WW8: TikTok dodged another ban, BTS performing in Fortnite and more news
Sep 23, 2020 12:46 pm
Welcome back to the Wire Weekly. Here's the quickest brief on what we cover in this week's newsletter:
- How TikTok and WeChat escaped a ban
- Apple's Attack and Epic's Response
- BTS will do a live show in Fortnite
- PS5 and it's digital edition are here
- You can now stream games from your Xbox to your phone
- Apple allows Stadia and xCloud on conditions they wouldn't follow
- Google's Play Store took down India's popular finance app and it's AI took down too many YouTube videos.
- How Facebook is helping 2020 US Elections
- How Big Tech is saving the environment.
- And a lot more.
ALL WITHIN 5-10 MINUTES.
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How TikTok and WeChat Escaped Another Ban
📣 Trump announced order to ban both apps from future download in the US by 20th Sept
- Despite a lot of tech companies showing interest in buying TikTok, there's no (i-deal) deal yet that fulfills all conditions of the US Commerce Department.
- But TikTok says it will continue to challenge the executive order
🙏 TikTok's CEO is asking Instagram, Facebook for help
- Instagram's head tweeted, "US TikTok ban would be quite bad for Instagram, Facebook and the internet more broadly.
- To which, TikTok's CEO replied asking Instagram to put aside competition and focus on core principles like freedom of expression and the due process of law.
⚖️ On 19th, TikTok did a last minute try and filed another lawsuit against President Trump for violating free speech
😌 Both TikTok and WeChat avoid the ban
- President Trump said he gave the deal between TikTok, Oracle and Walmart his "blessings" and a one-week delay.
- Meanwhile, a judge in California issued preliminary injunction blocking the WeChat ban
* * *
Apple's Attack On Fortnite's maker, Epic Games
- Apple was passive for a long time in this battle. It started with "we'll talk with Epic Games to resolve the issues" when Epic breached it's App Store guidelines initiating it's plan. [Read Context]
- But now, no more. Apple is now the one throwing lawsuits.
🔥 Apple says "Epic started a fire, poured gasoline on it and now ask this court for emergency assistance"
- Apple says that Epic did a full-scale pre-planned media stunt by breaching the App Store guidelines and creating the #FreeFortnite campaign around it.
- Apple says that for reasons unrelated to the App Store ban, Fortnite's popularity was dropping, specifically 70% since June. So this plan was actually supposed to light interest in Fortnite.
📉 Epic denies Apple's claim that interest in Fortnite was declining citing it's own data
- Epic says, Apple "cherry picked" data from Google Search on Fortnite between October 2019 and July 2020.
- Citing it's own data, Epic says Fortnite's daily active players grew by 39%.
🎊 BTS will debut their new MV in Fortnite's Party Royale
- It'll be a choreography video for their single "Dynamite" airing on September 25th 8PM ET (5:30AM IST)
- There will be two new emotes choreographed by BTS for sale on 23 September.
* * *
🎮 PS5 is $499, its Digital Edition is $399
- PS5 launched with SSD storage for faster launching, ray tracking, 4k Blue-ray player, and more.
- A more affordable Digital Edition is a digital only console without a disc drive.
- It will support PS4 games but not PS1/2/3 games.
- PS5 Games cost between $49.99 — $59.99.
- It is also the biggest sized console ever.
Left to right: PS3 60GB, Xbox, Xbox One, PS5 Digital ($399), PS5($499).
🎮 Microsoft's Xbox app lets you stream games from your Xbox One to your Android phone
- This is a feature called Remote Play (previously Console Streaming) on the updated Xbox app for Android.
- This is different from xCloud where you can stream games from Microsoft servers. Here games are streamed from your own Xbox.
* * *
☁️ Apple's new rules on cloud gaming
- Google's Stadia, Microsoft's xCloud and all cloud based gaming services were barred on the iPhones.
- But Apple has changed some App Store rules allowing cloud gaming subscriptions if they follow some guidelines.
- Firstly, all the games must be submitted individually to the App Store.
- This means if you want to play a cloud based game you've to download a small sized client.
- Think of it like you'll have to download mini file anytime you want to watch a show on Netflix
- Microsoft says it goes against what cloud gaming is meant for which is that you can hop onto any game with a tap. So Stadia's app will just provide a catalogue with links to App Store.
- Secondly, all cloud based games should be available to use independently without buying the subscription they come with.
- Meaning you can play a cloud based game by buying just that game and not the whole cloud gaming subscription.
- But it breaks the whole business model of cloud gaming.
- In short, do not expect cloud gaming subscriptions on iOS soon.
🏪 Apple's launching its online store in India on 23 Sept
- The store will sell iPhones, iPads, and Macs which were previously by third party resellers in India.
- AppleCare+, the device insurance program, which provides two years of technical support and accidental damage cover, is coming to India.
- Chat support will be available in Hindi too.
- There's no indication of a price reduction for products. But since they're new products (Watch SE, iPad 8th Gen, iPhone SE) are already so affordable, focusing on India is good chance for a greater market share.
* * *
Google and YouTube moderation
💳 Google took down one of India's biggest payments app. It's now back.
- PayTM rolled out a new feature called Cricket League a day before the Indian Premier League started.
- This UPI based cashback program violated Google's Play Store policies that restrain apps from hosting "unregulated gambling content".
- PayTM rolled back the feature and the app was reinstated.
- But the app's clever Founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma tweeted: "... India, you decide if giving cash back is gambling"
- He also said that this was “against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of Atmanirbhar [independent] Bharat.”
👥 YouTube brings back human moderators because their AI censors too much
- In March, YouTube said AI will replace human moderators thanks to the lockdown
- Reportedly AI took down 11M videos between April and June. (About double the usual rate)
- Appeals against video take downs doubled too.
🔞 YouTube will age-restrict more videos
- YouTube suggests anyone under 13 to use YouTube Kids rather than their main app.
- But many viewers — under 13 — still watch videos and many creators still create specifically for them.
- So making the platform safer, YouTube will use AI and ML to label more videos as not suitable for minors.
- YouTube expects a lot of mis-labelling as that's what happened when AI replaced humans for content moderation.
* * *
Facebook and the US Elections
🗳️ Facebook helped 2.5M people to register for US Elections this year. Its goal is 4M.
- Last elections, it helped 2M.
- The company launched voting information centre on Facebook and Instagram with resources related to voting.
- It also displays — and will continue to display till 25 Sept — how to register prompts on the top of Facebook and Instagram feeds and in notifications.
🚥 Facebook will aggressively restrict circulation of content on the platform if US Elections in November turn violent.
- Previously during unrest in Sri Lanka and Mayanmar, Facebook restricted reach of content from regular breakers.
* * *
Big Tech and the Environment
☀️ Google pledges to run entirely on Carbon free energy by 2030
- The company says it has purchased enough carbon offsets to cancel out all carbon emissions the company in the past.
- Google has been carbon neutral each year since 2007
💧 Microsoft pledges to be water positive by 2030
- However, there's no details on how it will give back more water than it consumes
- Also, Microsoft took up 7 Million cubic metres of water in 2018 and 8M in 2019.
* * *
🎧 Spotify says Apple One subscription is unfair. Apple obviously disagrees
- Apple One is Apple's bundled subscription that brings Apple's Music, iCloud, TV+, Arcade and more under one subscription.
- So if you use Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade, it'd be better if you switch to Apple Music from Spotify.
- Spotify claims Apple uses "its dominant position and unfair practices to disadvantage competitors"
- And Apple responded saying that they've not stopped users from buying alternatives to their apps.
🎙️ Amazon Music now includes Podcasts being more of a competitor to Spotify. While Apple, a big player in Music and Podcasts, tends to keep them separate.
* * *
OnePlus 8T to launch on 14 Oct
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