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TikTok Stars Win Injunction Against White House Executive Order, Keeping the App Running the US

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Hey, remember all that talk about TikTok getting banned in the US? Yeah, not so much.

In the latest blow to the White House’s efforts to ban the Chinese-owned app, a group of TikTok stars have won an injunction against the Trump administration’s Executive Order, which could have still seen the app banned in the US on November 12th.

Now, there’s no timeline for any enforcement action that would suspend or ban TikTok in the US market.

To re-cap the TikTok vs US Government battle:

  • On August 6th, US President Donald Trump issued two Executive Orders, which outlined separate bans on the operations of Chinese-owned social apps TikTok and WeChat within the US. The orders were each to take effect within 45 days of being signed, which gave both apps until September 20th to either sell to a US company, or face a full ban in America
  • On September 19th, a day before the ban was set to hit TikTok, parent company ByteDance announced significant progress in a US takeover deal, with a consortium lead by Oracle and Walmart to buy the US operations of TikTok. The US Department of Commerce then granted an extension, giving TikTok till September 27th to finalize the details of the proposed takeover, or, again, it would face removal from the US app store
  • WeChat, meanwhile, challenged the White House Executive Order in a US court, citing a lack of evidence for the concerns leveled against it. And it won, meaning that WeChat remains fully available in the US, pending a new hearing
  • On September 27th, hours before TikTok’s new app store ban was set to take effect, it also won an appeal against the White House EO, citing the WeChat case as precedent, which meant that it too avoided a ban
  • The court then set a November 4th hearing date for a follow-up on the TikTok ban in the US app store – while based on the original EO, TikTok still had till November 12th to finalize details of its full sell-off to a US-based company, or it still faced a complete ban in the US. 
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Now, TikTok’s forced sell-off is essentially a moot point – a filing lodged by TikTok creators Douglas Marland, Alec Chambers and Cosette Rinab, who collectively have over 7 million followers on the app, successfully argued that banning the app would rob them of their livelihoods.

As per the filing:

“[TikTok] gives content creators like Plaintiffs the opportunity to profit from the videos they post on TikTok. Plaintiff Rinab, for example, creates videos for fashion brands and other companies, and earns between $5,000 and $10,000 per video. Further, the exposure Plaintiffs have obtained through TikTok has resulted in promotional and branding opportunities. For instance, Plaintiff Chambers earned $12,000 for promoting the Extra gum brand in a TikTok video. […] Without access to the TikTok app, Plaintiffs will lose access to all of these followers, as well as to the professional opportunities afforded by TikTok.”

Pennsylvania District Court Judge Wendy Beetlestone ruled in favor of the trio, which, as noted, essentially leaves the original EO in limbo.

Interim Global Head of TikTok Vanessa Pappas posted this response to the case:

TikTok response

So, TikTok is safe, right? That’s the end of all the US ban talk?

Well, not quite. As noted, Washington District Judge Carl Nichols set a November 4th hearing date for the US government to re-state its case on its proposed ban on transactions with the app, due to its alleged Chinese Government connections.  

Whether that hearing is now abandoned due to this finding is unclear, but essentially, the US Government can still appeal the findings and seek to push forward with the original TikTok ban.

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But the timing could be key. The US Election is on November 3rd, and depending on the outcome, the push against TikTok from the White House could be very different come November 4th. 

That could mean that for all the talk, for all the discussion, for all the headlines about the US banning the app, in the end, absolutely nothing may have changed for TikTok. Other than losing a CEO, and gaining a heap of publicity, boosting awareness of the app. Other than that, TikTok is currently under no additional restrictions of limitations, and has thus far had every case against it thrown out.

At the end of the day, the fact remains that while there is a lot of speculation around TikTok’s potential links to the Chinese regime, and how such could be used by the CCP,  the actual evidence remains fairly thin.

There had been some concerns that the challenges to the White House EO could look bad for the US Government, but right now, the Trump Administration has various other battles to fight.

If Trump wins next week, maybe we’ll see an escalation in the efforts to kick TikTok out of the US. But right now, it looks like there’ll be no change to the app. 

Socialmediatoday.com

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Snapchat Publishes New Report into the Importance of Privacy Tools in Facilitating Online Sharing

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Snapchat Publishes New Report into the Importance of Privacy Tools in Facilitating Online Sharing


Snapchat has published a new report which provides some deeper insight into the importance of online privacy, and the key concerns that users have in regards to the content that they share online.

The report, based on a survey of over 13,500 people in 11 markets, uncovers some valuable considerations for both platforms and marketers, and reinforces the logic behind some of the latest social app developments, in regards to increased user control, encryption, and more. It also sheds light on how such controls – or the lack of them – can influence people’s behavior online.

It’s an interesting overview – you can download Snap’s full, 28-page report here, but in this post, we’ll take a look at some of the key points.

First off, Snap notes that both Snapchatters and non-Snap users are concerned about online privacy, with 81% of respondents noting that online privacy is important. At the same time, only 65% indicated that they’re satisfied with their current privacy options.

That’s a key gap in the current digital connection process which underlines the need for increased control measures on this front, and more options, like private messaging and audience controls, to help reassure users.

Which is the next key point – the report highlights the three key benefits of digital privacy, based on responses.

Snapchat privacy report

Each aspect facilitates more open communication, and without relevant measures in place, social platforms are not able to cater to these needs.

Self-expression is one of the most important elements, with users feeling more free to communicate when they’re comfortable with the available privacy tools and options.

Snapchat privacy report

Indeed, the majority of respondents indicated that privacy concerns impact what they share online, and how they communicate.

Snapchat privacy report

It’s an interesting consideration – originally, with the arrival of MySpace, Twitter and Facebook, there was a new sense of freedom and capacity to share your voice, and connect with like-minded people around the world, based on shared interests. Over time, that’s gradually shifted, as more controversies and concerns have arisen from over-sharing or past post insights, which has seen more people become more enclosed once again, and shy away from public sharing.

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Which makes sense, but it also means that what we see online is often not representative of the breadth of views out there, because many people are concerned about what sharing their thoughts and opinions could mean, and how it could potentially be used against them. Which is why more privacy controls can open up greater levels of expression and engagement, and why more people are looking to advanced tools, like messaging encryption, to gain that extra level of assurance.

Which is also why Snapchat has been able to maintain and grow its audience, despite rising competition in the space.

Snapchat privacy report

Snapchat has always presented itself as a key alternative for more intimate, private discussion, a place for friends to connect, not to broadcast your life to the world. And while that is also more restrictive, in a content sense, Snap’s approach has clearly resonated with a lot of people, and enabled it to carve a niche in the broader social and messaging space.

The report also goes into depth on the full reasons that influence how and why people share on social, and the tools that people rely on to enhance their experience.

Snapchat privacy report

There are some interesting insights and considerations here, which, as noted, largely reflect the latest social media innovations in improved audience controls, evolving private messaging tools, safety functions, reporting and more.

Without these elements, people simply won’t share, and won’t engage online at the same rate. And as we move into the next stage of digital connection, where we’re likely to spend even more time online, and potentially expose even more of ourselves, such measures will remain critically important in order to keep people safe.

See also  Twitter is now allowing users to share that controversial New York Post story

You can read Snapchat’s full ‘Global Perceptions of Privacy’ report here.



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New Report Underlines the Importance of Social Media in Connecting with Gen Z Consumers

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New Report Underlines the Importance of Social Media in Connecting with Gen Z Consumers


Consumer expectations are rising, as is the importance of shared brand values, according to the latest data from market research provider Qualtrics.

To glean some insight into the shifting state of customer expectations, Qualtrics surveyed 9,000 consumers, across a breadth of age brackets, to measure the variance in importance on a range of measures between Gen Z, Baby Boomers and everything in between.

The findings highlight some key considerations for all brands – first off, the data indicates that Gen Z is the most likely to be upset by a negative interaction with a company.

Gen Z is the generation least likely to report being happy with their customer experience (on a scale of upset to delighted). Gen Z was the most upset by their interactions with federal agencies (only 13% gave a positive rating), followed by investment firms and airlines. Gen Z gave the highest ratings to social media and retail stores.

Gen Z consumers have grown up with social media and eCommerce, and they increasingly expect brands to cater to their specific needs, while they also know that they have both the means to publicly criticize a company due to negative interactions, and the capacity to easily switch, with a simple online search providing a range of competitor brands.

That’s increased their expectations around customer service and response, and it’s important for brands to consider this in their engagement and actions.

Younger consumers also value public health response, with Gen Z respondents twice as likely as Baby Boomers to stop purchasing from a brand because they felt their safety measures were insufficient. Which also works the opposite way too.

Gen Z consumers also put more emphasis on brand values – potentially a side effect of the social media era – with younger shoppers almost three times as likely as Baby Boomers to say that they were very familiar with the brand values of the products they choose.

Qualtrics consumer survey

With brands now able to communicate more about their business online, that’s opened up more capacity for consumers to also get an understanding of their stances and approach, and that expanded capability to connect with a brand on a deeper level can be a very powerful draw to generate stronger bonds and business.

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Indeed, for Gen Z consumers, maintaining a social media presence was the second-highest ranked way for brands to maintain relevance. No other generation ranked social media presence in the top three.

If that insight doesn’t underline the importance of building and maintaining a social media presence, I’m not sure what will – younger consumers want to feel more connected with every business that they buy from, and social media is the key linkage that facilitates such for this group.

There’s a range of additional insights in the full report from Qualtrics, which you can check out here. Some key considerations for marketers, especially those looking to connect with younger audiences.



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Instagram Adds New Stickers and AR Features to Celebrate Lunar New Year

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Instagram Adds New Stickers and AR Features to Celebrate Chinese New Year


Instagram has added some new features to help users celebrate Lunar New Year, including new, themed stickers and a custom AR effect.

As you can see here, the new stickers commemorate the Year of the Tiger, with art by Hong Kong-based Ophelia Pang. The stickers provide a simple way to mark the event, which will be celebrated from January 31st to February 15th.

In addition, Instagram’s also added a #MyLNY2022 AR effect, which provides another way to engage with the celebration.

There’s actually a range of Lunar New Year effects available in the app, which you can find by using the search option at the end of the effects carousel.

Instagram released a similar set of Lunar New Year tools last year, which is part of its broader focus on maximizing engagement around cultural events.

 As explained by Instagram chief Adam Mosseri:

“When it comes to celebrating cultural moments, we want to be a platform where creators showcase their work.

Showcasing creativity is where Instagram is increasingly looking to align itself, as it works to differentiate the app from TikTok, which is more based on communal expression and meme-based sharing. If Instagram can put more focus on creative output, specifically, that could be a way to lean into the rising Web3 movement, in which, theoretically, creators could be better rewarded and celebrated for their work.

These Lunar New Year tools showcase the art of some creators, but the larger vision for Instagram is that it may be better placed to provide a platform for more artists in the same way, which could help it regain its momentum in the face of the TikTok challenge.

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You can check out Instagram’s Lunar New Year tools in the app.





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