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US Lawmakers Call for Full Ban of TikTok Due to Data Tracking Concerns

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TikTok is Fast Becoming a Key Search and Discovery Platform for Younger Audiences

TikTok is facing yet another legal challenge in the US, with Republican Senator Marco Rubio introducing bipartisan legislation to ban the app from operating in the US, primarily due to concerns around data collection, and TikTok’s linkage to the Chinese Government.

As per Rubio:

“This isn’t about creative videos – this is about an app that is collecting data on tens of millions of American children and adults every day. We know it’s used to manipulate feeds and influence elections. We know it answers to the People’s Republic of China. There is no more time to waste on meaningless negotiations with a CCP-puppet company. It is time to ban Beijing-controlled TikTok for good.” 

The bill calls for TikTok to be cut off entirely in the US, in order to avoid sharing data with ‘America’s foremost adversary’, with TikTok potentially acting as a surveillance device for Chinese spies.

It’s the latest in a long-running series of legal challenges for the app, which, at one time, was almost banned in the US entirely under the direction of former President Donald Trump.

That ban was based on the same concerns, that the Chinese-owned app could potentially be tracking information on US users, and sharing it with the CCP, while there have also been suggestions of algorithmic manipulation to seed pro-China sentiment, while also suppressing the opposite.

It’s not even the first major legal challenge for the app in the US this month.

Last week, the State of Indiana filed a lawsuit which accused both TikTok and parent company ByteDance of violating the state’s consumer protection laws, and in particular, failing to safeguard young people, while FBI Director Chris Wray,  FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr and Republican senator Josh Hawley have all voiced their concerns around the app’s connections with the CCP in recent weeks.

And now, the House of Representatives will once again be called upon to review the app, and decide whether it should, indeed, be banned in the US.

It’s clearly not new territory for TikTok, but it remains a significant threat, likely the biggest potential challenge to its social media domination – though recent numbers have also suggested that TikTok’s download momentum is slowing of late.

Which, of course, is an aside to the issue at hand, which could see TikTok outlawed in the US, where, according to data.ai, it currently has over 111 million active users.

Will that happen? And if it does, how will that change the social media landscape in the US?

Will users switch to Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts instead, as they have in India, where TikTok has been banned since 2020, or could it mark the end of the short-form video trend, and lead into the next phase of digital connection?

At this stage, it still feels more likely that TikTok will remain, but the tide could turn very quickly. One misstep in US-China relations could sink the app’s favorability, very fast, and while it is working to better demonstrate its independence from its Chinese owners, especially in regards to US user data, there is definitely a chance that it will be too little too late to avoid a ban.

Such processes take time, and we likely won’t have an answer anytime soon.

We’ll keep you updated on any progress.

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4 new social media features you need to know about this week

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New social media features to know this week


Social media never stands still. Every week there are new features — and it’s hard for the busy comms pro to stay up-to-date on it all.

We’ve got you covered.

Here’s what you need to know about this week.

LinkedIn

Social media sleuth Matt Navarra reported on Twitter that LinkedIn will soon make the newsletters you subscribe to through the site visible to other users.

This should aid newsletter discovery by adding in an element of social proof: if it’s good enough for this person I like and respect, it’s good enough for me. It also might be anopportunity to get your toe in the water with LinkedIn’s newsletter features.

Instagram

After admitting they went a little crazy on Reels and ignored their bread and butter of photographs, Instagram continues to refine its platform and algorithm. Although there were big changes over the last few weeks, these newer changes are subtler but still significant.

 

 

First, the animated avatars will be more prominent on profiles. Users can now choose to flip between the cartoony, waving avatar and their more traditional profile picture, rather than picking one or the other, TechCrunch reported, seemingly part of a push to incorporate metaverse-esque elements into the app.

Instagram also appears to have added an option to include a lead form on business profiles. We say “appears” because, as Social Media Today reports, the feature is not yet listed as an official feature, though it has rolled out broadly.

The feature will allow businesses to use standard forms or customize their own, including multiple choice questions or short answer.

Twitter

In the chaotic world of Twitter updates, this week is fairly staid — with a useful feature for advertisers.

The platform will roll out the ability to promote tweets among search results. As Twitter’s announcement points out, someone actively searching for a term could signal stronger intent than someone merely passively scrolling a feed.

Which of these new features are you most interested in? That LinkedIn newsletter tool could be great for spreading the word — and for discovering new reads.

Allison Carter is executive editor of PR Daily. Follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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Twitter Tests Expanded Emoji Reaction Options in DMs

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Twitter Tests Expanded Emoji Reaction Options in DMs

Twitter’s looking to give users a broader set of emoji reactions for their DMs, while also, potentially, enabling personalization of your quick reactions display in the app.

As you can see in these mock-ups, shared by Twitter designer Andrea Conway, Twitter’s testing a new search option within the reaction pop-up in DMs which would enable you to use any other emoji as a reaction to a message.

An extension of this would also be the capacity to update the reactions that are immediately displayed to whatever you choose.

Twitter DM reactions

It’s not a game-changer by any means, but it could provide more ways to interact via DMs, and with more interactions switching to messaging, and more private exchanges, it could be a way for Twitter to better lean into this trend, and facilitate a broader array of response options in-stream.

Twitter’s working on a range of updates as it looks to drive more engagement and usage, including tweet view counts, updated Bookmarks, a new ‘For You’ algorithm, and more. Elon Musk has said that he can envision Twitter reaching a billion users per month by next year, but for that to happen, the platform needs to update its systems to show people more of what they like, and keep them coming back – which is what all of these smaller updates, ideally, build to in a broader approach.

But that’s a pretty steep hill to climb.

Last week, Twitter reported that it’s now up to 253 million daily active users, an increase on the 238 million that it reported in July last year. Daily and monthly active usage is not directly comparable, of course, but when Twitter was reporting monthly actives, its peak was around 330 million, back in 2019.

Twitter MAU chart

As noted in the chart, Twitter switched from reporting monthly active users to daily actives in 2019, but looking at the two measurements, it’s hard to imagine that Twitter’s monthly active usage is any more than 100m over its current DAU stats.

That means that Twitter has likely never reached more than 350 million active users – yet Musk believes that he can best that by close to 200% in a matter of months.

Seems unlikely – even at current growth rates since Musk took over at the app, Twitter would only be looking at around 500 million users, optimistically, by the end of 2024.

If it can maintain that. More recent insight from Twitter has suggested that user activity has declined since those early post-Musk purchase highs – but maybe, through a range of updates and tweaks, there could be a way for Musk and Co. to maximize usage growth, beyond what seems possible, based on the stats.

We’ll find out, and as it pushes for that next level, you can expect to see more updates and tweaks like this, with enhanced engagement in mind.  



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Tarte Influencer Marketing Criticized 01/31/2023

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Tarte Influencer Marketing Criticized 01/31/2023

With consumers obsessed over the price of a dozen eggs, could conspicuous consumption-driven influencer marketing falling out of favor? That is the question brands might be considering after the
backlash that cosmetics brand Tarte is receiving after a sponsored trip to Dubai. “Influencers were called out for appearing not …

Read the whole story at Marketing Brew »



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