inPress Tech Watch – November 30th

From the changing fortunes of Meta, to the rise of the metaverse… media and tech continue to have a symbiotic relationship that shapes the very nature of our society. Updated weekly, the inPress Tech Watch Tracker collates the biggest media tech stories making the headlines around the global industry. Got a story to share? You can contact us directly at info@inpressonline.com

International

  • Nov 28th: Yahoo has taken a 25% stake in Taboola – a leading web recommendations platform listed on the NASDAQ. The 30yr exclusive deal means that Taboola will power all native advertising across Yahoo’s properties, with inventory able to be purchased through Yahoo DSP.
  • Nov 28th: BlockFi has become the latest major crypto casualty following the recent collapse of exchange giant FTX, filing for bankruptcy on Monday. The company had already suspended withdrawals a few months ago, due to the ongoing confusion surrounding FTX assets, according to CoinDesk.
  • Nov 28th: In his latest Twitter rant, Elon Musk has opened up a feud with Apple. The Twitter owner, who is also now set to become the platform’s biggest influencer, made a series of belligerent comments against the tech giant, inclusive of the claim that “Apple has also threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store, but won’t tell us why.”
  • Nov 16th: In a scoop first announced by Tech Analyst Gergely Orosz on Twitter and now being widely reported by the international press, Elon Musk has today sent an email to all staff outlining his vision for ‘Twitter 2.0’ and saying that, in order to get there, working conditions at the company will need to become ‘extremely hardcore’. According to Orosz, people need to click ‘Yes’ in the email to commit to being part of this by 5pm ET tomorrow, or pickup 3 months severance.
  • Nov 15th: Opera has integrated TikTok directly into its web browser, according to TechCrunch. The addition allows users to keep TikTok open as a sidetab within the desktop browser, allowing them to scroll through TikTok videos and post content without opening a separate app or creating a new tab.

Africa & Middle East

  • Nov 28th: Meta has launched its first Metaverse experience in Africa, inviting top Nigerian creators and influencers to explore its metaverse credentials across NFTs, avatars, and AR. The #FlexNaija event included a special concert in Lagos, Nigeria, with mixed reality elements designed to explore the dynamism and versatility of the online experience.
  • Nov 16th: Quartz reports that ‘FTX’s collapse has sent shivers down the spine of Africa’s crypto community’, as downturn in the global Crypto markets continues. Genesis Global Capital is the latest key market player to halt customer withdrawals in the wake of FTX’s collapse, as equity firms and exchanges around the world look for capital to help sure up operations.
  • Nov 9th: Amidst all of the Twitter chaos, the company has laid off nearly all of its staff in Ghana, which is its only African office. The BBC reports that in an email it saw from the firm, Twitter said that this was because it “is re-organising its operations as a result of a need to reduce costs.”

Asia-Pacific

  • Nov 28th: Covid protests in China have seen the government clamp down on social media platforms in recent days, with many reporting bot accounts flooding their timelines in an attempt to drownout protest news. The BBC says that words like ‘Shanghai’ and ‘Urumqi’ – cities where residents have protested – have been censored on platforms such as Weibo, as the CCP’s archaic approach to freedom of speech comes into direct conflict with the reality of the modern day social media world.
  • Nov 25th: Asia’s richest person, Gautam Adani, has set his sights on building a media empire, according to the FT. Earlier this month, his flagship company Adani Enterprises raised $2.4bn in a public share offering. “India does not have one single [outlet] to compare to Financial Times or Al Jazeera,” he told the publication.
  • Oct 28th: Al Jazeera and numerous other outlets report that the Indian Government has tightened its grip on tech platforms within the country, through tweaks to its IT rules. Under the new legislation, a government panel will be formed to hear user complaints about social media content moderation decisions, effectively giving the government control over how these platforms behave in such situations.
  • Oct 26th: In its latest Threat Analysis Group (TAG) update, Google says that in September, it terminated 6,957 YouTube channels and 144 Blogger blogs as part of the company’s ongoing investigation into co-ordinated influence operations linked to China. During the same period, the company said it terminated three YouTube channels as part of an investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to Russia.

Europe

  • Nov 28th: Meta has been fined €265m by the Irish Data Protection Commission, after a recent breach resulted in the details of 500m+ users being published online. The Guardian says that the company has now been fined nearly €1bn by the organisation since September 2021, which regulates big tech companies such as Meta, TikTok, Apple and Google, owing to their European headquarters being based in the country.
  • Nov 29th: After much speculation, changes to the UK Online safety Bill have now been announced. In one of the more controversial updates, plans to require big tech firms to remove ‘legal but harmful’ content have now been scrapped, in what is believed to be a bid to help the bill move through parliament without further delay.
  • Nov 16th: The EU Digital Services act comes into force today, which the organisation says provides rules that are designed to be ‘proportionate, foster innovation, growth and competitiveness, and facilitate the scaling up of smaller platforms, SMEs and start-ups’. New obligations for companies operating in the EU include transparency, named points of contact including from a legal perspective, greater cooperation with national authorities, and compliance with stronger legislation around advertising to children. You can read the key goals of the Digital Services act here.
  • Nov 9th: Meta has missed the deadline to appeal against its Facebook & Instagram ban in Russia, according to Reuters. The platforms were banned by the platform back in March, when new media laws were introduced and they were determined by the Kremlin to be “extremist”. Meta had already lost its initial appeal in June.
  • Nov 7th: The UK National Security Bill threatens to “criminalise” public interest journalism and whistleblowing, according to a number of industry bodies and reported here by Press Gazette. Guardian News and Media, the News Media Association (NMA), whistleblowers charity Protect, the Campaign for Freedom of Information and Article 19 have all made submissions to the UK Government asking for a public interest defence clause to be added into the legislation.
  • Oct 27th: Reuters reports that EU antitrust regulators are investigating Google Play, after the company said it would remove apps that did not use its own billing system. The article notes that, over the last decade, Google has incurred 8.25 billion euros in EU antitrust fines following three investigations into its business practices’

North & South America

  • Nov 28th: Today is ‘Cyber Monday’, and despite a notable slowdown in global tech growth, early analyst predictions suggest that retailers in the US are on course to achieve record sales this year. According to estimates from Adobe Analytics and published here by Reuters, total Cyber Monday sales could be set to hit $11.6 billion.
  • Oct 31st: In a new series exploring the increasing reach and power of TikTok, Senior Guardian Tech Reporter, Johana Bhuiyan says ‘TikTok has become a global giant. The US is threatening to rein it in. She says that since it became clear in June that Chinese parent company ByteDance has access to US consumer data, the platform has been the focus of rare bipartisan calls for regulation and inquiry.
  • Oct 27th: Half of all US adults aged 18-30 are now almost as likely to trust information from social media sites as they are to trust information from national news outlets, according to a new Pew Research study. 50% say that they have some or a lot of trust in social media, compared with 56% who trust in national news outlets, and 62% in local news.