Hey Creators! It’s time for your monthly social media news and trend recap!
March has been an eventful month! In this post, we’re giving you an update on the TikTok ban in the US and current trending memes and sounds in the social media space.
I also have platform-specific feature updates like Meta Verified on Instagram, a secret app they’re working on, a new YouTube feature that brings you more monetization options and more!
The TikTok Ban in the US
TikTok CEO, Shou Zi Chew, met with the US Senate two weeks ago to address concerns over TikTok. Lawmakers from both political parties have called for a ban on TikTok, citing concerns about data privacy, national security, mental health and protection of children.
Ahead of his hearing to help ease tensions between Tiktok and the US Government, Chew posted the TikTok below on March 21st, appealing directly to the app’s users ahead of his expected grilling in front of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee.
As you can see, in the TikTok, Chew emphasized the scale of TikTok’s user base, small and medium-sized businesses, and its US-based employees, stating that they rely on the company.
TikTok has over 150 million monthly active users in the US, 5 million of which are businesses using the app to reach their customers.
TikTok claims to have a risk mitigation plan in place to ensure that U.S. data remains secure, but many lawmakers and intelligence officials remain unconvinced. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. is reportedly pushing for ByteDance to sell its stake or face a ban.
TikTok CEO in Front of the US Senate
All of this led to the hearing, where Chew answered questions in front of the US Senate.
Over five hours, Shou Zi Chew faced calls for the app to be banned in the United States, emphasizing TikTok’s independence from China. He stated that the app is not available in mainland China, and Tiktok itself is headquartered in Los Angeles and Singapore, with over 7,000 employees in the U.S. alone.
Chew also defended the app’s data collection practices, stating that they are no different from those of other major tech companies in the US. Chew claims that TikTok is committed to being transparent with its users about what data is collected and that he does not believe they collect more data than other players in the industry.
Independent researchers have also backed Chew’s assertions, finding that TikTok does not appear to collect any more data than mainstream social networks like Facebook or Twitter.
Some lawmakers also expressed concerns about TikTok’s impact on children, including allegations that the app recommends videos promoting suicide, self-harm, and eating disorders. And while TikTok has launched features to provide additional safeguards for younger users, lawmakers criticized the features as being too easy for teens to bypass.
Post-hearing, Chew released this video to TikTok, sharing his promise and commitment to all US TikTok users:
What if TikTok Gets Banned?
So, why TikTok? Why now?
I think TikTok is really the scapegoat for the government to enact Bill S-686, also known as the ‘Restrict Act, or the “TikTok Ban Bill”. This bill was introduced on March 7th to “prohibit certain transactions between persons in the United States and foreign adversaries, and for other purposes.”
Here is a list of the “foreign adversaries”, but note that this can change at any time:
- The People’s Republic of China – including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Macao Special Administrative Region
- The Republic of Cuba
- The Islamic Republic of Iran
- The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
- The Russian Federation
- The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela – under the regime of Nicolás Maduro Moros
As you continue to read through the bill, you will learn that this bill allows the US to ban any technology that’s used to contact or communicate with “foreign adversaries”. This including VPNs.
If you use a VPN to access any banned apps such as TikTok, it is made a criminal act under this bill.
And the penalty? A minimum of 20 years in prison and a minimum of 250,000 or 1,000,000 fine.
This bill also will give the US government access to monitor any and all activity by any suspected devices such as your phone, gaming consoles, routers, ring cameras, smart thermostats… pretty much anything using the internet, 24/7 without having to notify you.
A Tiktok ban has never looked this serious. We might not have access to not only TikTok, but any app made in China like CapCut, ExpressVPN, Microsoft Bing, and more, but we will have to wait and see what decisions are made.
Memes in March
On a lighter note, let’s look at some of the memes that have kept us laughing and our video views skyrocketing for the month of March.
First, let’s start with Pedro Pascal, the internet’s new man of the hour. With the new season of The Mandalorian, as well as HBO’s, The Last of Us, Pedro Pascal has been in front of us constantly… and I’m not complaining.
This popularity has crossed over to TikTok, where many are making memes using clips from a variety of Pedro Pascal’s films.
One of these memes comes from a scene in last year’s movie The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, where Pascal and Nick Cage are driving in a convertible while Mama Cass Elliot’s 1969 single, “Make Your Own Kind of Music,” plays.
Creators are using this meme to make light of crappy situations, explain polar opposites between you and someone you know or even ridiculous plot twists in life you’ve experienced.
The other meme is a CapCut template of Pedro eating a sandwich. This meme can be used to highlight some sweet, simple moments in life like this. Or for a humorous spin, something really mundane, relatable or boring like in the example below.
If you’re worried about the implications of AI for catfishing, there is no need to worry… not yet at least. People are using AI to make gamer memes.
TikTok creators have started using AI Text-to-Speach generators to create clips of Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Barack Obama and other U.S. Presidents and celebrities playing Minecraft. While they play, the presidents talk and argue about music, video games, and even celebrity drama.
It’s a creative and funny use of AI. Some creators are even making edits of the Presidents talking about them and their own music, products, and services!
Trending Sounds and Music
We’ve got some new trending sounds and music this month, most noticeably Meghan Trainor with her single, “Mother”. The song follows Meghan’s past themes of having fun and feeling empowered and is a fun light-hearted song about taking charge.
Another song that has been blowing up on Tiktok is a sped-up version of Ceilings by rising star Lizzy McAlpine. While the song is being used in a variety of ways, the trend around it has people running faster and faster as the cinematic song builds! One of the best versions of this I have seen was done by the baseball team The Savannah Bananas.
If you’re like me, your “For You Page” has been nothing but Taylor Swift the past few days. Taylor Kicked off her long-awaited Eras Tour this month, and this has caused an explosion of Taylor Swift content and songs growing on the app. As her tour continues, we can predict her music will continue to trend more and more over the coming months.
Lyle Lyle Crocodile
A sound that has been taking off is Lyle Lyle Crocodile.
Shawn Mendez’s performance as a singing crocodile has been gaining popularity online recently. This meme uses a melody from the movie Lyle Lyle Crocodile and imposes it on other reptiles or things that look similar.
Whether it’s a claw clip, chopsticks, or anything else that looks even remotely like a crocodile mouth, Lyle’s melody is everywhere!
Stay On Top of Trends
When it comes to trends, one thing is for certain: things are always changing. Who knows what will take over the internet this month? The only way to stay ahead is to stay informed with the Trend Report, powered by Storyy.
Storyy are my amazing video editors who also do the research so you can have updates like these! When you subscribe to their Trend Report, you’ll get a newsletter each Friday detailing the biggest trends happening that week.
With the Trend Report, you’ll never be left in the dark on anything trending. And yes: it’s free! Don’t let the next big trend pass by without being in the know.
Now, let’s touch on some of the platform-specific updates that happened this past month.
Meta & Instagram News
Meta, the parent company of Instagram, has been staying busy this month and is even working on a secret project.
Before we get into that, let’s talk about its new revenue-sharing system and, of course, Meta Verified.
Instagram announced at the end of February that Meta Verified is a monthly subscription for Instagram users where they can subscribe to gain access to:
- Ability to chat live with an Instagram representative for questions and support
- Increased Reach
As of lately, Meta Verified is officially being released to users in the US. But during their first launch in Australia, Instagram received a lot of backlash and concerns about “increased reach”, so that is not included in the US launch.
Instagram will continue to explore and define what “Increased Reach” means before they implement it in any future rollouts or updates.
New Ad-Revenue Share System for Meta
Meta is developing a new ad revenue share system, thus they’ve paused their Reels Bonus Program.
Meta has announced a temporary pause on its Reels Creator Fund program. The fund was launched in August 2021 to financially support creators who produce engaging Reels content on Instagram.
The pause is said to be a temporary measure to enable the company to review its program and assess its impact on creators. Meta has not specified when, or if, the program will reopen for applications, but they have stated they will still respect any commitment for bonuses for 30 days.
Meta Working on a Twitter Alternative
Now, back to that secret project I mentioned earlier – Meta is reportedly working on a decentralized version of a Twitter-like social media platform.
The new platform will reportedly allow users to control their own data and be free from censorship, as well as provide a more level playing field for smaller creators.
The new Meta platform will utilize blockchain technology to create a decentralized network of users, with no single entity controlling the platform. This would allow users to have more control over their own data and prevent any one entity from having too much power over the platform.
While the project is still in its early stages, the development of a decentralized social media platform could have significant implications for the future of social media.
It remains to be seen whether Meta will be successful in creating a viable alternative to centralized social media platforms, but it is clear that there is a growing demand for decentralized, user-controlled alternatives to the current social media landscape.
What are your thoughts on this potential new social media platform?
While TikTok has been busy trying not to get banned, they have still made a few moves worth noting.
A potential new feature you might start seeing at the top of your TikTok is “Categories”. These are topics like ‘Gaming’, ‘Food’ or whatever you tell the algorithm you like. This kind of reminds me of the categories on YouTube.
This makes sense since TikTok is trying to compete directly with YouTube and released the ability to post a 10-minute video to highly active users.
(Tip: To see if you have the 10-minute option, just go to film a TikTok and where the duration options are, you will see “10m” as an option.)
If you feel like your FYP has been the same thing over and over again and you hate everything you’re seeing, then you may be happy to hear that TikTok has announced a new feature that will allow users to refresh their algorithmic recommendations.
With this new feature, users will be able to reset the app’s content suggestions to a more generalized selection if they feel their current recommendations have become too narrow or repetitive.
The feature will be accessible via a button in the settings menu and will be rolled out gradually to all users globally.
TikTok’s algorithm uses machine learning to personalize content recommendations based on user behavior and interactions with the app. However, sometimes the recommendations can become too niche or repetitive, leading to a less engaging user experience.
With this new feature, users will have more control over the content in their feed and can avoid getting stuck in a rut.
The ability to refresh algorithmic recommendations is a significant step towards greater user control and personalization on social media platforms. It also shows how TikTok is continuously working to improve its user experience and keep users engaged on the app.
New App Alert
TikTok’s Parent company ByteDance launched a new app called Lemon8, which is apparently a combination of Instagram and Pinterest.
I recently created an account to see what it’s like, and I have to say that description is pretty accurate. The layout looks very similar to Pinterest, then when you click on a post, it looks like Instagram.
What I’m most interested in seeing is if this will pick up any traction.
Ever since Elon Musk took over Twitter, the app has been making major changes. However, are these changes improving how things are running over there? Or are they self-sabotaging?
ID Verification + Twitter Blue
Twitter is reportedly exploring the addition of an ID verification process for its Twitter Blue subscription service. The move is aimed at increasing trust and reducing spam on the platform, as well as providing an additional layer of security for Twitter Blue subscribers.
If implemented, the ID verification process would require users to submit a valid form of identification, such as a government-issued ID or passport, during the sign-up process. Twitter would then verify the user’s identity before granting access to the premium features of Twitter Blue.
The move comes amid growing concerns about online security and privacy, particularly in light of recent high-profile data breaches and cyber-attacks. While the addition of an ID verification process could help to increase trust and reduce spam on the platform, it may also raise concerns about privacy and potential misuse of user data.
Twitter CEO, Elon Musk, tweeted on March 20th that the popular app would release the code behind its algorithm to the public.
The move to open-source Twitter’s feed algorithm is significant because it will enable third-party developers and researchers to analyze and improve the platform’s recommendation engine.
Twitter’s algorithm determines what content is displayed on a user’s feed, and this decision has been subject to criticism in the past, as it can result in the promotion of harmful or misleading content. The open-sourcing of the algorithm will allow for greater transparency and accountability, as well as the potential for improvements in the accuracy and quality of recommendations.
This decision by Twitter could also have wider implications for the tech industry, as it could encourage other companies to follow suit and open-source their own algorithms. This could lead to increased collaboration and innovation within the industry, as well as greater scrutiny and oversight of the algorithms that underpin many of our online experiences.
Believe it or not, YouTube is one of the most popular platforms for podcasts, with a vast global audience of over 2 billion active users. So it only makes sense why YouTube recently released Podcasts on YouTube to help creators expand their reach and build their community while providing monetization opportunities.
You can now start your own podcast on YouTube, create a designated place for the episodes on your channel, and access monetization through ads or even only offering episodes to Channel Members that pay the monthly subscription.
It’s funny because when you first think ‘podcast’, you think Spotify, Apple Podcast or anywhere that is audio only. But YouTube did an analysis and found that podcasts on YouTube with video (particularly those featuring hosts on camera) are performing better than podcasts with just static visuals.
Video allows more intimacy with your audience, benefits accessibility through body language and lip reading, and allows you, the creator and host, to get creative with visual storytelling elements.
Dubbing Your YouTube Videos
YouTube creators can now dub their videos in multiple languages with the platform’s new feature called “YouTube Dubbed Video.”
The feature is available to creators who have monetized content on the platform and allows them to upload a translated transcript or use an AI-generated one to create dubbed videos in up to 10 languages.
With the new feature, creators can now reach a broader audience by providing their content in multiple languages, making their videos more accessible to non-native speakers. This feature is expected to be particularly helpful for creators who make educational or tutorial videos, as it enables them to share knowledge and information with people who speak different languages.
The new feature is also a part of YouTube’s efforts to improve accessibility and inclusivity on its platform. With the increase in international viewership, YouTube Dubbed Video makes it easier for creators to cater to their global audiences and connect with them in a more meaningful way.
It’s crazy how many changes can happen in one industry in just one month, but that’s the world we live in today.
To stay up to speed on all of these changes, don’t forget to subscribe to Storyy’s Trend Report for weekly updates.
Or I’ll see you next month for April’s news.
Follow your joy!