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Facebook Plans New Strategy to Take Lead Over TikTok

The Facebook CEO also said that TikTok is almost like Instagram''s Explore Tab

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FILE - The logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square, March 29, 2018. VOA

Admitting that TikTok is doing well in the US and growing quickly in India, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled his own plans to counter the rising clout of the Chinese short video-sharing platform in meetings with employees, the details of which have now been leaked.

Saying that Facebook has a “number of approaches” to compete with TikTok, Zuckerberg said the company would first test the efficacy of its strategies in markets where TikTok is not already big, according to the details of the meeting published by The Verge on Tuesday.

With over 200 million users in India, TikTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, is fast closing the gap with Facebook in the country.

“So we have a number of approaches that we’re going to take towards this, and we have a product called Lasso that’s a standalone app that we’re working on, trying to get product-market fit in countries like Mexico, is I think one of the first initial ones,” Zuckerberg was quoted as saying.

“We’re trying to first see if we can get it to work in countries where TikTok is not already big before we go and compete with TikTok in countries where they are big,” he said in response to a question on how Facebook plans to counter TikTok’s growing cultural clout among teenagers and Gen Z.

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TikTok is fast catching up: it has been downloaded more than 240 million times in India so far, according to app analytics firm Sensor Tower. VOA

In November last year, Facebook quietly released a stand-alone app called “Lasso” to compete with TikTok.

The Facebook CEO also said that TikTok is almost like Instagram’s Explore Tab.

Also Read: Researchers Detect 172 Malicious Apps on Google Play Store

“I kind of think about TikTok as if it were Explore for stories, and that were the whole app,” Zuckerberg said.

“We’re taking a number of approaches with Instagram, including making it so that Explore is more focused on stories, which is increasingly becoming the primary way that people consume content on Instagram, as well as a couple of other things there,” he said. (IANS)

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TikTok Prevents Disabled Users’ Videos From Going Viral: Report

"This was never designed to be a long-term solution, and while the intention was good, it became clear that the approach was wrong," the spokesperson told the BBC

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TikTok has over 54 million monthly active users (MAUs) in India. Pixabay

Chinese short video-sharing app TikTok has acknowledged that content produced by disabled users was deliberately suppressed by the firm’s moderators in a bid to prevent these users from becoming victims of bullying, the media reported.

Facing criticism, TikTok acknowledged that its approach had been flawed, the BBC reported on Tuesday, adding that the measure was exposed by the German digital rights news site Netzpolitik.

Disability rights campaigners termed the strategy “bizarre”.

A leaked extract from TikTok’s rulebook gave examples of what its moderators were instructed to be on the lookout for: disabled people, those with Down’s syndrome and autism, people with facial disfigurements, and people with other “facial problems” such as a birthmark or sight squint.

Such users were “susceptible to bullying or harassment based on their physical or mental condition”, according to the rulebook.

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The logo of the TikTok application is seen on a screen in this picture illustration taken Feb. 21, 2019. VOA

The moderators were instructed to restrict viewership of affected users’ videos to the country where they were uploaded, according to an unnamed TikTok source quoted by Netzpolitik.

The moderators were told to prevent the clips of vulnerable users from appearing in the app’s main video feed once they had reached between 6,000 to 10,000 views, said the report.

Also Read: Lenovo Decides to Expands its Range of Smart Devices in India

A spokesman for TikTok admitted that it had made the wrong choice, the BBC reported.

“Early on, in response to an increase in bullying on the app, we implemented a blunt and temporary policy,” he was quoted as saying.

“This was never designed to be a long-term solution, and while the intention was good, it became clear that the approach was wrong,” the spokesperson told the BBC. (IANS)