Musk asks Twitter users if he should bring back Vine. Vine was a short video sharing app which did not really get traction. Vine was acquired by Twitter in the hope that they could expand the user base of the platform and make it a popular short video sharing app. They did not succeed. Some claim that Vine was ahead of its time as short video sharing apps were not really a thing in the 2014s and 15s.
However, short video sharing app became a lucrative sector for social media apps after Tiktok’s success. Instagram started its own reels feature to compete with Tiktok. If Musk does indeed bring back Vine, it will be an attempt to reduce the share of market that Tiktok currently occupies. Tiktok is owned by China’s Bytedance and faces accusations of spying. Tiktok was banned by India due to national security concerns. People in American think-tanks such as Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Insititute have suggested that US should follow India’s lead and ban Tiktok.
If you did that and actually competed with tik tok that’d be hilarious
— MrBeast (@MrBeast) October 31, 2022
What could we do to make it better than TikTok?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 31, 2022
Ironically, China does not have Tiktok, but a domestic version called Douyin. Tristan Harris, a former tech ethicist at Google has pointed out that the app’s algorithm outside of China is different from its algorithm inside China. The algorithm decides what kind of content receives a wider audience and in effect, incentivises or disincentivises people to put out certain kinds of content.
Harris points out that whilst the algorithm in US promotes soft-porn, which leads to people creating that kind of content as that is the content which is incentivised, the algorithm in China promotes kids performing science experiments. On the ground, the app nudges individuals in US to record content that is corrosive, and in China, it nudges individuals to record content that is inspiring.