Oracle has put TikTok’s algorithms and content moderation models under its microscope in an attempt to make sure Chinese officials aren’t meddling with them. TikTok is in the process of moving all of the data it has on US users to Oracle cloud storage based in the country. Oracle’s audit is said to have started last week, after TikTok started routing all new traffic from US users through the former’s systems.
A spokesperson told Axios that the reviews examine how TikTok’s algorithms — the app’s secret sauce — bubble up content “to ensure that outcomes are in line with expectations and that the models have not been manipulated in any way.” Engadget has asked Oracle for clarification on what it means by manipulation in this context. On the moderation side, Oracle will regularly look at TikTok’s practices related to both automation and human content reviewers.
In 2020, the Trump administration attempted to force through a sale of TikTok to a US company. Former President Donald Trump gave tentative approval to a deal that would have seen Oracle and Walmart run the American side of the business, but that didn’t transpire.
Meanwhile, TikTok has committed to being more transparent and it’s trying to convince regulators and lawmakers that US user data is secure. CEO Shou Zi Chew recently wrote in a letter to nine Republican senators that TikTok was “working with Oracle on new, advanced data security controls that we hope to finalize in the near future.”
The senators asked a question about engineers at TikTok’s parent company ByteDance playing a part in shaping the app’s algorithms. “ByteDance engineers around the world may assist in developing those algorithms, however our solution with Oracle will ensure that training of the TikTok algorithm only occurs in the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and will also ensure appropriate third-party security vetting and validation of the algorithm,” Chew wrote in his response.
In June, BuzzFeed News reported that China-based ByteDance engineers repeatedly accessed non-public data on TikTok’s American users. Chew said those workers were only able to access such information with “robust cybersecurity controls and authorization approval protocols overseen by our US-based security team” in place.
The report led to Brendan Carr, the Federal Communication Commission’s senior Republican commissioner, urging Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores. Amid the scandal, TikTok’s global security chief stepped down last month.
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
NASA Says Hurricane Didn’t Hurt Artemis I Hardware, Sets New Launch Window
NASA’s Artemis I moon mission launch, stalled by Hurricane Ian, has a new target for takeoff. The launch window for step one of NASA’s bold plan to return humans to the lunar surface now opens Nov. 12 and closes Nov. 27, the space agency said Friday.
The news comes after the pending storm caused NASA to scrub the latest Artemis I Iaunch, which had been scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 2. As Hurricane Ian threatened to travel north across Cuba and into Florida, bringing rain and extreme winds to the launch pad’s vicinity, NASA on Monday rolled its monster Space Launch System rocket, and the Orion spacecraft it’ll propel, back indoors to the Vehicle Assembly Building at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.
The hurricane made landfall in Florida on Wednesday, bringing with it a catastrophic storm surge, winds and flooding that left dozens of people dead, caused widespread power outages and ripped buildings from their foundations. Hurricane Ian is “likely to rank among the worst in the nation’s history,” US President Joe Biden said on Friday, adding that it will take “months, years, to rebuild.”
Initial inspections Friday to assess potential impacts of the devastating storm to Artemis I flight hardware showed no damage, NASA said. “Facilities are in good shape with only minor water intrusion identified in a few locations,” the agency said in a statement.
Next up, teams will complete post-storm recovery operations, which will include further inspections and retests of the flight termination system before a more specific launch date can be set. The new November launch window, NASA said, will also give Kennedy employees time to address what their families and homes need post-storm.
Artemis I is set to send instruments to lunar orbit to gather vital information for Artemis II, a crewed mission targeted for 2024 that will carry astronauts around the moon and hopefully pave the way for Artemis III in 2025. Astronauts on that high-stakes mission will, if all goes according to plan, put boots on the lunar ground, collect samples and study the water ice that’s been confirmed at the moon’s South Pole.
The hurricane-related Artemis I rollback follows two other launch delays, the first due to an engine problem and the second because of a hydrogen leak.
Hurricane Ian has been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone but is still bringing heavy rains and gusty winds to the Mid-Atlantic region and the New England coast.
What You Get in McDonalds’ New Happy-Meal-Inspired Box for Adults
You’ve pulled up to McDonald’s as a full-on adult. You absolutely do not need a toy with your meal, right? Joking. Of course you do.
The fast-food chain will soon sell boxed meals geared toward adults, and each one has a cool, odd-looking figurine inside.
The meal has an odd name — the Cactus Plant Flea Market Box — that’s based on the fashion brand collaborating with McDonald’s on this promotion.
According to McDonald’s, the box is inspired by the memory of enjoying a Happy Meal as a kid. The outside of the box is multicolored and features the chain’s familiar golden arches.
The first day you can get a Cactus Plant Flea Market Box will be Monday, Oct. 3. Pricing is set by individual restaurants and may vary, according to McDonald’s. It’ll be available in the drive-thru, in-restaurant, by delivery or on the McDonald’s app, while supplies last.
You can choose between a Big Mac or 10-piece Chicken McNuggets. It will also come with fries and a drink.
Now about those toys. The boxes will pack in one of four figurines. Three of the four appear to be artsy takes on the classic McDonald’s characters Grimace, Hamburglar and Birdie the Early Bird, while the fourth is a little yellow guy sporting a McDonald’s shirt called Cactus Buddy.
In other McD news, Halloween buckets could be returning to the chain this fall. So leave some room in your stomach for a return trip.
Why companies like iHeartMedia, NBCU rely on homegrown IP to build metaverse engagements
To avoid potential blowback from a skeptical audience, retailers as well as media and entertainment companies are learning to invest in their homegrown intellectual properties while building virtual brand activations inside Roblox or Fortnite.
Take, for instance, when they get it wrong.
Earlier this week, Walmart launched its own Roblox world — called Walmart Land — and was roundly mocked for it across social media given the announcement’s disjointed brand message and apparent lack of life. In one viral tweet, a Twitter user described a clip of Walmart CMO William White introducing the Roblox space as “one of the saddest videos ever created.”
To some extent, this sort of criticism is to be expected during the early days of the metaverse.
“Walmart is an iconic brand; when you see them coming into a platform like Roblox, people are going to be 10 times more critical of what is being launched,” said Yonatan Raz-Fridman, CEO of the Roblox developer studio Supersocial.
But Walmart’s size is not its only disadvantage as it dips its toes into Roblox. Although Walmart has a widely recognizable brand, it owns few intellectual properties that users are actually interested in experiencing virtually — a shortcoming reflected by the somewhat cavernous emptiness of Roblox’s Walmart Land.
The success of other recent brand activations is evidence that media and entertainment brands are better equipped to build metaverse spaces that can dodge online skepticism, thanks to their wealth of owned IP.
“They are having to reinvent themselves, to a certain degree, but that is in their DNA,” said Jesse Streb, global svp of technology and engineering at the agency DEPT. “So they have a unique advantage over, say, some kludgy company that sells lumber, or a construction company.”
For example, iHeartMedia’s Roblox and Fortnite spaces were inspired by the mass media corporation’s wealth of popular real-life events, such as the Jingle Ball Tour and iHeartRadio Music Festival, with virtual versions of musicians like Charlie Puth performing pre-recorded concerts that allow real-time audience interaction.
“There’s a strong brand association with the IP, down to a station level — you’re in the New York area, you probably know Z100,” said iHeartMedia evp of business development and partnerships Jess Jerrick. “The same is true for the event IP, or the IP that we now have in the podcasting space, and of course our radio broadcast talent. So there’s no shortage of really strong IP we can bring into these spaces.”
Translating real-life properties into the metaverse is also an enticing prospect for brands that view metaverse platforms as an experimental marketing channel, allowing them to bring tried-and-true IP into their virtual activations instead of designing them from the ground level. This was part of the strategy behind the recent Tonight Show activation in Fortnite Creative, which was designed in collaboration between NBCUniversal and Samsung. “We’re looking at it holistically — how do we find fans in new ways, and use IP that fans love in new ways?” said NBCU president of advertising and client partnerships Mark Markshall.
Since opening on Sept. 14, iHeartLand has already enticed over 1.5 million Roblox users to visit. The company aims to retain that attention with a schedule of virtual programming featuring popular musicians and personalities.
“At our core, we are essentially an influencer network; our broadcast talent are some of the most connected, most engaging influencers at work in media today,” said Conal Byrne, CEO of iHeart Digital Audio Group. “That gives us this sort of superpower, to be able to go into new-ish platforms, like Roblox or Fortnite, because we talk to our listeners through those influencers.”
Indian Crypto Exchange WazirX Lays Off 40% Of Its Staff Citing The Ongoing Crypto Winter: Report
Cardano’s Founder Charles Hoskinson Picks On Solana’s Recent Network Outage On Twitter
California fraud cases highlight the need for a regulatory crackdown on crypto
NFT space bridges passions for tennis legend Maria Sharapova
Bill Aims to Limit Crypto Mining in Kazakhstan Only to Registered Companies
‘Continue to ebb and flow over time’: Denny’s chief brand officer on how consumers’ moods inform brand messaging
Bitcoin hits $45K ahead of July inflation report, but one fractal hints at looming correction
Smart Marketing Token (SMT) Is on a Mission to Help Blockchain Projects Reach Their Goals
Identity management org Sailpoint unveils no-code tool
Japan crypto exchange bitbank upgrades performance of its matching engine by 4x
Bit Coin3 months ago
Analyst Says Duke Energy Corporation Is Studying Bitcoin Mining Applied to Demand Response
Bit Coin3 months ago
Brazil Creates Crypto-Dedicated Investigation Unit
Ethereum3 months ago
OKX Wins Provisional Crypto License In The UAE
Tech3 months ago
Kaseya, one year later: What have we learned?
Tech3 months ago
Best Prime Day deals: Last-minute deals you can shop today
Bit Coin3 months ago
Study: 14% of Saudis Are Crypto Investors, 76% Have Less Than One Year of Experience in Cryptocurrency Investment
Bit Coin3 months ago
Tothesmart Is an Exclusive New Smart Contract Built on the Binance Smart Chain Blockchain
Ethereum3 months ago
Binance.US taps Former Paypal Exec. as New CFO as The Crypto Exchange Formulates an IPO