If you're reading this, the Thanksgiving holiday hasn't started yet. Sorry.
1 big thing: For TikTok, the time is now
If you are wondering what the kids are up to these days, it's a mobile app called TikTok.
And no, it's got nothing to do with clocks or Bloomberg's similarly named social news service. As Axios' Sara Fischer reports, TikTok is a Chinese karaoke app that usually involves people dancing to their favorite songs. And it's being downloaded like crazy.
Why it matters: Any time users are spending a lot of time in an app that isn't owned by Facebook, Google or Snapchat, it is a big concern to those companies. One truism of social media is there is always a next new thing. It’s key for the big giants to own it or clone it.
- To no one's surprise, Facebook recently and quietly launched its own TikTok competitor called Lasso.
The backstory: TikTok has its U.S. roots in another app, Musical.ly, that was also popular among the younger set. Last year, Musical.ly was sold to a privately-held Chinese internet technology company called Bytedance. Bytedance merged its Chinese version of the app (TikTok or Douyin as it's referred to in China) with its U.S. version (Musical.ly) in August.
By the numbers: While traffic to TikTok in the U.S. is still relatively small, its footprint has more than doubled in the past year, according to comScore. And it's currently being downloaded more than the best known social networking apps from both Apple's App Store and Google's Play store.
- Worldwide, TikTok is a massive phenomenon. In total, Apptopia estimates that TikTok has more 130 million monthly active users, with most originating in China.
- Its daily active users have increased 67% in the last 6 months, while Snapchat's have fallen by 11%.
- As Apptopia notes, TikTok has a chance, albeit through acquisition, to be most successful social app in the United States owned and operated by an Asian company.
The big question: Is TikTok a superstar in the making or just a one-hit wonder?
2. Poll: American adults prefer in-person chats
We may sleep with our smartphones and spend multiple hours a day staring at device screens, but almost half of American adults say they prefer in-person communication over other modes including text messages, emails or social media, per a poll conducted by SurveyMonkey for "Axios on HBO."
Why it matters: The rapid rise of social media and smartphones led some experts to worry that digital communication would replace face-to-face interaction, potentially leading to weaker relationships and less productivity. But, as Axios' Kim Hart reports. this poll suggests that adults still value the human connection of an in-person conversation over text messages by a 21-point margin.
By the numbers, for adults:
- 42% of adults say they prefer in-person communication.
- Texting comes in at a distant second with 21% of adults, although that jumps to 28% among 18- to 34-year-olds.
- Phone calls (16%) and emails (15%) are roughly even in terms of preference.
- Overall, few adults prefer social media as a means of communication, though that's not true of the younger generations.
By the numbers, for teens:
- The proportion of teens who prefer in-person interaction has plummeted from 49% in 2012 to 32% in 2018. Texting is now the favorite mode of communication.
- 54% of teens agree that using social media often distracts them when they are with people, and 44% say they get frustrated when their friends are using their phones while hanging out.
- Yet 55% say they hardly ever or never put their devices away when hanging out with friends.
Read more about the survey's findings and its methodology in Kim's full story.
3. Arm CEO talks about life with SoftBank
After years of intense focus on internet services and software, chips are once again back in the spotlight, driven by the rise of virtual reality, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, cryptocurrencies and other technologies that require powerful hardware.
At the center of that is Arm, a company that doesn't make any of its own chips, but whose low-power semiconductor designs are used in everything from cars to sensors to cellphones. Long independent, Arm was acquired in 2016 by Japan's Softbank.
CEO Simon Segars sat down with Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva to talk about where the company is headed and how things have changed under its new ownership.
"What's been great about the acquisition is that [SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son] really cares about longterm growth. He is not interested in short-term optimizations. He's thinking about what can we do now, how can we invest now to drive the biggest return in the future we can possibly think of... We've hired a couple of thousand more engineers into the company in those two years, so that we can invest in parallel in the opportunity that is 5G and AI and IoT and autonomous vehicles, as well as maintaining our core roadmap. We wouldn't been able to do that as a public company."— Arm CEO Simon Segars
Go deeper: Kia has more here.
4. A brutal day for tech stocks
Tech stocks took a beating on Monday, as Axios' Courtenay Brown reports.
The bottom line: While there was a broad market sell-off —the Dow and S&P 500 were both down more than 1.5% — tech stocks were hit considerably harder.
What's happening: It's a culmination of several pieces of bad news for technology stocks.
- Apple dropped 4% following a report the company cut production orders for iPhones.
- Facebook shares closed 5.7% lower after a Wall Street Journal story about company turmoil.
- Other big losers were Amazon (off 5%) and several chipmakers.
The big picture: All 5 of the so-called FAANG stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google) are now down more than 20% since their peak, aka bear market territory.
5. Take Note
- Today, Nov, 20, is Transgender Day of Remembrance, established in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith to honor and recall all those lost to violence.
- JD.com CEO Richard Liu is relinquishing key management responsibilities at the Chinese online company. Liu was arrested on Aug. 31 on allegations he raped a Minnesota woman.
- Jeff Bezos has a new technical assistant, Wei Gao. Gao, who started in July, is only the second woman to hold the coveted post shadowing the Amazon CEO. A number of top Amazon executives have previously had that role, including AWS chief Andy Jassy. (CNBC)
- The U.S. is considering new export controls on AI and robotics technologies. (Axios)
- Apple has begun capturing map data via pedestrians, in addition to using cars, starting with the San Francisco Bay Area. (MacRumors)
- Lightricks, maker of mobile photography apps Facetune and Enlight, has raised a further $60 million as it looks to prove out its subscription business. (VentureBeat)
- Evan Spiegel spends much of the company's board meetings looking at his phone and dismissing the concerns of other directors, sources tell The Information.
- Nuance plans to spin off its automotive unit. (ZDnet)
- Why tech bros like to bake bread. (Eater)
6. After you Login
Watch the Flyers mascot Gritty throw down the gloves with a youth hockey player.