), but it’s another form of potentially intrusive access attached to TikTok that, true or not, adds to the suggestion that it’s essentially a spy app,

Indeed, back in February, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said that TikTok was ‘fundamentally parasitic‘:

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“It’s always listening, [and] the fingerprinting technology they use is truly terrifying, and I could not bring myself to install an app like that on my phone.”

That ‘fingerprinting’ relates to audio and browser tracking, which matches what users are doing on TikTok with what they’re then sharing on the web. This, to some, is seen as overstepping the bounds of acceptable, and necessary, data collection – while TikTok also sucks in user GPS data, and info on other apps they might have open, detail which doesn’t appear to have any immediate bearing on your in-app experience.

That’s why military officials in various nations have banned the usage of TikTok by personnel, while the US government has also launched a national security investigation into the Chinese-owned app. The connection to the Chinese Government, through China’s strict cybersecurity laws, means that, essentially, TikTok would be required to share user data with the Chinese regime on request. 

TikTok has been working to distance itself from its Chinese roots, limiting the user data that can be accessed in different regions and appointing a new American CEO to lead to separation away from its parent company. But thus far, it remains a Chinese-owned app, and is therefore subject to the same regulations, if enforced. 

Which is why there’s such concern about its data collection processes, and why, of all apps that may be checking out your clipboard info, it matters that TikTok is doing it.

So now TikTok will stop – but it’s another concern which adds to broader perception. That doesn’t appear to have slowed the app’s momentum as yet, but it may strengthen the skepticism of those already concerned about the platform.   

Socialmediatoday.com

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Meta Announces New Ad Options for Facebook Reels Which Could Facilitate Creator Revenue Share

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Meta Announces New Ad Options for Facebook Reels Which Could Facilitate Creator Revenue Share

Meta sees Reels as ‘the future of video’ on its platforms, with engagement with short-form content being one of the only positive growth trends across its apps at present.

Whether that’s due to more people looking to watch Reels, or Meta pumping more of them into feeds, is another question – but clearly, Meta’s keen to double-down on Reels content, which also means that it needs to offer Reels creators greater revenue share, in order to keep them posting.

On this, Meta has today outlined some new Reels ad options, which will provide more capacity for brands to tap into the format, while also, ideally, providing a pathway to revenue share for top creators.

The first new option in testing is ‘post-loop ads’ which are 4-10- second, skippable video ads that will play after a Reel has ended.

As you can see in this example, some Facebook Reels will now show an ‘Ad starting soon’ indicator as you reach the end of a Reel, which will then move into a post-loop ad. When the ad finishes playing, the original Reel will resume and loop again.

As noted, it could be a way to more directly monetize Reels content, though the interruption likely won’t be welcome for viewers, and it’ll be interesting to see what the actual view rates are on such ads. It’ll also be interesting to see if Meta looks to attribute those ad views to the original Reel, and how that could relate to revenue share for Reels creators.

The option is only in early testing, so there’s not a lot to go on at this stage.

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Meta’s also testing new image carousel ads in Facebook Reels – horizontally-scrollable ads which can include up to 10 images that are displayed at the bottom of Facebook Reels content.

Meta ads update

These promotions will be directly linked back to individual Reel performance, and could provide another monetization option for creators, while also enabling brands to tap into popular clips. TikTok offers a similar ad option in its tools.

On another front, Meta’s also giving brands access to more music options for their Reels, with new, ‘high-quality’ songs added to its Sound Collection that can be added to Carousel Ads on Reels.

Meta ads update

Note that these aren’t commercial tracks – you won’t be able to add the latest Lady Gaga song to your ad. But there are some good instrumental tracks to add atmosphere and presence to your promotions.

“Businesses can select a song from our library or allow the app to automatically choose the best music for an ad based on its content.”

I’d probably advise against letting the app automatically choose the best music, but maybe, based on its suggestions, you might be able to find the right soundtrack for your promotions.

Short-form video monetization is the next big battleground, with YouTube recently outlining its new Shorts monetization process, and TikTok still developing its live-stream commerce tools, as a means to facilitate better revenue share. Inserting ads into such brief clips is challenging, especially in a user-friendly way. But the platform that can get it right stands to win out, by providing direct creator monetization, based on content performance, which will likely, eventually see the top creators gravitate towards those platforms as they seek to maximize their opportunities.

Meta’s new options don’t seem to be a match for YouTube’s new Shorts program, which will allocate a share of total ad revenue to Shorts creators based on relative view counts. But it’s still early days, and no one has the answers yet.

As such, you can expect each platform to keep trying new things, as they work to beat out the competition.  

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