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TikTok is testing in-app games in Vietnam and plans to push further into gaming, starting with Southeast Asia, sources tell Reuters. People can already share gameplay content on TikTok – like a video of them from Twitch, for example – but there are no actual TikTok-based games. In-app games would help TikTok make inroads with game developers, which tend to be some of mobile marketing’s biggest spenders, and also help boost the amount of time people spend in the app even higher than it is.
Plus, the Chinese version of TikTok, called Douyin, has had in-app gaming for years, and so it would be a relatively easy lift – in terms of the tech, that is.
TikTok gaming would likely precipitate app store policy drama. (Just ask Epic Games.)
Google and Apple, in particular, have held the line on in-app games that essentially recreate standalone apps within another app. (As in, Apple wants people to download Zynga games, not play Zynga in TikTok.)
It’s not impossible that TikTok could make gaming work while giving Apple and Google a 30% cut, but that only leaves 70% to split between mobile developers and TikTok itself. And building a strong ad-based monetization ain’t easy.
We GDP-Are Dealing With A Backlog, Here
Although the passage of GDPR promised to crack down on data collection, there hasn’t been a lot of enforcement.
In 2018, the year GDPR came into effect, the nonprofit NOYB (None Of Your Business) lodged complaints against Google, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp – and it’s still waiting for an update, Wired reports. “To say that GDPR is well enforced, I think is a mistake,” said Romain Robert, NOYB’s program director.
Part of the problem is structural. Cases are assigned to the country in which the accused company is headquartered. The Netherlands deals with Netflix, for example, whereas Ireland is responsible for Meta-owned platforms and Google. (It’s no wonder Irish regulators are backlogged with 400 outstanding cases.)
But the good news is that GDPR has changed the way companies operate, which now make higher baseline investments in data protection, privacy and cybersecurity. “We’re starting to see concrete evolution of practices in the digital ecosystem, which is really what we’re looking for,” Marie-Laure Denis, head of the CNIL, France’s data protection authority, told Wired.
Out Of Service
Should big consumer tech companies like Facebook provide customer service? They’ve shown no interest to date.
And “so pity John Bacon, a 72-year-old retiree of Cleveland, Ohio,” writes The Wall Street Journal. Facebook disabled his account after he was hacked, and it was never restored, despite him sending many (many) messages. Most people have just as much luck with other platforms, including TikTok and Twitter.
But Facebook in particular locks people out of their accounts with little explanation and often without notice. One OnlyFans account owner recently made headlines when she revealed that she’d gotten her Instagram account unlocked after targeting Meta employees on LinkedIn who worked on account security and sleeping with them until someone helped her.
Bacon, the pitiable Facebook lockout, eventually won back his account by shelling out around $300 to buy an Oculus headset, because there’s a dedicated customer service line for device owners. That’s a pretty pricey Facebook suspension workaround.
But there’s another case to be made for these platforms to provide bona fide customer service. Search-based ad scams target old or desperate people with fake customer service numbers and then dupe them into divulging their account info. A legitimate Google customer service number could prevent that.
If the customer is always right, shouldn’t the user also always be right?
But Wait, There’s More!
Are we about to enter the privacy era? Nations are accelerating efforts to control data produced within their perimeters, disrupting the flow of what has become a kind of digital currency. [NYT]
What a Google breakup could mean for the travel industry. [Skift]
Marketing budgets have risen rapidly as a share of company revenues, per Gartner, but inflation, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and supply-chain issues are starting to create headwinds for ad spending. [WSJ]
With Disney+, Disney is looking to set a new high-water mark for ad prices. [Digiday]
BDG poaches GQ exec Jon Wilde to glitz up its culture and innovation portfolio. [Adweek]
Index Exchange hires Matt Barash as SVP of Americas. [release]