With Trump Approval, Microsoft to Acquire TikTok’s U.S. Unit

After weeks of negotiations and following a phone call between President Trump and Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella, the company stated it will purchase TikTok’s U.S. operations. Microsoft will work to seal the deal — which will also include Canada, Australia and New Zealand — with ByteDance by September 15. Stating appreciation for Trump’s “personal involvement,” Microsoft added that U.S. users’ data would be transferred to and remain in the country. Trump earlier said he would ban TikTok from the U.S. Continue reading With Trump Approval, Microsoft to Acquire TikTok’s U.S. Unit

TikTok Still Under Scrutiny by U.S. Government, Corporations

Amazon recently instructed its employees to delete TikTok, the short-video app owned by Chinese company ByteDance, then quickly reversed the decision, saying the first email — which stated that concerns about “security risks” — had been distributed in error. But Amazon’s worry reflects that of the Trump administration, which has called some Chinese apps “a threat to national security.” TikTok grew out of U.S. company Musical.ly, and ByteDance’s acquisition prompted the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. to review the deal. Continue reading TikTok Still Under Scrutiny by U.S. Government, Corporations

TikTok Catapults to Level of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube

TikTok has exceeded 1.5 billion downloads — half of them in the past year — and, in the process, has become a genuine competitor of Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Chinese AI firm ByteDance, owner of TikTok, is valued at $75 billion, one of the world’s most valuable startups. The company is reportedly looking into an IPO in Hong Kong in 2020. Now that it has commanded widespread attention, ByteDance is also under scrutiny over how it stores personal data and if it follows orders from the Chinese government to censor content. Continue reading TikTok Catapults to Level of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube

U.S. Investigates TikTok App Based on Security Concerns

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is conducting a national security review of Chinese company ByteDance’s acquisition of Musical.ly, in November 2017, for $800 million to $1 billion. ByteDance merged Musical.ly, an app popular among teens for making karaoke videos, with its similar service TikTok. Over the past year, TikTok has been downloaded 750+ million times, and U.S. lawmakers are concerned about its growing influence. One source said the U.S. has evidence TikTok sends data to China. Continue reading U.S. Investigates TikTok App Based on Security Concerns

TikTok Draws Concerns of U.S. Lawmakers, Growth Slows

Chinese short video app TikTok has had a total of 1.45 billion installs since debuting two years ago. It’s been installed 564 million times this year, and parent company ByteDance is considered the world’s largest startup, with a valuation of $75 million according to CB Insights. But, according to Sensor Tower data, Q3 2019 is the first quarter TikTok has seen a slowdown of user downloads, 4 percent from last year, to 177 million first-time users. U.S. lawmakers want to know if the app is a national security risk. Continue reading TikTok Draws Concerns of U.S. Lawmakers, Growth Slows

Google Filters Appropriate Content With YouTube Kids Site

Kid-friendly video content is now available on a dedicated YouTube Kids website that filters content deemed most appropriate based on three different age groups. The site offers a similar experience to the mobile app of the same name. Parents can select age-appropriate videos based on newly listed age groups, track viewing history and flag anything that may be missed by filters. A sign-in option is expected to be added in the future. The filters include “Preschool” (up to age 4), “Younger” (ages 5 to 7) and “Older” (kids over 7). Content is organized by categories including Explore, Gaming, Music and Shows.  Continue reading Google Filters Appropriate Content With YouTube Kids Site

Snap Inc. Hoping to Expand Use of Music in Snapchat App

As Snap faces increased pressure from competitors such as Facebook’s Instagram and ByteDance’s TikTok, the company is reportedly talking with music labels for broader licensing agreements to allow increased use of music via the popular Snapchat app. According to people familiar with the matter, Snap is in discussions with Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. Snap is not looking to launch the next Spotify, but rather expand the way its users can integrate music into Snaps and social media applications. Continue reading Snap Inc. Hoping to Expand Use of Music in Snapchat App

TikTok to Pay Record Fine After Violating Children’s Privacy

The Federal Trade Commission just inked a settlement with video social network TikTok (which merged with Musical.ly last year) over the charge that its app illegally collected children’s personal information. A large percent of users are under 13, and the personal information collected — without asking for parental permission — included email addresses, names and schools. The site refused to delete video and other data when requested by some parents. The FTC said the $5.7 million settlement is a record for a child privacy violation. Continue reading TikTok to Pay Record Fine After Violating Children’s Privacy

Instagram Users Can Feature Popular Music in Their Stories

Instagram Stories, which currently touts 400 million daily users, now offers a new feature that enables users to add clips of popular songs to their photos and videos. The feature is initially available to Android and iOS users in six countries (including the U.S.), with plans to roll out to additional regions soon. Facebook’s recent deals with major and indie music labels will enable Instagram users to select up to 15 seconds of music from the likes of Bruno Mars, Cardi B, Demi Lovato and Maroon 5 to create soundtracks for each post. Continue reading Instagram Users Can Feature Popular Music in Their Stories

Alively Places Emphasis on ‘One-to-Few’ Livestreaming Video

The new livestreaming app Alively, available for Apple mobile devices, is aimed at people who want to share live videos with a select group of people. Other livestreaming options include Twitter’s Periscope, Shanghai-based Musical.ly’s Live.ly, and Facebook Live. One of Alively’s founders — Vadim Lavrusik — was the former product manager of Facebook Live. He and co-founders Ray Lee and Vincent Tuscano are betting that many users don’t want to share their videos with their entire social media networks. Continue reading Alively Places Emphasis on ‘One-to-Few’ Livestreaming Video

Social Apps Creating More Young Stars Than Traditional Media

At VidCon, live-streaming mobile app YouNow showcased Internet stars such as singer Hailey Knox, who promoted her debut EP in person and to her 80,000 followers. Knox parlayed her online fame to a record deal and a tour, underscoring the reality that today’s young stars and wannabes are more likely to appear on YouNow, Musical.ly, Flipagram, Snapchat or Vine than “American Bandstand” or MTV. Although all these social media platforms skew young, “olds” are beginning to join Snapchat, endangering its “cool” status. Continue reading Social Apps Creating More Young Stars Than Traditional Media

Time Launches INSTANT Video Platform for the Mobile Web

Time Inc. officially launched its new website, dubbed INSTANT, at VidCon 2016 in Anaheim. The mobile video platform, which does not require users to download an app, features content from Internet celebrities such as Connor Franta, Jake Paul, RudanC and Baby Ariel. INSTANT delivers video content, including live programming, and native and branded advertising. Content will also be distributed across social networks such as Facebook, Instagram and YouNow, as well as sites for Time properties including Entertainment Weekly, HelloGiggles and People. Continue reading Time Launches INSTANT Video Platform for the Mobile Web

Musical.ly a Dark Horse in Race for Live-Streaming Dominance

Tumblr and YouTube just introduced their live-streaming offerings, joining Twitter’s Periscope and Facebook Live in that booming space. Another less known entrant is also waiting in the wings: Shanghai-based social network Musical.ly just went live in the iTunes app store with Live.ly, its spinoff live-streaming app. What makes it interesting is that Musical.ly built a global audience of 100 million (mostly teenagers) in less than a year, and its avid fan base has latched onto Live.ly. Continue reading Musical.ly a Dark Horse in Race for Live-Streaming Dominance