Whistleblowing, Instagram’s teen security, Twitter podcasts – Thealike

Welcome again to This Week in Apps, the weekly Thealike sequence that recaps the newest in cellular OS news, cellular purposes and the general app financial system.

Global app spending reached $65 billion within the first half of 2022, up solely barely from the $64.4 billion throughout the identical interval in 2021, as hypergrowth fueled by the pandemic has decreased. But total, the app financial system is continuous to develop, having produced a document variety of downloads and client spending throughout each the iOS and Google Play shops mixed in 2021, in response to the newest year-end reports. Global spending throughout iOS and Google Play final yr was $133 billion, and customers downloaded 143.6 billion apps.

This Week in Apps presents a approach to sustain with this fast-moving business in a single place with the newest from the world of apps, together with news, updates, startup fundings, mergers and acquisitions, and way more.

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Twitter whistleblower’s impression (or lack thereof!) on the Elon Musk lawsuit

The headlines this week had been dominated by Twitter’s former head of safety, Peiter “Mudge” Zatko’s, explosive whistleblower grievance.

The former Twitter worker accused the corporate of cybersecurity negligence that ranged from an absence of fundamental safety controls to nationwide safety threats and foreign intelligence risks. But yet one more fast query on everybody’s minds is whether or not or not Zatko’s statements about bots on the platform will assist or harm Elon Musk’s case.

To some, it could seem that Zatko has backed up Musk’s claims when he notes that there are tens of millions of energetic accounts on the platform which Twitter is just not together with in its mDAU metric — a metric Twitter itself invented to rely solely these customers it may monetize by the use of ads. (That is, mDAUs are largely folks, not spambots.)

“These millions of non-mDAU accounts are part of the median user’s experience on the platform,” states the grievance. “And for this vast set of non-mDAU active accounts, Musk is correct: Twitter executives have little or no personal incentive to accurately ‘detect’ or measure the prevalence of spam bots,” it reads.

The grievance then goes on to say that Twitter, when requested in 2021, couldn’t establish the whole variety of spam bots on its platform, and couldn’t present an correct higher certain on that determine.

Ah ha!, proper? Even Twitter doesn’t know the way a lot spam it has!

Well, possibly that’s not the smoking gun you would possibly suppose.

Musk’s authorized argument is that Twitter has been deceptive its customers and traders in regards to the variety of bots on its platform, which the corporate has estimated to be lower than 5%. (Because certainly this all hasn’t come about as a result of Musk overpaid for the deal and now desires out!)

However, Twitter has been reporting to the SEC that spam and bots are lower than 5% of its mDAUs — a determine that’s primarily already scrubbed of bots so advertisers know what number of actual eyeballs they’re capable of attain. What’s extra, whereas Zatko could have some extent that this kind of made-up, proprietary metric is ripe for manipulation, he additionally says within the grievance that Twitter execs are “incentivized to avoid counting spam bots as mDAUs.” In different phrases, it appears seemingly that Twitter’s statements to the SEC are right when Twitter says its mDAU figures are “less than 5%” spam.

Plus, even when Twitter doesn’t know the way a lot complete spam is on the platform at any given time, that doesn’t imply it will possibly’t work out how a lot spam is in its mDAU determine — a determine Twitter has defined it calculates utilizing personal information. Twitter appears at issues like IP addresses, telephone numbers, geolocation, consumer/browser signatures and extra, CEO Parag Agrawal noted in a Twitter thread. This helps it to give you its mDAU determine, by classifying accounts that seem to belong to “real” customers as such.

It’s value noting the whole spam on Twitter’s platform is all the time in flux — when Twitter does a giant sweep for spam and bots, customers have noticed their follower counts drop. However, Twitter wasn’t monetizing primarily based on these bots nor was it reporting inflated consumer metrics to the SEC by together with spambots in its consumer figures — not less than, not since its invention of the mDAU in 2019.

And whereas it’s true that mDAUs are usually not a illustration of the spam-filled Twitter consumer expertise at the moment — an expertise, keep in mind, that Musk claimed he was shopping for Twitter to repair! — they’re an indicator of what number of actual individuals are on the positioning. And that’s what a brand new proprietor would need to know anyway, proper?

Whether or not mDAUs characterize Twitter because it actually is misses the purpose. Sure, mDAUs could also be a non-standard metric. It won’t be akin to the metrics utilized by different social platforms. It could even be a foul metric! But that’s not related to the case. The truth is, it’s not a brand new metric. Twitter outlined it years in the past and was utilizing mDAUs lengthy earlier than Musk dedicated to purchasing Twitter. It’s what Twitter experiences to the SEC.

So good luck utilizing this as proof of being lied to, Mr. Musk. Can’t wait to see how that works in court docket!

In different news, Twitter expands into podcasting

While the whistleblower news could have been the largest news story of the week, Twitter dropped some fairly vital product news as effectively. It’s turning itself right into a podcast app.

The firm introduced an replace to its Twitter Spaces tab that may see it integrating podcasts right into a revamped expertise the place content material is now organized into hubs referred to as “Stations.” These Stations group content material by subjects — like news, sports activities, music and extra. The app may even make suggestions primarily based on who you observe and the way you interact with content material. Twitter Spaces — together with each reside and prerecorded audio — may even proceed to be out there within the Spaces tab.

Thealike had beforehand reported that Twitter was creating Stations and a personalised audio digest as a part of a makeover coming to its Spaces tab, however we didn’t know the extent of the podcast integrations on the time. The firm tells us it’s making over 2 million podcasts out there at launch, that are programmatically really helpful to customers.

Podcasts are ingested as RSS feeds, which suggests the two million determine is just not a tough restrict — Twitter may broaden. Still, it’s a notable out-of-the-gate begin, as Spotify at the moment has greater than 4 million podcasts, lots of that are produced in-house, exclusives or reveals recorded in its Anchor app.

Twitter, in fact, is residence to its personal kind of exclusives, generally known as Twitter Spaces. These reside audio applications will be recorded for later listening — much like podcasts. If the creator doesn’t obtain, edit and bundle the Space to ship it out to different providers on a podcast RSS feed, then these Spaces stay one thing you could possibly solely discover on Twitter. (Of word, Twitter says it could embrace each the recorded Twitter Space and the ensuing podcast of that Space in its app — permitting it to rely the identical present twice.)

Twitter will make suggestions of podcasts to people primarily based on how they hear and have interaction with folks and topics. This may be a aggressive benefit of kinds.

As to why it felt the necessity to do podcasts? That’s much less clear. Twitter instructed us it desires to be “the home for audio conversations.” It additionally sees an overlap between podcast listeners and Twitter customers. Based by itself inside analysis, 45% of U.S. Twitter customers hearken to podcasts month-to-month. More realistically, it seemingly sees the flexibility to monetize audio with advertisements — if this effort pays off.

However, Twitter falls quick by way of key options that may make its app an alternative choice to your favourite podcast participant. There’s no offline listening, no obtain functionality, no help for paid podcasts and no unique partnerships. So who, precisely, does the podcast characteristic serve — these so hooked on Twitter they’ll’t even depart the app to stream a favourite program, we suppose.

Platforms: Apple

  • Apple announced its iPhone occasion will happen on September 7 at 10 AM PT. The firm is predicted to announce a brand new iPhone 14 with an improved digicam and a sooner chip. An up to date Apple Watch may additionally present up together with…possibly…a AR/VR headset?!
  • Apple confirmed iPadOS 16 is delayed. Bloomberg initially reported it and macOS Ventura would have a barely later launch this yr.
  • Apple shipped the seventh beta of iOS 16, seemingly a closing or near-final model earlier than the official September launch of the brand new OS. It additionally launched the seventh betas for watchOS 9 and tvOS 16, in addition to the primary beta of iPadOS 16.1.

Platforms: Google

  • Android Auto 8.0 arrived, however lacks the redesign Google teased in May that may introduce a three-section cut up display screen structure and higher adaptability with regard to supporting in another way formed automotive infotainment screens.
  • Google launched a developer Preview of the brand new Cross gadget SDK for Android, first introduced throughout Google I/O. The new SDK permits builders to construct “rich multi-device experiences with a simple and intuitive set of APIs,” Google says.


  • Beauty Retail and Direct-to-Consumer Apparel apps are driving extra DAUs within the final 30 days than they did throughout the peak of 2021 vacation buying, according to Apptopia. Daily customers partaking with D2C Apparel apps have elevated 5% from December 2021, and a couple of% for Beauty Retail apps, a report discovered.
  • 65% of social networking app customers think about Meta apps a buying vacation spot according to a commerce report from SimplicityDX. This information excludes Facebook Marketplace. If {the marketplace} is stored within the equation, the determine jumps to 83%.
  • Walmart’s cellular app is getting a cashback characteristic — however just for Walmart+ subscribers. Via a partnership with Ibotta, Walmart+ members will be capable of save presents, then scan a QR code at checkout to routinely obtain a refund within the in-app pockets, which they’ll use on a later buy.

Image Credits: Walmart


  • Instagram up to date its teen security options, which is able to now default customers beneath the age of 16 to the app’s most restrictive content material setting. It may even immediate present teen customers to do the identical, and can introduce a brand new “Settings check-up” characteristic that guides teenagers to replace their security and privateness settings. Teens beneath 18 can solely select between the “Standard” and “Less” choices for the way a lot delicate content material they need to see on the app. But regardless that new customers will likely be defaulted to probably the most restrictive setting, they’ll nonetheless change it. The options, first introduced in December earlier than Instagram’s Senate testimony, are rolling out to international customers now. Privacy advocates say they’re a great first step, however recommend that Instagram ought to route its youngest customers to probably the most restrictive setting, together with if it suspects they’re youthful than they indicated when signing up. And they level out that Instagram’s checklist of what it considers delicate content material doesn’t embrace content material that promotes self-harm or disordered consuming.

Image Credits: Instagram

  • It’s not a verified label however…Twitter started exams of a particular tag that may spotlight accounts that had a verified telephone quantity. This alerts the account is much less more likely to be spam. Also this week the group engaged on spam bots, the Twitter service group, merged with these working to cut back poisonous content material, the platform well being expertise group.
  • TikTook tries out a “Nearby” feed that shows native content material to customers. The check is just reside in Southeast Asia and is presently restricted in scope. When out there, the feed is proven as a 3rd possibility alongside For You and Following on the app’s homepage.
  • Snap settled an Illinois class motion lawsuit that accused Snapchat’s filters and lenses of violating the Biometric Information Privacy Act. The settlement totaled $35 million and can go towards particular person payouts which can be estimated to be between $58 and $117. Users who suppose they could be eligible for compensation can submit a declare online. Despite settling the claims, Snap nonetheless denies it violated the BIPA, saying its Lenses “do not collect biometric data that can be used to identify a specific person, or engage in facial identification.”
  • Instagram added a characteristic that enables customers to share anybody’s posts or Reels by way of a QR code. Users can also share a QR code location by way of its searchable Map expertise.
  • Pinterest confirmed it’s facing a probe by California’s Civil Rights Department over illegal discrimination. The division reached out to former Pinterest worker Ifeoma Ozoma and others as potential witnesses, all of them ladies. Ozoma and one other former Pinterest worker, Aerica Shimizu Banks, had accused the corporate round two years in the past of discrimination and retaliation.


Image Credits: WhatsApp

  • WhatsApp confirmed that customers in choose markets are getting access to WhatsApp Communities, its new group discussions platform presents admin controls, sub-groups, file sharing, 32-person group calls and emoji reactions.
  • WhatsApp is working on a feature to make Stories — or, because it’s identified on the app, Status Updates — a much bigger a part of the expertise by including blue rings round customers’ profile images in the primary chat checklist that hyperlink to their updates. It’s additionally planning so as to add the flexibility to retrieve deleted messages and let admins erase messages from group chats, reports said.
  • Telegram founder Pavel Durov stated he desires to combine web3 into the messaging app, Thealike reported. Specifically, Durvo referenced the TON challenge and the way it’s used for area identify/pockets auctions. He stated he’d be inclined to check out TON’s blockchain on Telegram.
  • Facebook Messenger received an replace making it suitable with M1 and M2 Macs.


Image Credits: Lightricks


  • Match Group’s COO and CFO Gary Swidler has warned that Tinder signups aren’t again at pre-pandemic ranges and new consumer acquisition stays a problem, per The FT.
  • Tinder’s mother or father firm Match filed a new antitrust case in India towards Apple over its App Store charges, calling them extreme.

Streaming & Entertainment

  • YouTube TV is creating a brand new viewing mode that may enable customers to look at 4 completely different streams directly in a mosaic interface. It’s additionally stated to be engaged on a approach to carry YouTube Shorts to the TV.
  • A hacker compromised Plex’s streaming media platform and was capable of entry usernames, emails and encrypted passwords. Plex knowledgeable customers by e mail and instructed a password reset.
  • SiriusXM started providing a bundle that mixes Stitcher Premium with its SiriusXM Platinum Plan.


Heads Up games on Netflix

Image Credits: Netflix

  • Netflix launched its personal model of the favored Heads Up! recreation to subscribers, which options decks referencing standard Netflix reveals like “Bridgerton,” “Selling Sunset,” “Stranger Things,” “Squid Game” and others.
  • Netflix job postings recommend the corporate is increasing into cloud gaming. So far, the streamer’s some two-dozen cellular video games are solely utilized by lower than 1% of its subscriber base, in response to third-party information.
  • The New York Times built-in its standard phrase recreation app, Wordle, into its present NYT’s Crossword app. This now permits it to rank above different Wordle clones and copycats in app retailer searches.
  • Google launched its Google Play Games for PC program into open beta in South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Australia. The program had solely been out there by way of a waitlist, beforehand. It now presents greater than 50 PC-compatible video games for Windows customers — together with Summoners War, Cookie Run: Kingdom, Last Fortress: Underground and Top War. The video games will be performed utilizing the identical Google ID on Windows as on customers’ Android gadgets.
  • Valve is now beta testing a redesigned Steam mobile app for iOS and Android, which features a rebuilt framework and modernized design. The app hasn’t gotten a significant revamp in years. Valve says the beta will assist it be taught what customers like and don’t, and discover bugs that have to be fastened.


  • Microsoft is introducing more ads inside its Outlook Mobile app for iOS and Android. Before, the corporate solely included advertisements within the “Other” tab of the inbox — the one with all of the junk — for many who use the two-tabbed mode for filtering their emails. It will now embrace advertisements within the inbox for many who use a single inbox interface, too.

Travel & Transportation

  • Google’s Waze is shutting down its six-year-old service Waze Carpool beginning subsequent month. The firm stated driving behaviors modified following the pandemic as extra individuals are working from residence, which diminished the necessity for a service aimed toward commuters.


  • Bloomberg doubled down on its earlier reporting of extra advertisements coming to Apple’s first-party apps with confirmation that Apple Maps will start serving ads subsequent yr.
  • Apple kicked off fundraising for U.S. National Parks by way of Apple Pay donations working August 21-28. As part of this initiative, it additionally rolled out a new nationwide parks information to focus on those who honor Native American heritage contained in the Apple Maps app. While these kind of initiatives could assist to drive customers to Apple Pay, the corporate could not want to do that sooner or later as now three-quarters of U.S. iPhone users have enabled Apple Pay on their gadgets. 
  • Both Yelp and Google Maps rolled out updates to make it clearer which listings had been abortion suppliers versus disaster being pregnant facilities. Yelp labeled the latter as offering “limited medical services” whereas Google labeled abortion care suppliers as “provides abortions.” It’s not taking motion on disaster being pregnant facilities, nonetheless.
  • Google Wallet (beforehand generally known as Google Pay) rolled out to six more regions, making the app out there now in 45 international markets.
  • Apple’s Wallet app will be deleted in iOS 16.1, code suggests, as Apple responds to regulatory stress centered on the way it could push its first-party apps on iPhone customers.

Security & Privacy

  • VICE goes hands-on with Pretty Good Phone Privacy, an information service for Android that provides elevated safety when utilizing cell phone networks. They concluded the service might be suited to those that desire a layer or two of further protections however cautioned PGPP was nonetheless in early phases and somewhat buggy.
  • Food supply app DoorDash confirmed an information breach that uncovered prospects’ private data, together with names, e mail addresses, supply addresses and telephone numbers. A subset of customers additionally had partial fee card data stolen.
  • Twilio confirmed the identical hackers compromised the accounts of some customers of its 2FA app, Authy, as a part of a wider breach of its methods.
  • Google stated it has pulled over 2,000 private mortgage apps from its Play Store in India this yr amid a crackdown on apps engaged in predatory lending practices and abuse and harassment of their customers.

Reading Rec’s

  • How the Find My App Became an Accidental Friendship Fixture — The New York Times dug into how younger individuals are utilizing Apple’s Find My app to maintain up with their associates, irrespective of the associated fee to private privateness and interpersonal dynamics.
  • It’s a modern-day Facebook’ – how BeReal became Gen Z’s favourite app”— this sizzling Gen Z app is profiled by The Guardian, which dubs it the “modern-day Facebook” for maintaining with real-life associates.
  • Authenticator app developer Kevin Archer detailed in a Twitter thread how he continues to face subscription scammers on the App Store who’ve copied his official app, then beg for opinions throughout onboarding and push a subscription on customers earlier than customers even begin utilizing the app. Archer says they’ve reported the rip-off a number of instances utilizing the “Report a Problem” characteristic and Apple has not taken motion.

💰 Consumer social app maker 9count raised a further $6 million on high of its $21.5 million Series A to assist fund growth of its flagship app, Wink, and its newer courting app, Summer.

💰 Bengaluru-based healthcare app Mojocare raised $20.6 million in Series A funding led by B Capital Group. The app presents consultations with docs, therapists and nutritionists and sells merchandise.

💰 Dubai-based Zywa, a neobank aimed toward Gen Z customers, raised $3 million in seed funding at over $30 million (110 million AED) valuation. The startup goals to broaden additional into Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

💰 Seattle psychological well being Alongside raised $5.5 million for its in-development adolescent psychological well being app. The app would enable customers to work together with a chatbot and information them to sources.


Pinterest Shuffles collage

Image Credits: Pinterest

Collage-style video “mood boards” are going viral on TikTok — and so is the app that’s making them potential. Pinterest’s just lately soft-launched collage-maker Shuffles has been climbing up the App Store’s Top Charts due to demand from Gen Z customers who’re leveraging the brand new artistic expression device to makepublish and share visual content. These “aesthetic” collages are then set to music and posted to TikTook or shared privately with associates or with the broader Shuffles group.

Despite being in invite-only standing, Shuffles has already spent a while because the No. 1 Lifestyle app on the U.S. App Store.

During the week of August 15-22, 2022, Shuffles ranked No. 5 within the Top Lifestyle Apps by downloads on iPhone within the U.S., in response to metrics offered by app intelligence agency data.ai — a rise of 72 locations within the rankings in comparison with the week prior. It was the No. 1 Lifestyle app on iPhone by Sunday, August twenty first, and broke into the Top 20 non-gaming apps on iOS as a complete within the U.S. that very same day, after leaping up 22 ranks from the day prior.

But this app isn’t out there to all. You have to know somebody with an invitation to get in. You can attempt our invite codes FTSNFUFC or L5JI8QCS to attempt to get in.

Read extra about Shuffles right here on Thealike. 

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