SNAP Oct 2020 6.000 call

OPR - OPR Delayed price. Currency in USD
10.30
0.00 (0.00%)
At close: 6:45PM EDT
Stock chart is not supported by your current browser
Previous close10.30
Open10.30
Bid16.90
Ask17.40
Strike6.00
Expiry date2020-10-16
Day's range10.30 - 10.30
Contract rangeN/A
Volume1
Open interest22
  • Why Pinterest Stock Is Up 19% Through the First Half of the Year
    Motley Fool

    Why Pinterest Stock Is Up 19% Through the First Half of the Year

    After crashing during the coronavirus sell-off in March, shares of Pinterest (NYSE: PINS) bounced back and finished the first half of the year up 19%, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. While the company's advertising business has been challenged by the crisis, investors have enthusiastically returned to growth stocks like Pinterest, believing that the crisis will accelerate a shift in advertising spending to digital platforms like the virtual pinboard. The stock jumped on Jan. 14 when eMarketer said it passed Snapchat to become the third-biggest social media app in the country, finishing 2019 with a projected 82.4 million users in the U.S. The research firm also predicted that the gap between the two apps would widen over the coming years, with Pinterest reaching 90.1 million domestic users by 2022.

  • Bloomberg

    Balkanization Is Bad for Facebook’s Business

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- The internet, once a freewheeling global network, is becoming balkanized into national spheres of influence. This could be bad for both cross-cultural communication and U.S. tech companies.China has long protected its local internet, censoring speech behind what has become known as the Great Firewall. The government blocks U.S.-based services such as Google, Facebook and Twitter, and closely monitors the local Chinese versions. Other authoritarian and quasi-authoritarian countries -- Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Vietnam, Ethiopia – do the same. And Russia recently passed a so-called sovereign internet law that makes it much easier for the government to monitor and control online content.Now democracies may be joining in. India just banned 59 of China’s largest internet apps, including social video sharing service TikTok, reflecting rising tensions between the two giant Asian countries. It has also shut off internet to regions experiencing government crackdowns or unrest, such as Jammu and Kashmir in 2019. In Europe, major rules such as the General Data Protection Regulation are forcing internet companies to operate differently in different regions. Though this doesn’t officially ban or censor U.S.-based sites like Facebook, it does present an obstacle that could end up inhibiting the flow of information.This was probably inevitable. Different cultures perceive concepts such as privacy differently. And as U.S. global hegemony gives way to a more multipolar world, countries are going to assert their sovereignty by refusing to play by U.S. rules. Further unrest, like the protests that rocked the world in 2019 or tensions between countries such as China and India, are likely to accelerate the trend towards digital division.This could be tough on U.S. tech companies. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube don’t owe their profitability to superior technology, other than some techniques for managing large amounts of user data. They make money because they have a lot of eyeballs to which they can deliver advertisements.And they have those eyeballs because of network effects. It’s easy to make a Twitter clone -- Gab tried it a while ago, and a new entrant called Parler is trying it now. But it’s incredibly hard to get people to switch, because the first people who make the jump will find themselves mostly alone, with everyone they know and want to read still back on Twitter. Similarly, people use Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social media services because everyone else does.Captive advertising targets translate into enormous profits. Facebook, Inc., which dominates the social media landscape, has a profit margin that typically ranges between 20% and 40%. Its market cap as of early July was about $647 billion, or 2.6% of the entire S&P 500.Regional balkanization, though, slices through network effects. If services like Facebook are banned in some countries and heavily restricted in others, users will have less company. Most people’s contacts and friends will tend to be in the same country, but not all. And outright bans will cut some services off entirely from huge markets like China, while restrictions like GDPR will force them to invest in expensive localization.This is an unfortunate side effect of nationalism and unrest. But it’s also reason to worry about a technology industry whose profitability stems mostly from network effects, not know-how. Actual innovations, like Intel Corporation’s semiconductor manufacturing processes, Amazon.com, Inc.’s cloud computing systems, or Google LLC’s machine learning algorithms give these companies some clout:  if a country decides it doesn’t want to buy Intel’s chips, it will suffer a real economic penalty. But if a country decides to create its own Facebook clone, it will lose little, while Facebook’s American owners and workers will lose a lot.A free and open global internet may one day reemerge. In the meantime, U.S. companies and policy makers should think about how to invest in products whose value isn’t so subject to the whims of foreign authorities.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Noah Smith is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University, and he blogs at Noahpinion.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • 5 Stocks to Make the Most of Growing Technology Dependence
    Zacks

    5 Stocks to Make the Most of Growing Technology Dependence

    With many states now contemplating pushing back the reopening phase, people are once again likely to spend more time in their homes and depend on technology to fulfill their daily tasks.

  • The heat's on Corporate America to reveal racial diversity data
    Reuters

    The heat's on Corporate America to reveal racial diversity data

    American companies are coming under increasing pressure from investors to publicly disclose information about diversity among employees in the wake of nationwide protests against racial discrimination. Many executives have pledged to champion equality in response to the Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the United States and beyond. The goal of global investors increasingly focused on social and governance issues is to gain a common metric on racial diversity to compare companies and hold them to account on their pledges, building on a drive to improve gender equality.

  • Facebook Boycott Adds to an Already Bleak Year for Advertising
    Bloomberg

    Facebook Boycott Adds to an Already Bleak Year for Advertising

    (Bloomberg) -- Long before an uproar over online hate speech prompted hundreds of marketers to cut summer social media budgets, 2020 was turning out to be a dismal year for the global advertising industry.Total ad spending will fall 12% this year, compared with a 6.2% gain in 2019, according to GroupM, a division of advertising giant WPP Plc. That’s the biggest contraction in at least a decade. As the global pandemic spread around the world and consumer spending slowed to a trickle, many corporations targeted marketing as a fast, early way to cut costs.One ad agency executive said third-quarter buying would be down 20% to 30%. New deals were being struck with “force majeure” clauses that would allow advertisers to pull out if a second wave of the virus caused new shutdowns, said the executive, who requested anonymity discussing internal financial figures. In the U.S., hopes that the virus would slow by summer are fading as states that had begun opening up move to shut down again because of a jump in cases.Against this backdrop, advertisers are making another shift. Big companies around the world have said they’ll pause spending on social media, several of them singling out Facebook Inc., because they don’t want marketing messages appearing alongside the vitriol and disinformation. Many are heeding the call from a consortium of civil rights and other advocacy groups, including Color of Change and the Anti-Defamation League, to stop spending on Facebook for July to protest the company’s failure to police harmful content.The pause creates a way for many companies to take a public stance against hate while at the same time providing a concrete reason to trim marketing budgets or, in some cases, experiment with alternatives to traditional social media, such as Amazon.com Inc. or ByteDance’s TikTok. “While many brands were planning on pulling back ad spend anyways, a portion of Facebook-allocated dollars may end up on Snapchat, Pinterest, Amazon, Walmart, etc.,” Mark Shmulik, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, wrote in a recent research note.Ad budgets are an indicator of corporate sentiment toward the world economy. Confidence and growth leads to bigger budgets and higher ad prices. Ad spending cratered in March and April as businesses shut and people stayed home to comply with lockdown orders.In interviews earlier in the year, ad execs were mostly hopeful that the pain would end once quarantines lifted and the economy rebounded. But behind the scenes, the picture was more bleak. Ad agencies, which choose how and when to spend the money companies entrust to them, have cut thousands of jobs. Ad executives who had spent money on spots meant to run during now-canceled sports events tried to recoup the money and find new outlets for it, according to people interviewed by Bloomberg who asked not to be identified discussing private negotiations.Despite the larger advertising pullback, a pause for social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter Inc. and YouTube creates an opening for ad upstarts on the digital side. Packaged foods company Conagra Brands Inc. pulled Facebook advertisements, redirecting the money to search and e-commerce ads, a category most likely to benefit online rivals Google and Amazon.Ben & Jerry’s, a division of Unilever, was one of the early brands to join the StopHateForProfit campaign. “The marketing dollars that would have been spent on Facebook will be spent on other channels, including possibly some Black-owned media outlets,” said Chris Miller, the activism manager at Ben & Jerry’s.Even if the boycotts gain momentum and persist for more than a month, Google and Facebook are still likely to benefit in the long-term from the disruption wrought by the pandemic. That’s because these companies offer advertisers the most flexible and direct way to reach consumers; spending can be paused or ramped up on a moment’s notice. The tech giants also benefit from the millions of small businesses that rely heavily on them for day-to-day business and don’t necessarily need to take a public stand on moral issues. “They may grab an even greater market share post COVID-19 than the strong gains we are currently projecting,” Michael Nathanson, an analyst at MoffettNathanson LLC, said of Facebook and Google.The more traditional parts of the ad ecosystem, which still account for around half of advertising spending, are in a riskier position.For the TV industry, the advertising outlook for the rest of 2020 will depend on two still-unanswered questions. One is how much the pandemic-driven recession will accelerate cable-TV cord-cutting. With unemployment high, more people are expected to cancel their TV subscriptions as they tighten their household budgets. That would hurt viewership and the advertising dollars that go with it. The bigger audiences as a result of people being confined to their homes has already started to fall for just about all programming except news as more people venture outdoors again.The other big question is the return of sports. As long as professional and college football starts up again this fall, media companies like Fox Corp., Comcast Corp., Walt Disney Co. and ViacomCBS will likely see a rebound in advertising revenue, analysts say. Brands spent over $4 billion on TV commercials during NFL games last year.Still, some big TV advertisers could be less willing to jump back this year at all. Carmakers like General Motors and Ford, for instance, have been among the top buyers of TV commercials. The global pandemic has disrupted their supply chains and raised doubts about consumers making big purchases like cars.Media companies and TV networks are now under pressure to make their contracts more flexible. TV networks typically prevent advertisers from pulling all of their money out on short notice. That frustrated many advertisers this spring when the pandemic first kicked off the recession. Now, advertisers are pushing for the right to pull more of their money out of a TV network with fewer days notice in case the coronavirus worsens the economic picture. They will, however, likely pay a higher price for that flexibility, according to one TV executive.That could send them back to the digital platforms, regardless of all the commitments to boycott Facebook.“Brands can stop TV ads but they can’t stop things being on social,” said Arron Shepherd, co-founder of global social media and influencer marketing agency Goat.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Facebook Analysts Don’t See Major Long-Term Risk From Boycotts
    Bloomberg

    Facebook Analysts Don’t See Major Long-Term Risk From Boycotts

    (Bloomberg) -- The growing movement to boycott Facebook Inc. by high-profile advertisers continued on Monday, though it doesn’t represent a major long-term risk to the social-media company’s stock, analysts said.A number of companies, including blue-chip firms Starbucks, Unilever and Coca-Cola, have said they would cut or cease spending on Facebook, while General Motors is reviewing how its brands are marketed on the social-media platform. The moves are aimed at pushing Facebook, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, to limit hate speech or posts with disinformation.Despite the lost revenue, “we do not expect significant risk to numbers” wrote Doug Anmuth, an analyst at JPMorgan. Referring to direct-response ad campaigns, he wrote that he expects marketers, “especially those DR-driven, will take advantage of potentially lower-priced inventory.”The firm reiterated its overweight rating and $245 price target on the stock. Facebook “has endured advertiser crises before,” and even after controversies like the one surrounding Cambridge Analytica, “marketers returned to the platform.”Building on Friday’s 8.3% slump, the stock fell as much as 4.2% on Monday, though it later pared its decline to 0.8%. Facebook remains up more than 40% from a March low, but has declined about 12% from a record close hit last week. The selloff has erased more than $80 billion from Facebook’s market capitalization.The lost market value likely exceeds the financial impact of the boycotts by a substantial degree. Earlier on Monday, Bloomberg Intelligence estimated the boycotts “could cost Facebook over $250 million” in sales. To compare, Wall Street expects Facebook will report full-year revenue of $77.1 billion, and second-quarter sales of $17.1 billion, a projection that has risen by 0.2% over the past week. The consensus for third-quarter revenue has also risen a similar amount in the last week.JPMorgan was not the only firm to downplay the risk of the boycott on the stock. MKM Partners noted that Facebook has millions of paying advertisers across the globe, and that it is not dependent on any single one for a significant amount of revenue. The firm recommended buying the stock “amid current incremental weakness,” as did Raymond James, which wrote that boycotts “are not new,” and that the financial impact “will be minimal.”Raymond James analyst Aaron Kessler expects the duration of paused spending will “be short-lived,” and he expressed optimism that recently announced changes by Facebook on issues related to hate speech “will help alleviate advertiser concerns.”Among other social-media stocks, Twitter Inc. rose 0.6% on Monday while Snap Inc. was down 2.3%. Pinterest Inc. shed 2.2%.JPMorgan wrote that such platforms “will see collateral damage” from the boycotts, and singled out Twitter as being the “most at risk given its high degree of brand spend and function as an open town hall with more politicized nature.” Snap will be more insulated as its platform “cleanly separates personal chat from professional content and news, the latter of which is curated,” it wrote.MKM’s Rohit Kulkarni speculated the Snapchat parent “could benefit from near-term uncertainty with advertiser policies related to YouTube and Instagram.” Sentiment surrounding Snap has been improving of late, with analysts pointing to the monetization potential of recently announced products and features.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Facebook Reviews Content Policies as Advertisers Move Away
    Zacks

    Facebook Reviews Content Policies as Advertisers Move Away

    Facebook (FB) announces new content policies across platforms, including tighter restrictions on advertising and labels for harmful posts from public figures as advertisers start losing confidence.

  • 5 Top-Ranked Nasdaq Tech Stocks to Buy for 2H20
    Zacks

    5 Top-Ranked Nasdaq Tech Stocks to Buy for 2H20

    Here we pick five Nasdaq-listed technology stocks that are well-poised to grow on solid prospects in the remainder of 2020.

  • Facebook Ad Boycott Sinks Stock, Raises Pressure on Zuckerberg
    Bloomberg

    Facebook Ad Boycott Sinks Stock, Raises Pressure on Zuckerberg

    (Bloomberg) -- Critics of Facebook Inc. who have assailed the social network as failing to adequately police hateful and misleading content on its service found a powerful ally Friday: Unilever, one of the world’s largest advertisers, said it would stop spending money with Facebook’s properties this year.The decision by the maker of major consumer goods like Dove soap and Hellmann’s mayonnaise to follow other brands in an advertising boycott, prompted a rare reaction from Facebook’s investors. Shares plunged 8.3% on the news, eliminating $56 billion in market value. Unilever’s pledge applies immediate pressure on other big companies and presents a risk to Facebook’s dominant business. Later Friday, Coca-Cola Co. said it would pause ads on all social media platforms for at least 30 days, while Honda Motor Co.’s U.S. unit, Hershey Co. and several smaller brands said they would join the boycott.Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg attempted to address advertiser concerns in a live question-and-answer session with employees Friday, announcing a handful of minor changes to the company’s ad and content policies. But his remarks didn’t go far enough for critics.The Anti-Defamation League, among the collection of civil rights groups that organized the July ad boycott, called the changes announced by Zuckerberg “small.”“We have been down this road before with Facebook,” the group said in a statement. “They have made apologies in the past. They have taken meager steps after each catastrophe where their platform played a part. But this has to end now.”The social network has been less aggressive than competitors Twitter Inc. and Snap Inc. in responding to what employees and advertisers say are harmful posts from U.S. President Donald Trump, as well as incendiary content that goes viral. Facebook, of these companies, is also the most susceptible to regulatory risk, and is already facing antitrust investigations from the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.“You can continuously see the challenge of them trying to have these kinds of broad principles around free expression and stopping harm, and then that mixing with the realpolitik of trying to keep the executive branch happy, which happens to have a half dozen investigations open of Silicon Valley companies for a variety of reasons,” Alex Stamos, a former Facebook security executive, said this week at the virtual Collision Conference.The regulatory threats have historically seemed to loom larger for Facebook than advertiser concerns. The company accounts for about 23% of the entire U.S. digital advertising market, according to EMarketer. And it dominates social media with more than 3 billion users of all its properties.For years, Facebook has weathered scandals with its business intact and growing rapidly. The company’s advertising revenue gained 27% in 2019 to more than $69.7 billion despite threats of regulation, previous calls for advertising boycotts and a user movement encouraging people around the world to delete their accounts. But just four months before the U.S. election, and amid nationwide protests about race and policing in society, Facebook finds itself at the cultural center of a divided country, balancing regulatory pressures with societal ones.Facebook already warned that advertisers are spending less as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, businesses are under pressure to cut costs and respond to the public’s concerns about racial injustice in society. When the civil rights groups organized the ad boycott to push Facebook to better combat hate speech, companies saw a way to make a political statement at an economically convenient time.“It is clear that Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, are no longer simply negligent, but in fact, complacent in the spread of misinformation, despite the irreversible damage to our democracy,” Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP said in a statement last week.Facebook has tried to quell the boycott behind the scenes, and has reached out to advertisers to push back on the narrative that it doesn’t care about fighting hate and misinformation. In an email to advertising partners, the company highlighted the software it uses to detect hate speech, which has improved over the years, and its efforts to circulate verified information around the elections with a new informational hub and a goal to register 4 million new voters.During the Q&A with employees, Zuckerberg went a step further. He said the company will put a link to the voting hub on all posts related to voting, and will also start marking posts that violate Facebook’s rules, although the posts will remain up if they’re newsworthy.Those rules give Facebook cover to take an action without making a decision on the nature of the content. For instance, several weeks ago when Trump tweeted that mail-in voting would lead to fraud, Twitter labeled the post to fact-check it. Zuckerberg left the same post alone on Facebook. But now, if all voting-related posts have a context link on them, the CEO won’t have to make controversial decisions about their accuracy.Facebook, which already prohibits advertising that discriminates, also sharpened those policies Friday with a clause saying no ads will be allowed if they label another demographic as dangerous, or if they portray immigrants, migrant groups or refugees as inferior and worthy of disgust. “There are no exceptions for politicians in any of the policies I’m announcing here today,” Zuckerberg said.In a follow-up email to advertisers late Friday, Carolyn Everson, vice president of global marketing solutions, summarized the announcements Zuckerberg made and outlined many of the steps the company already takes to find and remove hate speech. Everson added that Facebook will seek an audit for its quarterly report outlining how it enforces its community standards.“Hate is an insidious feature of every society, and that is reflected across all platforms,” she wrote. “But we also believe in our responsibility to help change the trajectory of hate speech -- and while we know we can’t eradicate it, we will continue to do everything in our power to shatter its presence on our platform.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Issues around Internet privacy and free speech are 'not going away overnight': Steve Ballmer
    Yahoo Finance Video

    Issues around Internet privacy and free speech are 'not going away overnight': Steve Ballmer

    LA Clippers Chairman Steve Ballmer joins 'Influencers with Andy Serwer' to discuss Internet regulation and privacy.

  • Influencers with Andy Serwer: Steve Ballmer
    Yahoo Finance Video

    Influencers with Andy Serwer: Steve Ballmer

    In this episode of Influencers, Andy speaks with LA Clippers Chairman and former Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, to discuss the return of the NBA season, the coronavirus effect on the tech sector, and Steve's fact-finding endeavor at USAFacts.

  • TikTok launches TikTok For Business for marketers, takes on Snapchat with new AR ads
    TechCrunch

    TikTok launches TikTok For Business for marketers, takes on Snapchat with new AR ads

    TikTok is announcing to advertisers that it's open for business. The company is today officially introducing a new brand and platform called "TikTok For Business" that will serve as the home for all its current and future marketing solutions for brands. At launch, the site will include access to TikTok ad formats, including its marque product, TopView, which is the ad that appears when you first launch the TikTok app.

  • Snapchat adds free phone number verification to its list of SDK perks
    TechCrunch

    Snapchat adds free phone number verification to its list of SDK perks

    The new tool is being integrated into its Login Kit framework, allowing devs with a "Log In with Snapchat" button to move away from tapping services like Twilio for SMS verification, instead checking with Snap to see whether that user has already verified their number with Snapchat. Mandia says that because phone number verification is already a core part of Snapchat's login flow, the company wanted to create a way for companies inside its SDK to verify phone numbers with them rather than tapping an external service. Verify basically works by checking whether the phone number a user just typed into the login flow of a Snap Kit app matches the phone number associated with the Snapchat account they used to log in to the app.

  • Snap’s Partnership With Zynga Could Power Up Its Gaming Business
    Motley Fool

    Snap’s Partnership With Zynga Could Power Up Its Gaming Business

    Snap (NYSE: SNAP) recently announced a new partnership with Zynga (NASDAQ: ZNGA) to develop more in-app games for Snapchat. The first new game from the collaboration, a multiplayer bumper car game called Bumped Out, was revealed at the Snap Partner Summit on June 11. The deeper partnership isn't surprising, since Zynga signed on as one of Snap's first partners for its Snap Games platform last year.

  • Bloomberg

    TikTok Loosens Grip on Political Speech for Black Lives Matter

    (Bloomberg) -- In a massively popular clip on the video-sharing app TikTok, police snipers atop a Minneapolis police station point their guns at Black Lives Matter protesters. Demonstrators fight tear gas, sirens blare and helicopters fly overhead. The footage is set to  “This is America," Donald Glover's anthem about race and gun violence.The video became one of the top clips on TikTok’s BlackLivesMatter hashtag, and drew more than 43 million views. Its popularity shocked the video’s creator, a 33-year-old comedian named Kareem Rahma. “I’m not an activist," Rahma said. "I joined TikTok to make funny videos, but when my hometown of Minneapolis turned into a war zone I needed to show people."The grim 30-second clip, shot last month during protests over the death of George Floyd, is a far cry from the goofy memes, upbeat lip-syncing and bedroom twerking clips that turned TikTok, owned by ByteDance Ltd., into a global sensation over the last few years. The app has been downloaded over 2 billion times globally according to research firm Sensor Tower. Its success is largely the result of its positioning as a fun, playful corner of the internet devoid of the controversies plaguing sites like Twitter Inc., Facebook Inc. and Reddit Inc.TikTok's decision to chart a different course was deliberate. Many American tech companies have preached a flavor of free speech absolutism since their founding, compromising only as difficult content moderation questions became public relations disasters. TikTok is different. It has regularly made a practice of removing posts that didn't fit its carefully crafted carefree image, or reducing their views even if it did leave them up.Some of the company’s early guidance on content moderation limited the reach of posts from overweight, queer or disabled users, according to documents obtained by The Guardian. Another early rule banned “highly controversial topics,” such as separatism or ethnic conflict. TikTok has said it has discontinued these practices.TikTok has faced persistent allegations that its decisions on content align with priorities of the Chinese government. It has targeted videos related to pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, the mistreatment of Muslims in China's Xinjiang region, and standoffs at the India-China border. Last year, a Bytedance spokesman told Bloomberg that TikTok didn't remove videos from the Hong Kong protests for political reasons, saying they may have instead been taken down for violating guidelines around violent, graphic, shocking or sensational content.That no longer seems to be as much of a consideration. The platform has erupted with images of nationwide protests, featuring videos that show tear gas, police with guns, racist material, and expletive-laced songs denouncing President Trump. Videos with the BlackLivesMatter hashtag have surpassed 10 billion views. "For some people, their entire feeds are transformed with Black Lives Matter content on TikTok," said Daniel Sinclair, an independent researcher who studies TikTok and social media. “It's no different than Twitter.”Sinclair notes that Chinese officials, state media and social media sites like Douyin, Bytedance’s Chinese version of TikTok, have all been amplifying the violent protests and heated discussions about race unfolding across America. But whether China’s moves to project an image of U.S. instability play into the decision-making at TikTok is hard to decipher, according to Sinclair. Last October, U.S. Senators Tom Cotton and Chuck Schumer requested a government review of TikTok over national security concerns. One of the issues they cited was the app’s potential to host foreign influence campaigns, and its alleged censorship of topics deemed politically sensitive to the Chinese Communist Party. That same month TikTok banned all political, advocacy, and issue ads from its platform, claiming such ads would undermine TikTok's "positive environment" according to a company blog post. TikTok has said the Chinese government has not asked the app to remove any posts.As with other social media sites, TikTok faces questions about whether it is enforcing its own policies consistently. "As I see it, a lot of the popular Black Lives Matter posts actually do go against TikTok's own stated community guidelines," said Joseph Seering, a doctoral candidate at Carnegie Mellon University who studies content moderation. He points to prohibitions on things like hate speech and firearms. "My guess would be that TikTok has come to realize that removing some of those videos and records of the protests would just do more harm to the platform than it's worth," Seering said. TikTok said that it released updated community guidelines in January that provide exceptions for videos that are educational, historical, newsworthy, or otherwise aim to raise awareness about issues. The new guidelines also allow for exemptions on displays of firearms for those carried by a police officer.“While much of the content our users create is light-hearted, more serious content also has a place on our platform,” said a company spokeswoman. She added that TikTok has increased the size of its local safety teams and consulted with outside experts about how to handle sensitive content issues. The site recently left up some posts related to Black Lives Matter that might have violated its previous guidelines, she said, “because its relevance and timeliness to our Black community was evident and made it newsworthy for our users." When the nationwide protests originally broke out across the U.S. last month after George Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck, some TikTok users accused the app of suppressing videos related to the Black Lives Matter movement. Many TikTok creators changed their profile photos to the Black power symbol in a virtual protest against what some alleged was a concerted effort to silence Black voices.TikTok later issued an apology and said that posts with the hashtags BlackLivesMatter and GeorgeFloyd appeared to have zero views due to a technical glitch that affected around 200,000 hashtags. "Words can only go so far. I invite our community to hold us accountable," said Kevin Mayer, TikTok's new chief executive officer, in one of his first posts on the platform.Sam Coleman Dancer, a 21-year-old student at Mississippi State University who joined TikTok in 2018, said he welcomed the growing discussion of race on the platform. "Over the last few weeks, the world has gotten the chance to see what's actually happening to people that look like me and I'm glad people are recording the injustice and abuse and sharing it on TikTok," he said.The platform's embrace of Black Lives Matter content could also signal the maturation of a platform that has to adapt its approach, rules and content moderation to a broader base of users, according to social media experts. They point to other companies like Snap Inc., which created an editorial team in 2015 to ensure it was curating breaking news stories responsibly."When a platform becomes as large in scale as TikTok has become, it's pretty impossible to enforce a rule like, ‘We only allow fun on our site,’" said Kate Klonick, an assistant professor at St. Johns University School of Law who researches online speech and oversight.  "Saying 'Our platform isn't for politics or serious issues' is an incredibly naive idea.”(Updates third paragraph to add data on TikTok downloads.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Brokers upbeat on Snap Inc despite economic uncertainty
    Stockopedia

    Brokers upbeat on Snap Inc despite economic uncertainty

    The Snap Inc (NYQ:SNAP) share price has risen by 21.3% over the past month and it’s currently trading at 20.9. For investors considering whether to buy, hold o...

  • Snap's Taking Another Step Toward Becoming WeChat
    Motley Fool

    Snap's Taking Another Step Toward Becoming WeChat

    One of Snap's (NYSE: SNAP) biggest investors is Chinese tech giant Tencent (OTC: TCEHY). Tencent owns WeChat, the messaging app that counts over 1.2 billion monthly active users. A key part of its success has been expanding beyond messaging to gaming (another core part of Tencent's business), third-party apps, and commerce.

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