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Twitter is Testing New Vocal Effects Options for Spaces, Which Could Help to Reduce Speaker Anxiety



If you’re like everyone, you don’t particularly enjoy hearing your own voice in recordings and playback.

You always sound more nasal, higher-pitched – the voice you hear inside your head, which resonates around your bones and muscles, will always sound different to the one that you project. You just don’t know about it till you hear it played back, and that, for many, can be jarring, and can even make some hesitant to take part in interviews, or in more recent times, audio chats.

Which is where this might come in handy – Twitter is currently experimenting with a new set of voice-changing options for Twitter Spaces, which would enable you to filter your voice through a range of effects.

Twitter audio changer

As you can see in this option, posted by reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong, the new ‘Voice Transformer’ tool would provide a range of different vocal effect filters for you to change how you sound in the app.

Twitter’s Danny Singh later confirmed the test, and posted this example of the effects in action.

Some people won’t see any need for these tools, of course, but others may like having the ability to change how they sound, for various reasons, while it could also be handy for audio plays and dramatic readings, with the capacity for a single person to perform multiple characters, or to invite other readers into roles through the use of a specific filter.

That could open up new engagement options in Spaces, which is gaining traction among Twitter users, and is set to become a bigger focus for the app, with a dedicated tab on the way, and higher priority for Spaces via the top of timeline display.

Last week, Twitter announced that it would be retiring its Stories-like Fleets option next month, but the top of feed bubbles will remain, and will revert to highlighting Spaces exclusively. That, along with the tab, underlines the potential that Twitter sees in audio tools, and functional additions like this could help to expand inclusivity and boost user interest in the option.

It could also be used to disguise people in rooms, which may have unintended impacts, and it could additionally be used in a negative, bullying way. But it’s an interesting experiment, with significant potential value, and Twitter will likely launch a live test to get a measure on user response in the near future.

Audio tools are having something of a renaissance, with the rise of Clubhouse sparking a new wave of audio options in all the major apps, and TikTok making music and sound a key focus, shifting away from the traditional ‘audio off’ approach for most social apps. Facebook has also launched Soundmojis for Messenger, and is working on a new Soundbites option for sharing audio clips. 

Given this, Twitter’s sound filters also align with that shift, and again, it could be a hugely valuable option that helps more users feel comfortable joining Spaces chats.

So, soon you won’t have to worry about sounding flat in Spaces – you can just add a megaphone voice filter and become Oz behind your own curtain. Or a bee. Or whatever you may choose. 

It seems like an interesting addition – we’ll keep you updated on any progress.


TikTok Faces More Legal Challenges Over Data Collection and its Failure to Protect Young Users



TikTok Seeks to Address Data Security Concerns, as FBI Calls for Full Ban of the App

TikTok is facing yet another legal challenge in the US, with the State of Indiana filing a lawsuit that accuses TikTok and parent company ByteDance of violating the state’s consumer protection laws, and in particular, failing to safeguard young people and privacy.

As reported by BBC:

“Indiana filed two lawsuits on Wednesday. The first one claims the app exposes young users to inappropriate content. In the other complaint, [Indiana] also alleges TikTok does not disclose the Chinese government’s potential to access sensitive consumer information.”

Described in court documents as ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’, the suit alleges that TikTok ‘deceives and misleads’ consumers about the risks to their data, while also exposing youngsters to ‘a variety of inappropriate content’.

TikTok’s faced similar challenges around the world, and has even been banned for periods in other nations due to perceived promotion of harmful content. Recent reports about harmful challenges have also heightened concerns on this front. A Bloomberg investigation highlighted at least 10 cases of underage users dying after attempting dangerous trends like ‘The Blackout Challenge’.

And this is an aside from the broader concerns about data privacy, which the app remains under CFIUS investigation for, as US politicians continue to debate whether or not the Chinese-owned app should be allowed to continue to operate within the US.

It still feels like it would take a significant escalation for the app banned outright, but that remains a possibility, and with various high-profile security officials also sounding the alarm, the pressure remains high on TikTok, with the threat of total removal from the US, and likely other markets in-turn, looming at all times.

Last month, FBI Director Chris Wray stated that, in his view, TikTok poses a threat to national security, joining FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr and Republican senator Josh Hawley in voicing their concerns about the app and its data gathering processes. Republican Senators, in particular, have continued to raise queries about the app, as the Biden Administration oversees its long-running review of the platform, which has experienced repeated delays and setbacks, and is now, reportedly, unlikely to be completed by its original end of the year timeframe.

But it could, eventually, recommend the removal of TikTok in the US.

For its part, TikTok says that it remains confident that it will be able to address all US concerns about its data security, via a new deal with Oracle to store US user data in the US. But with the company recently noting that European user data can still be accessed by China-based staff, the concerns remain high, and could easily rise even further, dependent on overall US/China relations.

So how are relations between the two superpowers going?

Just looking at headlines from the past week, there are reports of a potential defense partnership between China and Saudi Arabia, ongoing tensions over Chinese military activations in the South China Sea, and the US increasing its military presence in Australia due to concerns about Chinese escalation.

All of these are issues that could lead to further tension between China and the US. But they might not – and while the two nations are working to establish more beneficial, equitable and peaceful ties, that bodes well for TikTok, as there’s no significant increase in public pressure to take action against the app.

But again, things can change very quickly, and with so many security experts flagging concerns about the app, along with the issues related to underage exposure, there’s clearly a level of underlying concern, that could bubble up at any time.

And when you also consider TikTok’s growing influence – the app now has over a billion users, and is increasingly being used as a search engine and a news source, especially among young audiences – those questions are valid, and should be posed before it’s too late.   

The influence of Russian activists on Facebook was only ever analyzed in retrospect. Those calling for action on TikTok are warning that we need to be proactive on such this time around.

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