Bonded Bitesize – Bringing you your midweek roundup of the latest in digital and media.
Stay connected with recent updates from Microsoft, Google, Meta & many more!
U.S. president, Biden, given power to ban TikTok in U.S. amid concerns over national security
The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee has granted U.S President Joe Biden the authority to ban Chinese-owned app TikTok, depending on his evaluation of its safety. The app has already been banned on all U.S. government devices due to concerns the app may have links to the CCP - with several European and Canadian authorities enforcing similar bans. TikTok has released a statement in response in which it describes the legislation as “rushed”, and claims that the ban would negatively impact the freedom of speech of the millions of American users who use and love the platform.
Snapchat has launched an experimental AI Chatbot, ‘My AI’, using customised ChatGPT technology for members of Snapchat+
The AI Chatbot craze has hit social media - with Snapchat becoming the first platform to launch its own AI chatbot using custom ChatGPT technology. The new chatbot, a purple-skinned character known as ‘My AI’ is available to members of Snapchat’s premium tier Snapchat+, and is able to respond to complex queries. However the company does warn that this kind of AI technology can be very temperamental, and that it will learn and improve as time goes on.
Pinterest is testing a new premium video ad format available to purchase in 24-hour increments
Pinterest is currently conducting Alpha testing for its new ad offering ‘Premiere Spotlight, enabling brands to reach users from more prominent positions within the mobile app. The pricing of this ad space has not yet been announced, but will likely be purchasable in 24-hour increments with an option to schedule them consecutively for an extended period of time. Pinterest describes this new ad space as “a new takeover feature that showcases a brand in a new premium, exclusive placement”, with American department store Kohls testing out the ad space.
LinkedIn is launching Collaborative Articles powered by AI-generated prompts, and contributed to by experts
Microsoft-owned, LinkedIn, has announced that it will begin using AI technology to expand its content, beginning with ‘Collaborative Articles’ which use AI-generated prompts to call on specific users for expertise and input. LinkedIn explains that these articles begin as AI-powered conversation starters, which are then matched to relevant member experts who can contribute their lessons, anecdotes and advice based on their professional experiences. With this, the platform is trying to position itself as the place to gain exposure for your expertise, and find advice based on professional experience.
A recent study shows TikTok Shop is outperforming ecommerce efforts of YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat
Despite a slow start to TikTok Shop (in the UK at least), a new report has found that TikTok is topping the ecommerce efforts of all the social media platforms. Data analytics company, GlobalData, analysed over 200 million posts related to shopping in the last six months, finding that TikTok appeared in 37% of these conversations - outperforming YouTube (27%), Pinterest (22%), Instagram (7%) and Snapchat (6%). The study links these findings to the launch of TikTok Shop in the U.S. back in November, helping market the platform as a shopping destination.
Meta is expanding testing of its age verification tools to more countries, including Canada and Mexico
It seems Instagram’s new age verification tools are working successfully as Meta extends testing to several more countries. The age verification tools, designed to protect younger users on the app, requires users to upload their ID, record a video selfie or ask mutual friends to verify their age as proof of compliance. According to Meta, these new tools are able to stop 96% of teens who attempted to edit their birthdays to over 18, which would have given them unrestricted access to the platform.
New report suggests low level of supply-side partners adoption of Google’s Privacy Sandbox trials could delay withdrawal of 3rd party cookies further
After almost a year of trials, a new report by ad tech firm RTB House, suggests that the lack of FLEDGE’s adoption by publishing and ad tech partners may delay Google’s privacy sandbox once again. According to RTB house, the trials are meant to help the industry determine whether the necessary adjustments to the proposal will be in line with current expectations, or whether it will need to be extended.
TikTok is launching ‘Sounds for Business’, a collection of free sounds designed to help businesses engage their audiences
TikTok has announced a partnership with Elias Audio Branding (a subsidiary of Universal Production Music) to launch its new ‘Sounds for Business’. The collection of sounds are designed as templates for simple content creation, including a mix of music, voice overs and sound cues. The sounds have all been cleared for commercial use, and so can be used for both organic and paid content and are available with TikTok’s Commercial Music Library.
Meta says it is experimenting with AI-powered chats on WhatsApp and Messenger
It seems Mark Zuckerberg wants a slice of the AI pie too, as he announces that Meta is building a ‘top-level product group’ to integrate generative AI into its platforms. Zuckerberg stated that this team will initially focus on building creative tools, with a long-term goal to create AI personas that can help people in a variety of ways. Meta will start by testing AI tools on WhatsApp and Messenger, likely similar to ChatGPT’s conversational chatbot, as well as experimenting with AI-aided filters and ad formats. Zuckerberg mentioned that the company must do a lot of foundational work before sharing these futuristic experiences with users.
U.S streaming service Roku is launching 2 new ad-supported channels to show the content of 17 popular TikTok and YouTube creators
U.S. based streaming service Roku has partnered with creator company Jellysmack to bring creator shows to the Roku channel. The new free, ad-supported TV channels include ‘Hello Inspo’ a lifestyle channel where top creators will share beauty, recipe and DIY inspiration, and ‘Mysteria’ a true crime channel delving into twisted crimes and unsolved mysteries. This partnership brings creator programming to ad-supported video-on-demand, forming an exciting new opportunity for Roku.
Google is testing a redesign of its Ads Dashboard to improve organisation based on user feedback
Your Google Ads Dashboard may be looking a little different soon, as Google is testing a redesign on a small group of users. The current ads dashboard has been criticised for being overly complicated for new users, leading Google to make several changes to improve the overall organisation and wayfinding of the platform. Specifically, the top changes include a new navigation menu, a reorganised interface, and a refreshed look and feel. Whilst a new design could offer a more intuitive, user-friendly experience, it may also slow down the workload of those already accustomed to the current interface - but for now, we will just have to wait and see.
Meta is extending the length of Facebook Reels from 60 secs to 90, as well as adding trending templates and new ‘Grooves’ syncing feature
Meta is adding support for longer Reels on Facebook of up to 90 seconds, having done the same on Instagram several months ago. As well as this, Meta is also rolling out more creative tools for users, including a new templates feature that lets users create Reels from trending templates. And finally, a new ‘Grooves’ feature will automatically align and sync motion in videos to the beat of a song. According to Meta, Reels is its fastest growing format, as it looks to rival short-form content king - TikTok.
TikTok is setting a 60-minute daily screen time limit for users aged under 18, to promote healthy screen time on the app
In the coming weeks TikTok users below the age of 18 will automatically be set to a 60-minute daily screen time limit. Once users hit this limit, they will have to enter a passcode to carry on using the app - whilst users under the age of 13 will need their parents/guardians to enter a passcode to grant them an additional watch time of 30 minutes. TikTok hopes this feature will encourage younger users to adopt healthy screen times, though users can opt out of this feature if they don’t want to face any restrictions.
Microsoft is slowly rolling out upgrades to Bing’s AI chat, including setting the tone as creative, balanced or precise
Microsoft is continuing to roll out updates to its ‘New Bing’ chatbot powered by an upgraded version of ChatGPT’s technology - such as a new setting that enables users to set the tone of their conversations. Users with access to this feature are able to adjust the tone of their conversational responses to ‘more creative’, ‘more balanced’ or ‘more precise’. As well as this, others have reported seeing a new daily limit of 100 queries per day, a new tagging system to break down queries, tone of voice changes, some constraints relaxed, and more users being invited to test the search tool.
TikTok launches beta testing of new ‘Creativity Program’ to help creators boost their revenue potential
TikTok is introducing its Creativity Program beta, designed to help creators foster their creativity, generate higher revenue potential and unlock more real-world opportunities. Eligibility to this new monetisation tool requires creators to be at least 18 years old, meet minimum follower and video view requirements, and have an account that is in ‘good standing’. TikTok stated that this program was developed based on their feedback from creators - likely based on their current highly-criticised creator fund.