Tag Archives: Tiktok

Will facebook Rival Instagram give tough competition to Tiktok after the launch of feature “Reels” in India

After the banning of Tiktok and 58 other Chinese apps in India, the demand for short video apps is increasing. This is the best time to grab this opportunity for the existing app companies as well well as to launch the new apps which provide a short video creation feature.

Though after the government banned TikTok in India other homegrown apps like ShareChat, Roposo, Chingari are also being used by the people of the country more, Instagram also takes the advantage of this situation and launches a feature of short video creation named “Reels”.

In Brazil, Germany and France are the countries where this feature is successfully tested. India is the next one.

This feature will be rolling out in India after 7:30 IST today. Just like IGTV, users will also have a Reels section on their profile page, where all their content can be viewed at once.

The feature Reels lets users create a video of 15 seconds or less. Users can also use creative filters on it, can share it beyond his/her followers. Similar to TikTok, Reels provide options like audio from Instagram Music library, speed, effects, and timer.

Shah says the product comes from the realization that 45 percent of videos on Instagram are 15 seconds or less. “We also realized that stories are not the only place where they wanted to share these videos as they wanted them to stick on for longer and be distributed beyond their followers,” he said in the video call.

The new feature lets users shoot video, add filters and music from Instagram’s catalog and share it beyond the platform. Users will be able to share Reels in Explore, and also on Feed with followers. There will be no monetization avenues for now.

To create Instagram Reels, a user would need to open the camera option in the app. After clicking on Reels from the bottom of the screen, the app throws up several easy-to-use tools to record and edit a 15-second video.

Creators can choose to use the in-app music tracks, or even use custom audio for their videos. There are also options to speed up or slow down parts of the video. There’s an Align option that helps creators maintain their position in front of the camera while recording multiple cuts in a single video. It also has an array of augmented reality effects that can be used to make videos more fun.

According to Facebook India Vice President and Managing Director Ajit Mohan, videos make up a third of all Instagram posts in India. Out of that, around 45 percent of the videos posted are of 15 seconds or less.

Calling Reels as the “future of entertainment,” Facebook’s Vice President of Product Vishal Shah said that the superior goal of Reels was to push Indian content creators and help them become potential “global stars.”

Instagram says that it has been working with popular content creators and public figures to populate Reels content. When the test starts rolling out, users can check out content posted by the likes of Ammy Virk (3.3 million fans on TikTok), Gippy Grewal (1.7 million), Arjun Kanungo (1.5 million), Radhika Bangia (5.4 million), RJ Abhinav (1.6 million) and Indrani Biswas aka Wonder Munna (630K subscribers on YouTube).

As of now, Instagram plans to learn more from the testing phase and from creators themselves. Monetization options are also expected to be introduced once Reels takes off in India. No official public rollout date has been announced yet.

CHINESE APPLICATIONS OUTLAWED

On 29th June 2020, the Indian government issued a ban on 59 Chinese Apps including, TikTok, WeChat, Xender, ShareIt, LIKEE, Helo, and CamScanner among others.
This ban has been implemented after a deadly clash between the militaries of both the countries that left twenty Indian soldiers dead. Satellite images also show that China has built new structures near the border region.

The Ministry Of Information And Technology, has stated that, “ it has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps… for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.. Since this ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures”

But it raises concerns beyond stealing of Users’ data. If Users’ data being safe was the only concern then why didn’t they ban the Zoom App – An app founded by Chinese-American billionaire, Eric Yuan. Despite being accused of stealing data and various privacy concerns, numerous times, all the app has been given are mere warnings. An Article on News18, says that since Zoom is an American company, located in California, it wasn’t banned.
But doesn’t it go against the statements given by the Ministry Of Information and Technology, which basically said, that they banned the apps because users’ data was being ‘misused’ ?
It proves that the ‘ban’ was supposed to be a “fitting” reply to China, as border tensions escalated, and wasn’t just a security concern.

Which brings us to two questions :

  1. Was India in a position to Ban Chinese Apps?

Most of the apps banned were highly popular in India. Topping the list was TikTok with over 100 million users just in India.
While many “TikTok stars” used the app to earn a living, there were several others who just liked having access to make content.
What made TikTok connect to its users was the fact that how easy it was to handle and to make content, which is why people who couldn’t create content on other platforms like YouTube because of the complications and the investments, could easily create content here.

TikTok really seemed to connect with the Indian Youth because many still are accessing it via VPNs.
While companies like Panda VPN are even advertising the fact that you can access all the banned apps via using them.
Many teens are trying to make apps to access TikTok without VPNs and they are very confidently posting their videos on social media.

The fact that people can still access these apps through VPNs while Chinese investors continue to profit off our people, shows how this ban was nothing more than ”a symbolic ban’.

The ban wouldn’t harm the Chinese as much as it will harm us.
Most of these apps had Indian Creators for whom this was their only source of income. Not to mention, many of these apps have offices and employees in India, whose jobs are at stake.

With the rising unemployment, and the falling GDP, was it really necessary to put thousands of jobs and lives at risk, in the middle of a pandemic? Was symbolism really this important?

  1. Is banning Chinese Apps enough ? “Tokenism does not change stereotypes of social systems but works to preserve them, since it dulls the revolutionary impulse.”
    – Mary Daly

A week ago, we were furious at our government, for the border situation with both China, and Nepal.
And for once, we expected the Modi government to do something. Because isn’t that what they have been flexing about all those years, with the Balakot Airstrike, or the Surgical Strike? A nation with Strong Military strength?

Instead, we were deceived by various media houses, and our government, who mentioned for weeks that there are no border tensions between India and China.

Instead, we were met with disappointment, as the Prime Minister himself turned his back on us, when he released a public statement saying that there has been “no Chinese intrusion” into our territory. That statement was used by the Chinese Government to shake off any responsibility about the death of twenty Indian soldiers.
Soon after receiving heavy backlash, the government released a statement that practically said “The Prime Minister didn’t mean what you thought he meant”. The video which was available on YouTube was of course edited, and the part where Mr. Modi said how there were no Chinese Intrusions was removed. Channels like AajTak, blamed the army, instead of the government.

I wish it stopped here, but it didn’t. Our government said almost 43 Chinese soldiers were killed or injured, to satisfy India’s collective blood-thirst, when no such number was revealed or verified from the other side. Which makes me wonder if soldiers are just numbers for this country?
Like in a game of Chess, you just count the number of pieces you killed of your opponent. And if it’s more than the number of pieces he killed, then you’re satisfied.
I wonder if our soldiers are nothing more than Chess Pieces to us.
I wonder if their death will ever mean something more than ‘revenge’.

The government also said that no Indian Soldiers were captured.
The next day though, China released 10 of our soldiers.
I wonder how the government would have explained the disappearances of these ten soldiers to their families had they not been released by the Chinese Government.

How do we trust a government that has deceived us at every given turn? How do we trust a government that takes the Army’s credit after a Surgical Strike to increase their polling numbers, but blames the Army for their failures?

And after all this, they decided to temporarily ban some Chinese apps.
I wonder why AliBaba wasn’t banned, or PUBG which is backed by Tencent?
As you might already have guessed, AliBaba is one of the biggest investors in the Indian market, and so is Tencent.

The act of banning Chinese Apps was nothing more than Tokenism. But look how well it has worked, no one is blaming the government for literally anything anymore. Not the diesel-petrol price hike. Not even the lack of response to China.
At the end of the day, you just have to ask yourself this, “has this all happened before”?
Have the bans happened before? In a different or similar context? With a different or same nation?

Tiktok caught spying on iOS 14 users’ data

TikTok app – for which many campaigns are running over the social media to boycott the use of this Chinese app- was recently caught spying on people who were using iOS 14, mainly developers and selected users. Complete access to the update will be made available to users by Fall 2020, Apple had noted.

The short video-making Chinese app had stated in the past that it would stop the practice of reading content on user’s clipboards However, quite recently it was again found that the app is snooping on the Apple users and was caught red-handed a report on Telephraph stated.

This could be figured out by a software update by Apple for iOS 14 that sends notifications to users whenever an app is found accessing their data.

The alarms for apps getting access to data were raised before the release of iOS 14. Research by Talal Haj Bakry and Tommy Mysk found that many popular apps were snooping on user content without their consent. The report noted that the text left in the clipboard or the pasteboard could be inconsequential but it could contain sensitive data like user’s passwords, etc.

Every time the user opens an app, it gets access to their data. This could be gaming apps or social media apps.

Along with Tiktok other apps like AccuWeather, Overstock, AliExpress, Call of Duty Mobile, Patreon, and Google News also accessed user’s data from their clipboards, Telegraph noted.

iPhone users and software developers who received notifications were enraged with this and described the app’s behavior as “creepy” and “extremely shady,” the report stated.

A spokesperson for TikTok issued a clarification quoted by The Telegraph. He said that the app’s behavior was triggered by a feature designed to identify repetitive, spammy behavior. Further, he assured of the privacy of the users and transparency of the working of the App.

“Following the beta release of iOS 14 on June 22, users saw notifications while using a number of popular apps. For TikTok, this was triggered by a feature designed to identify repetitive, spammy behavior. We have already submitted an updated version of the app to the App Store removing the anti-spam feature to eliminate any potential confusion,” the spokesperson said.
“TikTok is committed to protecting users’ privacy and being transparent about how our app works,” he added.

It is however not clear if the company removed the feature for Android devices as well and for how long the feature had been in place. It also did not give any clarification if the user’s data from the clipboard was used by the app.

A report by MacRumors stated that a download of the new update confirms that TikTok no longer appears to be accessing the clipboard.