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WIPR - Apr 16 - TikTok infringed the trademarks of a video editing company when it released an editing feature called "Stitch" which enables users to clip and integrate scenes from another user's video into their own. London-based Stitch Editing filed the complaint at the US District Court for the District of California on Apr 12 against the social media platform and its Chinese subsidiary, ByteDance. Stitch Editing provides editing services for commercials and music videos and owns a registered US trademark for 'Stitch Editing' and common law trademark rights for "Stitch" that cover its editing services.
TECH CRUNCH - Apr 16 - A live audio broadcasting startup Stationhead is growing quickly, with 100K MAU - a number that's growing by 65% each month - and 500K total users. There are 6,3K hosts on the platform, and they created ~2M live and recorded streams in the first 3 months of the year. COO Murray Levison told that the pandemic has brought more artists to the platform as they look for new ways to reach their fans.
TECH CRUNCH - Apr 16 - TikTok is funding publishers' content by financially backing the production of media publisher NowThis' new series, "VIRAL," which will feature interviews with public health experts and a live Q&A session focused on answering questions about the pandemic. The partnership represents TikTok's first-ever funding of an episodic series from a publisher, though TikTok has previously funded creator content. NowThis says it brought the concept for the show to TikTok earlier this year outside of the accelerator program, Creative Learning Fund. The "VIRAL" series itself is hosted by infectious disease clinical researcher Laurel Bristow, who spent the last year working on COVID treatments and research.
FORBES - Apr 15 - Itsme, a new social network where users communicate through digital avatars, is now placed at the top of the iPhone download charts. That's partly thanks to TikTok where teens have posted videos of themselves chatting with people on Itsme, and those clips have generated 284.1M views using #Itsmeapp. Itsme now has 4M registered users trading 5M messages a day, with the average user spending ~30 minutes daily on there. Itsme has raised $15.2M in Series A funding.
TECH CRUNCH - Apr 15 - Triller, a short-form video app, acquired an AI-based customer engagement platform, Amplify.AI, whose co-founder Mahi de Silva will now become TrillerNet's CEO. Existing CEO Mike Lu will transition to the president of TrillerNet and will focus on investor relations. TrillerNet also acquired another strategic property to help shift its business further into the direction of live events: FITE TV. As a result, FITE, which touts 10M users, will become the exclusive digital distributor of all Triller Fight Club boxing events in the future. Triller spent $250M in the aggregate on its acquisitions, including Halogen, Mashtraxx, Verzuz, FITE, and Amplify.
THE CANADIAN PRESS - Apr 15 - Amazon has accused Parler, the social network known as a conservative alternative to Twitter, of trying to conceal its ownership amid a legal dispute between Amazon and Parler stemming from the U.S. Capitol riots. Angelo Calfo, an attorney representing Parler, disputed Amazon's claim and argued that the burden was on Amazon to prove who owns Parler. Parler did share information about its corporate structure with Amazon at the start of its lawsuit, Calfo said. But the documents were sealed to protect the identities of the parties due to threats of violence.
REUTERS - Apr 15 - Douban, a popular social networking forum in China, has closed at least 8 feminist channels, citing extremism, and radical political views, and ideological content. The deleted Douban channels included groups with links to the so-called "6B4T" movement, a variant of feminism originating from South Korea that urges women to refrain from relationships with men, reject religion and stop buying products such as a corset that are hostile to the female gender. The closures prompted social media users to create new Douban channels in hopes of resurrecting the groups, while the hashtag "women stick together" sprang upon China's Twitter equivalent, Weibo, garnering ~50M views.
SLASH GEAR - Apr 14 - Clubhouse did confirm that an Android port would be coming and that it would be a major priority. That said, the company might have been busy trying to stabilize and secure the platform in light of the popularity it now enjoys. Unfortunately, there haven't been many words on that endeavor since then, at least until now.
PR NEWSWIRE - Apr 14 - MeWe, the ad-free social network with data privacy and no newsfeed manipulation, announces that Jeffrey Edell has been appointed the company's new CEO and joins its Board of Directors. Edell succeeds MeWe founder Mark Weinstein whose new role is Chief Evangelist. An experienced private and public company leader in the tech and entertainment industries, Edell has previously held Chairman, CEO, and other C-level roles at Intermix Media, the parent of MySpace; Soundelux Entertainment Group/Liberty Media; Cinedigmand DIC Entertainment. Edell is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (Oscars), the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Emmys), and the Producers Guild of America (PGA). He is also a CPA from KPMG.
VULCAN POST - Apr 14 - Established in 2014, Lomotif was created to capitalize on the increasing demand for online content viewing, which was getting increasingly popular among Gen Z and millennials. The initial prototype of Lomotif was developed with a few others in Singapore's tech start-up ecosystem BLOCK71. The team later decided to take the idea abroad to San Francisco - what was initially supposed to be a month-long trip became 2.5 years instead. The platform has also garnered 120M total lifetime creators and 300M video views on the platform per month. Global media and entertainment company ZASH recently announced the acquisition of a majority controlling stake of 80% in Lomotif and is reported that they will pay about $125M for the stake, which marks one of the biggest exits by a local tech startup in recent years. With ZASH's acquisition, they are the only NASDAQ: BBIG-listed short video platform, which means that North America will become a key growth territory for them.
TECH DIGEST - Apr 14 - As the leading social networking app in China and the 5th most widely used globally, WeChat saw impressive growth amid the COVID-19 pandemic, both in revenue and the number of users. WeChat had ~1.2B MAU in the last quarter of 2020. The brand value of Tencent Holding's mobile messaging app also surged in the last year, launching WeChat among the strongest brands globally. WeChat brand value hit ~$68B in 2021, more than three major Chinese banks.
COLUMBIAN - Apr 14 - A privacy-focused social network, Slyde, launched in December following a short beta testing phase. The app has managed to make an outsized splash in a relatively short time, which attributed in part to a pair of videos about the app that unexpectedly went viral on the video-sharing platform TikTok earlier this year, causing daily sign-ups to rise from about 1K to about 7K. The main pitch for the site is that it minimizes the amount of user data it collects, such as by scrubbing metadata (location information and timestamps) from user-uploaded photos. The site does not use targeted advertising and offers the ad-free option.
TECH CRUNCH - Apr 14 - At the beginning of April, Clubhouse said it would give a "small test group" of creators the ability to accept payments from their fans and supporters through the social audio app. These donations go 100% to the creators, Clubhouse noted at the time. Though tests began with just 1K users, Clubhouse this weekend rolled out payments to other 60K+ users in the US. And it expects to have payments roll out to everyone over the next few weeks. Co-founder Paul Davison noted that another 66K creators gained the ability to receive payments this weekend, following the launch of the original test.
MASHABLE - Apr 13 - Cyber News reported that personal data for ~1.3M users was scraped from Clubhouse and posted on a hacker forum. The compromised data included names, handles for other linked social media accounts, and the username of whoever invited said user, as Clubhouse is still in an invite-only stage. That also doesn't the possibility of another, more disastrous leak later on down the line. Simply releasing a list of people's real names could, for example, lead to phishing schemes or other nefarious online deeds outside of Clubhouse itself.