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Will the White House’s New Push to Limit Chinese Surveillance Technology Impact TikTok?

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Could TikTok come under US Government scrutiny once again, and face another potential ban in the region?

As you’ll recall, last July, then US President Donald Trump pushed for a ban on the app, party due to concerns around the potential use of TikTok data for surveillance purposes, due to implied connection with the Chinese Government, and partly, Trump said, in retaliation against China for the spread of COVID-19.

Efforts to ban TikTok were repeatedly stalled by legal challenges, before eventually being abandoned by the new US administration – though not without noting that it would be looking to re-assess the app, and its data-gathering potential, at some stage.

Today, the US Government announced an expansion of the Trump administration’s ruling to prohibit US investments in Chinese companies, based on “the threat posed by the military-industrial complex of the People’s Republic of China (PRC)”.

As per the White House:

“President Biden [has] expanded the scope of this national emergency by finding that the use of Chinese surveillance technology outside the PRC, as well as the development or use of Chinese surveillance technology to facilitate repression or serious human rights abuses, constitute unusual and extraordinary threats.

That will see the US Government moving to restrict US investment and dealings with 59 Chinese-based entities, including Huawei, China Telecom Corporation, Greatwall, and more.

To be clear, neither TikTok nor parent company ByteDance are included in the list of impacted entities. But the expanded move to restrict dealings with Chinese companies, based on potential surveillance activity, could point to further scrutiny – particularly considering that TikTok recently added a new provision into its privacy policy which will allow it to collect user “biometric identifiers and biometric information”, including “faceprints and voiceprints”, via the app.

That could open up fresh concerns about the platform – the main sticking point being that under China’s cybersecurity law, any Chinese-owned company is technically required to supply all user information to the CCP, on request, if such a request is submitted. We have no insight, of course, as to whether any such request has ever, or will ever be put to TikTok or ByteDance, but the company has repeatedly reassured users that their data is safe, and that TikTok user information is stored outside of China and not accessible by the CCP.

But the concern remains, and with TikTok seemingly moving to gather up more user insights, and the US Government scrutinizing similar elements, it seems like the two could be moving towards another clash. 

But then again, “biometric identifiers and biometric information” are actually gathered by other social apps too. YouTube, seemingly, collects similar data, and Facebook has faced legal challenges in the past over its biometric data harvesting. So while it sounds bad, particularly given TikTok’s potential CCP linkage, it may not be as significant an update as it seems, up-front.

But it will likely be enough to get a few more Congress-folk looking its way once again, and if tensions continue to escalate between China and the US, with China likely to respond, in some way, to this latest round of restrictions, that could put TikTok under the spotlight once again.

Which could spark new discussions about a possible ban, or a possible sell-off, with Oracle and Microsoft maybe once again putting forth their bids.

It’s still too early to predict where any such actions might lead, but it is worth monitoring the situation, and the potential impacts for the world’s fastest-growing social app.  

Socialmediatoday.com

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How to Successfully Use Social Media: A Small Business Guide for Beginners [Infographic]

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How to Successfully Use Social Media: A Small Business Guide for Beginners [Infographic]

Are you a small business owner or marketing manager, just getting started on building your social media strategy? Need to learn the basics before launching your first social media campaign?

In this infographic, Sprout Social shares social media tips broken down as follows:

  • Who uses social media?
  • What does social media do for you?
  • Define your goals
  • Targeting your audience
  • Choosing a platform
  • Social media metrics

Check out the infographic below to learn more.

How to Successfully Use Social Media: A Small Business Guide for Beginners

Sprout Social

 

 

 

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Moore Digital Names Two Executives To Serve Nonprofit Fundraisers 02/07/2023

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Moore Digital Names Two Executives To Serve Nonprofit Fundraisers 02/07/2023

Moore Digital, which assists nonprofit clients with fundraising, has named Adva Priso as chief strategy officer and Bonnie Huey as senior vice president of
digital media.

They are joining a team of “more than 70 top digital experts from across the for-profit and nonprofit industries, including strategists,
media planners and …



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Pinterest Now up to 450 Million Active Users, Posts Solid Numbers in Latest Performance Report

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Pinterest Now up to 450 Million Active Users, Posts Solid Numbers in Latest Performance Report

Pinterest has posted its Q4 and full-year earnings for 2022, showing steady increases in both users and revenue, as it continues to build out its various offerings.

First off, on users, Pinterest added five million more active users – most of them coming from Europe – within the final measurement period of last year.

That’s a good sign for Pinterest, which actually lost users in early 2021, after the COVID-induced boom in eCommerce activity of the previous year, which saw the platform post record high usage numbers.

Many analysts and businesses seemed convinced that the COVID boost to online shopping would hold, even after the pandemic ended. That lead to companies like Meta, Google, Amazon and Twitter investing big into commerce solutions – but many of the staff they put on were eventually culled in the most recent round of lay-offs, because once physical stores re-opened, people actually did go back to shopping as normal, as opposed to continuing to rely on online options.

Pinterest felt that the most, but now, it’s steadily building back up again, as it continues to refine its solutions around evolving shopping behaviors. Which includes video content.

Pinterest’s big winner on this front has been Idea Pins, its Stories-like option which presents uploaded video in a swipeable, full-screen display.

Pinterest Ideas Festival updates

The emphasis on this format has helped boost the platform’s appeal with younger audiences, with Pinterest reporting that Gen Z was the fastest-growing demographic on the platform, increasing double digits year over year.

“Gen Z sessions grew much faster year over year than sessions from older demographics, while nearly half of all new videos pinned in Q4 were from Gen Z users.”

Pinterest also says that sessions continued to grow faster than MAUs, an indicator that it’s driving better engagement overall, while it also increased its overall video supply by 30%, another marker of the popularity of Idea Pins.

Because you can’t post video as a native pin anymore, only in Idea Pins (or paid ads), underlining the focus on the format, and Pinterest’s evolving usage.  

On the revenue front, Pinterest posted a 4% year-over-year increase, after bringing in $877 million Q4.

Pinterest Q4 2022

As you can see in this chart, Pinterest’s revenue is climbing steadily, though its revenue splits remain concerning:

Pinterest Q4 2022

Or maybe you see this as an opportunity, with Pinterest still able to potentially eek out a lot more revenue from regions outside of the North American market. Definitely, it’s got some work to do in that ‘Rest of World’ bracket.

But Pinterest is still developing, and is still expanding its ad and business offerings into new regions. So there is, indeed, potential there – yet the size of the gap here is a concern.

Still, there is growth, slowly but surely, and maybe, if you’re a believer, you can see more ways for Pinterest to generate much bigger revenues moving forward.

Pinterest remains focused on shopping, and highlighting relevant products to users, with its ever-evolving recommendation engine providing better content matches to more users every day. It’s also investing in live-stream shopping, a trend that all platforms hope will catch on in western markets, while it’s developing more presentation tools for Idea Pins to capitalize on that engagement.

In combination, these approaches are working – but at the same time, usage growth in your local market may have stalled, going on these charts.

And of course, while overall growth is interesting, what marketers want to know is whether their customers are there.

For this, you can use Pinterest Trends, which enables you to search for the most popular Pin trends by region.

Pinterest Trends

Tap into these with Idea Pins and you’ll likely be on the right path, based on these latest insights from the app.

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