Wednesday Wrap-Up #454

Nick Carolan

The US Federal Court pauses Trump’s TikTok ban
President Trump’s nation-wide ban on TikTok will not go into effect this week as scheduled, following a ruling by the US Federal Court on Sunday. The exact details of this ruling are yet to be announced, due to the sensitive material included in the government’s motion, but a deal reached between by both parties last weekend was believed to have resolved the standoff. Last weekend, a federal magistrate judge in San Francisco also placed an injunction on the Commerce Department’s ban on WeChat, pending further court deliberations.

TikTok hits back against ‘misinformation’ in Senate enquiry
TikTok has used a submission to the Australian Senate inquiry into foreign interference through social media to refute “misinformation” about its connection to China, using the opportunity to characterise itself as a global platform with “strict controls around security and data access”. TikTok’s submission also made note of comments made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison at an American security forum in early August stating there was “nothing at this point that would suggest to us that security interests have been compromised or Australian citizens have been compromised because of what’s happening with those applications”.

Tech giants pledge to fight harmful content
Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have each agreed to adopt a common set of definitions covering hate speech and other content, and have promised to work together in monitoring industry efforts, according to the Global Alliance for Responsible Media – a cross-industry initiative founded and led by the World Federation of Advertisers. The deal also covers the standardisation of reporting methods and the need for independent oversight in this space.

Pinterest introduces Story Pins and new profiles for creators
Pinterest has added several new features for content creators on the platform, including the introduction of Story Pins in beta (with Pinners in the US), a new creator profile, and improved analytics tools. The new creator profiles will focus on showcasing the creator’s published content, rather than Pins they saved, and will give users the option of messaging creators directly, as well as reacting to their content.

YouTube rolls out greater age-restrictions on content 
YouTube is harnessing AI-powered technology to try and catch more videos that may require age restrictions, meaning that more users globally may be asked to sign into their accounts to verify their age before watching content on the platform. The rollout comes as YouTube tries to address global criticism from concerned parents groups and advocacy boards over it being unsafe for children.

Instagram extends Reels, adds more edit options 
Instagram has added some new updates to its TikTok competitor, Reels, including the ability to create Reels up to 30 seconds long, trim and delete any clip, and extend the timer to 10 seconds.

Sir David Attenborough breaks Instagram record
Sir David Attenborough has broken Jennifer Aniston’s record for the fastest time to reach a million followers on Instagram, achieving the coveted count in 4 hours 44 minutes, according to Guinness World Records. Last year, Aniston reached the milestone in 5 hours and 16 minutes.

View this post on Instagram

David Attenborough has spent a lifetime travelling, exploring the wild places of our planet and documenting the living world in all its variety and wonder. He’s also witnessed the damaged caused. Saving our planet is now a communications challenge. We know what to do, we just need the will. That’s why we want to share this message on Instagram. Because there is hope and together, we can inspire change. Social media isn’t David’s usual habitat so while he’s recorded messages solely for Instagram, like the one in this post, we’re helping to run this account. In case you’re wondering, ‘we’ are Jonnie and Colin and we worked with David on A Life On Our Planet. So, as well as sharing the messages he’s recorded especially for this account we’ll also post some exclusive clips and behind the scenes content. Stay tuned.

A post shared by A Life On Our Planet (@davidattenborough) on Sep 24, 2020 at 2:00am PDT

Google takes a new route in the campaign against the ACCC
Google has enlisted Australian comedian Greta Lee Jackson to steer the next phase of its ongoing campaign against the ACCC’s plan to make digital platforms pay for news. The new spot has arrived as the competition regulator concludes its consultation period with digital platforms and news publishers before the proposed mandatory news code becomes law. Google claims the proposal is “extreme” and unfair.

“The system being proposed is called ‘binding final-offer arbitration’, referred to in the United States as ‘baseball arbitration’,” the managing director of Google Australia and New Zealand, Mel Silva, said in a blog post. “It isn’t used in any of the eight other mandatory codes in Australia. In fact, without the two parties’ consent, it’s never been used in Australian law before.” Per the Guardian, Silva instead proposed a “standard dispute resolution scheme” but did not elaborate on what that would look like. The ACCC would not comment on the consultation process but the regulator is not bound to adopt Google’s model.

Ones to watch
WhatsApp is experimenting with disappearing messages, similar to those on Snapchat and Instagram; LinkedIn is working on giving users the ability to choose who can comment on their posts; and in the US, the Department of Justice has submitted a proposal to weaken Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a rule that protects websites and apps from liability for third-party content.