Reddit Acquires TikTok/Triller Rival Dubsmash

Reddit has acquired Dubsmash, the lipsyncing video app which launched in 2014 and was largely supplanted when TikTok showed up. 

Announced via Reddit’s blog on Sunday, the annexing of Dubsmash’s 12-person team to Reddit’s 700-strong horde is the popular website’s first major acquisition in its 15-year history.

While the financial terms of the agreement haven’t been disclosed, Dubsmash will be keeping its own platform and separate branding. Dubsmash’s Android and Apple apps will continue to operate as normal, with its video creation tools simply integrated into Reddit’s infrastructure. 

Reddit currently allows users to upload and livestream videos, however its editing capabilities are somewhat lacklustre — a problem this acquisition hopes to address.

“The transition to video will be bigger than the transition to mobile,” Reddit co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman said, speaking via the Wall Street JournalWhich sounds fake, but okay. Pivots to video historically haven’t worked out well, but perhaps the distinction between editorial and user-created content will yield better results.

Dubsmash went through a slow decline in the wake of its 2015 popularity boom, before revamping itself in 2017 to stage an unlikely comeback. While still not as successful as TikTok, the short-form video app established a significant audience by focusing on the one demographic still using it — Black teenagers in the U.S

As such, both Reddit and Dubsmash’s acquisition announcements heavily emphasised the diverse, underrepresented creators who use the app. According to Reddit, a quarter of Black teens in the U.S. use Dubsmash, while 70 percent of users are women or girls.

“By joining forces with Reddit, we expand our ability to serve the creators that represent the lifeblood of Dubsmash, helping them connect, share, and deepen their impact on culture,” wrote Dubsmash co-founders Suchit Dash, Jonas Drüppel and Tim Specht. The trio further reaffirmed their goal to “[create] a safe and welcoming platform for underrepresented communities.”

“Both Reddit and Dubsmash share a deep rooted respect for how communities come together,” said Huffman. “Dubsmash elevates under-represented creators, while Reddit fosters a sense of community and belonging across thousands of different topics and passions.”

Source: Mashable

Facebook Accused Of Watching Instagram Users Through Their Phone Cameras

Facebook Inc. is again being sued for allegedly spying on Instagram users, this time through the unauthorized use of their mobile phone cameras.

The lawsuit springs from media reports in July that the photo-sharing app appeared to be accessing iPhone cameras even when they weren’t actively being used.

Facebook denied the reports and blamed a bug, which it said it was correcting, for triggering what it described as false notifications that Instagram was accessing iPhone cameras.

In the complaint filed Thursday in federal court in San Francisco, New Jersey Instagram user Brittany Conditi contends the app’s use of the camera is intentional and done for the purpose of collecting “lucrative and valuable data on its users that it would not otherwise have access to.”

By “obtaining extremely private and intimate personal data on their users, including in the privacy of their own homes,” Instagram and Facebook are able to collect “valuable insights and market research,” according to the complaint.

Facebook declined to comment.

Source: Bloomberg

International Student At ESSEC Business School In Singapore Sparks Outrage With Racist Instagram Posts

A foreign student studying abroad in Singapore faced massive backlash this past weekend after a photograph that she posted on Instagram for Chinese New Year earlier in 2020 went viral for all the wrong reasons.

The student, Louise, has since issued an apology on her now-private Instagram account, and Essec Business School, where she studies, has said that they are “looking into the situation”.

On Friday (Dec. 4), Instagram user @beforeik.o posted a screenshot of an Instagram story she had made of Louise’s post, which showed the French student pulling back her eyes with her fingers into a slit shape while wearing a cheongsam.

@beforeik.o’s Instagram post also included a screenshot of another photo posted by Louise for Chinese New Year, which included the words “ching chong” in the caption.

A person also commented, “So chong!! So coronavirus!!”

In her Instagram post, @beforeik.o also shared several screenshots of direct messages (DMs) in which Louise claimed that she was “clearly not racist” and that the photo was “just for fun”.

Louise pointed to the fact that Chinese people may get surgery on their eyes to have more “European” features, and asked whether that would be considered racism.

@beforeik.o replied that Louise should educate herself, remove the post, and apologise “before this whole thing blows up”.

Louise, however, doubled down and claimed to have a master’s degree, as well as a diploma from Harvard University about ethnicity in the workplace.

On Saturday (Dec. 5), the official Instagram page of Essec Business School commented on @beforeik.o’s Instagram post, writing that they are “looking into the situation and will take appropriate action”.

Source: Mothership

Facebook launches Instagram Reels in 50 countries, hoping to lure TikTok users

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With TikTok’s future uncertain, Instagram is hoping to lure some creators away with the rollout of a direct competitor, Reels, which is launching in more than 50 countries today, including the US, UK, Japan, and Australia, on both iOS and Android.

Similar to TikTok, Reels lets people create short-form videos set to music that can be shared with friends and followers and discovered while browsing the app. It’s the newest opportunity for Instagram to bring in users, increase the amount of time people spend in the app every day, and establish itself as a video entertainment platform.

Reels allows people to record videos up to 15 seconds long and add popular music, as well as an array of filters and effects, over top of them. For creators looking to use Instagram Reels as a new way to build a following, Instagram has revamped its Explore page to create a specific landing spot for Reels at the top of the screen that people can vertically scroll through — similar to TikTok’s “For You Page.”

Source: The Verge

Bill Clinton Album Challenge Memes Invade Instagram: How To Easily Make Your Own

Bill Clinton has continued to be a topic of conversation throughout his political career, but now the discussion around the former President of the United States has shifted to something a bit more unconventional. Thanks to the rise of the Bill Clinton album challenge on Instagram, memes of the “My Life” author holding various vinyl records have spread around social media. Here’s how you can make one for yourself.

Anyone who is interested in making their own meme can go to Billclintonswag.com to do so. Those who visit the site will find a template and a search function, which gives them the option to add whatever artwork they would like into the available spots. The places to put album covers can either be filled with a variety of images or one cover multiple times, which many people have done for comedic effect.

Source: International Business Times