Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.
This week.. Facebook takes on TV & YouTube, Tencent is testing social credit scores, video ads are generating revenue for games and other apps, Disney sued for allegedly collecting children’s personal data and much more.
Facebook has revamped its video offering, creating a new, TV-like rival to YouTube and dabbling in original content in a bid to get people to spend even more time on the social network.
The Facebook feature, dubbed Watch, will let users discover videos from outside of their feed more easily, create watchlists, and have an easier way to follow shows created by artists, brands and publishers.
Facebook has funded a number of original “community-oriented” shows “to help inspire creators and seed the ecosystem”. Partners who produce original video content exclusively for Facebook will earn 55% of revenue generated by ad breaks inserted into the content, leaving Facebook with the rest.
More scores that rate your trustworthiness are coming to China’s internet—which is great for a quick discount, but concerning for civil liberties.
Tech giant Tencent is gradually testing and expanding its “social credit” system that will give users a numeric rating based on their spending habits and social connections, two years after rival Alibaba launched its own social credit system. A source familiar with the matter this week confirmed that Tencent expanded its pool of “beta test” users for Tencent Credit, the name of its social credit system. The beta test users were given access to the service on QQ, a Chinese chat app.
According to media reports (link in Chinese), users must input their real names and Chinese ID numbers to reveal their scores, which ranges between 300 and 850.
From mobile games to non-gaming apps, 55% of total mobile publisher revenue is generated from ads, with mobile video ad monetization making up 31% of mobile publisher revenue.
A recent survey by mobile publisher Ad Colony looked at the top-grossing app developers, and asked over 100 detailed questions and in a global survey directed towards mobile game developers (90%), with a minority making non-gaming apps (18%). A small number (8%) represented mobile publisher who make both gaming & non-gaming apps.
The survey was distributed globally, with the most respondents in EMEA (40%), followed by 34% in North America, 22% in APAC, and 4% in LATAM.
A federal class action lawsuit filed last week in California alleges that the Walt Disney Company is violating privacy protection laws by collecting children’s personal information from 42 of its apps and sharing the data with advertisers without parental consent.
The lawsuit targets Disney and three software companies — Upsight, Unity, and Kochava — alleging that the companies created mobile apps aimed at children that contained embedded software to track, collect, and then export their personal information along with information about their online behavior. The plaintiff, a San Francisco woman named Amanda Rushing, says she was unaware that information about her child, “L.L.,” was collected while playing mobile game Disney Princess Palace Pets, and that data was then sold to third parties for ad targeting.
Microsoft previously revealed that Windows 10 Mobile would be updated to a new build dubbed “feature2” but would not be further developed beyond that point. Importantly, however, the firm downplayed the importance of this move when questioned whether this would be the end of Windows 10 Mobile, implying that it was not.
But according to Windows Central’s Zac Bowden, this is not the case; he states that his sources “paint a different story,” adding that “Windows 10 Mobile development has been separated from the rest of Windows 10 on other platforms.”
He says that this is happening because Windows 10 Mobile is “no longer needed,” for Microsoft’s future plans for Windows on mobile devices.
TerraPay, the world’s first mobile payments switch, announced today that it has successfully obtained an approval from Bank of Uganda to facilitate International money transfers to mobile wallets in the country.
This enables TerraPay’s network partners across the world to send money directly to mobile wallets in Uganda. Earlier, TerraPay had also received regulatory approvals enabling cross-border money transfers to mobile wallets in Kenya and Tanzania.
With the addition of Uganda, TerraPay becomes the only licensed mobile payments switch equipped to deliver cross-border payments to mobile wallets in the East African region.
Would you trust a technology company like Apple, Amazon or Google with your health data?
More than 1,000 people participated in my Twitter poll on the topic, and the majority of people responding that they would. Only 37 percent of people responded that they would not share their data. Among those who opted to share their health data with a tech company, one clear winner emerged: Apple.
It has been two years since the research firm Rock Health surveyed the American public and found that most people would not trust a tech company with their data. Only about 8 percent said they would share their health information.
Payments processing has long been considered an unfashionable operation that quietly ticks over in the depths of banks’ back offices.
But it is now emerging as a hot sector, as companies rush to take advantage of the huge growth potential stemming from the global shift towards digital and mobile transactions.
Vantiv, the largest processor in the US, led the dash to capitalise on the growing trend when it made a firm £9.3bn takeover offer for UK rival Worldpay on Wednesday, fending off competition from JPMorgan Chase in the early stages.
SoftBank has just announced its biggest investment in India: a whopping US$2.5 billion in Indian ecommerce company Flipkart. With this latest funding round, Flipkart boasts of over US$4 billion in cash on its balance sheet and SoftBank has become its largest shareholder.
It’s the biggest ever private investment in an Indian technology company. “This is a monumental deal for Flipkart and India,” said Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal, co-founders of Flipkart in an announcement made today.
Neither SoftBank nor Flipkart disclosed the exact amount of funding which came from SoftBank Vision Fund, but sources said it is a little over US$2.5 billion.
FaceApp, ignoring its own previous missteps and those of others, has wandered back into controversy with a new update launching today that adds “ethnicity change filters,” allowing users to see what it would look like if they were Caucasian, Black, Asian or Indian.
When the company launched last year, there were some reports that filters designed to make users look “hotter” was just, in fact, making them whiter. Now, with four of the 10 filters available in the free version of the app being explicitly devoted to “changing” ethnicities, FaceApp seems to be getting a little too focused on races rather than faces.
The app, which has 40 million installs across Android and iOS devices, just launched a 2.0 update last week, which added paid “style” filters designed to make users look better by adding makeup or a hipster beard.