Most TikTok users don’t want to switch to a rival app, survey says – CNET

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Recent survey revealed that most people don't want to switch to TikTok's competitors.

Angela Lang/CNET

Most Gen Z and millennial TikTok users in the US are upset about the potential TikTok ban, according to a survey of 10,000 users taken this week and published Friday. And 83% of those surveyed are not concerned enough about the Chinese government potentially having access to their data to consider deleting the social media video app.

A majority of respondents also don't want to switch to TikTok's competitors, the survey by TruePublic revealed: 88% of the people surveyed prefer TikTok over competitors such as Triller and Byte. Instagram also launched a competing service called Reels this week.

President Donald Trump threatened to ban TikTok last weekend unless the app, which is owned by Chinese internet conglomerate ByteDance, is acquired by a US company. Microsoft has been in talks about buying some or all of TikTok

The president issued an executive order Thursday evening, which would bar "transactions" with ByteDance or its subsidiaries. He called the wide use of the app a "national emergency" due to its alleged links to the Chinese government. The executive order goes into effect 45 days after it was issued.

TikTok didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Most TikTok users don’t want to switch to a rival app, survey says – CNET

tiktok-logo-phone-clock-time-4586

Recent survey revealed that most people don't want to switch to TikTok's competitors.

Angela Lang/CNET

Most Gen Z and millennial TikTok users in the US are upset about the potential TikTok ban, according to a survey of 10,000 users taken this week and published Friday. And 83% of those surveyed are not concerned enough about the Chinese government potentially having access to their data to consider deleting the social media video app.

A majority of respondents also don't want to switch to TikTok's competitors, the survey by TruePublic revealed: 88% of the people surveyed prefer TikTok over competitors such as Triller and Byte. Instagram also launched a competing service called Reels this week.

President Donald Trump threatened to ban TikTok last weekend unless the app, which is owned by Chinese internet conglomerate ByteDance, is acquired by a US company. Microsoft has been in talks about buying some or all of TikTok

The president issued an executive order Thursday evening, which would bar "transactions" with ByteDance or its subsidiaries. He called the wide use of the app a "national emergency" due to its alleged links to the Chinese government. The executive order goes into effect 45 days after it was issued.

TikTok didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Facebook Gaming launches without games on iOS due to Apple App Store policies – CNET

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Facebook's gaming app for iOS launches without mini games. 

Angela Lang/CNET

The Facebook Gaming app for iOS launched without games on Friday because of Apple's App Store approval process. The social media giant's app is used to watch streamers play video games, similar to what happens on Twitch, but features mini games that Apple's policies reportedly wouldn't allow.

"Unfortunately, we had to remove gameplay functionality entirely in order to get Apple's approval on the standalone Facebook Gaming app," Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, said in an emailed statement. "We're staying focused on building communities for the more than 380 million people who play games on Facebook every month -- whether Apple allows it in a standalone app or not."

Apple seemingly cited its App Store guidelines as the reason for the Facebook Gaming app's rejection. 

Last week in an antitrust hearing before a congressional subcommittee, Apple CEO Tim Cook was accused of harming competition in the App Store, and Microsoft's Project xCloud app has faced similar challenges to Facebook's. On Thursday, Microsoft said Apple was blocking its efforts to bring its game streaming service to iPhone and iPad users.  

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

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Instagram ‘bug’ reportedly favors Trump campaign content over Biden – CNET

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Instagram algorithm reportedly favored Trump hashtags since June. 

Angela Lang/CNET

A bug in Instagram's algorithms reportedly pushed content favoring President Donald Trump's reelection campaign over that of presumptive Democratic rival Joe Biden. A search for Biden showed a variety of pro-Trump content, while searches for Trump didn't provide hashtags promoting alternative viewpoints, Buzzfeed reported Wednesday. 

Hashtag searches for #JoeBiden produced over 390,000 posts tagged with the former vice president's name alongside related hashtags chosen by Instagram's algorithm. These posts also featured pro-Trump tags, Buzzfeed noted.

Similar searches for #DonaldTrump reportedly showed over 6.7 million posts that were tagged with the president's name, but didn't push any related hashtags showing an opposing viewpoint. 

Nonpartisan tech watchdog group Tech Transparency Project came across the bug, according to Buzzfeed. The hashtags for both Trump and Biden have been treated differently since at least June, it said.

The "technical error caused tens of thousands of hashtags to not show related tags," Instagram told CNET on Thursday. 

Many other hashtags were affected, including #democrats and generic terms like #artofdrinks and #menshair, the Facebook-owned social media company said. However, other terms associated with Trump, including #trumppence2020 and #votetrump, were unaffected by the bug. 

Instagram is disabling this feature so it can further investigate, it said.

Neither the Trump campaign nor the Biden campaign immediately responded to requests for comment.

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Apple Store celebrates its 10 year anniversary with balloon easter egg – CNET

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Apple Store celebrates the 10th anniversary of its app. 

Angela Lang/CNET

The Apple Store app celebrated its 10th anniversary on Thursday with a balloon surprise. When you search "10 years" in the Apple Store app, a pair of balloons float up and bounce around your screen. 

The Easter egg is similar to the balloon effect in messages, but the 10 year anniversary balloons let you tap on each to pop it or drag it around with your finger.

The Apple Store app launched in 2010 as a way to make buying Apple products online a little easier. The Cupertino, California, company has created similar Easter eggs in the past. In 2017, Apple added a "let it snow" Easter egg to celebrate the holidays. 

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Amazon’s Deliveroo investment gets thumbs up from UK regulators – CNET

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Angela Lang/CNET

Amazon's minority investment in Deliveroo won the approval Tuesday of the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The deal will give Amazon 16% stake in the UK-based food delivery company, a figure the CMA says won't reduce competition.

"When looking at any merger, the CMA's role is to assess whether consumers will lose out from a substantial lessening of competition," Stuart McIntosh, inquiry chair at the CMA, said in a release. "We have not found this to be the case given the scale of Amazon's current investment, but if it were to increase its shareholding in Deliveroo, that could trigger a further investigation by the CMA."

The CMA paused Amazon's investment in the meal-delivery service last year amid concerns that a merger would reduce consumer choice and break competition rules. The decision to clear Amazon's investment comes a week after CEO Jeff Bezos was questioned by US politicians in an antitrust hearing.

Deliveroo operates all over the UK, as well as in Australia, Germany, the US, France, Singapore, Hong Kong, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Taiwan, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

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Pixar’s new movie Luca looks like the Italian Riviera vacation we all need – CNET

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Pixar's next film follows a boy named Luca during is summer on the Italian Riviera.

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Pixar's next feature film will be called Luca, the Disney-owned animation studio revealed Thursday. The movie is scheduled to hit US theaters on June 18, 2021. 

"Our all-new film will introduce a boy named Luca as he experiences an unforgettable summer in a seaside town on the Italian Riviera," Pixar said in a tweet. The unforgettable part apparently involves a sea monster.

It will be directed by Enrico Casarosa, who was nominated for an Oscar for short film La Luna, and produced by Andrea Warren

"This is a deeply personal story for me, not only because it's set on the Italian Riviera where I grew up, but because at the core of this film is a celebration of friendship," Casarosa said in a statement. "So in addition to the beauty and charm of the Italian seaside, our film will feature an unforgettable summer adventure that will fundamentally change Luca."

The Luca announcement follows Pixar's decision to push back Soul, the studio's musical journey from New York City to "cosmic realms." Soul was scheduled for release on June 19 but has since been delayed until Nov. 20 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Verizon launches new LTE Home Internet service – CNET

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Verizon's new service will provide unlimited data and internet download speeds of 25 to 50 Mbps.

Angela Lang/CNET

Verizon launched a new LTE Home Internet service on Thursday. The plan aims to expand Verizon services to customers in rural areas of the US with limited or no broadband outside the wireless company's 5G Home and Fios plans.  

"Our 4G LTE network keeps our customers connected when and where it matters most," said Frank Boulben, senior vice president of consumer marketing and products at Verizon, in a release. "Especially now, when so many are counting on reliable connectivity for remote work and educational needs."

The LTE Home Internet service will provide unlimited data and internet download speeds of 25 to 50 Mbps, said Verizon. The new internet service will be available in Georgia, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky. You can find out if LTE Home Internet is available near you at Verizon's website

Verizon said its LTE Home Internet will cost $40 a month for Verizon wireless customers and $60 a month for non-Verizon customers. The LTE home router is also $10 each month with Verizon's device payment plan. 

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Google’s next undersea cable will connect US to UK and Spain – CNET

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Google's fourth undersea cable is named Grace Hopper.

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Google said on Tuesday that it plans to build an underwater cable across the Atlantic ocean linking the US, UK and Spain. The cable, named after computer scientist Grace Hopper, will be Google's fourth undersea cable

"98% of international internet traffic is ferried around the world by subsea cables", said Bikash Koley, Google's global network vice president, in a release. "A vast underwater network of cables crisscrossing the ocean makes it possible to share, search, send, and receive information around the world at the speed of light."

The search giant owns three other undersea cables: Curie, connecting the US and South America; Dunant, connecting the US and France; and Equiano, connecting Europe and Africa. Google also jointly operates a number of other underwater cables including the Pacific Light Cable Network with Facebook. In 2019, the US reportedly sought to block the Pacific Light Cable Network out of national security concerns

Google said the Grace Hopper cable is scheduled to go online in 2022 and will be built by SubCom, the same company contracted to build the Dunant and Curie cables. Grace Hopper will help support Google's plans for a new cloud region in Madrid. 

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Michelle Obama’s podcast is coming to Spotify on Wednesday – CNET

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Spotify will play host to the Michelle Obama podcast. 

Angela Lang/CNET

You'll soon be able to find Michelle Obama's podcast on Spotify. The streaming site said earlier this month that the former first lady's podcast is set to debut on July 29 at no extra cost for Spotify's free and premium listeners. On Tuesday, Spotify added a 10-minute preview of the podcast that you can listen to now

Michelle Obama reflects on her life and gives some background on her goals for the podcast in the preview. 

"The main truth of my story wasn't anything I did as the first lady, but the lifelong experiences I shared with the people I loved, the conversations that helped me understand myself more clearly whenever I came to a fork in the road," said Obama. 

Earlier this month in a release, the former first lady said her "hope is that this series can be a place to explore meaningful topics together" and "open up new conversations—and hard conversations—with the people who matter most."

The podcast will touch on a range of topics including sibling relationships, raising children, women's health, mentorship and marriage, according to Spotify. The podcast also will feature former White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, comedian Conan O'Brien and journalist Michele Norris among its first guests. 

Spotify announced its partnership with Barack and Michelle Obama's production company, Higher Ground, in June. With the partnership, the couple plans to produce exclusive podcasts that amplify otherwise ignored voices. The Michelle Obama podcast is the first to come out of it.

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