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TikTok says Oracle to keep US user data safe

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TikTok says it is working to 'fully pivot' to having Oracle handle US user data.

TikTok says it is working to ‘fully pivot’ to having Oracle handle US user data.
– Copyright POOL/AFP/File Patrick Pleul

TikTok on Friday said Oracle will store all the data from its US users, in a bid to allay fears about its safety in the hands of a platform owned by ByteDance in China.

The popular video snippet sharing service will continue to use its own datacenters in Virginia and Singapore to backup information as it works to “fully pivot” to relying on Oracle in the United States, TikTok said in a post.

“We know we are among the most scrutinized platforms from a security standpoint, and we aim to remove any doubt about the security of US user data,” said Albert Calamug, who handles US security public policy at TikTok.

President Joe Biden last year revoked executive orders from his predecessor Donald Trump seeking to ban Chinese-owned apps TikTok and WeChat from US markets on national security concerns.

Trump had given his blessing to a plan that would have given TikTok to US tech giant Oracle with investments from retail powerhouse Walmart, but that deal failed to win approval in Beijing.

Biden’s new executive order nixed the unimplemented ban and called for “an evidence-based analysis to address the risks” from internet applications controlled by foreign entities.

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WeChat, part of Chinese tech giant Tencent, is a “super app” which includes social networking, messaging, e-commerce and more.

TikTok revealed late last year that it had a billion users worldwide.

“Today, 100 percent of US user traffic is being routed to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure,” Calamug said.

“In addition, we’re working closely with Oracle to develop data management protocols that Oracle will audit and manage to give users even more peace of mind.”

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Instagram Expands Access to Reels Templates, Adds New Music Recommendations for Reels Clips

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Instagram's Working on a New Option That Would Simplify Reels Monetization for Creators

Looking to get into Instagram Reels, but not sure what to post?

This could help – over the last week, Instagram has been giving more users access to its Reels ‘Templates’ option, which enables you to create Reels based on popular content formats in the app.

As you can see in this example, shared by user Ahmed Ghanem, some people are now seeing the new ‘Templates’ option within the Reels camera, which enables you to select a format for your Reel based on popular trends.

Instagram initially launched its Templates option back in April, which takes users through a frame-by-frame process to create a similar-looking Reels clip.

Instagram Reels templates

So if you lack creativity, now Instagram will do the creative framing for you, which could be handy, as a means to create more engaging clips.

But it could also make a lot more of your Reels feed look familiar, due to replication of the same types of clips over and over again, while it also leans on the talents of trendsetters within the app. Which TikTok has come under scrutiny for in the past, and it’ll be interesting to see whether creators start to question the re-use of their formats in this way.

But if you do need help, maybe it’ll come in handy – and that’s not the only way that IG is looking to lend a guiding hand in the Reels creation process.

According to another discovery by Ghanem, Instagram will also now recommend songs for your content, based on your upload.

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Instagram Reels music recommendations

How, exactly, Instagram recommends different songs for different clips is not clear, but based on these tools, you could essentially extricate yourself of almost all your creative content decisions – you just come up with what you want to film and Instagram’s recommendation tools and templates will do the rest.

Which seems to run counter to the whole ethos of the short-form video trend, which enables users to contribute to the latest trends and memes with their own, simple, creative takes. Indeed, what people like most about short-form content is that it provides more avenues for creativity, which makes these new features feel less genuine, and less interesting, even if they do help you get a few more Likes as a result.

Which they probably will, and for brands that are short on time, and are unable to keep up with the latest formats and tracks, they could be a big help (note: business accounts are limited in terms of what songs they can use in their clips).

But I don’t know. It feels a bit artificial, doesn’t it? Like, Meta is so keen to get as many people as possible posting short-form clips that it’s taking all of your own input and personality out of the process.

Maybe I’m over-thinking it – and really, what I am thinking is that someone should create an account that only posts videos using templates and song recommendations to see what sort of engagement it gets.

It could be massive – but it also feels like another step towards killing off the short-form video trend entirely by doing it to death.

Much like Stories before it – and, ultimately, that could be another way for Meta to negate competition.



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