Bonded Bitesize – Bringing you your midweek roundup of the latest in digital and media.
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Elon Musk is reportedly planning to launch an AI startup to rival OpenAI
Elon Musk is reported to be taking on long-standing rival OpenAI, with the launch of his own AI startup. There have been rumours similar to this ever since he divested from the company in 2018, which he had helped to fund in the early days. These rumours have escalated again recently after reports that Musk is supposedly gathering the money and people necessary to launch his new venture - including former DeepMind employee Igor Babuschlan. Watch this space.
Twitter is relaunching its creator subscription program, with lower barriers to entry
In a bid to bring creators to the platform, Musk is relaunching Twitter’s creator subscription program - formerly known as ‘Super Follows’. Starting in the U.S. the new subscription program promises to give creators the entirety of their earnings for the first year (excluding processing fees) and creators can charge $2.99, $4.99 or $9.99 per month for their content. Twitter has also reduced the barriers to entry for the new subscriptions, meaning that creators only need a minimum of 500 followers, 25 tweets in the last 30 days and to be over the age of 18 to be eligible for monetisation.
Following investigation, Pinterest announces new safety tools and parental controls to protect teens
Following an NBC News Investigation that exposed the way paedophiles use Pinterest to curate image boards of young girls, Pinterest has announced several new safety measures. These include a new set of parental controls, updated age verification policies and private, undiscoverable account settings. The platform also emphasised its other safety measures put in place to protect young teens, including its ban on beauty filters, weight loss ads and body shaming.
Facebook is testing AI generated Stories based on previously shared images
Facebook has been spotted prompting users to use a new feature known as ‘Advanced Stories’ that uses AI to generate new Stories based on previously shared images. Described by Facebook, Advanced Stories are “high-quality, ready-made Stories using advanced photo and video data, including image quality, location and the presence of people and animals”. Although these may feel inauthentic, they may be useful for brands and businesses wanting to create batch content or highlight specific products.
TikTok is considering ditching ‘Friends’ tab for a new ‘Explore’ tab focused on discovery
TikTok has confirmed that it is running a test that swaps out its ‘Friends’ tab with a new ‘Explore’ tab that helps users discover new content (not too dissimilar from Instagram’s Explore page). TikTok replaced its original ‘Discover’ section with its ‘Friends’ tab, though this move was not well received, with many expressing that they preferred using the app to find new content rather than to interact with their friends. Swapping back will likely help TikTok restore its discovery roots.
Snap signs several new music licensing deals to expand its Sound Library
Snap has signed a deal with multiple music labels to expand its Sounds library, offering users a wider selection of song clips to use within their Snaps and Stories. These partnerships will add local artists’ music to the platform, allowing for greater discovery and creativity. Snapchat also shared that emerging artists working with UnitedMasters, one of the new partner labels, will be eligible for grants through their Sounds Creator Fund, which awards up to $100’000 per month to upcoming musicians.
Google is developing AI features that will enable searchers to complete transactions alongside search ads
Whilst Google is in the process of building an all-new search engine powered by its new AI technology, it is also working on adding new AI features to its existing engine under the project name Magi. This team of over 160 Googlers are currently developing new AI features that will allow searchers to complete transactions while still incorporating search ads.
LinkedIn is rolling out ways to verify your identity and workplace on the platform for free
In a recent blog post, LinkedIn announced that it is introducing new ways to verify your identity and where you work. Beginning with users in the United States, the company is partnering with CLEAR, a secure identity platform, to provide verification for users. These verifications will be displayed on a user's profile, allowing others to know that they are connecting with genuine accounts rather than fake or scam accounts.
Reddit expands its Independent ad agency program with Horizon Media, PMG and Wpromote
As it strives to expand its advertising business, Reddit has announced the addition of three agencies to its independent agency program. Horizon Media, PMG AND Wpromote will all join as official partners. Whilst Reddit also shared that it is renewing its flagship independent agency partnership with Tinuiti, which joined the program last year. These agencies have access to a range of commercial and strategic benefits typically reserved for clients at the holding companies - including ad incentives, enhanced measurement tools, bespoke insights and early access to new ad product tests.
Spotify is rolling out a tool which will help turn broadcasts into podcasts automatically
Spotify has announced it will be rolling out a tool that will allow broadcast publishers to turn their radio content into on-demand podcasts. This new broadcast-to-podcast (B2P) technology is available for any publisher with an account with Megaphone, Spotify’s podcasting platform. While it typically takes publishing teams approximately 30-60 minutes to manually convert each individual broadcast episode to a podcast, this new tool can do the same process automatically - making it easier for people to listen when and where they like.
Google announces it will remove video thumbnails in search results when video is not the main content
In a recent blog post, Google has announced that it will remove the video thumbnail image from the search results snippet when that video is not the main content of the page. According to Google this will make it easier for users to understand what to expect when they visit a page. This change will of course impact search appearance reported metrics for videos in the performance report in Google Search Console.
Instagram Reels adds several creator-focused updates, including dedicated ‘trends’ section
As concerns over the safety of TikTok continue to grow, it appears Instagram is using this time to push its own short form content, announcing several new updates to Reels. Meta has announced that it is adding a dedicated destination for trending audio and hashtags on Reels, expanding gifts to more countries, enhancing editing tools and adding new metrics. These new metrics include a new total watch time, an average watch time, and insights into how many users start following a Creator directly from their Reels.
TikTok has quietly removed its 10 minute video duration option from the apps interface
Just over a year ago, TikTok expanded the video duration of TikTok videos from five minutes to ten minutes - now, however, it seems that this option has disappeared altogether. Several users have reported that the button has been removed from TikTok’s interface. While users are still able to manually upload videos of this length, the ability to record them within the app seems to have been discontinued. TikTok has not commented on the matter but many suspect that this removal suggests a shift back to its short-form content.
Microsoft has partnered with Snapchat to bring AR Lenses to Teams meetings
Microsoft has partnered with Snapchat to jazz up the dullest of Teams calls with the help of its new AR Lenses. Teams users are now able to pick from 26 different Lenses, transforming their backgrounds from volcanic landscapes into snow-capped mountains. The integration is made possible by Camera Kit, Snap’s SDK that allows partners to leverage Snap’s AR technology directly in their own applications and websites.
Google Bard adds more Search topics to ‘Google It’ button based on queries
Google’s AI chatbot, Bard, is making it easier for people to explore topics related to their queries by using the ‘Google It’ button. This button gives users a section of Search related topics to click on and explore. In addition, Google is also publishing a new ‘Updates’ page where they will announce all future updates for the Bard, helping keep people up to date with the quickly advancing technology.