Tuesday Tune-Up #446


Facebook reports growth in revenue and users in Q2
During its Q2 earnings call last week, Facebook reported revenue of $18.7 billion, up 11 per cent year-on-year, and said it is expecting revenue growth for the third quarter of about 10 per cent. The platform also shared that monthly users across all apps (Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram) also increased by 0.15 billion in Q2, now standing at 3.14 billion. The figures represent a 12 per cent annual growth in both DAU and MAU.

Microsoft moves to buy TikTok in four markets
Microsoft is exploring a deal with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, which would see the tech giant own and operate TikTok in the US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Microsoft says it is aiming to complete its discussions with ByteDance no later than September 15th. The news comes as President Trump announced that he is planning to ban TikTok from operating in the US and, while talks were in place ahead of this, Microsoft met with the President after he voiced his opposition to the deal.

TikTok calls for greater transparency within the industry
TikTok has announced that it is taking new measures to give outsiders access to the algorithms it uses to sort and share users’ videos, and that it will be letting experts observe moderation policies – challenging its rivals to follow suit. The move comes as TikTok launches its Transparency and Accountability Centre for moderation and data practices.

Snapchat looks to take on TikTok (again)
Snapchat will begin testing a new feature that lets users set their Snaps to music, similar to – you guessed it – TikTok. Per TechCrunch, users will be able to add music either pre or post-Snap capture from what the company promises will be a “robust” catalog of music accessible through deals with most major music industry partners, who’ve licensed their music for use in Snapchat’s app. One key point of difference will see users able to listen to entire songs in-app, rather than the abbreviated soundbites that exist on TikTok.

Twitter updates its policy on links, adding hateful conduct and violence
As part of ongoing efforts to limit harmful content on its platform, Twitter has updated its policy on links, adding hateful conduct and violence to the list of link categories it may block and potentially suspend users for sharing.

Congress takes on the tech giants in antitrust hearing
The CEOs of Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon all appeared in front of Congress last week, as part of a hearing to determine if their business practices amount to anti-competitive monopolies. After five and a half hours, the session ended with the Committee Chair saying that it was clear to him that “these companies, as they exist today, have monopoly power.” The committee will publish its report with conclusions and next steps in due course.

The Woodstock of gaming is about to start
The 25th edition of QuakeCon will take place this weekend (also) on your screen. The event will feature 60 straight hours of nonstop live content on a so-called Global Super Stream: “Three days of celebrity influencer streams, live concerts, developer panels and much more”. The Quake community will get together for the first time on Twitch to raise money for charities, including COVID-19 Direct Relief, UNICEF, the NAACP Legal Defence Fund, and The Trevor Project. Check out the full schedule here.

ScoMo cooks curry, gets roasted on Facebook
Like many other heads of state around the world, Prime Minister Scott Morrison uses social media to connect with Australians. One of his latest posts on Facebook — where he showed off his cooking skills — didn’t sit well with many. Gastronomy aside, some in Western Australia took offence at the caption, in which he described the state as having “some issues” due to its ongoing border closures. Morrison was quick to respond to the backlash, although some weren’t willing to accept the apology, because “you like coriander too much by the look of it.”

Ones to watch
Facebook has unveiled its latest experimental app, E.gg – calling it an “experimental new platform for weird and wonderful expressions of who you are and what you love”; Twitter has confirmed that it’s exploring the idea of a paid subscription model, and has begun surveying users about potential features; and WeChat has officially stopped operations in India after being banned by the country over privacy fears.

This edition of the Tuesday Tune-Up was prepared with additional reporting by Ryan Dubras.