Here are three things going on in the world of social media today – and why they matter.
An Oracle Knows
And entering the race to acquire TikTok before it’s banned in the U.S. is…. Oracle! The tech company known for database software and cloud applications is in talks with ByteDance to purchase TikTok’s U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand operations. Until now, Microsoft has been the big contender to take over the app. Twitter had some early talks with TikTok but hasn’t resulted in more meaningful chatter to close a deal anytime soon.
Here’s what this means. Is Oracle an interesting player in the TikTok acquisition game? Sure. Would Twitter be a better option? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ There are concerns about Twitter being able to finance the deal. Plus they had and then killed Vine – a super popular video app that would have competed with TikTok had it lived long enough. It’s still unclear if the government can actually ban an app. Reports indicate there are no bans on apps currently in the U.S. Likely, the government would need to propose regulations that Apple and Google would need to comply with in their app stores to do it. And regulations don’t usually happen quickly so Oracle and Microsoft have some time to figure things out still.
TikTok’s Campaign for Truth
TikTok is calling “fake news” and launched a new website to fight misinformation about the company. Way more than a press page, the website is a step toward an all-out campaign to defend itself. Uses phrases like “setting the record straight” and “source of truth,” it’s clear the company is not taking the ban threats lightly. The campaign is focused on key tenets: it’s not a security threat, it takes misinformation seriously, and the platform is a vehicle for civil liberties.
Here’s what this means. TikTok is done with the BS. The campaign is a clear declaration that it will not go down quietly – no matter how much the president threatens a U.S. ban. It’s especially interesting that they’re calling out the civil liberties angle. I’ve previously noted the ironic timing of a proposed ban as young activists speak out on the platform. While Microsoft, Oracle and Twitter (maybe) figure out who can afford it, TikTok has made it super clear that they’re going to fight until the bitter end.
Facebook’s AI research team (FAIR) and radiologists at NYU Langone Health are working collaboratively to speed up MRI scans. Scientists from both teams trained a machine learning model on low- and high-resolution MRI scans to create a model that “predicts” what a final scan would look like using only a quarter of the normal input data. The fastMRI team is still at work training neural networks to fill in the data but have published a clinical study in a scientific journal.
Here’s what this means. Were you surprised that Facebook is doing this research and work with the team at NYU? Did you think of Facebook as just a simple social media network? I get it. Put aside your assumptions of Facebook as a place for friends and family and think about the sheer amount of data collected on the platform every second. Whoa. The company has been aggregating and analyzing data for years now. Why not finally use that power for good? You know, instead of messing with the algorithm so you have to fight to get your content seen.