‘It’s hard to put the brakes on it. We doubled down’: Charli D’Amelio and the first family of TikTok | Life and style- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Most modern teenagers have a discreet, thumbed-aside corner of their smartphones where they stash away the apps they are most ashamed of using. In 2018, this was where a 17-year-old US high school student called Dixie D’Amelio kept an odd little social media app called TikTok. From what Dixie could make of it, TikTok expected users to record and post ultra-short, ultra-energetic videos of themselves that were soundtracked with pre-made audio clips. Songs. Snatches of dialogue. Users danced to these clips or lip-synced along. They copied each other’s moves and riffed on references and in-jokes that were starting to slosh around TikTok’s expanding global network.
More and more, Dixie enjoyed scrolling through the endless feed of hectic TikTok videos, but in private. She was a TikTok lurker and would never have dreamed of posting anything herself because, as she puts it: “Ew. People at school made fun of TikTok. It was looked down on. Embarrassing!” When she found out that her younger sister Charli, a talented dancer, had started posting videos on the app, Dixie was horrified. It would surely mean social death. “I was, like, Charli, dude, what are you doing?”
Today, in the spring of 2020, TikTok has about 800 million active users around the world. ByteDance, the Beijing-based startup that created the app, was valued at around $75bn in 2018 and is now thought to be worth close to $100bn. TikTok has made global superstars of its most popular users, and when Dixie and Charli D’Amelio talk to me over video from their home in Connecticut, it is in their capacity as unquestioned TikTok royalty. They have 83 million followers between them, these sister queens of the app who, along with parents Marc and Heidi D’Amelio, now form TikTok’s first family.

TikTok’s strategy of appealing to Gen Z’s need for release, somewhere for them to not be Insta-perfect, was working

How did Dixie go from being a TikTok refusenik to one of its best known faces? How did a Chinese app step in from the fringes to take such an awesome bite out of a social media market traditionally dominated by powerhouse Americans (Facebook, Twitter)? Dixie and Charli tell me their half of the story from their bedroom, speaking over each other in that fluent, seamless way of close siblings. They both have shoulder-length brown hair, freckles and the reedy physicality of young athletes. (Dixie is a former nationally ranked BMX racer and school track athlete; Charli started dance training for ever ago.) Having not so long ago rolled out of bed, the D’Amelios wear the bleary expressions of just-woken teens who will shortly need to go and forage for snacks. They paint their nails while we talk.
“I remember Dixie was so embarrassed to have a sister on TikTok,” Charli says. “And then in May 2019 – oh! I guess that was a year ago – all my friends started making TikToks. They asked me for help copying some of the dances. They said, ‘Oh, you’ve got to teach us.’ And I said, ‘I don’t want to, it’s weird, I don’t even have my own account.’ But then I started making videos and I guess I started having a lot of… fun?”
Dixie interrupts. “Do you remember when people first started recognising you? They would say, ‘Where do I know you from?’ And you would say…”
“I would say ‘social media’,” Charli says. “Because I was embarrassed to say TikTok.”

Charli, right, and Dixie D’Amelio. Photograph: Christopher Lane/The Guardian
At the time, the app was attempting a delicate manoeuvre, trying to position itself as a place for teens and tweens to come to be silly, unashamed, unfiltered – a tonic to the earnestness of Instagram, the stress of Snapchat, the verbal warfare of Twitter. The app had been around in some form or another for years, first gathering momentum in 2016 after Twitter closed down its short-form video service Vine, leaving a small but exploitable hole in the social market. In summer 2018, it merged with the US lip-syncing app Musical.ly, increasing its reach, and by the end of that year it had crept to the top of Apple’s US app charts.
TikTok’s strategy of appealing to Gen Z’s need for release, somewhere for them to not be Insta-perfect, was working. It was adding tens of millions of new users every month; in January 2019, the influential technology blog TechCrunch published an editorial headlined “It’s time to pay serious attention to TikTok” – advice that Facebook and Twitter, now hurriedly preparing copycat products, had been uncharacteristically slow to heed. When ByteDance celebrated the new year by projecting its TikTok logo on to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, it was a statement of arrival.
Charli’s perky, precise dance videos caught on in 2019 and grew in popularity as TikTok did. It hadn’t exactly become cool in her friend circle, Dixie explains, but few people would have thought of pretending they didn’t use the app, or understand its references and in-jokes. TikTok culture had spilled over into the school corridors.
What is that culture? You could think of it like YouTube (beauty how-tos, cartoony science experiments, impressive athletic feats, pets being cute, domestic accidents filmed by chance, monologues to camera, goofy lip-syncs, breathless dances), only on TikTok such videos have to be severely truncated in order to be uploaded. Users get 15 seconds to express themselves, and this brevity helps to create a staccato, no-explanations, absurdist flavour to much of the content. Comedy skits benefit from the tight edit, for instance. If some of the monologues are over-earnest, at least they don’t run on too long. TikTok has made capsule celebrities of young magicians, fashion mavens, political campaigners. It has also elevated people to notoriety by accident (my favourite being a young woman known as The Motherfucking Tea Girl, after a rant of hers that went viral in 2019).

We were out one night and noticed kids staring. We thought, there’s no way they know Charli from that weird app

As a TikTok novice, I didn’t fully grasp its peculiar culture until I started thinking of the app as if it were my old playground at school. When I was a kid in the 90s, everyone had seen the same TV shows, listened to the same songs, had heard about the same laugh-out-loud acts of cheek against the teachers. To listen in on our playground conversation as an outsider (Simpsons references, Britpop lyrics, hyper-local gossip) would have been like hearing a gabbling alien language. But to be in the thick of it, getting it, was wonderful. So now I think of TikTok as one big secondary-school playground, with 800 million people crammed in. All babbling, all getting it.
“Yes!” says Dixie, when I pitch her my comparison.
It was more or less why she cracked and started posting videos herself, she explains. “Every conversation was about TikTok. ‘Oh my God, Charli has 100,000 followers. Oh my God, she has 200,000.’ I said, ‘I’m done! If Charli hits 1 million followers, I’ll start posting because I’m done being left out like this.’”
Charli: “She never thought I was gonna hit one million followers.”
Dixie: “No.”
Charli: “And then I hit one million.”
Dixie: “Yeah.”
This was October 2019. The D’Amelio family celebrated Charli’s milestone with a cake and Dixie kept up her end of the agreement, popping up in Charli’s videos and then shooting her own knockabout solo efforts, fooling around in the family home. Dixie’s presence supercharged both sisters’ popularity. By now, their parents had accounts of their own, initially to keep an eye on the girls, but soon with millions of curious followers of their own.
“We were kind of on autopilot as a family at the time,” recalls Marc, who is 51 and works in sportswear. “Dixie was about to go to college. She was driving Charli to school in the mornings. Me and Heidi were kind of looking at the finish line of parenting.”
“Coasting,” agrees Heidi, 48. “And then we were out to dinner one night and we noticed kids at the other table staring. We both thought, there’s no way they know Charli from that weird app…”
Before long, there were mobbings at the mall and at airports. Managers and marketers contacted the house, hoping the sisters would sign deals. Marc and Heidi first met in the 90s in New York, where Marc ran his sportswear business and Heidi was a model and personal trainer. They both had some experience at the crossover point of consumer and celebrity culture, but still – that their teenage daughters had become lucrative stars, in a matter of weeks and without leaving their bedrooms, was a bit of a surprise. Marc recalls: “We really thought we’d figured out how to have two kids. Then this was thrust on us. We had to regroup. Huddle together as a family and figure out all this new stuff.”

Charli on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Photograph: Getty Images
In November 2019, Charli was invited to go on holiday with a collective of young TikTokers based in Los Angeles (the Hype House, a kind of 21st-century Mickey Mouse Club) and though the affiliation did not last, it was a move that helped nudge her further into the millions of followers. There were other, more random boosts to her popularity. Before Christmas, she copied a TikTok dance that was doing the rounds – the audio was the clip of a track by the rapper K Camp – and a lot of people gravitated to Charli’s version. The video was watched more than 150m times, mostly by users trying to copy and perfect the dance. The suburban high school girl, still 15, suddenly had the market reach of a Knowles-Carter or a Kardashian.
In early 2020, Charli was signed by the powerful Hollywood agency UTA, along with the rest of the D’Amelio family. By then, The Face magazine felt comfortable describing her as “the Pina Bausch of TikTok”. In February, Dixie joined the cast of a YouTube drama made by the tween production company Brats and, meanwhile talks began about constructing a TV reality show around the entire family. In April, Charli was invited to dance for a national TV audience on The Jimmy Fallon Show, by which point she was the most-followed person on TikTok’s platform. As Heidi describes this period: “Things. Went. Crazy.”
***It’s worth pausing here to consider a question often asked in the comment-threads under Charli’s TikTok videos. Why her? What made this particular teenager’s breezy, professionally dapper, but ultimately innocuous dance videos take off in such an enormous way?
To properly understand a community and its whims, there’s little point zeroing in on the gilded few who have risen to the top. They don’t know. To understand Charli’s mass appeal, I would need to speak to representatives of the masses, users who were stuck in the foothills of the app with tens or hundreds of followers and who nevertheless kept the network churning with content and comments and follows. Several of my teenage nieces and nephews are dogged TikTokers and after a quick call-out on the family WhatsApp group, I was able to assemble a brain trust of Charli obsessives who could answer any question about her.
Why Charli, I ask?
Niece #1: “She’s funny. Upbeat.”
Nephew #1: “She’s very smiley and positive.”
Niece #2: “A major thing with Charli is her age. The general TikTok audience is younger than on Facebook or Instagram, so the influencers need to be younger.”
Niece #3: “She’s a good dancer.”
Niece #2: “Whenever we want to learn a dance, we’ll look for Charli’s video because she’s so good, we think of hers as the best version to copy.”
Nephew #1: “Her having an older sister helps. They can do videos together.”
Niece #1: “They can do synchronised moves.”
Niece #2: “A lot of families across the world use TikTok and it’s a bond people recognise.”

We’re offered deals all the time that we turn down. Charli will not promote something she doesn’t like

When I ask the D’Amelio family the same question – why them? – Marc puts it down to luck. An app came along that prized a certain style of dancing (just this side of practised) and a certain style of personality (just this side of sarcastic) and Charli and Dixie happened to fit the mould. They benefited from “the lightning in a bottle effect”, Marc says, of being relatable to a generation.
Charli has long professed bafflement about her rise. TikTok, though noticeably friendlier in tone than most of its social media competitors, is by no means an online utopia. People can be cruel. Towards the end of last year, Charli had to post a captioned video in response to a common observation that her popularity did not make sense. “I don’t understand [it] either,” Charli wrote in the video, “but that’s not my problem.” This slightly flinty statement has softened over time into a kind of mantra for dealing with both the attention and the questions about whether she deserves it. “Don’t worry,” it now says on Charli’s TikTok profile page, “I don’t get the hype either.”
Dixie says: “I wish I could protect her a little bit more from the haters.”
I ask them how the worst of the negativity manifests itself. Comments? Direct messages? Actually, on TikTok it tends to be a little more roundabout than that. A popular collaborative feature on TikTok allows users to take a stranger’s video and “duet” with it. (The original video appears on one half of a split-screen, the responding one on the other half.) Credited by some tech observers as a key innovation that helped TikTok create a sense of ongoing collaboration, “duets” are also a quick and easy vehicle for mockery. “You can’t really avoid them,” Dixie explains, adding that if you’re the subject of someone’s duet (well-intentioned or otherwise), that video is invariably pushed into your feed. “And I don’t think people…”
Charli finishes her sentence: “…understand that. They think you’ll never see. But it’s just not true.” “Learning how to deal with hate,” Dixie says, “that’s the part we’re still working on it. It gets very frustrating.”
As for the numbers, Charli says, “even 100,000 pairs of eyes is a lot. So it’s been, since very early on, that the numbers stopped making sense to me. I try to think, ‘I don’t know how these people found me, and this is all crazy, and I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing.’”
***We break off the interview so Charli and Dixie can make some TikTok videos. Charli’s creative process for this is not much of one at all. She scrolls through her “For You” page (a sort of welcome-to-the-app splash screen full of videos algorithmically generated for each user) and chooses an audio clip she likes. Otherwise, she thumbs through a list of saved, favourite clips that have caught her ear before and earmarked for possible use. Today it’s a crunchy, low-quality recording of a couple of bars from a 2011 track by rapper J Cole called Work Out.
For reasons of not looking as if you’re trying too hard, another convention of TikTok is that the music clips often sound secondhand, slightly distorted, as if taxing the limits of a smartphone speaker. Charli hits the button that says “Use this sound” and she’s ready to shoot. Now, and not before, she’ll think about what to do. “There’s no planning. The thing about making a TikTok is, whenever you’re making it, that’s when the ideas come.” She props her smartphone against a water bottle in her bedroom and, with Dixie, films a brief dance. It ends in a comic tumble as Dixie collides with her sister and loses her balance. Good enough: the footage is edited down to seven seconds, ending on a smeared closeup of Dixie as she collapses forward towards the camera lens. “Upload.”
Dixie goes downstairs to make a solo video of herself dancing on the kitchen counter while Charli stays in her room and, choosing a clip of an old song by Drake, lip-syncs along. Her follower count has just ticked over 54 million, so she appends a comment: “THANK YOU GUYS SO SO MUCH FOR 54 MILLION!!!!” Meanwhile I track the progress of the J Cole dance that ended with Dixie falling over. It goes online in the early afternoon and by teatime it has been seen 4m times. Within a day the number is up past 20m. After a week it’s 45m and still tick-tocking up, up, up. These are Adele numbers. Sports broadcast numbers.

The D’Amelios at home in Norfolk, Connecticut. Photograph: Christopher Lane/The Guardian
“It is a business now, 100%,” Marc tells me. “When kids have millions of followers, it’s kind of hard to put the brakes on it. So, for lack of a better term, we’ve kind of decided to double down. We’re seeing where all this goes.” The sisters currently have a range of endorsement deals, including with a skincare company, though Marc stresses “we’re offered deals all the time that we turn down. Charli will not promote something she doesn’t like.” Heidi adds: “I’ve seen her sit in a room full of executives and say no. I couldn’t have done that at her age.”
TikTok as a service has been deliberately slow to monetise, creators ByteDance deploying the softly-softly startup strategy of growing a base of devotees before trying too obviously to sell them things. In spring 2019, early video ads were allowed on to the network. A few months later, a feature was added called Hashtag Challenges: sponsored marketing campaigns, by any other name, in which TikTokers push certain products. In February, the D’Amelios were involved in some hectic promotion of a Hashtag Challenge in aid of Jennifer Lopez’s half-time performance at the Super Bowl. The family were flown to Miami, where Charli filmed a dance with Lopez.
It probably says a lot about TikTok culture (and maybe older media’s hesitant grasp of it) that some videos Charli made of herself dancing to a Sean Paul track in her Miami hotel bathroom got more eyeballs than the J-Lo collaboration. For now, at least, there’s distrust in TikTok land of any stars who too brazenly sell out. On Charli’s 16th birthday, the D’Amelio family recorded videos of themselves wearing matching Charli-branded hoodies in celebration. Marc put out a message directing fans to Charli’s online shop where the hoodies were on sale (“today only”). I noticed, though, that he kept the salesmanship to his Twitter account, away from TikTok.
In the same way the young users of the app seem to resist many of the aesthetics of the Instagram age (the D’Amelios will often make videos while wearing pimple cream, to the amazement of their mother), there’s evidently a squeamishness about echoing the mistakes of older Insta-stars who will haphazardly sell followers anything – teabags, eScooters, obscure holiday destinations, whoever’s paying. Heidi, trying to explain why Charli would face down a room full of advertising execs and refuse lucrative offers, gives a compelling reason: “Charli doesn’t want to get crushed for it online. She doesn’t want to be called out.”
***One of Charli and Dixie’s most popular TikToks, made in the days after our interview, lasts just four seconds. It’s a compact, gnomic expression of Gen Z mores and tics – an initially inexplicable duet between the sisters and three strangers that takes me a good half an hour to decode when it pops up on my “For You” page. Here’s what I think is happening in the video.
A random TikToker, feeling sentimental, has a thought about Charli and decides to express it by filming themselves curled up in bed with a pensive look on their face. “I know for a fact,” it says on an overlaid caption, “that Charli D’Amelio would wait for me to tie my shoe while everyone else kept walking.” Another TikToker takes the prompt and “duets” with this video, adding the lightest touch of snark about too-good-to-be-true Charli. “I just know [she] would ask me if I was feeling OK after the rest of the group laughed at my self-deprecating joke.” This goes on a bit, with more pensive expressions and more “I just know”s, until Dixie sees the video and gets involved. She videos herself curled up in bed and appends the caption: “I just know Charli D’Amelio.”
The coup comes from Charli herself, who breaks the chain of melancholy faces by filming herself clenching her fists, jiggling from side to side with a deadpan, shit-eating grin, under a caption that reads: “I Charli D’Amelio.” The whole thing plays out, without explanation, to a looping clip of Kenny Loggins singing the 1984 soundtrack to Footloose.

This is TikTok. The ad hoc collaboration between distant strangers. The tonal blend of earnestness and irony. The unbothered bed-head aesthetics and the incongruous soundtrack. Watching the video, trying to unravel it, gets me thinking about Gen Z as a whole – what a confused and sad world we’re bequeathing them. We’ve thrust cameras in their faces for as long as they can remember, making them twitchily aware of their appearance from all angles. No wonder they have begun to congregate, away from all the stumbling grownups, in a place they can be silly, arch and sweet, and look a mess, and think at microprocessor speed – all in a format that registers as gibberish to outsiders.
As Dixie explains, “If someone has never used TikTok before and they come on it, they’ll have no idea what’s going on. Things go viral and then disappear right away. It comes and goes, and comes and goes.”
“And that’s why it’s fun,” Charli says. “You don’t need to be on-your-best all the time. Things keep passing. There isn’t some impossible thing you can be, that you’re shooting for, that you have to maintain.”
Dixie: “Things can last one day and then nobody talks about them ever again. And that’s… ”
Charli: “That’s super-cool.”

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The TikTok generation of my kids is not only better informed but more politicised | Opinion- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

I suppose, though I couldn’t swear to it, families used to sit round TV together and watch the same news. Now we all get our news separately, me from Twitter, the kids from TikTok, my Mr from reputable radio and newspaper sources. It means we disregard each other totally. I honestly assumed the young ones know nothing except whatever can be conveyed about slime in 15 seconds or one minute (the two time options for a TikTok). Everything Mr Z says, I tend to have read 24 minutes before. For his part, every time he looks over I’m watching a video of a mischievous goat, or driver and a cyclist having an argument, which he takes as a sign that I’ve given up on the world. 
The riots in the US completely capsized all this: for the first two days, the 12s-and-under had a much more precise understanding of the whole thing, not just the details of George Floyd’s death, but the searing rage around it and the likely scale of the protests. “He wasn’t a stranger, he was a co-worker,” they would explain patiently about the police officer videoed kneeling on Floyd’s neck, in the hours when traditional news stories were still limited to the most pared-down accounts. This is the job of journalism, to report only what’s been verified; I know that, I wouldn’t have it otherwise. But the kids were picking up a different frequency, in which the truth was self-evident, and all this plodding, boomer fact-checking was just a way to dampen with delay a crime that could not be minimised. 
They had a point. Many reputable news sources have an illustrious history of under-reacting to injustice, and, cloaked in a duty of balance, believing any old bilge that corrupt authority feeds them. But that’s not what’s going on here, I said. It’s not because the BBC is institutionally racist that it doesn’t have a view on whether this is first, second or third-degree murder. How could I be sure, they wanted to know. I just am. I’m very old. Sometimes you know things when you’re old. They looked at me as though that was the weakest argument ever, when in fact it is one of my strongest. And they were scathing when I showed them a video on Twitter of a black CNN reporter getting arrested on live TV. “Black people are getting arrested for no reason all the time,” they told me. “It’s not more important because it’s a journalist.” No, but, yes, but … it is. Part of living in a democratic society is being able to bear witness unmolested. “Everyone with a phone is bearing witness,” one said, and I thought, sure, OK, if you absolutely insist.

Then the conspiracy theories started – not on the BBC, by the way, and not on Twitter (or at least not in my bubble), but on TikTok, where all roads led back to Jeffrey Epstein. “Do you even know who Jeffrey Epstein is?” asked Mr Z, and they didn’t as such, but they knew that he was a sex offender, and they knew for absolute certain that he had been killed by some other means than his own hand, by order of Donald Trump. “But how would a president take out a hit on someone? Every squeak that happens in the White House is recorded,” the Mr pressed on. But this was the wrong argument. It’s not the practicalities that give this rumour the heady whiff of manure, but rather the formulaic neatness, all predatory billionaries intimately connected, like cheap airport fiction. Trump is waging a war on his own soil. In broad daylight, his actions are fascistic in language, imagery and intent. We really don’t need a complicated, secretive subplot to make him the bad guy.  
That’s the point of the conspiracy theory: someone, somewhere, floods the territory with unfalsifiable claims, and once nobody knows what’s true, everything is contestable. The world has been painted a shade of moral murk, and after that, nobody is good, nobody is bad, everybody simply is. Yet new media do not arrange themselves, conveniently, into platforms that give access to conspiracies, and those that crack open injustices. It’s one ecosystem, for real and fake. You cannot tell your children to ignore it all; you can only counsel judgment and scepticism. 
So it was on TikTok, again, that the offspring first heard about US citizens getting teargassed (though on Twitter, predictably, that I saw the Texan protest-on-horseback) and again, they were not just better informed but more politicised. On the back foot, I tried to share what I know of tear gas, this aspect that nobody ever mentions – it attacks not just your airways but anywhere with any moisture; so in great solidarity, protestors all hand round lemon wedges to squeeze into one another’s eyes, and all the women are going: “Thank you so much, but can we prioritise my burning vagina?”
“You’ve never been teargassed,” said the 10-year-old, with authority. 
“I have, actually, at the G8 protest in Genoa.” 
“Genoa,” said the 12-year-old, “is not a place.”

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TikTok Promises to Promote Black Creators After Censorship Accusations Make Light | Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Sourced from Gadgets 360.

Chinese Social Media platform TikTok laid out a series of actions on Monday in an effort to address criticisms that its algorithm is suppressing black creators on the app.
The actions include launching a “creator diversity council” in which the platform will aim at “recognising and uplifting the voices driving culture, creativity, and important conversations on the platform [itself]”. Continued in the blog post, TikTok says it will also reassess its moderation strategies, establish a new “user-friendly” appeals process, and develop a new creator portal for expanding communications and “opportunities for our broader creator community”.
TikTok says that it will “stand in solidarity with the Black community” and participate in “Black Out Tuesday.” Tuesday will be kept as a day of action against racial injustice planned by members of the music industry.

#BlackOutTuesday DOES NOT MEAN LEAVE SOCIAL MEDIA FOR THE DAY IT MEANS THIS 👇🏽 RT this NOW to inform our kinfolk! pic.twitter.com/h33vqdPEdP
— Matt Nicholas (@mattnicholas) June 2, 2020

TikTok says it will shut down its Sounds page, turning off all playlists and campaigns “to observe a moment of reflection and action.”
The Verge writes that the platform has pledged a $3 million donation to non-profits that help the black community and a separate $1 million donation to address “racial injustice and inequality”. However, TikTok did not name any specific organizations in its blog.
“We appreciate being held accountable. We know that getting to a place of trust will take work, but we are dedicated to doing our part as we continue to foster a space where everyone is seen and heard,” the company says.
According to CNN, TikTok users say they will unfollow other users who did not support the movement, and black creators asked non-black allies to follow at least one new black creator. Shortly after, and at the height of protests across the country opposing police brutality, TikTok claimed that it suffered a “technical glitch” that made it appear as though videos uploaded under the #BlackLivesMatter and #GeorgeFloyd hashtags received zero views.
On Friday TikTok still appeared to be restricting the search results of certain hashtags that had to do with the riots occurring across America. Users could still use the tags, but their videos would not show up when searching for the tags.
TikTok was previously criticised for allegedly censoring videos by creators the platform deemed to be “vulnerable to cyberbullying” – users with autism or with facial features and body types perceived to be unattractive.
Edited by Luis MonzonFollow Luis Monzon on TwitterFollow Tempemail on Twitter


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Exclusive – Any Mitron (Viral TikTok Clone) Profile Can Be Hacked in Seconds – Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Mitron (means “friends” in Hindi), you have been fooled again!
Mitron is not really a ‘Made in India’ product, and the viral app contains a highly critical, unpatched vulnerability that could allow anyone to hack into any user account without requiring interaction from the targeted users or their passwords.
I am sure many of you already know what TikTok is, and those still unaware, it’s a highly popular video social platform where people upload short videos of themselves doing things like lip-syncing and dancing.
The wrath faced by Chinese-owned TikTok from all directions—mostly due to data security and ethnopolitical reasons—gave birth to new alternatives in the market, one of which is the Mitron app for Android.
Mitron video social platform recently caught headlines when the Android app crazily gained over 5 million installations and 250,000 5-star ratings in just 48 days after being released on the Google Play Store.

Popped out of nowhere, Mitron is not owned by any big company, but the app went viral overnight, capitalizing on its name that is popular in India as a commonly used greeting by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Besides this, PM Modi’s latest ‘vocal for local’ initiative to make India self-reliant has indirectly set up a narrative in the country to boycott Chinese services and products, and of course, #tiktokban and #IndiansAgainstTikTok hashtags trending due to TikTok vs. YouTube battle and CarryMinati roast video also rapidly increased the popularity of Mitron.

Any Mitron Users Account Can Be Hacked in Seconds

The insecurity that TikTok is a Chinese app and might have allegedly been abusing its users’ data for surveillance, unfortunately, turned millions into signing up for less trusted and insecure alternative blindly.
The Hacker News learned that the Mitron app contains a critical and easy-to-exploit software vulnerability that could let anyone bypass account authorization for any Mitron user within seconds.
The security issue discovered by Indian vulnerability researcher Rahul Kankrale resides in the way app implemented ‘Login with Google’ feature, which asks users’ permission to access their profile information via Google account while signing up but, ironically, doesn’t use it or create any secret tokens for authentication.

In other words, one can log into any targeted Mitron user profile just by knowing his or her unique user ID, which is a piece of public information available in the page source, and without entering any password—as shown in a video demonstration Rahul shared with The Hacker News.

Mitron App Was Not Developed; Instead Bought For Just $34

Promoted as a homegrown competitor to TikTok, in separate news, it turns out that the Mitron app has not been developed from scratch; instead, someone purchased a ready-made app from the Internet, and simply rebranded it.
While reviewing the app’s code for vulnerabilities, Rahul found that Mitron is actually a re-packaged version of the TicTic app created by a Pakistani software development company Qboxus who is selling it as a ready-to-launch clone for TikTok, musical.ly or Dubsmash like services.

In an interview with the media, Irfan Sheikh, CEO of Qboxus, said his company sells the source code, which the buyers are expected to customize.
“There is no problem with what the developer has done. He paid for the script and used it, which is okay. But, the problem is with people referring to it as an Indian-made app, which is not true, especially because they have not made any changes,” Irfan said.
Besides Mitron’s owner, more than 250 other developers have also purchased the TicTic app code since last year, potentially running a service that can be hacked using the same vulnerability.

Who is Behind the Mitron App? An Indian or a Pakistani?

Though the code has been developed by the Pakistani company, real identity of the person behind the Mitron app—TicTic at heart TikTok by face—has yet not been confirmed; however, some reports suggest it’s owned by a former student of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Roorkee).
Rahul told The Hacker News that he tried responsibly reporting the flaw to the app owner but failed as the email address mentioned on the Google Play Store, the only point of available contact, is non-operational.
Besides this, the homepage for the web server (shopkiller.in), where the backend infrastructure of the app is hosted, is also blank.
Considering that the flaw actually resides in the TicTic app code and affects any other similar cloned service running out there, The Hacker News has reached out to Qboxus and disclosed details of the flaw before publishing this story.
We will update this article when we receive a response.

Is Mitron App Safe to Use?

In short, since:

the vulnerability has not yet been patched,
the owner of the app is unknown,
the privacy policy of the service doesn’t exist, and
there are no terms of use,

… it’s highly recommended to simply do not install or use the untrusted application.
If you’re among those 5 million who have already created a profile with the Mitron app and granted it access to your Google profile, revoke it immediately.
Unfortunately, there’s no way you can delete your Mitron account yourself, but the hacking of Mitron user profile would not severely impact unless you have at least a few thousand followers on the platform.
However, keeping an untrusted app installed on your smartphone is not a good idea and could put your data from other apps and sensitive information stored on it at risk, so users are advised to uninstall the app for good.

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‘It’s a superpower’: an autistic young woman takes her message of inclusion to TikTok | Society- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

‘It’s a superpower’: an autistic young woman takes her message of inclusion to TikTok | Society- Tempemail – Blog – Tempemail.co

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At 22, Chloé Hayden is outgoing and creative and, with a growing online audience that numbers in the hundreds of thousands, she is unquestionably popular.
But it took her a while to get there. At 13 she had been to 10 schools, had zero friends, and severe depression and anxiety as a result of bullying.
Her psychologist told her parents that home schooling was the best way they could keep her safe.

Other kids never liked her, but no one could figure out why.
“It’s like everyone else has been given a handbook from the day they are born about how to communicate and I wasn’t there for the orientation apparently … I had a sleepover birthday party and bought French braiding stuff to make friendship bracelets. The next day at school they all threw them in the bin,” she says.
Even though it was tough for Hayden to socialise, no one really considered she might be autistic. She was emotional, caring, terrible at maths and, perhaps most importantly, a girl.

Many people have accused Chloé Hayden of faking her autism, saying she looks too ‘normal’. Photograph: Chloé Hayden
The Australian Bureau of Statistics says men are 3.5 more likely to be autistic than women, but it’s unclear how much of this is due to under-diagnosis. A study from the Kennedy Krieger Institute in the US also shows girls are diagnosed later than boys; four years and 3.8 years respectively.
It took Hayden 13 years.
“When you think of autism, first of all you think of men, and you think of very stigmatised stereotypes. Maybe it’s someone non-verbal, or maybe it’s a boy that’s obsessed with trains. You don’t think of a teenage girl who loves going to concerts and loves going to festivals and loves wearing make-up and trendy clothes and likes boy bands or whatever. You don’t think of someone who on the outside appears the same as everyone else,” she says.
Hayden has used her experience as a young autistic woman to build a following on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube under the name “Princessaspien”. Her biggest platform by far is TikTok, where some of her videos have been viewed millions of times.

@princessaspien
Why autistic people prefer identity first language, and why you need to respect that ☺️🌼 ##autism ##actuallyautistic ##fyp ##foryoupage ##neurodivergent
♬ original sound – princessaspien

“>“I want to advocate for autistic people and I do that in a few ways. I make genuine informative videos explaining things like autism traits that girls and boys tend to have,” she says.
“But I also make stuff that I know will get to people that aren’t necessarily looking for it in the first place. So I like to find trends or popular audio on the app that you can relate back to autism or disabilities or mental health or whatever.”
Especially on TikTok, her reach has extended far beyond just the autistic community.
“I’ve had a lot of people that either have friends or family that are autistic, saying I’ve helped them to understand them better. I’ve had like teachers and professors and doctors messaged me back saying ‘hey, because of your videos I now know how to interact with autistic people better’,” she says.
Hayden, and many others in the autistic community, don’t see the condition as an illness , but instead as an intrinsic part of identity.
“I see autism as a superpower, if you look at people at the top of their fields, so many of them are on the spectrum.”
But with online popularity comes online hate, with many claiming Hayden is faking her autism. The most common “proof”: her love of live music.
Splashed across Hayden’s Instagram are photos of her at festivals in rainbow outfits and holding up signs in the middle of concert moshpits.

@princessaspien
And that’s on: safe foods and routine. ##autism ##fyp ##foryou ##foryoupage ##neurodivergent
♬ original sound – cutiethiccckums

“>“So many people have tried to out me as not being autistic because, you know, autistic people aren’t supposed to like loud noises or crowded spaces and stuff,” she says.
Like many autistic people, Hayden has behaviours known a “stims”, which she uses to calm herself when overstimulated.

“I just jump in the air and wave my hands around, things like that, excitable things. At a concert though, when I do that people are just like ‘wow, she is straight vibing’. People don’t notice it.
“I flew over to England just to see Louie Tomlinson … I camped out by the side of the road for three days and absolutely I loved it. But when I got home, I literally could not talk to another person for like two weeks because my sensory overload meter had just blasted over … People don’t see that side of things on the internet though.”
Hayden says some of the worst offenders can be the parents of autistic children.
“I’ve had them come up to me and say ‘Well, that’s all good for you, but my kid’s not like you. You can’t talk because you’re obviously not that autistic’,” she says.
“People talk about high-functioning and low functioning … like OK, I can speak in front of big groups, but I can’t do simple math questions, I can’t drive a car, I can’t cook, I can’t read a clock and I probably never will. Everyone’s struggle is different.
“I think the biggest thing about autism that isn’t necessarily visible is that it’s so alienating … because we’re going through so much, but no one else can see it. Or, when they do see it, they think that person is just a weirdo, or throwing a tantrum. They don’t think ‘oh something else is clearly going on’.”
Hayden’s most popular TikTok is a take on the “anthem” trend, when people rap about different identities or stereotypes. Her “autism anthem” has 8.1m views, with lyrics including “Rainman, Sheldon Cooper; we are more than a clique. Our brains work slightly different in a super cool way,” and “we’re different not less.”

@princessaspien
Autism Anthem 🤘🏼 (this took me SO long plz blow this up or at least start treating autistic people better ok 🥰)) ##fyp ##foryou ##autism
♬ Autism Anthem – princessaspien

“>While many of the comments are positive, the second most viewed video using her audio is a boy staring into the camera telling her to “fuck off retard”. The video has 67,000 likes.
“It’s got over 1,000 comments, and pretty much all supporting him and his videos,” she says.
But this time around she is refusing to let the bullying get to her.
“I’ve been making videos and being public about who I am since I was 16. So, after that amount of time, you kind of get used to the fact that these are the sorts of response you’re going to get. It sucks and it hurts, but you have to brush it off … The boys who don’t really know what they are talking about and are just doing it for a few views, they don’t really matter,” she says.
“And I’ve had teenage boys, who don’t look like the sort of people that would be encouraging, message me saying ‘hey, I’ve realised in the past I haven’t been kind to these sorts of people’, and saying that they know better now … Like, if I have one person that sees it, and it’s changed their life or perception, and it’s made a difference to them, it’s worth it.”

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Disney’s streaming chief Mayer to become TikTok CEO – Networking – Software- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Walt Disney Co’s top streaming executive, Kevin Mayer, will leave the entertainment and theme parks giant to become the chief executive officer of TikTok, the popular video app owned by China’s ByteDance Technology Co, the companies said on Monday.
Mayer led the successful launch of the Disney+ streaming service in November but in February was passed over as Disney’s new chief executive.
Mayer’s appointment will be effective June 1, when he will also become chief operating officer of ByteDance, the Chinese company said.
TikTok, which allows users to create short videos with special effects, has become wildly popular with US teenagers doing viral challenges that pair dances with music clips from the app’s library. TikTok has hinted at ambitions to build a music streaming business, announcing in January that it was partnering with UK-based music rights agency Merlin to expand its musical selections.
ByteDance’s Chinese ownership, however, has sparked concerns in Washington about TikTok’s handling of personal data. The company uses sophisticated artificial intelligence to make video recommendations based on users’ behavior on the app.
In November, the US government launched a national security review of ByteDance’s US$1 billion acquisition of social media app Musical.ly, which became TikTok. Two senators introduced a bill to ban federal employees from using TikTok on government-issued phones.
One of those senators, Republican Josh Hawley, said TikTok previously told him its executives could not testify before Congress because they were located in China.
“But this new executive lives in the USA,” Hawley wrote on Twitter on Monday. “I look forward to hearing from him. Under oath.”
To appease concerns, ByteDance has stepped up efforts to separate TikTok from much of its Chinese businesses and has made several high-profile executive hires in recent months. It appointed former Microsoft intellectual property chief Erich Andersen as global general counsel in January, after hiring Vanessa Pappas, a veteran YouTube executive, to run its US operations last year.
Speculation over Mayer’s future began swirling in February after Disney named Robert Chapek as chief executive officer. Mayer, who has a “loud and forceful” style, according to a former Disney executive, was seen as a dealmaker who had only recently been put in charge of a large profit-and-loss division. His relative lack of operating experience was a main reason he did not get the top job, the former executive said.
A ByteDance spokesman said the company had “no reservations” about Mayer’s operational experience. “Any company in our sector would be delighted have him onboard.”
Under Mayer’s leadership, Disney+ collected more than 50 million subscribers in five months.
Disney named Rebecca Campbell, a 23-year company veteran, to replace Mayer as head of the direct-to-consumer and international division, which includes the streaming media units Disney is counting on to drive future growth.

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Streaming executive behind Disney+ to become new TikTok CEO | Technology- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Walt Disney Co’s top streaming executive, Kevin Mayer, will leave the entertainment and theme parks giant to become the chief executive officer of TikTok, the popular video app owned by China’s ByteDance, the companies said on Monday.
Mayer led the successful launch of the Disney+ streaming service in November but in February was passed over as Disney’s new chief executive.
Mayer’s appointment will be effective 1 June, when he will also become chief operating officer of ByteDance, the Chinese company said.
TikTok, which allows users to create short videos with special effects, has become wildly popular with US teenagers doing viral challenges that pair dances with music clips from the app’s library. TikTok has hinted at ambitions to build a music streaming business, announcing in January that it was partnering with the UK-based music rights agency Merlin to expand its musical selections.

ByteDance’s Chinese ownership, however, has sparked concerns in Washington about TikTok’s handling of personal data. The company uses sophisticated artificial intelligence to make video recommendations based on users’ behavior on the app.
In November, the US government launched a national security review of ByteDance’s $1bn acquisition of social media app Musical.ly, which became TikTok under ByteDance’s leadership. Two senators have introduced a bill to ban federal employees from using TikTok on government-issued phones.
To appease those concerns, ByteDance has stepped up efforts to separate TikTok from much of its Chinese businesses and has made several high-profile executive hires in recent months. It appointed Erich Andersen, the former Microsoft intellectual property chief, as global general counsel in January, after hiring Vanessa Pappas, a veteran YouTube executive, to run its US operations last year.
Speculation over Mayer’s future began swirling in February after Disney named Robert Chapek as chief executive officer. Mayer was seen as a dealmaker who had only recently been put in charge of a large profit-and-loss division. His relative lack of operating experience was a main reason he did not get the top job, the former executive said.
A ByteDance spokesman said the company had “no reservations” about Mayer’s operational experience. “Any company in our sector would be delighted have him onboard.”
Chapek praised Mayer in a statement on Monday, saying he “has done a masterful job of overseeing and growing our portfolio of streaming services, while bringing together the creative and technological assets required to launch the hugely successful Disney+ globally”.
Under Mayer’s leadership, Disney+ signed up more than 50 million subscribers in five months.
Disney named Rebecca Campbell, a 23-year company veteran, to replace Mayer as head of the direct-to-consumer and international division, which includes the streaming media units Disney is counting on to drive future growth.

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TikTok is the perfect medium for the splintered attention spans of lockdown | Sophie Haigney | Opinion- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

TikTok is the perfect medium for the splintered attention spans of lockdown | Sophie Haigney | Opinion- Tempemail – Blog – Tempemail.co

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Someone, somewhere, makes a sandwich, gracefully pressing her fork into the edges of crustless white bread. Someone else jumps in the air and somehow manages to remove his hoodie with his foot, landing on his feet and looking shocked. A golden retriever appears to be dancing on their hind legs. A son opens a box that his deceased father left him for his 18th birthday. Families assemble in formation and do dances made famous by other people on the internet. Ant and Dec throw progressively larger things at each others’ heads underneath the caption: “Day 37 of lockdown”.

@mad_movement
The Git Up ##thegitup ##viral ##fyp ##foryourpage ##PlayWithLife ##issavibe ##foryou
♬ The Git Up – Blanco Brown

“>On TikTok, the performed human experience comes to us in short bursts. The platform is made for quick-cut videos, usually 15- to 60-seconds long, often accompanied by short clips of frenetic music and visual effects. The format is simple: users post videos of themselves dancing and singing and trying to be funny and exercising and just talking to the world. It’s charming and cringeworthy and has a directness that is unlike the flattened experience of social media we’ve become used to. When TikTok was first becoming popular in 2018, writers proclaimed a return to the good-fun internet of yore. Then reporting revealed some uncomfortable claims about political censorship and the intentional suppression of posts by people deemed ugly, poor or disabled. TikTok says it has updated its procedures but still, we had to admit: this doesn’t sound like the good-fun internet. But it continues to grow and grow: at the start of this year it was the most downloaded non-gaming app, surpassing WhatsApp and Facebook. In 2019, the company said that 60% of active users in the US are between the ages of 16 and 24.
TikTok is the medium of global lockdowns. It is perfect for a splintered attention span that is suddenly plunged into a boredom so extreme that nothing in particular will satiate it. I can’t even watch TV any more, people are saying. But 15 seconds of a koala sleeping followed by 15 seconds of a teenager dancing with his grandmother feels doable. Throughout lockdown, headlines have been describing TikTok as a perfect distraction from lockdown conditions, but I don’t think that’s quite right. It doesn’t distract so much as reflect the conditions back to us. TikToks are often compelling precisely because they capture the experience of isolation – the creative ingenuity that can come of it; the drive to entertain ourselves and others; the desire for a tenuous connection to a generalised world.
A lot of the videos, especially those made by young people, are inflected with what I can only think of as a powerful yearning, for an audience, of course, but also for a way to pass the time. They play dress-up, invent dances, imitate movie characters, and dye half their hair blond or purple (#lockdownlewks). Watching TikToks while I was bored one day, I had the thought that many of them are fundamentally artefacts of boredom, tedium-made material. You might wonder who has the time to make them, as you while away hours watching teens who haven’t seen their friends in months playing multiple parts in skits about their lives.
TikTok doesn’t feel like a rabbit hole. Instagram is one endless boring scroll through advertisements and ex-friends’ anniversary posts, and Twitter is a vortex you could tumble down for hours, into jokes and arguments and jokes about the arguments. TikTok, where the dominant feed is not your friends but a “For You” feed curated algorithmically, is more like a deluge. Everything is disconnected, everything is divorced from context, everything is fragmented and vaguely miraculous, everything is so fast that it doesn’t feel like it’s stealing your time. Everything is even more ephemeral than usual: the archive is so difficult to search that it can be hard to locate TikToks you might have seen just yesterday. There isn’t even the artificially generated nostalgia of resurfaced content on Facebook. It is a kind of eternal present.

@kindakyle
anyone else feel this too ? love this app but it’s destroyed my attention span 🥵 ##fyp ##chooseone
♬ original sound – whatthed0ugh

“>There is a lot of silliness on TikTok. There is also plenty of darkness, often cut with humour. In one video I can’t stop watching, someone with the handle @kindakyle is dancing robotically, accompanied by a rainbow strobe effect. Overlaid text reads: “when tik tok has made your attention span so poor that you cant watch youtube videos or netflix anymore bc you arent getting the instant gratification that you can get from this app and you also cant study for more than 5 mins and lose interest in conversations extremely quickly and now you basically have the mental capacity of a hamster and cant focus on one thing to save your life !! zoo wee mama !!”

This has become a sort of meme: young people imagining and acting out what their TikTok use might be doing to their brains, and then performing it on the app itself. The young people making these videos are funny and self-aware and creative and sad. It’s hard to watch and it’s also hard to stop watching. The videos repeat and repeat.
• Sophie Haigney writes about technology and culture

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TikTok Accused of Breaching Child Privacy Regulations | Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Sourced from Cosmico

At least twenty advocacy groups have accused TikTok of violating child privacy regulations in the US and breaching a settlement that the viral video app agreed with the Federal Trade Commission last year over a previous privacy complaint.
The groups, which include the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, the Center for Digital Democracy and the Electronic Privacy Information Center, have all filed complaints with the US Watchdog saying that they believe that the social media platform is “in contempt” of the terms of the 2019 settlement, as well as children’s privacy regulations.
ArsTechnica reports that TikTok, owned by Chinese tech group ByteDance, was fined $5.7-million in February last year for illegally collecting children’s data as it began to rise in popularity among teens in the West.
Now, according to the advocacy groups’ complaint, “more than a year later, with quarantined kids and families flocking to the site in record numbers, TikTok has failed to delete personal information previously collected from children and is still collecting kids’ personal information without notice to and consent of parents”.

TikTok claims it had not yet seen the latest complaint. In a statement, the company says “We take privacy seriously and are committed to helping ensure that TikTok continues to be a safe and entertaining community for our users.”
Last month, TikTok topped 2-billion downloads, according to data from Sensor Tower, after it was installed more than 315-million times via the App Store and Google Play in the first quarter of the year alone, a quarterly record for any app to date.
Calling for an investigation into the matter and sanctions on TikTok, the consumer and child privacy groups claim that the company had failed to delete personal information collected from users aged 13 and under prior to the 2019 settlement order – a direct breach of the terms of the agreement.
The groups also argued that the app doesn’t have appropriate mechanisms for receiving parental consent for the collection of certain data belonging to children on the platform, or for allowing parents to delete that personal information. Something that is in violation of the US consent decree and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
“We easily found that many accounts featuring children were still present on TikTok. Many of these accounts have tens of thousands to millions of followers, and have been around since before the order,” says Michael Rosenbloom, staff attorney at the Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown Law, which is representing the advocates.
“We urge the FTC to hold TikTok to account for continuing to violate both COPPA and its consent decree.”
The news comes just hours after the Dutch data protection agency announced an investigation into whether TikTok “adequately protects” the privacy of Dutch children and “adequately explains how their personal data is collected, processed, and used.”
TikTok says it was “fully cooperating” with the Dutch watchdog regarding its privacy investigation.
Edited by Luis Monzon
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How advertisers will need to adapt to impending regulations on Twitch and TikTok- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

New legislation set to be introduced this year will change the way advertisers can target people on platforms like TikTok and Twitch. Sarah McDonald from law firm Wiggin explains what it means.
Even before social distancing measures were introduced to combat the spread of Covid-19, the virtual world was a rapidly growing space. This is evident in the explosion of international video-sharing platforms (VSPs) such as TikTok and Twitch, the Amazon-owned platform with over 15 million daily active users.
While these VSPs compete with television time amongst the younger demographic, the levels of regulation differ significantly; VSPs, which include live streaming services, have been something of an unregulated space and a legal grey-area when it comes to content and advertising compliance in the UK.
It is only since the revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) in 2018 that a fairer regulatory environment has sought to be created between traditional broadcasters and these newer services. As the UK looks to implement the revised AVMSD, due by 19 September 2020, VSPs are preparing to have tighter regulation imposed. This could have important implications for the content of adverts and the type of adverts permitted and therefore the platform revenue streams as a result.
The AVMSD is the bedrock for the regulation of linear TV and video-on-demand (VOD) services, mandating that all audiovisual media services under the jurisdiction of an EU Member State must follow a minimum set of rules outlined by their local regulator when promoting goods or services on TV. It is these rules that prevent product placement in news and current affairs programmes or those aimed at children.
Until now, this EU directive has not encompassed the content on VSPs such as Twitch or YouTube, meaning that UK providers have not been under Ofcom’s restrictions in relation to sponsorship or any paid-for promotion of products or services in or around user-generated videos. Whilst the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is clear that advertising on social media platforms falls within its remit, providing the marketing in question is not in ‘foreign media’; it has upheld a complaint against Lionsgate for an in-stream transmission of a film advert on Twitch during a League of Legends World Championship in 2015; and it recently sent an advice note to gambling operators as a reminder that gambling advertising compliance applies to ads on VSPs, we have yet to see widespread complaints or CAP Code rules being enforced against non-complaint ads appearing there.
We know that the revised AVMSD will require VSP providers to take basic steps to protect the general public from illegal content and that which incites violence or hatred and to protect children from harmful content. To comply with the rules on commercial communications, minors will also need to be protected from images that promote economic activity and which may “impair their physical, mental or moral development” in or around any user-generated video. Where the VSP provider sells the advertising within the VSP (hello Amazon and Google-owned platforms) there are additional requirements. For UK-based VSPs, we can expect to see users indicating when content contains a paid-for commercial communication – increasingly seen on Instagram and Twitter where posts are accompanied by the hashtag ‘#ad’. Under the revised AVMSD, Member States are also encouraged to reduce the exposure of children to adverts for unhealthy foods – rules relating to which have already been adopted in the UK for other advertising formats. These new restrictions will provide food for thought for the brands advertising on VSPs.
As a result of the revised AVMSD, advertisers may need to adapt or change either their content or their chosen methods of advertising, especially given the emphasis on the prevention of harm to minors. Twitch’s youngest users for example can be 13 and with no age-verification process required to sign-up, many are even younger. As a result, this might impact the platforms’ short-term revenue streams; a large part of the appeal of advertising on Twitch for brands was reaching a far-flung and significant audience without the same restrictions that a brand such as Coca-Cola might encounter when advertising at the cinema or on television. Nonetheless, it is unlikely that this will be a long-lasting impact, as there are enough brands with adverts that will easily pass the new basic rules to whom the growing audience on VSPs will appeal.
Interestingly, this may also inadvertently impact on the availability of certain videos on VSPs. For example, if Twitch is under an obligation to take appropriate measures to protect minors from damaging content, does this apply to a stream of a user playing Call of Duty (PEGI rating 18)? Currently, product placement in video games is not regulated, but if a game of Fortnite which an influencer is streaming via YouTube contains in-game advertising, is this something which the influencer could be expected to know and be required to flag to the VSP when uploading or commencing his or her stream? We will have to wait to see how these provisions are incorporated into UK law (which may be on a transitional basis until it is decided how to fully implement the outcomes of the Online Harms White Paper) to see how VSP providers will deal with non-compliant content, how Ofcom and the ASA will be dealing with non-compliant providers, and the impact that this will have on both users and brands.
Clearly, the introduction of the revised AVMSD later this year will significantly change how content and advertising is served on VSPs, having an impact on the type of adverts permitted, potentially the time of day and the content it surrounds – this will therefore affect the appeal of VSPs for certain brands. Will the regulation have an impact on advertising revenue for VSPs or will this more carefully curated advertising space drive prices up in the long-term? Only time will tell, but one thing that is for certain is that brands advertising on VSPs and those users who generate an income are unlikely to suffer a lasting impact given the size of the audiences that these platforms have.
Sarah McDonald is head of the advertising, marketing and sponsorship team at Wiggin LLP

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