Weekly Buzz: Meta’s Canadian News Block Sparks Calls for Investigation

Weekly Buzz — August 11, 2023

Welcome back to another jam-packed edition of the Weekly Buzz!

What’s new in the digital world? Allow us to bring you up to speed.

On the docket today:

Meta moves ahead with blocking news content for Canadian users on its platforms, igniting new concerns and calls for investigation; OpenAI introduces GPTBot, a web crawler to refine AI models; and TikTok takes the stage with “Gimme The Mic,” a global music competition set to unearth fresh musical talents. 

Ready? Let’s get buzzing!

Meta ends news availability on its platforms for Canadians

After months of build-up, the time has finally come. Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has permanently removed news content for Canadian users on its platforms. 

Previously tested on a limited scale, this move comes in response to Canada’s Online News Act, which requires tech giants to compensate local news outlets for content shared on their platforms. 

Rachel Curran, Head of Public Policy for Meta Canada, stated that Meta had begun permanently ending news availability last Tuesday to provide clarity for its Canadian users. 

This decision has stirred significant controversy with critics, including the Canadian government and media organizations, accusing Meta of abusing its market power and harming the user experience. Removing news content has also led to advertisers withdrawing from the platform. 

Canadian newsgroups demand investigation in response to Meta’s news block 

As Meta stands firm, observers closely watch the implications for the broader relationship among tech giants, news publishers, and regulatory frameworks.

Leading Canadian news publishers and broadcasters have jointly called on Canada’s Competition Bureau to investigate and halt Meta’s decision to block news content on its digital platforms.

News Media Canada, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, and CBC allege that Meta’s practices are anticompetitive, as they obstruct Canadian news organizations’ access to the advertising market and reduce visibility on social media. 

The newsgroups argue that Meta’s dominance in the social media and online advertising market unfairly impairs competition and news revenue. 

While the Competition Bureau reviews the situation, some critics have highlighted potential challenges in establishing market dominance and anticompetitive effects through existing laws.

OpenAI introduces GPTBot web crawler for AI model enhancement

OpenAI has launched GPTBot, a web crawler designed to refine AI models like GPT-4 by traversing the internet and extracting information. This initiative aims to enhance AI accuracy and safety by gathering data from web pages. 

GPTBot’s usage comes with the potential to advance AI capabilities. Still, the information it collects is filtered to exclude paywall-protected content, personally identifiable data, and policy-violating text, as per OpenAI’s blog post.

However, website operators can restrict GPTBot’s access by blocking its IP address or incorporating rules within the Robots.txt file. 

OpenAI’s introduction of opt-out mechanisms reflects a recent focus on privacy control. Earlier this year, OpenAI faced legal action for allegedly using personal data to train ChatGPT. The newly launched GPTBot underscores OpenAI’s ongoing efforts to refine AI models while addressing data privacy concerns.

TikTok launches “Gimme The Mic” global music competition to discover emerging artists

TikTok is stepping into the music competition arena with its latest venture, “Gimme The Mic.”

The worldwide contest aims to uncover fresh musical talent and provide a platform for budding music creators. The competition is open to individuals aged 18 and above and aims to expand TikTok’s LIVE offerings.

@tiktoklive_us This one is for all music lovers! 🎶 Join the upcoming #GimmeTheMic ♬ original sound – tiktoklive_us

The contest follows a three-phase structure: audition, semi-finals, and grand finale. 

Auditions are underway until August 16, requiring participants to post a video with the hashtag “GimmeTheMic.” The top 30 creators will proceed to the semi-finals, where they’ll compete head-to-head in TikTok LIVE sessions during September. Viewers will have the chance to vote for their preferred performances.

The U.S. grand finale, scheduled for September 10, will crown the “Gimme The Mic” champion, who will earn 50,000 Diamonds. Likewise, global winners from different countries will contend for the title of Global “Gimme The Mic” Champion, with a grand prize of 500,000 Diamonds at stake.

Although the monetary rewards seem modest, TikTok’s vast user base could translate to valuable exposure and potential career advancements for aspiring musicians.

Will you be following along with this fun campaign?

Friday Fun

Ryan Gosling surprised Greta Gerwig with a ‘Barbie’ flash mob for her birthday, and it’s serving some serious Kenergy.

Line drawn peony from Spodek & Co Digital marketing site