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US Bans TikTok on All Government-Issued Devices Due to Concerns Around Connection with China

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In another concerning sign for TikTok, the US House of Representatives voted on Monday to have the app banned from all Government-issued devices, due to concerns around data collection and potential spying by Chinese authorities.

As reported by Politico:

“Lawmakers voted 336-71 to pass the proposal, offered by Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), as part of a package of bipartisan amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act. The prohibition would extend to members of Congress and congressional staff.”

Rep. Buck, in his speech announcing the proposal, called TikTok a “serious national security threat”, once again underlining the app’s precarious position in the eyes of US authorities, which could, eventually, lead to a full ban of the platform in the US.

That would be a major blow – already, TikTok has lost its biggest user market outside China, with Indian authorities banning the app late last month amid ongoing border clashes between Chinese and Indian military. The US, which is also engaged in various trade disputes with China, has hinted that it too is considering a full ban of the app, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo telling Fox News that it is “looking at it” and considering its options.

US President Donald Trump Donald Trump has additionally noted that the US is considering a TikTok ban as punishment for the COVID-19 outbreak.

It’s a big business. Look, what happened with China with this virus, what they have done to this country and to the entire world is disgraceful.

Trump said that banning TikTok was one of many options he’s considering to punish China over the pandemic.

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Banning TikTok outright would be a big step, but it’s increasingly looking like it could happen, and if the US were to move to block the app, other nations would likely follow in-step. That could be a death blow for the rising video app.

In order to counter the swell of negative sentiment, TikTok has announced that it plans to add 10,000 jobs in the US over the next three years in order to further separate its operations from China, and manage its explosive US user growth.

As reported by Axios:

“TikTok’s US job growth has already nearly tripled this year, going from almost 500 employees Jan. 1st to just under 1,400. The company plans to hire for jobs in engineering, sales, content moderation and customer service, with a focus on growing workforces in California, New York, Texas, Florida and Tennessee.”

A key element within its current jobs growth has been lobbyists – as additionally reported by The New York Times, TikTok has already hired more than 35 lobbyists, who have been tasked with convincing the Trump administration and lawmakers that the company operates independently of China. 

That push, given this latest announcement from the House, is not working as yet – while as noted by tech analyst Ben Thompson, beyond the threat of stealing user data, and sharing it with the Chinese regime, TikTok could also be a concern with respect to distributing pro-China propaganda, and silencing controversial stories or opinions.

As noted by Thompson:

“TikTok’s algorithm, unmoored from the constraints of your social network or professional content creators, is free to promote whatever videos it likes, without anyone knowing the difference. TikTok could promote a particular candidate or a particular issue in a particular geography, without anyone – except perhaps the candidate, now indebted to a Chinese company – knowing.”

Thompson’s observations align with a report published by The Australian Strategic Policy Institute late last year, which labeled TikTok “a vector for censorship and surveillance”.

See also  ByteDance CFO assumes role as new TikTok CEO

The combined concerns around the app threaten to derail its meteoric growth, and while TikTok itself continues to scramble for new ways to demonstrate its independence, many platform influencers are already diversifying their reach into other apps, as they look to protect their investment in building their audiences.

It’s difficult to say, based on what we know, whether TikTok will actually be banned, but the noise around the app is rising, and with it now banned on all Government and military-issued devices in the US, the concern is clearly very real.

How that influences your view of the platform will come down to personal perspective, but we would advise against building any significant reliance on TikTok for your promotions, at least at this stage.

Socialmediatoday.com

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5 Trends that will Dominate Influencer Marketing in 2022 [Infographic]

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5 Trends that will Dominate Influencer Marketing in 2022 [Infographic]


Is influencer marketing part of your digital marketing strategy for 2022?

With the rise of more creative, more native-aligned platforms and spaces, brands are increasingly relying on influencers to connect with new audiences, while the growing use of AR and other new technologies also necessitates a familiarity with platforms that takes time and knowledge to maximize.

Influencers can be a great avenue in streamlining such process, but you have to know your audience, and what kinds of influencers they’re tuning into, in order to get the most out of your influencer marketing efforts.

To provide some more context on this, the team from SocialPubli has put together this overview of five key influencer marketing trends of note for 2022. And while these notes won’t address all of the info you need, they could help you formulate a better outreach strategy, based on the latest trends and shifts within the creator space.

Check out the full infographic listing below.



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Twitter Publishes New Industry Trend Reports Based on Rising Areas of Tweet Engagement

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Twitter Publishes New Industry Trend Reports Based on Rising Areas of Tweet Engagement


Twitter has published a new range of industry reports, based on rising trends, in order to provide more context as to the key elements of focus among its userbase in each sector.

The new trend reports, which Twitter’s collectively calling its ‘Birdseye Report’, were compiled by Twitter data partners, including Hootsuite, Meltwater, Sprinklr and more. Each partner took on a specific element of expanded Twitter conversation, giving each discussion and industry dedicated focus, providing in-depth insight into the latest key shifts in the app.

You can download all the Birdseye Reports here, but in this post, we’ll look at some of the key highlights.

First off, the reports are based on a range of key tweet trends over the past year.

Those trends include:

  • Digital First – Digital Ethics, Cyber Individuality and Metaverse dominated the technology conversation on Twitter
  • The Crypto Craze – “Crypto” mentions on Twitter increased 549% in 2021
  • Future of Sports – Tweets around the metaverse + sports rose 6,024%
  • Bring the Sweets Back – Conversations around nostalgia for sweets, chocolate and candy grew 55% between January and October 2021
  • Mental Health Matters – Monthly “mental health” mentions from 2019 to 2021 on Twitter grew 44.7%

As you can see here, you can select the specific sector report you want to read, all of which are available via email sign-up – though you can select not to have Twitter or the providing company contact you as a result of your interest.

Each report covers the top trends in each sector, based on tweet discussion, which points to rising areas of opportunity and focus for your tweet marketing.

Twitter Birdseye Report

As you can see here, the reports include both broad trend results, like these, highlighting bigger shifts in each sector, as well as more specific tweet engagement shifts, relative to key focus elements.

Twitter Birdseye Report

Those insights could help to shape your marketing approach, while each report also includes a range of more in-depth pointers and data points to help guide your understanding of what the Twitter audiences is most interested in. 

Twitter Birdseye Report

There are also demographic insights: 

Twitter Birdseye Report

As well as summary points for each, helping to ensure marketers can make the most of each report:

Twitter Birdseye Report

There’s a heap of great insight here, and if you’re working in any of the highlighted sectors, and are looking to improve your Twitter approach, it’s definitely worth downloading the data and checking out the findings.

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Even if you’re not looking to improve your Twitter strategy, it’s likely worth getting access to the insights and seeing what people are most interested in for each segment.

You can download all the Twitter Birdseye reports here.





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92-year-old Malawian music legend finds fame on TikTok

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92-year-old Malawian music legend finds fame on TikTok


Fame at 92: Malawian music legend Giddes Chalamanda has notched up millions of views on TikTok – Copyright AFP Bertha WANG

Jack McBrams

At 92, Giddes Chalamanda has no idea what TikTok is. He doesn’t even own a smartphone.

And yet the Malawian music legend has become a social media star, with his song “Linny Hoo” garnering over 80 million views on the video-sharing platform and spawning mashups and remixes from South Africa to the Philippines.

“They come and show me the videos on their phones, but I have no idea how it works,” Chalamanda told AFP at his home on the edge of a macadamia plantation, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Malawi’s main city Blantyre.

“But I love the fact that people are enjoying themselves and that my talent is getting the right attention,” he said, speaking in Chewa.

Despite his grey hair and slight stoop, the nonagenarian singer and guitarist, who has been a constant presence on the Malawian music scene for seven decades, displays a youthful exuberance as he sits chatting with a group of young fans.

He first recorded “Linny”, an ode to one of his daughters, in 2000.

But global acclaim only came two decades later when Patience Namadingo, a young gospel artist, teamed up with Chalamanda to record a reggae remix of “Linny” titled “Linny Hoo”.

The black-and-white video of the recording shows a smiling, gap-toothed Chalamanda, nattily dressed in a white shirt and V-neck sweater, jamming with Namadingo under a tree outside his home, with a group of neighbours looking on.

The video went viral after it was posted on YouTube, where it racked up more than 6.9 million views. Then late last year, it landed on TikTok and toured the globe.

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Chalamanda only learned of the song’s sensational social media popularity from his children and their friends.

Since then he and Namadingo have recorded remixes of several others of his best-known tracks.

His daughter Linny’s 16-year-old son Stepson Austin told AFP that he was proud of his grandfather’s longevity.

“It is good that he has lived long enough to see this day,” said the youngster, who himself aspires to become a hip-hop artist.

Born in Chiradzulu, a small town in southern Malawi, Chalamanda won fame in his homeland with lilting songs such as “Buffalo Soldier” in which he dreams of visiting America and “Napolo”.

Over the past decade, he has collaborated with several younger musicians and still performs across the country.

– ‘Dance around the world’ –

On TikTok, DJs and ordinary fans have created their own remixes as part of a #LinnyHooChallenge.

“When his music starts playing in a club or at a festival, everyone gets the urge to dance. That is how appealing it is,” musician and long-time collaborator Davis Njobvu told AFP.

“The fact that he has been there long enough to work with the young ones is special.”

South Africa-based music producer Joe Machingura attributed the global appeal of a song recorded in Chewa, one of Malawi’s most widely-spoken languages, to the sentiments underlying it.

“The old man sang with so much passion, it connects with whoever listens to it,” he said, adding: “It speaks to your soul.”

Chalamanda, a twice-married father of 14 children, only seven of whom, including Linny, are still alive, said he has no idea how to secure royalties for the TikTok plays.

See also  ByteDance CFO assumes role as new TikTok CEO

Chalamanda and his wife hope to benefit financially from his new-found stardom.

“I am just surprised that despite the popularity of the song, there is nothing for me,” he said. “While I am excited that I have made people dance all around the world, there should be some gain for me. I need the money.”

His manager Pemphero Mphande told AFP that he was looking into the issue and the Copyright Society of Malawi said it was ready to assist.

Arts curator Tammy Mbendera of the Festival Institute in Malawi credited platforms like TikTok with creating new opportunities for African talent.

“With songs from our past especially, they were written with such profoundness that they still can resonate today,” she said.

“All one has to do really, is get the chance to experience it, to acknowledge its significance. I think that’s what happened here.”



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