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ByteDance Names Current Company CFO Shouzi Chew as the New CEO of TikTok


So after all the efforts of the US Government to force TikTok to detach itself from its Chinese roots, after the threats of a full ban on the app unless it was sold into US ownership, after various court cases challenging and defending the US Government’s ruling.

After all of this, the single outcome of that entire process, the only thing that’s actually happened in response, is that TikTok has lost a US-based CEO and appointed one from its Chinese parent company instead.

Which seems somewhat ironic, really.

Today, TikTok has announced that current ByteDance CFO Shouzi Chew has been appointed as the new CEO of TikTok. Chew will succeed former Disney exec Kevin Mayer, who lasted around 3 months in the role, before leaving in August last year in the midst of the platform’s stoush with the Trump Administration. 

At the time, it seemed as though Mayer wanted to avoid the potential negative fallout from the company’s ongoing battle with the US Government, but Mayer has since explained that he left because it did indeed seem that a full sale of TikTok was imminent.

As explained by Mayer (to CNBC):

“It did look as if that was a serious ruling by the CFIUS guys, that it had to be divested, and it was going to be divested. The fact is, the job that I signed up for was going to be gone, and I didn’t want to go run a division of Microsoft or Oracle.”

Microsoft and Oracle, of course, were the leading candidates to acquire TikTok at that time, but the deal, in the end, didn’t end up going ahead. TikTok managed to delay a final ruling through repeated (and costly) legal challenges to the US Government’s order, which meant that the final decision was pushed back till after the US Election. Which then put TikTok’s fate largely in the hands of US voters. If Trump was returned, there was a good chance that he would continue to push for TikTok’s full separation from China.

But with a Biden victory, that meant a fresh set of eyes to look at the TikTok deal. And while the Biden admin is still, reportedly, weighing if and how it tackles security concerns related to TikTok, and the potential that it could share data on US citizens with the CCP, right now, it seems like the push to separate TikTok from its Chinese ownership is off the cards. Which, as noted means that the company has continued unimpacted by the challenge.

And now, it’s appointed a ByteDance exec into the top job at the company.

That also, of course, will mean a change in role for interim head of TikTok Vanessa Pappas, who stepped into the top job to replace Mayer in a temporary capacity. Recognizing her efforts, Pappas will now become the COO of the company, advancing from her previous title as general manager before the acquisition saga.

Pappas has helped guide the company through an incredibly challenging transition period, which has also incorporated the COVID-19 pandemic, and many legal och regulatory challenges, in several regions, as the app expands throughout the world.

Pappas has also had to face a slew of challengers rising up for the app, with Facebook, Instagram, Youtube och Snapchat all adding TikTok clone functionalities over the past 12 months. 

Now Pappas moves into a role more aligned with her skills and experience, with Chew taking on the more CEO-type responsibilities involved with expansion of the app.

And for clarity, while Chew is currently the CFO at ByteDance, he is actually based in Singapore, so that could lessen the concerns around ongoing linkage with the Chinese Government.

But probably not. The issue that regulatory authorities have is that under China’s cybersecurity laws, any Chinese-owned company has to share user data with the CCP, on request. Whether such a request has been, or will ever be made, we don’t know, but if a request for such did come through, under the law, as it’s constructed, TikTok would, theoretically, have to comply, putting all of TikTok’s user info, on millions of people around the world, into the Chinese Government’s hands.

TikTok has tried to reassure authorities that this won’t happen, repeatedly noting that it would not share foreign user data with the Chinese Government, while ByteDance also, at one stage, tried to say that it was now ‘a Cayman Islands-based business‘, not a Chinese one, as it was now incorporated in the tax haven. 

But it does still seem that its links to China remain strong, which will maintain those concerns.

And as the Chinese regime continues to exert its power, in various global conflicts and relations, those tensions, and issues, will remain.

Whether that will be enough for the new US administration to take a harsher view of TikTok itself, we’ll have to wait and see.



Twitter Experiments with Reply Filters, Timeline Controls, and the Capacity to Search Your Tweet Likes


Twitter Experiments with Reply Filters, Timeline Controls, and the Capacity to Search Your Tweet Likes

Amid the various large-scale changes at Twitter, the platform is also working on some smaller tweaks and updates, which may or may not ever get released, but could provide valuable functionality for many users.

First off, Twitter’s testing the ability to search through your Likes, so you can find out who, specifically, has liked your tweets.

That could help you glean more context when reaching out to someone, or just another way to understand who’s responding to your tweets.

And it could be particularly valuable as a research tool for marketers in understanding their audience and who they’re reaching with their tweets.

Twitter’s also testing a new way to filter your replies, which could be handy if you get a lot of responses to a tweet.

Tweet reply sorting

I mean, I’m not sure how many people are getting so many replies to their tweets that they need a filtering option, but for those that are, this could be a simple way to ensure you’re staying up on the most relevant responses and responders, to better manage your engagement.

Finally, Twitter’s also experimenting with new timeline settings, which would provide more control over your timeline and pinned lists.

Twitter timeline controls

Note also, in the middle screen, that Twitter’s developing an option that would enable you to hide your tweet view counts, which would provide another way to manage your activity in the app.

As noted, all of these are in test mode, with Twitter engineer Andrea Conway posting them for public opinion, before exploring further development. But they could be handy, and while they’re not game-changers as such (which may mean they get less priority), smaller tweaks and updates like this could be significant for certain users, and could make it easier to manage your tweet activity.

We’ll keep you updated on any progress.


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Fed-up accountant 'shocked and disappointed' after his Facebook account is taken down again


Fed-up accountant 'shocked and disappointed' after his Facebook account is taken down again

A fed-up accountant has spoken of his “disappointment” after his Facebook page was taken down AGAIN. Last July, we told how Suleiman Krayem feared …


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Twitter Tests New Quick Boost Option for Tweets


Twitter Tests New Quick Boost Option for Tweets

Here’s the difficult thing with Twitter no longer having a comms department – now, there’s nowhere to go to confirm info about the app’s latest updates and features, and where each is available, etc.

Case in point – this week, Twitter appears to have launched a new in-stream boost option for tweets, which provides a quick and easy way to promote your tweet without having to launch a full ad campaign.

As you can see in these screenshots, posted by Jonah Manzano (and shared by Matt Navarra), the new boost option would be available direct from a tweet. You’d simply tap through, select a budget, and you would be able to boost your tweet then and there.

Which seems to be new, but also seems familiar.

It’s sort of like Twitter’s Quick Promote option, but an even more streamlined version, with new visuals and a new UI for boosting a tweet direct from the details screen.

Tweet boost

So it does seem like a new addition – but again, with no one at Twitter to ask, it’s hard to confirm detail about the option.

But from what we can tell, this is a new Twitter ad process, which could provide another way to set an objective, a budget, and basic targeting parameters to reach a broader audience in the app.

Which could be good, depending on performance, and there may well be some tweets that you just want to quickly boost and push out to more people, without launching a full campaign.

It could also be a good way for Twitter to bring in a few more ad dollars, and it could be worth experimenting with to see what result you get, based on the simplified launch process.

If it’s available to you. We’d ask Twitter where this is being made available, but we can’t. So maybe you’ll see it in the app, maybe not.

Thus is the enigma of Twitter 2.0.


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