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Wired

TikTok Witches Are Hexing the Election This Halloween

On Halloween, the moon will be full, and blue. Thousands of witches and other magic practitioners will gather—on social media and in person—to cast spells under its glow. They will bring candles, the justice tarot card, a map of the United States, and paint. They will call on the spirits of the elements and their ancestors to “raise a mighty blue wave … to wash away the corruption and injustice and wickedness of Donald Trump and the Republican Party in a peaceful transition of power.” Then they’ll paint their maps entirely blue to ensure Democrat Joe Biden’s victory. To members of the Magic Resistance, this ritual, which you can find in full on Medium, is a spell to save America. So mote it be. President Trump puts American citizens in a magical kind of mood. The semi-ironic Cult of Kek, a bunch of Pepe the Frog-obsessed edgelords native to 4chan, claims to have used “meme magic” to buoy him into office. The 2017 Women’s March shortly after his inauguration saw the return of protest witches, carrying signs with slogans like “we are the granddaughters of the witches you weren’t able to burn.” Since then (and for a variety of reasons) witchcraft and other forms of occultism have increased in visibility on the internet, finding online havens within mainstream social media platforms like Tumblr, Facebook, and, more recently, TikTok. Much of the magic you’ll find on WitchTok and elsewhere has nothing to do with politics. In fact, it’s often almost indistinguishable…Continue readingTikTok Witches Are Hexing the Election This Halloween

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TechCrunch

Pakistan lifts ban on TikTok – TechCrunch

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority said on Monday it has lifted the ban on TikTok, 11 days after the South Asian nation’s telecom authority blocked the popular short video app in the country over problematic videos on the platform. The authority, however, warned that TikTok needs to actively moderate content on its app or else it will be permanently blocked in the nation. The telecom authority said it was lifting the ban after engaging with TikTok’s senior management, which assured it would moderate content in accordance with “societal norms and the laws of Pakistan.” TikTok has about 20 million monthly active users in Pakistan, the authority said. TikTok’s senior management team has also ensured that it will block users who show a repeated pattern of uploading “unlawful” content, the telecom authority said in a statement. “The restoration of TikTok is strictly subject to the condition that the platform will not be used for the spread of vulgarity/indecent content & societal values will not be abused. PTA will be constrained to permanently block the application incase said condition is not fulfilled,” the authority warned. Pakistan banned TikTok in the nation earlier this month and also after issuing a “final” warning to the app in July. In its warning, Pakistan had expressed serious concerns over some videos that were circulating on the platform. The nation said some videos were “immoral,” “obscene” and “vulgar.” After the ban, TikTok had assured that it would work harder to moderate content and also offered to invest in the…Continue readingPakistan lifts ban on TikTok – TechCrunch

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TechCrunch

PearPop lets TikTok celebrities monetize by sharing shout-outs and screen time with fans – TechCrunch

PearPop a new Los Angeles-based company, is on its way to racking up nearly 25,000 users in less than a month, and has already landed seed funding from the firm Rocket One Capital. The company’s premise is simple. Allow fans to bid for shared screen time with their favorite TikTok celebrities, and it’s one that has attracted the attention of a few of the platform’s stars with several million followers. The company was able to hook 3,000 users with one post from Anna Shumate, a TikTok star with 6.5 million followers who goes by the handle of “annabananaxdddd,” according to the company’s founder, Cole Mason. PearPop’s platform works by letting TikTok celebrities set a price for sharing screen time. They can accept bids and preview the content to approve to make sure it’s aligned with their persona on the platform. The payment is made through Stripe and the software verifies payment. Once paid, the celebrity posts the shared-screen video. “We built it for the influencer,” said Mason. “If you’re a fan trying to access your favorite TikTok star, then they can access them through PearPop instead of trying to contact a manager and pay for legal fees. You can simplify that and do that super easily.” Promotional message from Anna Shumate for PearPop. Image Credit: PearPop Mason thinks the company can rack up 100,000 users over the next three months and will head out to raise a seed round once he reaches that milestone. An Android and iOS version of…Continue readingPearPop lets TikTok celebrities monetize by sharing shout-outs and screen time with fans – TechCrunch

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The Verge

Oracle founder donated $250,000 to Graham PAC in final days of TikTok deal

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison donated $250,000 to a super PAC supporting Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) reelection campaign as his company closed in on a coveted position as TikTok’s US technology partner. FEC documents show that Ellison made the $250,000 donation to the Security is Strength PAC on September 14th. The Security is Strength PAC has bought ads exclusively in support of Graham’s political ambitions, including his 2015 presidential campaign and his current reelection bid for the US Senate. It’s an unusually large donation for Ellison, who also donated $5,200 to Graham’s Majority Fund in January. The timing of the larger donation is also remarkable, coming mere hours after Oracle officially announced that it had been chosen as TikTok’s technology partner for its US operations, beating out Microsoft in a high-profile bidding process to save the popular video app. Oracle’s arrangement with TikTok was applauded by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, but drew criticism from China hawks in both parties, who saw it as failing to address the long-standing concerns over ties between TikTok’s parent company ByteDance and the Chinese government. At the same time, the arrangement was a potential windfall for Oracle, which was set to receive a significant contract from the embattled app. “If TikTok is saved, you can thank me” Sen. Graham was reportedly pivotal in arranging the deal, although it’s unclear if he had any influence over the specific companies involved. In an interview with Vanity Fair in August, Graham said that he personally called Trump to suggest…Continue readingOracle founder donated $250,000 to Graham PAC in final days of TikTok deal

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Mashable

Triller follows TikTok in banning QAnon conspiracy content

Triller, the short-form video app aggressively competing for a piece of TikTok’s pie, has belatedly followed its rival in attempting to ban content relating to the QAnon conspiracy theory. According to a report by Insider, the company has said it will not allow QAnon content going forward, and hashtags #QAnon and #QAnonBeliever have been disabled on the app. Mashable confirmed that while those tag searches appear empty, other hashtags popular with the theory’s adherents, including #q, #WWG1WGA and other workaround tags, were still surfacing QAnon content. QAnon is a cultish, baseless conspiracy theory whose followers believe that President Trump is actually a leader in a secret war against a worldwide cabal of celebrities and politicians who engage in human trafficking, as claimed by a series of anonymous posts on messageboards including 4chan and 8kun. The FBI considers the “movement” to be a domestic terrorism threat.  “We are a platform that believes in freedom of speech, expression, open discussion and freedom of opinion, however when the government classifies something as a terrorist threat we must take action to protect our community,” Triller CEO Mike Lu said in a statement provided to Insider.  Triller is just the latest platform to crack down on Q content. That list includes Twitter — which began its efforts in earnest in July this year with sweeping bans and account suspensions — and Facebook, Etsy, and even Peloton, all of which announced measures design to limit the theory’s spread this month. TikTok put a soft ban on…Continue readingTriller follows TikTok in banning QAnon conspiracy content

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Mashable

MSCHF will pay you to ‘kill brands’ on TikTok

MSCHF has long been outspoken about their disdain towards the capitalist system, with games like Card V Card and stunts like rendering medical debt into art and selling it. Though MSCHF itself has raised at least $11.5 million in “outside investments” since the fall of 2019, according to the New York Times, it’s undeniable that their biweekly drops often comment on our crumbling late-capitalist society. Take, for example, their latest drop: Anti Advertising Advertising Club (the name a clear reference to Anti Social Social Club). MSCHF created nine TikTok sounds to “attack” different brands (including TikTok itself). If you make a TikTok using one of the sounds and it hits a certain view count, send MSCHF proof and they’ll pay you cash.  If this sounds like the opposite of a sponsored post, it basically is. In its manifesto for the Anti Ad Ad Club, MSCHF calls sponsored posts a “cringe-y ubiquitous evil of social platforms” and laments the rise of “sell out” culture. The brands, view counts, and payouts are spelled out in this neat chart: Some of the sounds are song parodies. For example, the Facebook attack sound — a $4,000 payout for over 2 million views — spoofs The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” by replacing the repetition of “better” with “boomers.” Others, like the hit on Comcast, are really just sounds (in this case, fart sounds): “If every user’s desire is to sell out, we’ll happily enable that impulse if it means we can punch at the companies doing…Continue readingMSCHF will pay you to ‘kill brands’ on TikTok

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VentureBeat

U.S. TikTok rival Triller could go public

(Reuters) — Triller, a budding competitor to popular short-video app TikTok, is in discussions with blank-check acquisition companies about a merger which would take the U.S. social media company public, according to people familiar with the matter. The deal would come as Triller seeks to capitalize on TikTok’s woes. U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has ordered TikTok’s Chinese parent ByteDance to divest the app, citing concerns that the data of U.S. citizens could be accessible to China’s Communist Party government. TikTok has sued the U.S. government to stave off a ban from U.S. app stores while deal negotiations continue. Triller, which was launched in 2015 and only has a fraction of the 100 million users that TikTok boasts in the United States, has said it hopes that the uncertainty over its rival’s future will drive more influencers and users to its platform. Triller is working with investment bank Farvahar Partners as it negotiates a potential deal with a so-called special purpose acquisition companies (SPAC), the sources said. A SPAC is a shell company that raises money in an initial public offering (IPO) to merge with a privately held company which then becomes publicly traded as a result. Triller’s SPAC negotiations are happening alongside discussions with investors about a private fundraising round, led by investment bank UBS Group AG, in which the Los Angeles-based company is seeking to raise around $250 million, the sources said. Triller has so far secured around $100 million in that round at a $1.25 billion (959.91…Continue readingU.S. TikTok rival Triller could go public

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The Verge

On TikTok, men aren’t the only skating superstars

Courtney Atencio rides low to the ground, swerving in and out of long, empty California streets. In one video, she grabs the back of a Toyota Camry and cruises along behind it. In another, she’s with her pals, practicing tricks at a local skate park. Every time, Atencio’s clips are undeniably cool, and they quickly become flooded with comments from fans asking for tips on how to start skating. Atencio didn’t start skating or her TikTok account to achieve fame, but she quickly found communities in both that she never experienced when she was growing up. “When I was 14, guys would make fun of me for trying to go to the skate park because I’m the only female there,” Atencio told The Verge. “Having TikTok, to be able to show girls that you’re not alone, you can still skate, you don’t even listen to all those guys, is so important.” Skate culture has found a new life on TikTok, where short videos of impressive tricks, painful wipeouts, and hangs at the local skatepark have collectively brought in billions of views. The explosion in skateboarding videos has encouraged one-time skaters to pick up the hobby again and convinced complete newbies to try it for the first time — and unlike the male-dominated world that was the face of skate culture for decades, many of TikTok’s stars are women and queer folks. Hashtags like #girlswhoskate and #skatergirl are constantly growing, creating a never-ending sea of videos starring girls and women. Swipe…Continue readingOn TikTok, men aren’t the only skating superstars

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Engadget

Instagram makes Reels audio more like TikTok

Instagram is upgrading the audio features in Reels, and making it little more like TikTok. The app added three new features that make it easier for users to share and save audio clips. The updates include: a new audio browser that highlights songs that are trending in the app as well as personalized recommendations, the ability to save audio for later use, and the ability to share audio pages in direct messages.  Instagram One of the main complaints users have had about Reels is that the audio features are a lot clunkier than TikTok’s, which makes it incredibly easy for anyone to grab sound from another user’s video and spin it into their own creation. While Reels also allows its users to do this, there wasn’t a good way to keep track of sounds in the app — a key feature of TikTok. Source linkContinue readingInstagram makes Reels audio more like TikTok

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Mashable

10 gifts for the aspiring TikTok star in your life

Do you know someone who wants to make it big on TikTok?  Folks have used TikTok since its evolution from Musical.ly two years ago, but in the months since the pandemic confined most social interactions to the internet, the app’s popularity has skyrocketed. Thanks to its prevalence in online culture, more people are open to creating their own account to produce content on the app. Even though you don’t need anything but a phone and the app itself to make TikToks, there are some essentials to give your videos a boost.  Here are 10 must-haves for the aspiring TikTok star in your life — or for anyone who, like most of us in quarantine, just watches a lot of TikToks.  Decent lighting can make or break a video. Whether you’re trying to go viral or trying to look good for your Zoom crush, this ring light can up your on-screen presence. It also comes with a tripod and remote shutter for optimal recording. Price: $49.99 on Amazon. It seems like everyone on TikTok has LED strips lining the ceiling of their bedrooms, and for good reason — it can change the mood in an instant. This remote controlled light strip is 24 feet long and can be adjusted via remote.  Price: $59.97 from Home Depot. This is the dress of the summer. Lirika Matoshi’s dreamy, gauzy strawberry dress went viral this year, just as cottagecore went mainstream. And if pink isn’t your color, the designer also released a version in…Continue reading10 gifts for the aspiring TikTok star in your life