Apps

Facebook CEO could have swayed US government’s opinion against TikTok

Zuckerberg used last year’s meeting with Trump to raise issues against TikTok

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Recent trips to Washington by Facebook CEO — Mark Zuckerberg — could have swayed the US government’s opinion against TikTok and other Chinese companies, a new report by The Wall Street Journal claims.

The report details how Zuckerberg used private meetings with US government officials to sway the issue from Facebook to Chinese-made apps like TikTok. Last Fall, Zuckerberg made trips to Washington where he raised the issue against Chinese tech companies. During a visit to Georgetown University, he claimed that these companies don’t share Facebook’s commitment to American values — specifically, freedom of expression.

Later on, Zuckerberg would meet with US President Donald Trump and other officials. During these meetings, the Facebook CEO would make the case that Chinese tech companies pose a much bigger concern than Facebook. These meetings come at a time when government officials are investigating Facebook for privacy and security concerns.

The fallout from these meetings became apparent in late October. Two American senators — Sen. Tom Cotton and Sen. Chuck Schumer — wrote a letter to intelligence officials demanding an inquiry into TikTok. Soon after, the US government began a security assessment of the app. Threats by Donald Trump soon followed. Now, the app is facing a total ban in the US if its parent company — ByteDance — fails to sell its US operations.

Protecting Facebook’s image

All those meetings could have also been interpreted as the company’s move to sway officials and to blunt concerns about Facebook’s issues. A spokesperson for Facebook — Andy Stone — claims that Zuckerberg’s remark in Washington is part of a bigger concern about Chinese influence in America.

“As Chinese companies and influence have been growing so has the risk of a global internet based on their values, as opposed to ours,” Mr. Stone said in a written statement.

It is clear also that Facebook sees TikTok as its potential rival. TikTok has seen a dramatic rise over the recent years, threatening Facebook’s user base. In response, Facebook launched Reels, an Instagram feature designed to sway TikTok users. Just recently, it made plans to acquire Dubsmash, a fledgling rival that saw some popularity back in 2015.

In response, TikTok’s parent company accused Facebook of plagiarism and smears. ByteDance CEO Kevin Mayer urged the social networking giant to focus on fair competition rather than “maligning attacks” which is “disguised as patriotism and designed to put an end to our very presence in the U.S.”

The company has also prepared a lawsuit against the US government. Clearly, ByteDance has a long way to go before it can wiggle out of the complex issues it is facing today.

SEE ALSO: US moves TikTok’s ban to November | China won’t allow US to steal TikTok

Apps

WhatsApp will turn-off features until you accept the new T&C

Facebook wants your submission before May 15

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WhatsApp Pay

WhatsApp will continue the roll-out of its controversial terms of service, which has received a lot of criticism in the last few months for being too intrusive. Well, Facebook has made it clear that users can either accept the new terms or lose access to features.

The instant messenger has always shied away from advertisements since its inception. But its acquisition by Facebook confirmed one thing — the private, silent life of WhatsApp would change radically. The new terms and conditions are from Facebook, ensuring that all its products like Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp, are ready for monetization.

“After a few weeks of limited functionality, you won’t be able to receive incoming calls or notifications, and WhatsApp will stop sending messages and calls to your phone,” the company said. At that point, users will have to choose: either accept the new terms, or they slowly forget WhatsApp.

The moment WhatsApp starts sending “persistent reminders,” users will encounter limited functionality on WhatsApp until they accept the updates. Although, it won’t happen to all users simultaneously and will change in a phased manner.

Additionally, if you don’t use the messaging app, your account will get deleted as WhatsApp generally deletes those accounts that remain untouched for about 120 days.

The rollout isn’t going smoothly for WhatsApp, though. Germany’s data regulator has asked the instant messenger to stop processing users’ data from the country. The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (HmbBfDI) issued a three-month emergency ban on Tuesday, which is permitted under the General Data Protection Regulation.

Right now, it’s hard to gauge if Facebook will continue with its blitzkrieg or buy some time for itself and rethink the strategy. If one country has clamped down on the app, it won’t take much time for others to follow as well. Facebook is already in boiling water with American lawmakers and cannot afford to spoil relationships with any more governments.

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YouTube enters the TikTok party, announces $100 million fund for creators

Short videos are the latest hype

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shorts

TikTok has created a global phenomenon, and every platform is scrambling to have a share of the pie. After Instagram’s Reels, YouTube has debuted its own short-video-making feature called Shorts. Now, the Google-backed company intends to attract content creators.

YouTube Shorts Fund contains US$ 100 million, which will be distributed to creators over the course of 2021 and 2022. YouTube will actually reach out to “thousands” of creators whose Shorts receive the most engagement and views. You don’t have to be a part of the YouTube Partner Program, which is used to monetize standard videos.

Shorts must be original and follow community guidelines to be considered for the fund. Google is holding onto additional details about the fund as the feature is only available in the US and India at the moment. Instagram followed a similar strategy to lure TikTok users.

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said on the company’s earnings call that Shorts is garnering 6.5 billion daily views globally. The company declined to provide more recent statistics for global and U.S. user bases.

“YouTube has helped an entire generation of creators and artists turn their creativity into businesses, paying more than US$ 30 billion to creators, artists, and media companies over the last three years,” Singer wrote. “The Shorts Fund is just the first step in our journey to build a long-term monetization model for Shorts on YouTube.”

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Scarlet Nexus opening sequence, pre-order details

So hyped!

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Scarlet Nexus

The game Scarlet Nexus, in collaboration with SUNRISE and ORAL CIGARETTES, have come out with a gripping new opening sequence you don’t want to miss out on.

The game mechanics and origins stick close to home with the title itself: Scarlet Nexus. It’s based on the concept of scarlet red strings and connections through fast-paced rock rhythms. And, if there’s anything that’ll pique your interest with this game, it’s the mechanics.

Scarlet Nexus lets you play around with Psychokinesis attacks mechanics, psychic ability, and collaborative connections to further in the game. You get to pick who to play: Kasane Randall or Yuito Sumeragi and venture to uncover the mysteries of a Brain Punk future. You’ll get to fight enemies, uncover the truth about yourself, and explore the obscure world of technology and psychic abilities!

The game will be available on June 24, 2021 on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One. While, available the next day, June 25, on Steam in Southeast Asia. The Scarlet Nexus anime series, produced by SUNRISE, will also be released this upcoming summer.

Pre-order details

Scarlet Nexus

These are the pre-order bonuses:

  • Special Battle Attire Set -Audio-
  • Additional Attachment “Dream Catcher”
  • Additional Attachment “Face Vision: Seal”
  • Attachment Set “Shoulder Baki (11)”

The Deluxe Edition includes the full game and the following content:

  • Brain Punk Bundle (includes Battle Attire Set -Red-, Digital Artbook, Digital Soundtrack)
  • Additional Attachment “The Other” (Deluxe Edition Bonus)
  • SAS Plug-In Variations (3) (Deluxe Edition Bonus)

Pre-order here now.

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