SRAX Recap: Amazon announces HQ2, Google updates ad blocker, TikTok growing in popularity

In this week’s digital news, Amazon announces the locations of HQ2, Google updates an Ad Blocker for Chrome, TikTok becomes the most downloaded social app, and more.

Amazon unveils HQ2 locations

Instead of opening one additional HQ, Amazon now plans to open two new work centers. One hub will open in Queens, New York, and the other in Crystal City, Virginia, a suburb of Washington DC. In total, they’re looking to occupy about 500,000 square feet of office space. They also plan to hire up to 50,000 full-time employees, with a large portion of workers earning six-figure salaries. The main reason behind splitting their second headquarters between two cities is because Amazon already has more employees in these two areas than anywhere else outside Seattle and San Francisco. This move shows Amazon’s growth skyrocketing, especially considering their ad revenue was up 123% from last year, totalling $2.5 billion.

Google updates Chrome ad blocker

Google announced this week that Chrome’s ad blocker will cut off revenue for sites that rely on predatory advertising. Earlier this year, Chrome 64 and 68 updates helped protect users from predatory experiences in a big way. The update eliminated pop-ups that sent users to unintended destinations, unwanted redirects, and unwanted tabs or windows. These releases didn’t do quite enough, however, to protect against some particularly malicious ads. One example is the type of ads that trick users into clicking on them by pretending to be system warnings. Ads that have “close” buttons that do not actually close are another example. These ads can lead to viruses and even steal personal information. Google seems committed to constantly improving the Chrome user experience, and plans to announce further updates in December.

TikTok named the most downloaded social social app last month

Video-sharing app TikTok was the most popular social app of October 2018, according to a new report from Apptopia. TikTok was formerly known as Musical.ly, until it was acquired by Bytedance a few months back. Growth for the company has been exponential, as they’ve gained 30 million users over the past three months. More specifically, monthly active users jumped from 100 million to over 130 million in the same time frame. Unsurprisingly, the company has significantly increased advertising spend over the past few months, and it seems to be working. While only 28.56% of people who downloaded TikTok open it every day, the success of the app is certainly something that advertisers ought to notice.

Facebook deletes 3 million pieces of terrorist propaganda in Q3

In a blog post today, Facebook has finally shed some light on the new tools it’s using to weed out malicious content. Monika Bickert, VP of Global Policy Management, claimed Facebook removed 9.4 million pieces of terrorist-related content in Q2 2018. This comes after the company reportedly deleted 3 million pieces of content in Q3. Their definition of terrorist-related content is: “pieces of content related to ISIS, Al Qaeda and their affiliates.” Facebook offered up some details about the tools it’s using as well. The company uses machine learning to give posts a “score” indicating how blatantly a post signals support for terrorism. They’re also using audio and text-hashing techniques and algorithms to identify posts whose text violates its policies across 19 languages.

Apple halts extra iPhone XR production

Just a month after the iPhone XR’s release, Apple is halting extra production. The lack of demand is due to users opting for the more affordable iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. According to the report, Apple’s key manufacturers have been receiving 25% higher orders for iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus phones. This increase will produce around 5 million more units than Apple originally planned. This news is on the heels of Apple’s announcement last week that the company will no longer release quarterly tallies of iPhone unit sales. Many are speculating as to why Apple made this choice, but a popular rationale is that the company is preparing to cover up declines in unit sales. The price of iPhones has steadily risen over the past few years, and Apple’s choice to not release sales figures suggests that they plan to continue increasing prices.

Published on November 9, 2018

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