TikTok announces new updates during first TikTok World event

TikTok hosted its first global virtual event, TikTok World, at the end of last month, which celebrated creators and brands. (Supplied)
TikTok hosted its first global virtual event, TikTok World, at the end of last month, which celebrated creators and brands. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 06 October 2021

TikTok announces new updates during first TikTok World event

TikTok hosted its first global virtual event, TikTok World, at the end of last month, which celebrated creators and brands. (Supplied)
  • Platform introduces new branding, creative and commerce solutions during inaugural event

DUBAI: TikTok hosted its first global virtual event, TikTok World, at the end of last month. The event celebrated creators and brands and announced new tools and solutions to help marketers better connect with their audiences.

President of Global Business Solutions at TikTok Blake Chandlee said during the event that TikTok became the most downloaded app in the world in the last year.

Creators on the platform have produced a “whole new form of communication that’s refreshing, impactful and entertaining, and they’re surrounded by a community that’s changing culture at large,” he said. The cultural shift was evident at the Tokyo Olympics earlier this year when TikTok was the “human social platform,” he added.

When brands join TikTok, they are encouraged to think like marketers and act like creators — especially with 44 percent of users saying they want branded content on the platform to be “fun.” During the event, TikTok made a case for why brands need to be on the platform by citing data showing that 92 percent of users take action after watching a video and 70 percent say TikTok ads are enjoyable.

FASTFACTS

* 46 percent watch TikTok without distractions

* 61 percent say videos on TikTok are more unique than on any other platform

* 70 percent say TikTok ads are enjoyable

* 92 percent take action after watching a video

* 44 percent want branded content to be fun

“TikTok has become one the most beloved platforms by defining a new form of entertainment for huge global audiences. This has massive implications for advertisers, which has shaped our journey so far and will keep guiding our vision for the future,” said Ray Cao, managing director, global head of product strategy and operations.

To further help brands, TikTok announced the following solutions:

TikTok Creator Marketplace, a self-serve portal that allows brands to find a variety of creators to partner with.

TikTok Creator Marketplace API, which enables access to TikTok first-party marketplace data for creator marketing experts — including Whalar, Influential, and Captiv8 — to provide brands with white-glove services to help manage the entire end-to-end process of creator marketing on TikTok.

Open Application Campaigns, which means brands can post campaign briefs to creators across TikTok Creator Marketplace so that they can self-apply and participate.

Branded Content Toggle, a tool that allows creators to mark videos and disclose commercial content.

Customized Instant Page, which is a landing page that loads 11 times faster than standard mobile pages and can be directly created by brands.

Additionally, TikTok also shared measurements and tracking tools such as the Brand Lift Study, in partnership with research consultancies Kantar and Nielsen; ad viewability in partnership with MOAT and DoubleVerify; and an inventory filter that allows advertisers to decide which inventory they want to place their ads next to.

Lastly, the platform announced TikTok Shopping. “Over the years, we have seen the platform evolve into a place to shop and tell,” said Tao Baecklund, director of product management. Users on the platforms like to share specifics on what they’re buying and make recommendations to their audiences — a behavior that emerged organically, explained Baecklund. In fact, the trend led to the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, and videos with this hashtag have amassed 4.6 billion views in 2021.

TikTok Shopping will allow first-party integration, providing brands with an end-to-end commerce experience from uploading products to managing payment and shipping directly from the platform. It will also allow third-party integration from e-commerce partners such as Shopify and Square.

In addition to the new announcements, the event also celebrated creators, artists, small-to-medium businesses, and brands that succeeded on the platform.

“We have witnessed time and time again the important role that brands play in the TikTok experience. We’ve also seen how our community enjoys engaging with the brands they love. So when businesses of all sizes come to TikTok, we're excited to help them connect with their community, market their products, and build their brand in a way they can't do anywhere else,” said Chandlee.


Saudi ministry launches virtual media center for Hajj season 2022

Virtual media center. (Shutterstock)
Virtual media center. (Shutterstock)
Updated 03 July 2022

Saudi ministry launches virtual media center for Hajj season 2022

Virtual media center. (Shutterstock)
  • The center is a digital platform through which virtual media services are provided to government agencies and the media

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Media has launched the virtual media center for the Hajj season 2022, which aims to unify media efforts and broadcast media content, and showcase the Kingdom’s efforts in serving pilgrims.

The center is a digital platform through which virtual media services are provided to government agencies and the media. The services provided are related to broadcasting Hajj news and programs by uploading news materials, photos and videos in their original quality for the benefit of all media outlets registered with the platform from inside and outside the Kingdom.

The launch of the virtual media center’s work coincides with the start of the tasks of the media operations room, which includes several work teams, including the press conference team that works on the daily briefing of the Hajj season. It also includes the government communication team, the media planning team, the public relations and partnerships team, the content creation team, the design team, the international communication team, and the monitoring and reporting team, with qualified national workers.

Media professionals can enter the virtual media center through the following website: https://vpo.media.gov.sa/Home/Index.


India stops Kashmiri photojournalist from flying to Paris

India stops Kashmiri photojournalist from flying to Paris
Updated 02 July 2022

India stops Kashmiri photojournalist from flying to Paris

India stops Kashmiri photojournalist from flying to Paris
  • "Despite procuring a French visa, I was stopped at the immigration desk at Delhi airport,” Sanna Irshad Mattoo said
  • She was among the 2022 Pulitzer Prize winners in the Feature Photography category

NEW DELHI: A Pulitzer Prize-winning Kashmiri photojournalist said on Saturday that she was stopped by Indian immigration authorities from flying to Paris without giving any reason.
In a tweet, Sanna Irshad Mattoo said she was scheduled to travel from New Delhi to Paris for a book launch and photography exhibition as one of 10 winners of the Serendipity Arles Grant 2020.
“Despite procuring a French visa, I was stopped at the immigration desk at Delhi airport,” she said.
She said she was not given any reason but was told by immigration officials that she would not be able to travel internationally.
There was no immediate comment by Indian authorities.
Mattoo was among the 2022 Pulitzer Prize winners in the Feature Photography category for the coverage of the COVID-19 crisis in India as part of a Reuters team.
She has been working as a freelance photojournalist since 2018 depicting life in Indian-controlled Kashmir, where insurgents have been fighting for Kashmir’s independence or its merger with neighboring Pakistan.
Journalists have long braved threats in the restive region as the government seeks to control the press more effectively to censure independent reporting. Their situation has grown worse since India revoked the region’s semi-autonomy in 2019.


Turkey blocks access to Deutsche Welle and Voice of America

Turkey blocks access to Deutsche Welle and Voice of America
Updated 01 July 2022

Turkey blocks access to Deutsche Welle and Voice of America

Turkey blocks access to Deutsche Welle and Voice of America
  • An Ankara court ruled to restrict access to their websites late Thursday
  • Deutsche Welle said it did not comply with the licensing requirement because it “would have allowed the Turkish government to censor editorial content”

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s media watchdog has banned access to the Turkish services of US public service broadcaster Voice of America and German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, prompting complaints of censorship.
The Supreme Board of Radio and Television enforced a February warning to the two companies which air Turkish-language television content online to apply for a broadcast license or be blocked. An Ankara court ruled to restrict access to their websites late Thursday.
Neither website was available in Turkey on Friday. Deutsche Welle is German taxpayer-funded and Voice of America is funded by the US government through the US Agency for Global Media.
In a statement, Deutsche Welle said it did not comply with the licensing requirement because it “would have allowed the Turkish government to censor editorial content.”
Director general Peter Limbourg said this was explained in detail to the Turkish radio and TV board, abbreviated as RTUK.
“For example, media licensed in Turkey are required to delete online content that RTUK interprets as inappropriate. This is simply unacceptable for an independent broadcaster. DW will take legal action against the blocking that has now taken place,” Limbourg said.
The German government said it took note of the reports “with regret.”
“Our concern about the state of freedom of opinion and the press in Turkey continues,” government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said, adding that Germany is in a “regular, critical exchange” with Turkey on the issue.
Asked whether the German government can intervene in this case, Hebestreit noted that Deutsche Welle has said it plans to take legal action “and we have to wait for that.”
RTUK dismissed any criticism in a statement on its website Friday, saying that “no one needs to have uncertainties on the freedom of expression or press, worry unnecessarily or incriminate our Supreme Board that is doing its duties based on legal grounds.”
The RTUK statement added that had the media organizations “acted in line with regulations,” there wouldn’t have been access bans. It also promised to request from the court that the restrictions be revoked if the websites launch companies in Turkey and get licensed.
But Ilhan Tasci, a RTUK member from Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party, said he opposed the move to block the two foreign broadcasters. “Here is press freedom and advanced democracy,” he tweeted sarcastically.
The RTUK board is dominated by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party and its nationalist allies, and regularly fines critical broadcasters.
Thursday’s move is based on an August 2019 regulation that says the RTUK would give 72-hour advance notice to unlicensed online media regarding when they had to apply and pay three months of licensing fees. Failure to do so could result in legal action against a media organization’s executives and access restrictions.
In February, RTUK said it identified three websites without broadcast licenses, which also included the Turkish services of Euronews. But Euronews said it argued that it did not broadcast live in Turkish or air visual bulletins and was therefore exempt from the licensing requirements.
The Journalists’ Union of Turkey called the decision censorship. “Give up on trying to ban everything you don’t like, this society wants freedom,” it tweeted.
Voice of America noted in February that while licensing for TV and radio broadcasts is a norm because broadcast airwaves are finite resources, the Internet does not have limited bandwidth. “The only possible purpose of a licensing requirement for Internet distribution is enabling censorship,” VOA said in a statement then.
State Department spokesman Ned Price tweeted when the licensing regulation emerged in February that the US was concerned with RTUK’s “decision to expand government control over free press outlets.”
In response, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic noted that the US required Turkey’s state English-language broadcaster, TRT World, to register as a foreign agent under a law intended for lobbyists and public relations firms working for foreign governments. TRT said it was newsgathering and reporting like any other international media but had to register as a foreign agent in 2020.
“TRT abides by relevant regulations for its activities in the US Is that censorship? We expect the same from @VoATurkish and others,” Bilgic tweeted.
Turkey was rated “Not Free” for 2021 on the Freedom of the Net index by Freedom House. Hundreds of thousands of domains and web addresses have been blocked.
Reporters Without Borders ranked Turkey at 149 out of 180 countries in its World Press Freedom Index, saying “all possible means are used to undermine critics,” including stripping journalists of press cards, online censorship, lawsuits and arrests.


Amazon to allow Prime users to unsubscribe in two clicks after EU complaints

Amazon to allow Prime users to unsubscribe in two clicks after EU complaints
Updated 01 July 2022

Amazon to allow Prime users to unsubscribe in two clicks after EU complaints

Amazon to allow Prime users to unsubscribe in two clicks after EU complaints

BRUSSELS: US online retail giant Amazon has made it easier for users to cancel their subscriptions to its fast shipping club Prime with just two clicks, following complaints from consumer groups, the European Commission said on Friday.
European Consumer Organization (BEUC), the Norwegian Consumer Council and the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue took their grievances to the EU executive in April last year.
They said users had to go through numerous hurdles such as complicated navigation menus, skewed wording and confusing choices, to unsubscribe from Amazon Prime.
The company will now allow users to unsubscribe from Amazon Prime with two clicks via a prominent and clear ‘cancel button’, the Commission said.
The changes will apply to all EU websites and for desktop devices, mobiles and tablets with immediate effect.
“Consumers must be able to exercise their rights without any pressure from platforms. One thing is clear: manipulative design or ‘dark patterns’ must be banned,” Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said in a statement.


Media watchdog sounds alarm over Burkina journalist

Media watchdog sounds alarm over Burkina journalist
Updated 01 July 2022

Media watchdog sounds alarm over Burkina journalist

Media watchdog sounds alarm over Burkina journalist
  • Media watchdog calls on authorities in Burkina Faso to act after one of the country’s most prominent journalists received death threats
  • Thousands of people have been killed and nearly two million displaced in the past seven years

OUAGADOUGOU: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on authorities in Burkina Faso to act after one of the country’s most prominent journalists received death threats.
Ahmed Newton Barry, a former TV president and ex-editor of L’Evenement newspaper who now works as a current affairs commentator, was targeted in an audio clip circulating among WhatsApp groups, the watchdog said late Thursday.
The speaker in the clip identifies Barry by name, describes him as a “terrorist” and says a hundred people would assault his home.
“We are going to set fire to it and then destroy everything and collect the rubble that is piled up and leave the ground vacant,” the clip says, according to the CPJ.
Barry told the CPJ the threat may be related to comments he made on a TV program in which he described the Malian government as working with Russian mercenaries.
Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator in Johannesburg, urged the authorities to carry out a thorough investigation and ensure Barry’s safety.
“The security of journalists in Burkina Faso is tenuous enough without their having to worry about a mob being provoked to attack their homes,” she said.
Local press associations have also condemned the threats and urged the country’s junta-dominated authorities to investigate.
One of the world’s poorest countries, Burkina Faso is in the grip of a nearly seven-year-old crisis sparked by jihadist raiders crossing from neighboring Mali.
Thousands of people have been killed and nearly two million displaced.