By Sheila Dang
(Reuters) – Look who is not freaking out.
Since July, TikTok users have braced for a threatened ban of the ultra-popular short-form video app in the United States, with some opening accounts on rival platforms and encouraging friends to do the same.
Then early on Friday Reuters broke the news that the U.S. government was preparing to block new users from downloading the Chinese-owned app from American app stores by Sept. 20. As the news filtered through their social media, teens greeted it wearily but without the tears and the emotional outpouring expected of TikTok’s 100 million, mostly young fans.
“A lot of TikTok-ers are not super worked-up about this,” said Lauren Harrison, a 15-year old TikTok user from Omaha, Nebraska with over 127,000 followers on the app.
Like many others, Harrison said she had previously opened accounts on other platforms, in preparation for a total ban. She has since deleted those apps off her phone.
“Because TikTok is not gone, I feel like people don’t feel the need to download (rival apps),” she said.
U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Aug. 6, setting a 45-day deadline for TikTok to be sold to an American company, citing concerns over national security.
While new U.S. downloads of TikTok will not be allowed beginning Sunday, TikTok still has some weeks to convince Trump to lift his threat to impose a total ban from Nov. 12.
Carter Kench, a 17-year old from Atlanta, Georgia, with 2.4 million TikTok followers, said he had been worried in July when he first heard about the threat of a ban. But in the months since then, “nothing happens,” he said.
“It’s kind of like the boy who cried wolf,” he said.
Brands that strike sponsorship deals with major TikTok stars are also underwhelmed by the ongoing saga, choosing to continue their work on the app until a ban appears, said Alessandro Bogliari, chief executive of The Influencer Marketing Factory, an agency that works with brands and social media influencers.
“People are a bit confused and bored by all this drama. They say that until something happens, let’s continue,” he said.
Several videos with hashtags that TikTok users have used to discuss the threat of a ban, including ‘TikTokBan,’ and ‘SaveTikTok,’ reached nearly 2 billion views by Friday. But many of those were posted in July.
“It absolutely makes me feel fatigued,” said Jen Ruiz, a travel blogger with nearly 131,000 TikTok followers.
A TikTok ban has been threatened “at least four times,” she said. “How many more?”
For users who have built up a massive TikTok following, “I’m sure for some of them this was the day of reckoning,” said Joe Gagliese, CEO of influencer marketing agency Viral Nation. Influencers will need to diversify their audience across other apps, he said.
The biggest stars have already plotted potential exit strategies. Charli D’Amelio, the most-followed TikTok star with 87.5 million followers, recently began posting videos to her account on Triller, a U.S.-owned TikTok rival.
(Reporting by Sheila Dang in Dallas; additional reporting by Katie Paul in San Francisco; editing by Kenneth Li and Rosalba O’Brien)
Image Credit: Reuters
British could lead the world with first sovereing data exchange
The British island of Jersey, is ideally placed to become the world’s first privacy enhancing sovereign data exchange which will have huge benefits to the whole of the UK and beyond. Global Smart City expert and digital transformation consultant, Joe Dignan said the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of a combined data view of a population, and now is the time to establish a trusted, highly regulated and ethical exchange. He has called on the Jersey government to support the idea for the benefit of everyone.
A sovereign data exchange is a regulated infrastructure that allows data owners to store, share and monetise their data while retaining ownership and privacy.
‘If dealing with the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that single sources of data are meaningless unless synthesized with other data and visualised so we can understand it,’ said Joe.
‘Jersey is a microcosm where it controls the levers of the economy, legislature, government and security in an enclosed and agile environment that already has a digital twin. It also has all the necessary skills for regulatory and governance of that data, through its finance industry. This puts it in a unique global position to act as a data exchange which can bring huge health, economic and environmental benefits to the UK and elsewhere.’
Joe and a host of global technology experts, including Fintech titan, Nick Ogden, are discussing Jersey’s position as a sandbox for data innovation and digital testing at a series of free online events for Jersey Tech Week, 16th to 23rd October.
Nick set up what is believed to be the world’s first e-commerce business in the Island in 1994, before launching World Bank. Key figures from IBM, Ocado, World Bank, Carlsberg and Microsoft, will also demonstrate the very latest trends and developments for the industry, including insights into emerging tech trends – with fintech, artificial intelligence, digital health and creativity.
Joel Mills, the CEO of AugmentCity, will showcase the digital twin of Jersey, part of the United Nations’ United 4 Smart Sustainable Cities initiative, which is already helping to inform decision making.
‘Covid has been terrible for everyone, but it has speeded up the adoption of technology, from the simple need to work from home to the urgent need for good quality data and its use,’ said Joel.
‘The pandemic has shown that single sources of data are meaningless. This has opened up opportunities for us to make big improvements in the future with informed decisions using data from multiple sources and visualised for human understanding.
‘Using simulation in partnership with the UN’s smart sustainable development goals, allows us to connect humans and data like was never possible before. Breaking down barriers, fast tracking new technologies and reducing time and cost. If we are to beat the virus we need to embrace technologies and Jersey is playing a key role in prototyping this.’
EBANX announces expansion to Central America and the launch of EBANX GO within the LatAm region
EBANX, fintech company specialized in payment solutions for Latin America, announced the Push LatAm, an initiative that comprises expansion of its operations to new markets in Central and South Americas; the offering of hybrid services within Latin American countries; and the launch of EBANX GO, a prepaid card that offers a digital payments account in a partnership with Visa, to other markets in the region besides Brazil; all within the next 12 months. Push LatAm was announced this Thursday, October 15, at the Latin America Summit, EBANX annual event about business in Latin America.
EBANX expansion to Central America will start in Panama, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Guatemala. Paraguay, in South America, is also a destination. These five new markets will add to the current nine where the company already operates – Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Bolivia and Ecuador.
Besides the geographical expansion, Push LatAm also consists of model expansion. After having unveiled its local payment processing, EBANX will now launch its hybrid model, making things more flexible for global companies that have offices in the region, in a fully compliant way. By combining cross-border and local processing services within the same territories, this new model will allow local settlements for merchants, starting by South American countries.
And following a market trend of electronic payments and digital accounts that was accelerated by the pandemic in Latin America, EBANX will also launch EBANX GO in other LatAm markets. The e-wallet was soft launched in Brazil in the beginning of 2020, with a Visa card and a digital payments account, and has been growing steadily ever since. Around 60% of the current purchases made with the EBANX GO card are within EBANX merchants, proving the product can also work as a performance tool for them, besides being an easy-to-use payment option for consumers in the region.
“The Push LatAm initiative reflects our mission from the beginning of EBANX: to create access, to connect Latin Americans and global brands, always with a customer and product-driven mindset. Expanding our footprint and our solutions right now is the perfect realization of this goal. This will enable us to keep excelling in our commitment with Latin America: to be highly specialized in the region, translating each one of its countries and their singular cultures to businesses around the world,” said João Del Valle, co-founder and COO of EBANX.
StructureFlow’s accelerated 2020 growth sees expansion of international operations, customer base and new hires
Founded by former corporate lawyer Tim Follett, StructureFlow is a cloud-based software that was developed to address the difficulties and inefficiencies he faced when trying to visualise complex legal structures and transactions using tools that were not up to the task. The start-up was formally launched earlier this year at a time when many firms were, and continue to be, heavily focused on finding new technologies that enable efficient collaborative working.
Global growth and expanding beyond the legal industry
StructureFlow opened its first international office outside of the UK in Singapore earlier this year and has been running successful pilots of its visualisation software with prestigious international law firms. In addition to the growing customer base in the UK – the company is expanding internationally and is excited to announce that it will be onboarding customers in India, Australia, the Netherlands, and Canada in the next month.
With the belief that accounting teams, investment banks, private equity firms and venture capital firms will also benefit from access to StructureFlow’s visual structuring tool, the start-up has begun venturing beyond its legal customer base working with a small number of asset management and private fund businesses. This includes M7 Real Estate, a leading specialist in pan-European, multi-tenanted commercial real estate investment and asset management operations.
“We decided to expand internationally despite the pandemic as there is a heightened need for new technologies to support global organisations who are restructuring business models to adapt to the ‘new normal’,” said Alex Baker, Head of Growth. “Our product helps law firms and other financial institutions to work securely whilst working from anywhere and our growing Singapore operations will allow us to better serve our customers in Asia Pacific.”
New hires join the senior leadership team
With a background in enterprise software development, information security and a track record of many successful large-scale integrations, De Jong has held several prominent positions within regulated industries in both private and public sectors.
Oliver is a co-founder of Workshare Transact, the legal transaction management application that was acquired by Litera in 2019, having been previously a corporate lawyer with Fieldfisher.
Together, they bring decades of legal and technology leadership and expertise to expedite StructureFlow’s product development and will be instrumental in developing the software to meet the demands of the company’s broadening customer base.
Tim Follett, CEO of StructureFlow, commented on these developments, “The decision to further expand our presence across the legal and financial technology markets in Europe, Asia and North America is a logical step in our business growth strategy. The addition of Jean-Paul de Jong and Owen Oliver will bring first-class engineering, security and product expertise to our team, bolstering our ability to build and scale innovative enterprise products.”
Accelerator programmes to complement growth strategy
“Being accepted into two industry-acclaimed incubator and accelerator programmes is a crucial part of our expansion plans and will provide us with expert guidance to further develop our visualisation software. By utilising the expertise of industry experts, we expedite our plan of becoming a global platform for a range of organisations and stakeholders to visually engage with essential corporate information,” Follett added.
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