Backslash Week #14 – News of the Week
Week 14 has ended and a lot of interesting things happened throughout this period. Google is keeping its focus on users’ privacy and shows an increasing effort regarding the topic. At the same time, Snapchat is launching a new feature called Remix, to keep up with TikTok. Meanwhile, Instagram introduces Live Rooms to make living and connecting with your friends more fun and convenient.
Be sure to read on.
1. Google Shifts All Focus to Privacy
What are the concerns regarding FLoC?
Google’s proposed method for enabling personalized ads without targeting specific individuals, FLoC, is up against privacy hurdles delaying trials in Europe. But, as testing of the AI-based technique gets underway in the U.S. and elsewhere, concerns within tech, academic, and even U.S. government circles have grown regarding the potential discriminatory and harmful impacts of FLoC.
As the origin trial begins, data ethics experts, privacy advocates, and even those in the ad tech industry are concerned that FLoC data may be mixed with personally identifiable information, exposing information about people’s homepage visits and preferences to nefarious actors (and yes, advertisers). They are also worried that targeting may be used to purposely injure or discriminate against specific groups of people and that FLoC would intensify problems inherent in algorithmic categorizations of people rather than fulfilling the method’s ethically sound task.
Google explains how it goes about blocking sensitive categories.
The company’s approach to ensuring that cohorts developed by FLoC cannot be associated with any sensitive attribute was detailed in a paper submitted to the W3C community focusing on the creation and testing of its Privacy Sandbox ad technologies the week of March 28.
Over the years, Google’s own approaches to AI ethics have been rife with controversy. In 2019, Google shut down its artificial intelligence ethics board after a public outcry over the people it chose to sit on it. More recently, Google caused outrage when it fired AI ethics researcher Timnit Gebru after she refused to retract a research paper critical of the company’s AI technologies.
Meanwhile, tracking companies are well-equipped to collect data from millions of users, connect it to demographic and behavioral data, and decipher which cohorts are linked to which sensitive traits. As proposed, Google’s website-based framework has no means of preventing this.
#google #advertisement #cookie #floc #sensitive
2. Snapchat is Introducing Remix
What is the new feature about?
TikTok users can sing, dance, joke, or act in a video alongside another user; cook someone else’s recipe; record reaction videos; boost videos from lesser-known creators and do even more in Duets. It’s a big part of what makes TikTok feel more like a social network than just a place to watch videos passively.
In addition to the left-right layout, TikTok revealed last fall that it would be implementing a new top-bottom layout, a special “respond” layout, and a three-screen layout for Duets.
Snap now seems to be considering some of the same Duet formats to say the least. Many wanna-be TikTok competitors have struggled because they lack the same comprehensive collection of content development tools as TikTok, such as filters, effects, and tools for repurposing others’ content — like TikTok’s Stitch and Duet, for example. Snapchat appears to be working to address the latter problem, as it has been spotted developing a TikTok Duets-style feature called “Remix” for responding to Snaps. Users will be able to build new content using their friends’ Snaps — a “remix”, as they refer to it.
Users will be able to react to a friend’s story with a remixed Snap at first. To do so, record your own Snap while the original is playing, similar to a TikTok Duet. The feature, which Snap confirms is in external testing, comes on the heels of Instagram’s public test of a similar-sounding “Remix” feature for Reels content. (As a first move, it had also checked a version for Stories.)
What else is there?
Remix also allows users to tag friends or other people they want to have permission to remix or share their Snap through a new toggle switch, according to reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi, who first noticed the addition. Users would tend to be able to access the “Remix” function from the same menu where they can currently report or send Snaps to others.
Of course, this menu is also available in Snapchat’s latest TikTok rival, Spotlight, which launched last year. Remix is currently being tested by a group of individuals, but we understand it will eventually find its way to other areas of the Snapchat app. This will almost certainly involve Spotlight. Spotlight, like TikTok, has a video stream full of short-form, fun videos that you can click through with up and down swipes, many of which are set to popular music thanks to Snap’s music industry deals.
This is a good match for Remixes since it’s a common way for users to connect with each other’s content to create a dialogue. Snap confirmed to TechCrunch that it is currently testing Remix on its software.
#fsnapchat #instagram #reels #remix #ads
3. Go Live With Your Friends on Instagram
Istagram is also here with new features.
Instagram unveiled the latest Live Rooms feature at the beginning of March, enabling users to increase their Instagram Live experiences up to four members, an expansion that could have significant consequences for artists looking to grow their connection with fans and audiences.
Live Rooms are designed to offer users more innovative options, such as a talk show, hosting a larger Q&A, demos, or jam sessions. By integrating Instagram’s Badge functionality, it also helps creators to earn money. Viewers and fans can purchase badges for the hosts in Live Rooms, as well as use other social features such as Shopping and Live Fundraisers. Instagram is also looking at moderator controls and new audio capabilities, which may be available as soon as Summer 2021.
What is new?
The default setting for Live Comments is “On,” and they will appear in the bottom left-hand corner of your screen. You can still turn off comments by choosing “Turn Off Commenting” from the “…” menu.
If you use the new title display to title your Live, it will now appear at the top of your broadcast. When a viewer clicks the title, they’ll see your username and the usernames of your guests.
You’ll note that Live has a fresh new look. The icons for the Camera tool have been relocated. You’ll notice that the buttons to add a guest, flip the camera, and find filters have been shifted from the bottom of the Live viewer to the sidebar.
#instagram #live #room #chat #video
4. Final Words
Last week’s news reached out to technology and social media. Google kept its focus on innovating its way out of privacy-related challenges proposed by cookies, while Snapchat is slowly introducing Tik-Tok-like features under the title of “Remix”. Live Rooms is now available on Instagram, which allows multiple users to go live at the same time, on the same “live”.
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