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Snap Celebrates the 15th Birthday of Bitmoji Maker Bitstrips


Snap Celebrates the 15th Birthday of Bitmoji Maker Bitstrips

They’ve only been available on Snapchat since 2016, but Bitmoji creator Bitstrips actually turns 15 this week, and Snap’s celebrating the milestone with some new insights into Bitmoji adoption and usage in the app.

As outlined by Snap:

"Born in Toronto, Canada in 2007, the personalized comic strip builder called Bitstrips made it possible for anyone to express ideas in a fun, creative storytelling format. Years later, Bitstrips evolved into Bitmoji, which is now used by over 250 million people every day and is an integral part of how the Snapchat community expresses and represents themselves with friends and family.”

Remember Bitstrips?

Back in the day, these simple, customizable comics dominated Facebook, which laid the foundation for the 3D versions of the same that are available as custom Bitmoji characters on Snap.

Snapchat Bitmoji characters

Bitmoji have since become a key element of the Snap experience, with more than a billion Bitmoji avatars created. In fact, Snap says that 85% of the 13-24 Gen Z population in the US have a Bitmoji avatar.

I mean, Snap did sort of push you to make one, so I’m not sure those figures are fully indicative of Bitmoji interest or engagement. But Snap has provided other numbers to underline the presence of BItmoji in the app.

Bitmoji 15 years

De virtual clothing elements for Bitmoji have become a key focus of late, with Snap looking to merge Bitmoji characters into the next stage, as people seek digital representations of themselves that they can then utilize in new forms.

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Like, say, in the metaverse.

The metaverse itself is still a theoretical concept, but the idea is built around the use of virtual representations that we can then use to interact in these new spaces – and Bitmoji characters likely fit the bill in many respects.

Of course, we don’t know if or when we’ll get to a stage where we have a fully interoperable metaverse space, where a range of platforms and avatars can interact together, and move between virtual worlds. But that’s the broader vision, and in this respect, Bitmoji characters could well become an even more important element in online engagement in future.

Which is why customization elements like new clothing options are important – and as Snap notes, there are already over a trillion possible outfit combinations available for your Bitmoji in the app.

Eventually, that could facilitate a virtual marketplace, and an all new revenue stream for Snap and for clothing retailers. That’s going to be a big opportunity in the virtual space, and Snap’s now looking to evolve Bitmoji into that next stage.

Bitmoji 15 years

To celebrate Bitmoji’s 15-year milestone, Snap’s also running a #BitmojiChallenge Spotlight Challenge.

“Show us a ‘day in the life’ of you and your Bitmoji with the chance to win up to $3,500. To participate, visit the Trending Page on the Spotlight tab, select #BitmojiChallenge and tap the camera icon. From there, create and submit!

It’s interesting to see how much Bitmoji have developed, and how Snap’s now looking to take them to the next level, in the next digital shift.

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Biggest fines under EU privacy law


Mark Zuckerbergs sociala medieföretag – ägare till Facebook, Instagram och WhatsApp – har fått ungefär två miljarder euro i böter

Mark Zuckerberg’s social media firm — owner of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp — has racked up roughly two billion euros in fines – Copyright /File Brendan Smialowski

Joseph BOYLE and Jules Bonnard

The European Union rolled out its mammoth data privacy regulation five years ago this week, and has since handed down billions in fines.

Ireland’s data watchdog smashed the record for an individual fine on Monday when it demanded 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) from Meta over its transfers of personal data between Europe and the United States.

Here are some of the worst offenders of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR):

– Meta: undisputed fine king –

Mark Zuckerberg’s social media firm — owner of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp — has racked up roughly two billion euros in fines.

Breaches by Meta have included a mega-leak of some 533 million phone numbers and emails, mishandling children’s data and repeatedly failing to give a legal basis for its data collection.

Meta, along with the likes of Google, Twitter and LinkedIn has its European headquarters in Ireland, a low-tax regime that has courted big tech.

The Irish privacy watchdog has been reluctant to hand down big fines but said in a statement on Monday that the EU’s central authorities had ordered it to collect 1.2 billion euros from Meta.

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Austrian campaign group NOYB said it had spent millions in a decade-long legal battle to force the Irish watchdog to tackle the case.

“It is kind of absurd that the record fine will go to Ireland — the EU Member State that did everything to ensure that this fine is not issued,” said NOYB’s Max Schrems.

– US giants: In Meta’s shadow –

Luxembourg lit a torch under the Silicon Valley data industry in 2021 by slapping Amazon with a record fine of 746 million euros.

The country, whose low-tax policies have led campaigners to label it a tax haven, refused to give details of its decision at the time, only providing a brief statement after Amazon revealed the fine in its regulatory filings.

The online retail giant had been sued by a European consumer group claiming personal data was collected for ad-targeting without permission.

However, Amazon denied any breach and promised to appeal. It is unclear whether the fine has been paid.

Google has faced plenty of GDPR pain too.

France’s data watchdog hit the search giant with 50 million euros in fines for a lack of transparency on its Android mobile operating system in 2019 — the biggest such fine of that year.

– Clearview AI: Widespread penalties –

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Clearview AI may not be a household name, but it claims to own billions of photos of people’s faces that it sells as a searchable AI-powered database to law enforcement and other clients.

It scrapes the images from the web, often from social media accounts, without asking permission.

Privacy watchdogs in Greece, Italy, France and the UK have all hit the US firm with fines totally roughly 70 million euros, and regulators in Germany and Austria have declared it illegal.

The firm has consistently said it has no offices or clients in Europe and is not subject to EU privacy laws.

The status of the fines is unclear. France issued a penalty of five million euros recently, accusing the firm of failing to pay the initial fine.

– Public bodies, hacks –

In the early days of the GDPR, several watchdogs cracked down on public institutions, raising profound questions about the regulation’s scope.

Bulgaria fined its own tax authority around three million euros in 2019 after hackers stole the details of millions of people.

But several issues in the case were referred to the European Court of Justice, including whether such a hack automatically meant the data controller had not complied with GDPR.

The court has not yet issued a final decision.

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Portugal handed down one of the first significant fines under GDPR — 400,000 euros — in November 2018 to a hospital near Lisbon.

The watchdog ruled that the institution had allowed unauthorised access to patients’ data and the case was seen as an early wake-up call for public bodies to get busy with GDPR compliance.

Portugal later gave public institutions three years to adapt to the new regime, meaning the fine was never enforced.


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Jag anställde Gen Zers och blev chockad av deras professionalism


Jag anställde Gen Zers och blev chockad av deras professionalism
  • Jen Hartmann is the founder and CEO of a marketing agency in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • She recently hired two Gen Zers to help with social media.
  • Hartmann said the workers were eager to get feedback and improve.

Last year, Jen Hartmann found herself hours into a TikTok scroll. The founder and CEO of a marketing agency in Louisville, Kentucky, she was on the hunt for marketing trends. That night, she realized she needed a Gen Z employee. She’s since hired two and says it’s dramatically helped her brand.

This is an as-told-to essay based on an interview with Hartmann about hiring young employees. 

The interview process surprised me

I started interviewing Gen Z candidates for our roles in public-relations coordination because I was spending too much time on TikTok. As a CEO, I wanted to take a step back from client strategy. I thought Gen Z could bring a fresh perspective.

How the interview process shook out was totally unexpected.

I came to the table thinking: “They’re just looking for a job or a paycheck. They’ll be in and out the door in a month or two.”

That was not true: They came to the interviews dressed better than we were. They were prepared, had listened to relevant podcasts, and had looked at our website. And they emailed and messaged us on LinkedIn after the interviews to thank us. 

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Their level of professionalism blew my mind. They were more professional than some of the millennials we had spoken with. 

My Gen Z employees take ownership of tasks and are open to feedback

Our Gen Zers were onboarded very quickly; they didn’t need as much hand-holding as I expected.

They also asked a lot of questions. As a founder, I appreciated that they were eager to learn and get feedback — not just on what they did well but also on what they could improve.  

I was also surprised by their willingness to take ownership. They contribute good ideas during client calls without even being asked. 

And if they make a mistake, they’re willing to take responsibility and fix it.

Prioritization, however, can be a little difficult for them. When you’re a new employee, it’s hard to figure out where to start if you have 15 things on your to-do list. I’ve had to work on that with them.

And when it comes to communication, we have to deliver feedback differently. I have to be gentler so it doesn’t get miscommunicated that I’m mad at them or going to fire them.

Gen Z seems to be a little more feelings-centric than millennials. Millennials have a harder outer shell. That’s not a bad thing. It’s great that Gen Z is in touch with and open about their emotions.

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But because of that, millennial bosses need to be careful not to send the wrong message, especially if it’s all done over Slack or email.

Gen Z’s knowledge of social media is critical for businesses today

Gen Zers are constantly on TikTok. They’re very in the know, very in the loop. To keep up with our clients, we needed to bring on some Gen Zers who knew the trends and what influencers were up to.

It has made the biggest difference during client conversations. Half of their timely pitches are angles directly from TikTok. Our pitches are standing out because of this, and they’re getting picked up a lot more than they were in the past. 

Their knowledge of social also helps when building media lists, something that can take a long time for other generations. Many Gen Zers read major publications and keep up with the journalists and their work by following them on social media. That makes the lists much more effective and quicker than ever before.

Since hiring Gen Z employees, I’ve been able to take that step back that I was looking for, and their work has truly benefited the business.


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Twitter tillhandahåller ytterligare API-åtkomstnivå för att lösa prisproblem


Twitter lanserar test av annonsinriktning baserat specifikt på sökfrågor i appen

With its recent API access cost increases causing much angst within the developer community, Twitter has come back with a new API access tier, which will provide more tweet access for a more reasonable price.

As highlighted above, the new ‘Pro’ tweet API offering provides developers with access to a million tweets per month, at the low, low price of $5k per month – or $60k per annum. Which, for some, will be an improvement than the existing access points, which have already priced many developers and academics out of their various projects. But still, $5k per month for a million tweets is a lot – especially when Twitter’s free API access, up till February this year, provided developers with similar access to this, free of cost.

Twitter’s new API access charges, which it’s implemented to combat the creation of bot armies, are a significant jump on the previous costs, with Elon and Co. also looking to do all that they can to bring in more revenue for the company.

The updated pricing immediately saw many public service tools, like transport alerts, announce that they’d be canceling their automated Twitter updates – though Twitter has since announced that approved services like these will still be able to access the API for free.

But that doesn’t cover many other bot tools and services that also provide value, and the risk in Twitter’s approach is that it could become a less valuable utility as a result, which may eventually impact usage.

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But as noted, Musk sees the API as a potential vector for bot swarms. And as with Twitter Blue, Elon’s hoping that by tacking on extra charges to such access, that’ll effectively make it cost-prohibitive for bot creators to keep running their schemes.

Though there is another potential consideration in Musk’s API and access price rises, which is more aligned with his own personal grievances.

Twitter’s also taking on Microsoft over its use of Twitter data, via API access, which it claims is beyond the limitations imposed within Microsoft’s approved usage. Microsoft is now partnered with OpenAI, a company that Elon once had a significant investment in, and Musk’s view is that OpenAI has essentially stolen Twitter data to train its LLM systems, in order to fuel generative AI tools like ChatGPT.

The brief summary is that Elon gave OpenAI millions of dollars to assist in its development, then sought to take over as CEO of the company in 2018, in order to hasten its progress. OpenAI rebutted Musk’s offer, which then saw Elon turn his back on it, and pull all of his future funding pledges. But OpenAI had already taken some millions from Musk – and now that OpenAI is making big money from its generative AI tools, Elon is apparently not happy that he isn’t going to get a dime of that intake, despite his early involvement.

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This could be another factor in his decision to hike up the price of Twitter API access, in order to restrict other companies from taking Twitter’s proprietary data, and profiting off of his content in a similar way.

Elon’s also building his own generative AI model, which will be free of ‘woke bias’, and everything considered, it’s not beyond the scope of possibility that Elon’s pushing up the costs of Twitter API access in order to fend off his various business rivals.

(Note that Twitter is also asking API subscribers to remove any previously downloaded data, or face further legal recourse)

Though the main impetus seems to be Twitter’s need to diversify its income, with subscriptions, API access and advertising ideally settling into a more equal share of the company’s revenue pie.

Vilket verkar osannolikt att bli slutresultatet, men Elon försöker nya saker – och kanske finns det tillräckligt många potentiella indikatorer där för att fortsätta driva, för att maximera Twitters möjligheter. Eller så kanske det inte finns det, och så småningom kommer Twitter att behöva gå tillbaka till dessa förändringar. Det tillvägagångssättet är till synes en del av det som har gjort Musk framgångsrik, hans vilja att försöka misslyckas offentligt, och kanske kommer det att presentera potentiella nya möjligheter för verksamheten.

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Twitter är nytt API-prissättningssystem är nu i kraft.  


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