Australia passes News Media Bargaining Code
Australia has passed a world-first law aimed at making tech giants pay for news content on their platforms. The amended legislation - known as the News Media Bargaining Code - encourages tech giants and news organisations to negotiate payment deals between themselves, and commits Facebook and Google to invest tens of millions of dollars in local digital content. The code also forces platforms to give notice to news publishers of changes to their algorithms, which decides which stories are being displayed. As part of its response to the situation, Facebook has announced that it plans to invest an additional $1 billion in the news industry over the next three years, as a sign of its commitment to journalism.
Twitter announces two new features, incl. Super Follows
Twitter has announced two significant upcoming changes to its platform. The first, known as Super Follows, will allow users to charge their followers for access to extra content, such as bonus tweets, access to a community group, or a badge indicating their support. While the second new feature, Communities, will enable users to create and join groups around specific interests - such as pets or gardening - allowing them to see more tweets focused on those topics. There is currently no timeline for when either of these features will launch.
YouTube plans new parental control features for tweens and teens
YouTube is preparing to launch a beta test of new features that will give parents the ability to grant older kids more limited access to YouTube through a “supervised” Google Account. This will mean that parents can restrict what tweens and teens can watch on the platform, as well as what they can do - such as creating videos or leaving comments - while still giving them greater freedoms than the YouTube Kids app. The new features will allow parents to select between three different levels of YouTube access for their child, and will be tested in more than 80 countries worldwide over the “coming months."
Clubhouse responds to audio-recording leak
Clubhouse has confirmed that it has “permanently banned” the user responsible for siphoning off audio feeds from "multiple rooms" on the platform and making them accessible from a third-party website. As part of its response, the platform has also said it plans to add additional encryption and blocks to prevent the service from pinging servers based in China, and that it would be hiring an external security firm to review the updates.
Telegram adds auto-delete option and more
Telegram is updating its app with options for auto-deleting messages, expiring invite links and new unlimited groups, according to a recent blog post. While auto-deleting messages are already possible in Telegram’s encrypted Secret Chats, this new update for iOS and Android will mean that users can now make messages disappear in any kind of chat, either 24 hours or seven days after messages are sent.
TikTok partners with NEDA to tackle eating disorders
TikTok is partnering with the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) to launch its own eating disorder awareness week, and is implementing two new features aimed at providing resources and support to those who need it. Now, if a user searches for terms like “proana” (short for “pro-anorexia”) or “eating disorder,” the app will point them towards support resources and provide them with NEDA’s phone number. The company also plans on putting a PSA on hashtag pages that could potentially contain triggering content, such as the page for #WhatIEatInADay.
Ones to watch
Facebook is testing new tools aimed at preventing people from sharing content that victimizes children, as well as improvements to its detection and reporting tools; Twitter is planning a new 'safety mode' feature which will let you auto-block and mute abusive accounts; and you can now schedule new TikTok videos, but only on desktop (for now).