WW8: TikTok dodged another ban, BTS performing in Fortnite and more news

Sep 23, 2020 7:46 am

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Hey โ€”

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.


Read this week's Wire Weekly and give us a rating. We'll feature you on the next edition. (Link to rate at the end)


* * *


COVER STORY

How TikTok and WeChat Escaped Another Ban


๐Ÿ“ฃ 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

(The Verge)


๐Ÿ™ 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.

(The Verge)


โš–๏ธ On 19th, TikTok did a last minute try and filed another lawsuit against President Trump for violating free speech

(WSJ)


๐Ÿ˜Œ 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

(The Verge)


* * *


COVER STORY

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. 


๐Ÿ”ฅ 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.

(The Next Web)


๐Ÿ“‰ 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%.

(The Verge)


๐ŸŽŠ 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.

(The Verge)


* * *


Gaming Consoles


๐ŸŽฎ PS5 is $499, its Digital Edition is $399

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  • 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 โ€” $59.99.
  • It is also the biggest sized console ever.


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Left to right: PS3 60GB, Xbox, Xbox One, PS5 Digital ($399), PS5($499).


(The Verge) (Ars Technica) (TechRadar)


๐ŸŽฎ Microsoft's Xbox app lets you stream games from your Xbox One to your Android phone

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  • 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.

(The Verge)


* * *


Apple


โ˜๏ธ 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.

(The Verge)


๐Ÿช Apple's launching its online store in India on 23 Sept

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  • 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.

(The Next Web)


* * *


Google and YouTube moderation


๐Ÿ’ณ 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 โ€œagainst Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of Atmanirbhar [independent] Bharat.โ€

(ET Tech)


๐Ÿ‘ฅ 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.

(FT)


๐Ÿ”ž YouTube will age-restrict more videos

  • YouTube suggests anyone under 13 to use YouTube Kids rather than their main app.
  • But many viewers โ€” under 13 โ€” 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.

(The Verge)


* * *


Facebook and the US Elections


๐Ÿ—ณ๏ธ Facebook helped 2.5M people to register for US Elections this year. Its goal is 4M.

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  • Last elections, it helped 2M.
  • The company launched voting information centre on Facebook and Instagram with resources related to voting.
  • It also displays โ€” and will continue to display till 25 Sept โ€” how to register prompts on the top of Facebook and Instagram feeds and in notifications.

(The Verge)


๐Ÿšฅ 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.

(FT)


* * *


Big Tech and the Environment


โ˜€๏ธ 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

(The Verge)


๐Ÿ’ง 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.

(The Verge)


* * *

Music Streaming


๐ŸŽง 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.

(9to5Mac)


๐ŸŽ™๏ธ 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.

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(The Verge)


* * *


OnePlus 8T to launch on 14 Oct

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(image: OxygenUpdated)


* * *


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Cheers,

The Wire Mail Team.

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