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Twitter launches new Periscope features to broaden its Audience

Twitter is taking the smartphone shackles off its live-video service Periscope in its latest attempt to broaden its audience

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FILE - Lauren Simo (L) answers questions during a weekly forum streamed via Periscope on a smartphone, Hollywood, Fla., 29, 2015.(VOA)
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  • The Periscope Producer feature announced Thursday will let media companies and other users pipe live video feeds directly into Twitter, without using a smartphone to record the images
  • With the latest move, Periscope joins other live streaming services such as Twitch and YouTube that allow for broadcasts from sources beyond users’ smartphones
  • Periscope CEO Kayvon Beykour said Producer will be available to all comers soon, something that he acknowledged could lead to unauthorised redistribution of live video

San Francisco, October 15, 2016: Twitter is taking the smartphone shackles off its live-video service Periscope in its latest attempt to broaden its audience.

The Periscope Producer feature announced Thursday will let media companies and other users pipe live video feeds directly into Twitter, without using a smartphone to record the images. Since its debut early last year, Periscope had been confined to live video feeds taken on a smartphone.

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During Producer’s testing phase last week, a Florida television station showing live video on its website used the new tool to redistribute the same feeds on Twitter. To start, Producer will be limited to a small group of media companies such as Disney’s ABC News and major brands such as Louis Vuitton. Others can apply for approval at http://t.co/periscopeproducer .

Periscope CEO Kayvon Beykour said Producer will be available to all comers soon, something that he acknowledged could lead to unauthorized redistribution of live video. Piracy has been an issue dogging Periscope since people began using the service to broadcast live video of movies and TV shows with their smartphones.

The Periscope extension ups the ante on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s bet that the increasing popularity of online video will help widen the messaging service’s appeal.

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Twitter already has been streaming more news, entertainment and sports events, including the National Football League’s Thursday Night games for 10 weeks during the season. Twitter hopes to build a following beyond people who rely on the service to tweet their thoughts and keep tabs on what’s happening around the world. Dorsey sees Twitter evolving into the go-to place for watching live video in a digital town square where people can share their opinions with each other.

Internet companies young (Snapchat) and old (Facebook) are scrambling to get on the live video train, though there are no easy ways to make advertising money off of them yet. That’s coming, though. Some companies are already experimenting with livestreaming for marketing purposes. Automaker General Motors, for example, launched out its electric Chevy Bolt EV using Facebook Live earlier this year. Media outlets, meanwhile, are livestreaming coverage of the presidential debates in ways not seen in any previous election.

With the latest move, Periscope joins other livestreaming services such as Twitch and YouTube that allow for broadcasts from sources beyond users’ smartphones. Facebook, meanwhile, has so far stuck to a mobile-only strategy. But even with Periscope’s expanded capability, Facebook has an advantage with a larger audience.

Since the end of 2014, Twitter has picked up just 15 million monthly users to expand its audience to 313 million people through June. During the same stretch, Facebook gained 319 million users to extend its reach beyond 1.7 billion people.

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In an effort to distinguish Twitter from Facebook, Dorsey has been trying to position it as the “people news network” — though with little success since he replaced Dick Costolo as CEO 15 months ago.

Things have been looking so bleak that Twitter’s board last month hired investment bankers to woo suitors that might be interested in buying the San Francisco company, according to published reports that cited unnamed people familiar with the matter. The prospective bidders included Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., as well as Apple Inc., Salesforce.com and Walt Disney Co.

The possibility of a sale tantalized investors until other media reports made it seem unlikely that Twitter will strike a deal soon. With a sale apparently off the table, the company’s stock has dropped by nearly 30 percent in the past week. The shares fell 20 cents to $17.85 in early afternoon trading Thursday.(VOA)

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Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter Personally Looking Over on High-Profile Accounts

After facing protests on its platform, Twitter had temporarily banned the account of Jones

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Twitter blocking legitimate accounts, alleges Iran. Pixabay

As Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey gets ready to testify before the US Congress on September 5, reports have surfaced that he is personally weighing in on high-profile decisions to ban controversial accounts, frustrating some employees.

According to a report in Wall Street Journal on Monday, Dorsey overruled a decision by his staff to ban the right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

He also reportedly “instructed his employees to let alt-right provocateur Richard Spencer keep one of his Twitter accounts after the trust and safety team kicked him off the platform in 2016”.

Twitter’s Chief Legal Officer Vijaya Gadde, however, disputed the report.

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Twitter on a smartphone device. VOA

“Any suggestion that Jack made or overruled any of these decisions is completely and totally false,” Gadde was quoted as saying in a statement.

Facing the heat from conservative commentators and lawmakers over alleged censoring of Republicans on Twitter, Dorsey has been called to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about algorithms and content monitoring.

According to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, “Social media platforms are increasingly serving as today’s town squares. But sadly, conservatives are too often finding their voices silenced”.

“One-sided conversations are an affront to the public mission that serve as the foundations for these social media platforms — including Twitter,” he said in a statement in August.

Later, Dorsey will also testify about election security along with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and a representative from Google before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Twitter
Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

In an interview with CNN, Dorsey said Twitter needs more resources to enact rules aimed at tackling heated political rhetoric on its platform.

He said Twitter did not take action against radio host Jones until reports came in, pointing out that he violated Twitter’s policies.

“As we receive reports, we take action,” Dorsey said.

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After facing protests on its platform, Twitter had temporarily banned the account of Jones.

US President Donald Trump also tweeted about the issue. “They are closing down the opinions of many people on the RIGHT, while at the same time doing nothing to others. Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won’t let that happen,” tweeted Trump. (IANS)