Social Media

WhatsApp now forced to share data with Facebook

No more opt-out option

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For years, Facebook has notoriously misused its users’ data, prompting several legal actions in numerous countries including the United States. However, though Facebook’s own reputation plummeted, the company’s sibling platforms got through relatively unscathed. That, unfortunately, was always going to change. Now, despite previous promises to the contrary, WhatsApp is now requiring users to share their data with Facebook.

Today, the messaging company updated its privacy policy. WhatsApp must now share all its data with other Facebook companies. This will include all identifying information including IP addresses, phone data, location data, and possibly even payment data. Naturally, this also covers the basics such as messages and contacts. As expected, WhatsApp states that the information is used only for analytic purposes.

Starting on February 8, users have no choice but to agree to the terms. There is no opt-out option. It’s either say yes or uninstall the app.

The update rolls out globally except in the European Union. The region’s stricter GDPR policies prevent internet companies from sharing their data with other parties. Unfortunately, other regions have not implemented similar policies.

Years ago, WhatsApp promised minimal data sharing between companies, marking a difference from Facebook’s more invasive policies. However, with Facebook’s renewed drive to simplify its platforms, both Instagram and WhatsApp are now drawn into Facebook’s web. Already, Facebook has simplified both apps’ messaging system into one ecosystem.

SEE ALSO: Facebook might be forced to sell Instagram and WhatsApp

Apps

Facebook unveils BARS, a TikTok-like app for rappers

Builiding a community dedicated for rappers

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Facebook has launched a new platform called BARS and it’s specially made for rappers. What’s its unique selling point? Unlike TikTok, BARS does not focus on transitions and lip-syncing to make content.

The app will allow budding rappers to focus on the lyrics rather than investing their time on expensive equipment and studios. You can choose from a wide array of premade beats, which can be leveraged by the rapper with their own lyrics and effects.

It also has a Challenge mode, wherein users can perform freestyle rap while incorporating auto-suggested lyrics. Aspiring rappers can just focus on the lyrics and record themselves to these beats. In addition, the app helps rappers finetune their craft as well with the help of auto-suggested rhymes while the user is writing.

BARS will let you select your rap experience level upon sign-up: Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced. The Beginner selection will provide a handy auto-rhyme dictionary to help kickstart your experience. Advanced rappers get the Freestyle mode with several words to create an instantaneous rap.

Once users finish recording their videos in the app, they can share them across various social media outlets. The app has a TikTok-like feed where the discoverability is maximum. The app also promises “studio quality vocal effects,” including actual AutoTune.

After creating the videos, you can save them to your camera roll and share them on other social media platforms. For now, only a small number of iOS users can download the app in the US. Interested users can also sign up for the waitlist in the app.

BARS Community Manager DJ Iyer revealed in a blogpost that the Coronavirus pandemic has been one of the major reasons behind the creation of the app. “I know access to high-priced recording studios and production equipment can be limited for aspiring rappers. On top of that, the global pandemic shut down live performances where we often create and share our work,” he Iyer added.

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Social Media

Twitter teases a premium Super Followers system

Plus, a Facebook Groups-like feature

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Compared to other social media networks, Twitter has a simpler system: character-limited tweets amplified by a hashtag system. However, as we know now, several networks have already dipped their fingers into other cookie jars, adopting features from one another. For example, practically every network now has a disappearing TikTok feature. Trying to catch up with its rivals, Twitter is working on more features including its own Facebook Groups and a Super Followers system.

First of all, Twitter teased its upcoming Communities feature. As the name says, the feature will function similar to Facebook Groups. Users can discover other users with the same interests and demographics. According to some examples shared by Twitter, Communities can revolve around a simple hashtag (like #SocialJustice) or more robust topics (like Crazy for Cats). Additionally, Twitter says that communities can implement more rules besides its own terms of service.

Currently, Twitter users can do the same thing by following topics. However, the Communities feature will emphasize Twitter’s user aspect.

On the other hand, Twitter’s upcoming Super Followers system takes a page from the freemium models popularized by Patreon and OnlyFans. Much like the mentioned platforms, Twitter personalities can offer their premium content for a monthly subscription price. On the flip side of things, Super Followers will get their own badge and exclusive access to premium tweets and content.

Right now, Twitter is still planning different business models for both Communities and Super Followers. The company has not announced when testing for the features will commence.

SEE ALSO: Twitter is launching its Stories-like feature worldwide

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Social Media

Facebook is developing its own smartwatch

Slated for a 2021 launch

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After purchasing the Oculus, Facebook subtly presented its plan to go beyond its massive social media network. Currently, Facebook’s Oculus is already one of the more recognizable devices in the virtual reality industry. Apparently, the company isn’t done expanding. According to a rumor, Facebook is developing its own smartwatch slated for a release later this year.

According to The Information, sources within Facebook have confirmed development of an upcoming smartwatch from the company. Obviously, the watch’s software will work heavily with Facebook’s services. However, it will run on Google’s Wear OS. For future iterations, Facebook is still trying to develop its own software.

Unfortunately, the report does not reveal what type of smartwatch it is. Since the company already has Oculus in its repertoire, Facebook can definitely build its own wearable.

Besides the rumored smartwatch, Facebook is also working on its own smart glasses. The company is truly expanding its device ecosystem. However, amid Facebook’s ongoing privacy and information issues, users might find it difficult to adopt Facebook’s ecosystem. Currently, Facebook is in a subtle war against Apple over user privacy. Lately, the latter promised more transparency for users as to how apps use their user’s data.

SEE ALSO: Facebook blasts Apple’s policy, uses misleading info

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