Shawn Lim
Jun 7, 2024

Tech On Me: Will pornography content increase on X?

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Tech On Me, a weekly newsletter where Campaign's media and technology editor, Shawn Lim, breaks down the latest technology news and trends and gives his take on it.

Tech On Me: Will pornography content increase on X?

This week's focus 

Elon Musk's social media platform, X, previously known as Twitter, has officially updated its policies to permit adult content. The platform will allow the sharing of sexualised content provided it is consensual and appropriately marked. The policy underscores the legitimacy of sexual expression as a form of artistic expression, promoting adult autonomy in content creation related to sexuality. Content that involves exploitation, non-consent, or harm to minors remains prohibited. This change follows Musk's approach to reduce moderation and promote free speech, though it has sparked criticisms regarding the potential rise in hate speech and misinformation. 

My take: X has long permitted adult content on its platform, with around 13% of its posts in 2022 being adult-oriented. This content has increased, mainly through the rise of porn bots. With the platform formally allowing such content, it could explore new revenue streams, possibly by developing services similar to OnlyFans. I foresee this move attracting regulatory scrutiny on the platform's handling of non-consensual adult content and child sexual abuse material. 

The platforms are also complicit in allowing this to happen. Australia's online safety commissioner accused Apple and Google of not removing X (as well as Reddit) from their app stores despite hosting pornography, violating their policies. I agree with their criticism that not removing X highlights these platforms’ financial motives, as Apple and Google benefit from fees generated from app transactions. The irony is not lost on us that both companies enforce a policy that bans apps with adult content, yet exceptions are made for X.

In other news

Generative AI apocalypse?

After a previous outage, OpenAI's ChatGPT and other AI platforms, including Anthropic's Claude and Perplexity, faced disruptions again, suggesting potential broader infrastructure issues. During the blackout, user interfaces showed capacity overload messages, indicating high traffic might be causing the disruptions. Google's Gemini also experienced brief downtime. The problems varied in duration but pointed to significant demand and potential stress on AI service infrastructures. As of the last update, services were restored and monitored for stability.

My take: These AI platform disruptions could hint at broader issues in the backbone of AI services. Imagine a pressure cooker reaching its limit; the overload messages are the steam vents, showing us how high the demand is. While this might just be a minor hiccup, it could also be a sign that these AI platform’s large language model foundations might need serious reinforcement to handle the growing traffic and expectations.

TikTok’s security breach

TikTok responded to a security breach that targeted high-profile accounts like Paris Hilton and CNN. The intrusion involved malware sent through direct messages, which disrupted the account owners' access to their profiles. While the specific motives behind the hacks remain unclear, TikTok's security team has implemented countermeasures to halt the attack and is working to prevent future incidents. Additionally, the platform assists affected users in regaining access to their accounts. TikTok is also dealing with legislative challenges in the U.S. concerning its ownership and operation.

My take: This is a stark reminder of the vulnerabilities that even the most robust platforms face with the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats. While I commend TikTok's swift response to implement countermeasures and assist users in regaining access, it underscores the continuous arms race between cyber defenders and attackers. The motivations behind these hacks might be murky, but the implications are crystal clear: security must always be a top priority.

Nvidia unveils new generative AI tools

At the Computex expo in Taipei, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang announced the launch of new AI-driven products and outlined the company's vision for AI-driven industries. He revealed Nvidia's collaboration with global firms like Foxconn and Siemens on AI and robotics. Highlighting Taiwan's key role in semiconductor production essential for AI advancements, Huang detailed Nvidia's upcoming Blackwell platform and a future GPU architecture. His speech emphasised AI's transformative impact on industries and interactions with digital systems.

My take: Huang’s keynote at the Computex expo was groundbreaking. Nvidia continues to push the envelope, launching new AI-driven products and setting a clear, ambitious vision for AI in various industries, allowing it to surpass Apple in market capitalisation. However, it's not all smooth sailing. The growing regulatory scrutiny and antitrust investigations signal potential headwinds. The Justice Department’s focus on Nvidia's practices, particularly how their software and chip distribution might create market imbalances, could reshape the competitive landscape. For me, this scrutiny highlights the fine line Nvidia must walk—balancing innovation and market dominance without stifling competition.

Asia loves AI

A new report by Ipsos shows varied attitudes towards AI in the Asia Pacific region. In Asia, 62% are excited about AI-driven products, with China (80%), Indonesia (76%), and Thailand (76%) showing the highest interest. In contrast, only 39% in Australia and 43% in New Zealand share this enthusiasm, with a majority in these countries expressing nervousness about AI. The report highlights a strong belief across APAC that AI will significantly change lives and jobs in the next five years, with the greatest anticipation in Indonesia, Thailand, and China. In a separate report by Linkee.ai, Singapore is the most AI-obsessed country, with ChatGPT searches more than three times larger than its population.

My take: What we are seeing is a real mix. AI obsession has hit another level in Singapore, but there's a palpable sense of nervousness in Australia and New Zealand. Concerns about job security, privacy, and the broader impacts of AI are making folks down under more cautious about diving headfirst into the AI wave. I look forward to how AI gets adopted and integrated across APAC, making for a fascinating landscape as we move forward.

‘Unskippable’ ads on Instagram

Like YouTube, Instagram has started testing unskippable ads, featuring a countdown timer that pauses content browsing. This test aligns with Instagram's evolution into a video-centric platform. The feature, revealed by user feedback and spotted within the app, has met significant user resistance, with some threatening to stop using Instagram. The test's scope and global implementation remain unclear as Instagram evaluates its potential impact on ad engagement versus user experience. 

My take: It is a brave move by Instagram to mirror YouTube’s playbook. For me, this situation highlights the classic tension between ad revenue and user experience. Who likes their content browsing interrupted by ads they can’t skip? The scope of this test and its potential global rollout are still up in the air, so Instagram has to find that magic formula where ads are effective but not intrusive to the point of driving users away.

Looking ahead

Apple WWDC (10 June) 

Apple's upcoming World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) will focus on generative AI, promising major updates and new features. Expectations include a significant Siri update, smarter Mail functions, and enhanced Apple Photos. The event will also introduce Nvidia's ACE generative AI for realistic avatars and outline the use of AI in various Apple platforms. A highlight is the expected impact on iOS, potentially making it one of Apple's most significant updates. Other areas like Safari, Notes, and system settings will also see AI integrations. 

My take: Apple might be late to the AI game, but they are gearing up. CEO Tim Cook promises they will bring generative AI to the masses. Cook is confident it will unlock transformative opportunities. Will Apple finally deliver?

Source:
Campaign Asia
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