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Facebook’s experiments with TikTok-style feature, ‘country of origin’ label and other top startup stories of the day

Facebook’s experiments with TikTok-style feature, ‘country of origin’ label and other top startup stories of the day

Facebook’s experiments with TikTok-style feature, ‘country of origin’ label and other top startup stories of the day
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By Palak Agarwal  Jul 8, 2020 10:55:32 PM IST (Published)

A closer look at all the top developments in the startup space on Wednesday.

A closer look at all the top developments in the startup space on Wednesday:

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1. Video app battle heats up as Facebook officially brings Reels to India
​After the government’s interim ban on TikTok, the social media giant Facebook has jumped on to the TikTok-style short-video app bandwagon, and announced a new feature Reels in India. Reels is a video editing tool designed to let users create TikTok-style 15 second videos on Facebook-owned Instagram.
​The new feature extension Reels started rolling out to users in India from 7:30 pm on July 8. However, the feature for now will be available only to a select few influencers, public figures and creators.
​Facebook has been testing the feature for some time now and officially announced the extension of its testing on Wednesday.  India is the fourth country to receive the new feature after Brazil, Germany and France.
​2. Zoom to make 'significant investments' in India; reiterates it is a US company
Video-conferencing platform Zoom has reiterated that it is a US-based company with offices in China, after facing heat from some sections in the country amid rising anti-China sentiment.
​Zoom, in a statement by a senior executive of Indian-origin on Tuesday, also said that the company has plans for “significant investments” in India in the next five years, and that it will also hire top talent in the country.
​Zoom’s clarification comes over calls for boycott of the platform, such as by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) ever since India-China tensions have risen over border issues.
​Zoom has been in a controversy over some of its servers being located in China. The company later said that it would give paid users control over data centres through which their data is routed.
3. DPIIT pushes for August 1 deadline for ‘country of origin’ label on e-commerce platforms
​The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has suggested August 1 deadline for e-commerce companies to start displaying the country of origin for new listings of products on their platforms.
​The development comes after the department had last week written to e-commerce companies asking them to comply with the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules “at the earliest.” The rules were amended in 2017 to also include mandatory declarations of details of products on e-commerce platforms.
​In a virtual meeting with the sector on Wednesday, the department recommended that e-commerce companies should ensure new listings on their platforms by August 1, though a final decision has not been made yet.
E-commerce companies have raised concerns about the timeline, especially citing the lakhs of sellers and millions of products on their platforms. Several companies have sought a time of 3-4 months for displaying origin of products on their platforms.
4. JetSynthesys raises Rs 300 crore, deepens foray into gaming, digital entertainment and social community platforms
New-age digital entertainment and technology company, JetSynthesys, has raised Rs 300 crore to deepen its global foray into gaming, digital entertainment, and interest-based social community platforms.
​With over 100 million consumers across 180 countries, the fresh capital will be leveraged to launch new products, ramp up technology, talent, and content, accelerate marketing, and expand the consumer base over the next 36 months, the company said.
​The fresh capital comes from existing shareholders of JetSynthesys, part of the Navani family owned Jetline Group, led by the family office of Adar Poonawalla, and Kris Gopalakrishnan. Other shareholders of JetSynthesys include the promoters of Thermax, Triveni Group and DSP Group.
​The venture claims that the fundraise positions JetSynthesys among India’s first tech and gaming unicorns with a global presence and partnerships in countries such as Japan, United States and Europe, one of the only Indian players to do so.
5. Flipkart gets into social commerce with 2GUD
E-commerce platform Flipkart has taken a plunge in social commerce with its independent value platform, 2GUD. The social commerce platform will give users a video shopping experience with influencers sharing fashion trends, beauty tips, reviewing gadgets, etc., the company said in a statement.
​The influencers will curate their favourite products as part of their collection in the virtual store, which will also allow consumers to shop for the products which are part of the videos, without moving away from the video interface in a content-to-commerce experience.
​Starting with the launch of social commerce on its app, 2GUD will expand the feature to its mobile site and website.
​2GUD currently caters to more than 600 verticals and has more than a million customers across upwards of 15,000 pincodes in India, Flipkart said.
6. Walmart to launch Amazon Prime competitor this month, says report
​Walmart’s answer to Amazon Prime will launch this month, according to a report by Recode. The big-box giant confirmed in February that it plans to roll out a subscription-based service called Walmart+, but it hasn’t revealed details or its strategy to attract members and stand out from competitors.
​The membership program will cost $98 per year and include same-day delivery of groceries, fuel discounts at Walmart gas stations and other benefits, according to the Recode report. The report cites multiple unnamed sources.
​Walmart planned to launch Walmart+ in late March or April this year but delayed it because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Recode.
7. Facebook meeting with civil rights groups ‘a disappointment,’ ad boycott organizers say
​​A meeting between civil rights leaders and Facebook executives did not succeed in quashing tensions between groups leading a widespread advertiser boycott and the company.
​Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg and other Facebook leaders met with leaders from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Color of Change and Free Press—four of the groups that have led the call for what has now turned into widespread advertiser boycott of the Facebook platform.  In mid-June, the organisations launched a campaign urging Facebook to do more to stop the spread of hate speech and misinformation.
​Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL CEO, addressed a press conference after the meeting with Facebook. He said: “We had ten demands and literally we went through the ten and we didn’t get commitments or timeframes or clear outcomes. We expected specifics, and that’s not what we heard.”
Free Press co-CEO Jessica J. González said in an emailed statement: “I’m deeply disappointed that Facebook still refuses to hold itself accountable to its users, its advertisers and society at large.”
​Ahead of the meeting, Sandberg via a post on the social network said that Facebook is “making changes—not for financial reasons or advertiser pressure, but because it is the right thing to do.
“We have worked for years to try to minimize the presence of hate on our platform. That’s why we agreed to undertake the civil rights audit two years ago. Over many years, we’ve spent billions of dollars on teams and technology to find and remove hate—as well as protect the integrity of our platform more generally—and have become a pioneer in using artificial intelligence technology to remove hateful content at scale. We are working hard every day to enforce our policies with ever greater precision and speed.”
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