Weekly Buzz: Montana Becomes First State to Ban TikTok

The Weekly Download - May 19, 2023

Welcome back to the Weekly Download! Before you head out the office door to celebrate the May long weekend, take a few minutes to get caught up on all things digital marketing that you may have missed this week.

On the docket today: Montana becomes the first U.S. state to ban TikTok, Google updates its inactive accounts policy, a new study sheds light on the habits of some Twitter users, welcome changes to Meta’s API, and more.

Montana becomes the first U.S. state to ban TikTok

Following lots of buildup, Montana is officially the first U.S. state to ban TikTok — although the change won’t come into effect until 2024.

According to Montana governor Greg Gianforte, the ban serves “to protect Montanans’ personal and private data from being harvested by the Chinese Communist party.”

The bill targets app stores, like the ones found on Apple and Android devices, prohibiting them from hosting TikTok as a download. TikTok itself could also face fines if it continues to operate in Montana following the ban.

How did TikTok respond to news of the ban? A spokesperson for the company said, “We want to reassure Montanans that they can continue using TikTok to express themselves, earn a living and find community as we continue working to defend the rights of our users inside and outside of Montana.”

Will the ban be enforceable? Several lobbyists have argued that a state-level ban will be nearly impossible to enact. And what does this mean for TikTok’s fate in other U.S. states or in other countries? Stay tuned!

TikTok launches mental health campaign with $2 million advertising fund

TikTok is launching a new mental health initiative in honour of Mental Health Month this May.

The Mental Health Media Education Fund will provide $2 million in TikTok advertising credits to several mental health organizations that share and advertise mental health resources on the app to support users’ well-being.

As part of the initiative, TikTok will also provide training to organizations supported through the fund to help them better utilize the platform and expand their content’s reach.

And for all users, a new #MentalHealthAwareness hub is available on the #MentalHealthAwareness hashtag page, featuring relevant educational videos and more. A new #MentalHealthAwareness Creator Spotlight will also feature 10 creators working to end the stigma around mental health.

“Through continued collaboration with mental health organizations, content creators, and our TikTok community, we continue to raise awareness and foster a space where everyone can feel heard and supported — during #MentalHealthAwareness Month and beyond,” said TikTok in a statement. “We believe that everyone deserves access to resources and support for their mental well-being, and we are dedicated to continuously learning, evolving, and making a difference.”

Google will delete inactive accounts to boost security

Have a Google-owned account that’s been left dormant? It’s time to sign back in! As of December 2023, the company is set to start deleting accounts that haven’t been used or logged into during the last two years, to protect user security.

According to Google, “If an account hasn’t been used for an extended period of time, it is more likely to be compromised. This is because forgotten or unattended accounts often rely on old or re-used passwords that may have been compromised, haven’t had two factor authentication set up, and receive fewer security checks by the user.”

When an account is deleted, all associated content is wiped, including content within Google Workspace (Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar), YouTube, and Google Photos. The new policy applies only to Google Accounts and not accounts affiliated with schools, businesses, or other similar organizations.

New study reports 60% of U.S. Twitter users have “taken a break” from the platform in the last year

A new study by Pew Research Center claims a majority of U.S. adult Twitter users have taken a break from Twitter for a period of “several weeks or more” over the past year. The data doesn’t point to one specific cause for the user pause, but it is certainly interesting information — especially for those wondering if Twitter should be part of their overall digital strategy.

It’s worth noting that in the analysis, Pew says those who are more likely to have taken a break from the app include women and Black users.

According to TechCrunch, 69% of women (compared with 54% of men) said they took a break from Twitter in the past 12 months, and 67% of Black users said they took a break from the app, compared with 60% of white users and 54% of Hispanic users.

The findings suggest that it’s not politics or age driving people to hit the pause button on Twitter, but rather the demographics of those who have historically faced the most harassment on the platform, according to prior reports.

With new lackluster policies in place to manage hate speech on the platform, will even more users take a step away from Twitter?

Third-party platforms will soon support Instagram story scheduling

Thanks to a change in Meta’s Instagram Graph API, you’ll soon be able to use third-party posting tools to share Instagram Stories and other post formats, and even schedule them in advance, making it easier to manage your content from a single platform.

Here’s what Meta had to say about the update:

“The Instagram Graph API enables Instagram Business accounts to publish up to 25 single images, videos, reels (i.e. single media posts), or posts containing multiple images and videos (carousel posts) per day using third-party developer platforms. This API enhancement will be available for the current version, v16.0, and all previous versions of the Graph API. As there are no new endpoints or permissions, Stories will become automatically available for developers who already have access to the Content Publishing API.”

Third-party publishing platforms like Hootsuite will need to integrate the new update before it’s available in their apps, and turnaround time will vary. Still, it’s exciting news for those looking to streamline their social media tech stack and make posting more convenient.

Friday Fun

Check out this very sweet slice of Friday fun served up by Instagram user @thejonnycakes:

Line drawn peony from Spodek & Co Digital marketing site