Meta Tests Image-Generating Social Chatbot on Its Platforms

Meta is testing a new large language chatbot, Meta AI, on social platforms in parts of India and Africa. The chatbot was introduced in late 2023, and began testing on U.S. WhatApp users in March. The test is expanding to include more territories and the addition of Instagram and Facebook Messenger. India is reported to be Meta’s largest social market, with more than 500 million Facebook and WhatsApp users, and has big implications as the company scales up its AI plans to compete against OpenAI and others. The Meta AI chatbot answers questions and generates photorealistic images. Continue reading Meta Tests Image-Generating Social Chatbot on Its Platforms

X Teases Launch of a YouTube-Like Video App for Smart TVs

Elon Musk wants to bring videos posted to X (formerly Twitter) to a bigger screen. The social platform plans to launch a YouTube-like app on smart TVs, starting with Samsung TVs and Amazon Fire TVs. Since purchasing Twitter in October 2022, Musk has emphasized its evolution to a “video-first” platform as part of its rebranding as X. Internal research claims X users watch videos in eight out of 10 visits, which would make it an obvious opportunity for expansion. In the early stages, it appears the focus will be long-form video, which can more easily accommodate advertising. Continue reading X Teases Launch of a YouTube-Like Video App for Smart TVs

TikTok Tests a Feature That Tags Videos with Shopping Details

TikTok is testing a feature designed to make all posts shoppable as it goes all-in on creating what the company hopes will be a multi-billion-dollar U.S. e-commerce business. The new technology uses machine learning to identify objects in a video then prompts viewers to “find similar items on TikTok Shop” using links and in-app search. The ByteDance-owned social platform is also reportedly planning to launch multiple live-streaming studios in cities including Los Angeles where creators can go to stream shopping-themed content. The facilities are expected to be able to host multiple studios servicing dozens of creators per day. Continue reading TikTok Tests a Feature That Tags Videos with Shopping Details

Creators Guild to Serve as Professional Services Organization

The old saying “everybody’s in showbiz” has never been more true than in the creator economy. HubSpot’s 2022 “State of Consumer Trends” survey found that 30 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds identify as content creators, while 40 percent among those 25 to 34 also consider themselves creators. The newly formed Creators Guild of America (CGA) aims to give them a voice and a sense of community. The non-profit bills itself as a “professional services organization” that will provide educational and networking events with brands and studios and act as a watchdog on important issues like fair pay. Continue reading Creators Guild to Serve as Professional Services Organization

Illinois Law Protecting Child Vloggers Will Take Effect in 2024

Illinois has become the first state in the nation to pass legislation protecting children who are social media influencers. Beginning in July 2024, children under 16 who appear in monetized video content online will have a legal right to compensation for their work, even if that means litigating against their parents. “The rise of social media has given children new opportunities to earn a profit,” Illinois Senator David Koehler said about the bill he sponsored. “Many parents have taken this opportunity to pocket the money, while making their children continue to work in these digital environments. Continue reading Illinois Law Protecting Child Vloggers Will Take Effect in 2024

Could Strikes Upend Institutional Hollywood Power Structure?

Have the striking Hollywood writers and actors opened a void that the creator economy is able to fill? Already in demand, top influencers are now being courted by producers and studios hungry for content to fill depleted pipelines. Meanwhile, striking actors and writers are taking their ideas to YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and Twitch, where they can forge a direct relationship with viewers — albeit not one that will result in direct-deposit paychecks. As the definitions of “talent” and “content” continue to blur, the Hollywood landscape could be in for a seismic shift. Continue reading Could Strikes Upend Institutional Hollywood Power Structure?

Meta Unveils Its Upcoming Twitter Competitor for Employees

Meta Platforms previewed its in-development Twitter rival, called Project 92, for staff last week. Chief product officer Chris Cox demoed the decentralized app, which the company plans to launch through Instagram. Meta received feedback from creators and high-profile figures indicating they want “a sanely run” platform. Project 92 — also referred to internally as “P92” or “Barcelona” — bears similarities to Twitter but unlike that closed system will interoperate with other decentralized social apps like Mastodon and Bluesky. Although a specific timeline wasn’t shared, Cox reportedly said Meta plans to launch P92 “as soon as we can.” Continue reading Meta Unveils Its Upcoming Twitter Competitor for Employees

TikTok Is Aiming for $20 Billion in Global E-Commerce Sales

TikTok is targeting a massive four-fold increase in global e-commerce revenue this year, aiming for $20 billion in sales. The social media platform reported gross merchandise activity of $4.4 billion last year, which reflects the total sale of goods via the TikTok Shop e-commerce solution. TikTok is banking on significant growth in markets including Indonesia, where influencers live-stream shopping pitches for everything from denim jeans to lipstick. The U.S. and Europe account for a tiny portion of the projected goal, but TikTok is hoping for modest gains in those areas as well. Continue reading TikTok Is Aiming for $20 Billion in Global E-Commerce Sales

Roll Uses Generative AI to Simulate Jibs, Dollies, Much More

Roll, a new app for web and iOS, puts an AI spin on timeworn video capture and editing techniques, delivering virtual bokeh, motion graphics and multicam shots, as well as sliders, cranes, dollies and jibs. As the latest consumer artificial intelligence entry, Roll professes to empower anyone to create professional-quality remote video quickly using just an iPhone and Roll’s proprietary software. The Roll app is free to use, with the whole platform offered as a free trial with a paid subscription option. Roll lets users record broadcast-quality remote video calls, add generative AI special effects, and publish quickly. Continue reading Roll Uses Generative AI to Simulate Jibs, Dollies, Much More

Amazon Expands Its Release of ‘Inspire’ Video Shopping App

Amazon is rolling out its Inspire shopping feed to all U.S. customers. The short-form video and photo feed, which has drawn comparisons to TikTok, lets customers explore products while shopping from content created by influencers and brands. After logging in to the Amazon Shopping app, the Inspire light bulb icon will connect users to a menu of more than 20 categories, from makeup and skin care to pets, gaming, travel, health and more. Users can vertically scroll the content feed and double-tap on the screen to create “likes” for the content displayed. Continue reading Amazon Expands Its Release of ‘Inspire’ Video Shopping App

Changes to Twitter’s Legacy Verifications Lead to Confusion

Twitter did not implement the check mark purge set for April 1, when it said it would remove the blue verification symbols from the accounts of celebrities, influencers and politicians who were not paying $8 per month for a Twitter Blue subscription. The weekend came and went with the status of so-called “legacy verifications” largely unchanged. Twitter’s owner and CEO, Elon Musk, says he still plans to monetize verifications, and that U.S. businesses and governments will be charged $1,000 monthly to retain their checkmarks — gold for businesses and gray for governments. Continue reading Changes to Twitter’s Legacy Verifications Lead to Confusion

ByteDance Pushes Lemon8, a Possible Instagram Competitor

Despite threats by U.S. lawmakers to ban popular social video app TikTok, parent company ByteDance continues to drive its apps to the top of the charts. The Chinese company’s latest hit is Lemon8, described as a rival to Instagram that serves a “lifestyle community.” As of Monday, Lemon8 was No. 10 across apps and games in the U.S. App Store’s Top Charts. On Tuesday it climbed to No. 9 among apps. The video- and photo-sharing app was launched internationally in March 2020, but ByteDance appears to have taken a new interest in promoting it. Last month, media outlets reported the company was paying influencers to post on it. Continue reading ByteDance Pushes Lemon8, a Possible Instagram Competitor

FTC Demands Info from Tech Firms in Fight Against Ad Fraud

The Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on fraudulent tech advertising, which escalated substantially during the COVID-19 pandemic, issuing orders to eight social media and video streaming platforms seeking information on commercial practices that are deceptive or expose consumers to false health-care products, financial scams and counterfeit or fake goods. The action compels services including Meta Platforms’ Instagram, Alphabet’s YouTube, ByteDance’s TikTok and Amazon’s Twitch to provide answers in 45 days so the FTC can analyze their practices. In addition to fact-finding, the order is intended to pressure the companies to self-regulate. Continue reading FTC Demands Info from Tech Firms in Fight Against Ad Fraud

YouTube Introduces Multi-Language Audio Tracks Worldwide

Following several months of tests, YouTube is launching is multi-language audio track feature worldwide, with popular vlogger MrBeast helping to promote the new feature’s benefits. MrBeast, who has over 135 million global subscribers, is hoping to attract new subscribers to his channel now that the most popular videos are dubbed into 11 different languages. The multi-language audio feature allows creators to dub new and existing videos. YouTube says more than 3,500 multi-language videos have been uploaded to the site in 40-plus languages since January of this year. Continue reading YouTube Introduces Multi-Language Audio Tracks Worldwide

BuzzFeed Eyes a Future Collaborating with Meta and OpenAI

BuzzFeed stock jumped last week as news of collaborative efforts with Meta Platforms and OpenAI began circulating. The New York-based digital media firm famous for viral content said it is using OpenAI’s artificial intelligence to enhance lists, quizzes and other content. Meanwhile, a 2022 deal valued at close to $10 million with Meta Platforms is seeing results as BuzzFeed trains creators to expand their online presence and generate content for Meta’s social platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. BuzzFeed shares, which were trading at under $1 through January, rose to $3.87 in after-hours trading on Friday. Continue reading BuzzFeed Eyes a Future Collaborating with Meta and OpenAI