HBO to Stream Episodes, Enable Watch Parties on Snapchat

Thanks to a new partnership between WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and social messaging platform Snapchat, up to 64 Snapchatters will be able to co-watch full-length episodes of HBO series via the HBO Max Mini, part of the Snap Minis feature, which debuted last year to host third-party experiences through the social app. With Minis, the user can access Headspace to meditate, buy movie tickets with friends via Atom and, now, watch entire HBO episodes including pilots of “Lovecraft Country” and “Game of Thrones.” Viewers will be able to synchronize playback and watch the same title together. Continue reading HBO to Stream Episodes, Enable Watch Parties on Snapchat

Marketers Struggle as Facebook Users Decline to Be Tracked

According to Branch, which analyzes mobile app growth and tracks ad conversions, since Apple’s updated iOS asked users if they wanted to be tracked by apps, only 25 percent have agreed. That response has “been pretty devastating for … the majority of advertisers,” suggests mobile analyst Eric Seufert. Advertisers on social network Facebook have seen a particularly strong impact, according to media buyers who noted that not being able to reliably determine how many sales clients are making means it is challenging to figure out which ads are working. Continue reading Marketers Struggle as Facebook Users Decline to Be Tracked

ByteDance Pauses its IPO After Meeting with Chinese Officials

Beijing-based ByteDance, parent company of social video app TikTok, which was valued at $180 billion in December, indefinitely put plans on hold for a public offering. The company had been considering an IPO in the United States or Hong Kong but its founder and CEO Zhang Yiming changed his mind after meeting with China’s cyberspace and security regulators who reportedly told him to focus on data-security risks and other issues. Another reason for holding off is that the company did not have a chief financial officer at the time. Continue reading ByteDance Pauses its IPO After Meeting with Chinese Officials

TikTok’s Three-Minute Videos Let Creators Expand, Monetize

ByteDance-owned TikTok revealed that over the coming weeks it would introduce the ability to share videos of up to three minutes on its platform. TikTok debuted with 15-second videos and later expanded to 60-second videos. TikTok product manager Drew Kirchhoff said the longer videos will give creators “the canvas to create new or expanded types of content … with the flexibility of a bit more space.” With 100 million monthly active users in the U.S., TikTok is now facing competition from Instagram Reels and Snapchat’s Spotlight in an evolving video landscape that could impact the streaming wars. Continue reading TikTok’s Three-Minute Videos Let Creators Expand, Monetize

Less Than One-Third of iOS Users Opt In to Tracking by Apps

Since Apple began requiring apps to get user permission to track them, Branch Metrics found that less than 33 percent of iOS users opted in. Ad prices aimed at iOS users have fallen and those aimed at Android users have risen, which the digital ad community warned Apple about. Now, ad buyers are deploying iOS ad spending in less targeted ways and the lack of user data also reduces the efficacy of Facebook’s ad-targeting tools. Apple only sells ads in a few of its apps and doesn’t take a cut of third-party iOS app revenue. Continue reading Less Than One-Third of iOS Users Opt In to Tracking by Apps

Hong Kong Laws Could Drive Out Facebook, Twitter, Google

In Hong Kong, the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau is slated to enact data protection laws against doxing — making personal information public to enable harassment — which was used during the 2019 protests. Facebook, Alphabet’s Google and Twitter privately warned authorities that the new rules could put their staff at risk of criminal prosecutions, and if enacted, they may shut down their services. Punishment would be a fine of up to 1 million Hong Kong dollars (U.S. $128,800) and up to five years in prison. Continue reading Hong Kong Laws Could Drive Out Facebook, Twitter, Google

Federal Judge Blocks Florida Law That Restricts Social Media

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis urged lawmakers to pass Florida Senate Bill 7072 to make it easier for the state’s election commission to fine social media companies from $25,000 to $250,000 for banning political candidates during election season. The law passed, but hours before it was slated to take effect District Court Judge Robert Hinkle issued a preliminary injunction against it, noting that plaintiffs NetChoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) will likely prevail in their effort to have the law declared unconstitutional. Continue reading Federal Judge Blocks Florida Law That Restricts Social Media

Instagram Aims to Help Creators Monetize Exclusive Content

Instagram head Adam Mosseri posted a video to his Instagram and Twitter accounts explaining that the former is no longer a photo-sharing app. Instead, he said, after seeing the success of entertainment and video on TikTok and YouTube, he plans to “lean into entertainment” by focusing on “Creators, Video, Shopping and Messaging.” Instagram is also creating its own version of Twitter’s Super Follow, which will allow online creators to publish — and monetize — exclusive content on Instagram Stories available only to their fans. Continue reading Instagram Aims to Help Creators Monetize Exclusive Content

Court Dismisses FTC, States Antitrust Suit Against Facebook

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia judge James Boasberg dismissed antitrust lawsuits against social media giant Facebook brought by the Federal Trade Commission and 48 states. The judge said the states waited too long to bring up a case on deals made in 2012 and 2014 and that prosecutors failed to prove that Facebook holds a monopoly over social networking. The FTC can bring the case back in 30 days but the judge said it would require a lot more detail. Facebook’s stock rose 4.2 percent in the wake of the news. Continue reading Court Dismisses FTC, States Antitrust Suit Against Facebook

Facebook Goes Live with Audio Rooms, Announces Podcasts

On June 21, Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms became available to “public figures and select Facebook Groups” in the United States. The company also released its first batch of podcasts to U.S. listeners, including “The Joe Budden Podcast;” “Carefully Reckless,” with Jess Hilarious from the Black Effect Podcast Network and iHeartRadio; “LadyGang,” with Keltie Knight, Becca Tobin and Jac Vanek, from PodcastOne; and Nicaila Matthews Okome’s “Side Hustle Pro.” People can listen to some podcasts on their Facebook Pages or News Feed. Continue reading Facebook Goes Live with Audio Rooms, Announces Podcasts

Facebook Rolls Out Its Neighborhoods Feature in Four Cities

Facebook tested “Neighborhoods” in Canada and is now rolling it out in four U.S. cities: Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Charlotte, North Carolina; Newark, New Jersey; and San Diego, California. The new feature will be playing catch-up with similar social apps, including Nextdoor (which had 50 percent annual growth in daily active users last year), Amazon’s Neighbors by Ring, and crime-tracking app Citizen. Facebook’s Neighborhoods, which asks the user to introduce himself and list interests, aims to personalize the user’s experiences and ads. Continue reading Facebook Rolls Out Its Neighborhoods Feature in Four Cities

ByteDance Revenue, Profit Leap in 2020 But No IPO in Sight

Privately-held startup ByteDance, owner of TikTok, reported that its revenue more than doubled to $34.3 billion last year, rising 111 percent from a year ago while gross profit rose 93 percent to $19 billion. As of December 2020, ByteDance — which also runs Douyin, the domestic Chinese version of TikTok, and Jinri Toutiao, a news aggregation app — had about 1.9 billion monthly active users on all its platforms. Due to share-based compensation to workers, the company had a $2.1 billion operating loss last year. Continue reading ByteDance Revenue, Profit Leap in 2020 But No IPO in Sight

Spotify Introduces Live Audio App and Plans Its Creator Fund

Music streaming service Spotify launched its live audio app, Greenroom, for iOS and Android. Built on Locker Room — the app focused on sports content created by Betty Labs and acquired by Spotify in March — the Greenroom app is similar to Clubhouse in that it allows users to host live conversations about music, sports and other topics. Branded with Spotify colors and a new logo, Greenroom features native recordings, which can be distributed as podcasts. Although users can sign in with Spotify credentials, it is not required to use the app. Continue reading Spotify Introduces Live Audio App and Plans Its Creator Fund

Biden Introduces Broader Review of Foreign-Controlled Apps

President Biden revoked former President Trump’s executive order banning social-networking services TikTok and WeChat — developed by Chinese companies ByteDance and Tencent Holdings, respectively — but didn’t let Chinese companies off the hook. Instead, he replaced the previous order with another that establishes a broader review of the potential security risks found in numerous foreign-controlled apps. Biden officials said the new order would create “clear intelligible criteria” to evaluate those risks. Trump’s executive order was immediately challenged in court, and Biden’s move, said analysts, is intended to withstand such a test. Continue reading Biden Introduces Broader Review of Foreign-Controlled Apps

Facebook Adds Ways for Instagram Creators to Earn Revenue

At the first Instagram and Facebook Creator Week event, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg introduced a way for Instagram influencers to earn commissions for recommending or promoting products that lead to online sales. Zuckerberg had announced the previous day that Facebook would not take a cut from creator revenues until 2023, at which point its share would be less than 30 percent, the amount Apple and other platforms collect. “Our goal is to be the best platform for creators like you to make a living,” he said. Continue reading Facebook Adds Ways for Instagram Creators to Earn Revenue

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