Here’s your Last Week in Digital Media and all the news you may have missed:
- there’s an interesting patent by Spotify that would users create video moments. The full patent application talks about social messaging and seems very TikTok-like.
- AT&T is rumored to be looking to sell its Xandr adtech business. There are a lot of theories on potential buyers, but given the regulatory oversight of the sector and pandemic impact on advertising, a sale might prove difficult.
- Google’s new streaming dongle, code-named Sabrina, looks like it will retail for around US$49-$59 and come with a remote. Positioning it squarely against Roku and Amazon’s FireTV.
- everyone is probably a little guilty of using Google Image search to find a photo; well, now Google will show licensing information alongside images and making it easier to purchase rights.
- Facebook will have a new Terms of Service (ToS) effective October 1st. Of note, there’s now a provision that Facebook can (3.2) “We also can remove or restrict access to your content, services or information if we determine that doing so is reasonably necessary to avoid or mitigate adverse legal or regulatory impacts to Facebook.” which has implications for Facebook’s dispute in Australia (see later in this update) to a positioning statement should a change to S230 impact its business.
- twitter is adding context to trending topics, possibly in the interests of public health help prevent minor panic attacks when you see something trending and wonder why? The context will be added by twitter’s human curation team.
- TikTok has launched its TikTok Marketing Partner Program. The program covers campaign management, creative development, branded effects, as well as measurement.
- separately, TikTok has released a new collaboration and editing feature called Stitch, which aims to make it easier to integrate other people’s content in your TikTok’s. Something that could be interesting for brands looking to co-create content with the TikTok community.
In TikTok sale news:
- the expected sale didn’t materialize, as the geopolitical environment became more complex
- China’s Ministry of Commerce imposed restrictions on the sale of artificial intelligence technology, including “data-processing technologies as text analysis, content recommendation, speech modeling, and voice-recognition.”. The English version of the announcement is here and a legal perspective here.
- the restrictions from China seem aimed at TikTok and would complicate a sale, potentially even undermining the platform.
- Evan Spiegel of Snap summed up the situation to FT that as a result of the sale restrictions, it would require someone to rebuild TikTok from the ground up. For the record, Snap has not expressed any interest in acquiring TikTok.
- adjacent to TikTok, users of WeChat (which is also subject to ban) are suing the Trump administration and asking for evidence that supports the decision to ban the app.
- in other litigation developers, a TikTok employee is also seeking an injunction on the basis that the Executive Order would prevent TikTok employees from being paid.
- meanwhile, MIT Technology Review has an article (paywall) that describes China’s general approach to surveillance and the value of data collected by apps such as TikTok.
- Facebook is claiming Facebook Watch now has 1.25B monthly active viewers (for context, YouTube claims 2B). The company is also testing the ability to follow topics for Facebook Watch.
- Netflix is making some of its original content available to watch for free. The content is available without registration or an account.
- online watch parties are increasingly becoming a requirement for video services. Twitch now lets anyone have Amazon Prime watch parties, and Disney+ has hidden code suggesting that watch parties will be coming to the Disney+ soon.
- Facebook is in a battle with Australia’s competition regulator (ACCC) about a proposal that would require Facebook (and Google) to pay for news. Facebook has responded by saying if the proposals became law, Facebook would stop Australians from sharing local and international news on both Facebook and Instagram. Facebook’s response was not welcome by Australian regulators who called Facebook’s statement “ill-timed and misconceived” and the Australian Treasurer saying the Government does not “respond to coercion or heavy-handed threats”. None of which bodes well for Facebook.
- some regulatory developments that are a must-watch, the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand have agreed to share intelligence on cross border competition investigations. The official title is the “Multilateral Mutual Assistance and Cooperation Framework for Competition Authorities”.
- rumors continue to swirl that the DOJ Antitrust lawsuit into Google will be filed this month.
PRIVACY, TRUST, and SAFETY
- Apple is giving app developers more time to update for iOS 14 privacy permissions. Apple is still committed to the change and will enforce the privacy information requirement in 2021.
- California’s next version of CCPA, CPRA (California Privacy Rights Act), has a new high profile supporter, former US Democratic Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang. Yang’s support is notable as he is both tech-savvy and may help bring both CPRA and privacy into more mainstream conversation.
- security company Tenable has shared details of a study of TikTok’s #ForYou page, revealing that it is becoming a popular haunt for scams and fraud and exploiting TikTok’s ad network in the process, directing people to questionable apps, and more. It’s a worthwhile read.
Have an awesome Labor Day weekend.
PS. I rarely ask for anything, but if you have a moment, please listen to this podcast about #SeasonWithoutSwag about how this holiday season corporate holiday swag budgets can be donated to charity to help those in need (something I am supporting). If you’re not keen to listen to the podcast, read about #SeasonWithoutSwag here.