FEED Summer 2024 Web



US TikTok ban blows up

Earlier this year, the US government signed a bill to ban TikTok (remove it from app stores) nationwide. The only way to prevent this: Chinese parent company Bytedance has to pawn the platform. The US government’s actions signify two things: firstly, when it wants to – when it’s a question of supposed national security – it can act swiftly. Secondly, it’s out of touch with who actually uses the app: young people and creators, many of whom are paid influencers. In May, eight TikTok users sued the US federal government, claiming the ban would violate their First Amendment rights (the right to free speech). A week prior, TikTok filed its own lawsuit, and agreed to pay the creators’ legal fees in a collaborative effort to protect TikTok. Since Biden signed the bill in April, the question on

everyone’s minds has been: if Bytedance is to sell, who is to buy? If we’ve learnt anything from Twitter, it’s that we should be wary of billionaires putting in bids. That said, Frank McCourt, an American business exec, former real estate tycoon and owner of Olympique de Marseille, has assembled a group of interested buyers, all fighting for a chance to keep TikTok away from tech giants. McCourt created Project Liberty in 2021, an initiative to put power back into users’ hands; by purchasing TikTok, he promises to do just this. TikTok has already faced full bans in other countries, including India in 2020, as well as partial bans in Britain, Australia, Canada and France – but the US rarely takes such a dramatic stance on data privacy. It’s likely the whole ordeal will go up in flames – or end up in the Supreme Court.

Bundling attempts to solve the streaming wars STREAMING

First there were the streaming wars; now, we are entering a new era. As streamers look to increase dwindling profits, bundling is becoming a popular option – and one the most prominent platforms are offering. Netflix, Peacock and Apple TV+ have announced a bundle (called Streamsaver), as have Disney+, Hulu and Max. Specifics are yet to be announced, including the latter’s

pricing; Disney+, Hulu and Max are currently a combined $48 per month for their ad-free plans, though a bundle will likely be less than that (Streamsaver will cost a reasonable $15 per month). Disney already offers a bundle that swaps Max for ESPN+, which has apparently been successful; adding Max means Disney and Warner Bros Discovery are acting in each other’s best interests as well as their own.

Critics of bundling note its eerie similarity to a little thing called cable, which has largely fallen out of fashion in the past few years. That said, bundles offer benefits that cable TV doesn’t, including an option to go ad-free and the ability to download and watch titles offline, as well as being more affordable. Streamsaver is expected to debut this summer, with the Disney-Hulu-Max bundle slated for autumn.


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