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ByteDance's Toutiao Said to Be Ordered by China to Halt New Registrations Since September – Gadgets 360

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TikTok owner ByteDance has been blocking new user and content creator registrations for its Chinese news aggregator Jinri Toutiao since September at the behest of regulators, according to people familiar with the matter.

The halt on new registrations had not been previously reported. Some content creators have said on social media that they couldn’t register for new accounts on Toutiao.

The reason for the blockage could not be immediately determined. Toutiao’s app can still be downloaded and existing users can use it.

ByteDance declined to comment. The sources declined to be identified given the sensitivity of the matter.

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which oversee Toutiao’s operations, did not reply to requests for comment.

China has been reining in its massive and once free-wheeling “platform economy” on concerns ranging from the appropriateness of content to anticompetitive behaviours and, increasingly, data security.

Earlier this month, the CAC announced a probe into ride-hailing firm Didi Global, citing cybersecurity and national security concerns, with a ban on new user registrations just days after it went public in a $4.4 billion (roughly Rs. 32,810 crores) New York share sale, rattling the industry and investors.

The regulator followed up with the removal of Didi and its affiliated apps from Chinese app stores.

Toutiao is ByteDance’s second-largest advertisement revenue source in China, after Douyin, Reuters has reported, accounting for around 20 percent of sales in the country last year, or about CNY 36 billion (roughly Rs. 41,510 crores). ByteDance raked in $34.3 billion (roughly Rs. 2,55,750 crores) in total revenue last year.

When trying to sign up to Toutiao, new users see a message: “System is currently under maintenance. Registration is temporarily unavailable.” New content creators receive a similar message.

Jinri Toutiao, which means “today’s headline” in Chinese, uses an artificial-intelligence-driven recommendation system to offer personalised news feeds.

This is not the first time the news aggregator has been penalised by authorities. In 2018, Chinese regulators ordered app stores to remove Toutiao for three weeks, citing “vulgar content”.

ByteDance, which was valued at $300 billion (roughly Rs. 22,36,890 crores) in recent private trades, had planned earlier this year to list some of its businesses including TikTok’s Chinese version Douyin in Hong Kong, sources have said. In April ByteDance said it had no imminent plans to list itself.

In 2018, ByteDance’s joke app Neihan Duanzi was permanently shut for hosting what the country’s broadcasting watchdog said was “vulgar” and “improper” content that had triggered “strong resentment among users”.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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Cat simulator 'Stray' heads to PlayStation and PC in early 2022 – Engadget

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The last time we saw Stray was in the form of a cinematic trailer Sony shared in 2020 that highlighted the game’s futuristic neon-soaked setting and adorable feline protagonist. At the time, we didn’t get to see the game in action, a fact that Annapurna Interactive has now remedied. The publisher shared a slice of gameplay footage from the title during its recent showcase and said it would release Stray sometime in early 2022.

In the opening moments of Stray, our feline protagonist finds himself injured and separated from his family. Gameplay involves using his physical abilities as a cat to navigate the environment and solve puzzles. In the time-honored tradition of duos like Ratchet and Clank, partway through the adventure, you’ll meet a drone named B-12. They will allow you to converse with the city’s other robotic inhabitants and interact with certain objects in the environment. The cat has a playful side to his personality, and you can do things like scratch furniture, interact with vending machines and rub up against the legs of the robots you meet. Good stuff.

When Stray comes out next year, it will be available on PlayStation 4, PS5 and PC. Developer BlueTwelve Studio promised to show off more of the game before then.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Cat simulator 'Stray' heads to PlayStation and PC in early 2022 – Yahoo News Canada

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The last time we saw Stray was in the form of a cinematic trailer Sony shared in 2020 that highlighted the game’s futuristic neon-soaked setting and adorable feline protagonist. At the time, we didn’t get to see the game in action, a fact that Annapurna Interactive has now remedied. The publisher shared a slice of gameplay footage from the title during its recent showcase and said it would release Stray sometime in early 2022.

In the opening moments of Stray, our feline protagonist finds himself injured and separated from his family. Gameplay involves using his physical abilities as a cat to navigate the environment and solve puzzles. In the time-honored tradition of duos like Ratchet and Clank, partway through the adventure, you’ll meet a drone named B-12. They will allow you to converse with the city’s other robotic inhabitants and interact with certain objects in the environment. The cat has a playful side to his personality, and you can do things like scratch furniture, interact with vending machines and rub up against the legs of the robots you meet. Good stuff.

When Stray comes out next year, it will be available on PlayStation 4, PS5 and PC. Developer BlueTwelve Studio promised to show off more of the game before then.

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Sony’s new PS5 beta update also fixes one of its silliest flaws – The Verge

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The first major system update for Sony’s PlayStation 5 is arriving in beta form today, finally letting you expand the console’s 667GB of usable storage by adding your own PCIe Gen 4 SSD as well as testing new UI options and expanding 3D Audio support. But the full changelog also includes a few features that Sony didn’t highlight to press — including a way to easily update your DualSense controller if you press the wrong button!

You see, the PS5 currently has a very silly flaw: the only time you can update your controller is when you boot the console. And if you say no or accidentally press the O button instead of X, you can’t trigger that update until 24 hours have passed (or you tweak your PS5’s internal clock to cheat it).

But in Beta 2.0, there’s now a dedicated menu for that under Settings > Accessories > Controllers called Wireless Controller Device Software. Please forgive my grainy photo.

You’ll still see controller update prompts when you launch the console, too — and hitting the circle button will still instantly dismiss them.

The beta also makes one of our other UI frustrations slightly better: the ability to easily turn off the console. It’s still a mystery why Sony switched away from letting you long-press the PS button to requiring extra taps, but at least now you can change how many taps it takes. Pressing the hamburger / start button in the PS5’s quick actions menu now lets you drag any of them (including the PS5’s digital power button) to a different position in that menu.

Separately, did you know the PS5 lets you set up all kinds of parental controls for your kid on what they can play, watch, and do, and it lets you remotely approve their requests over the web? I didn’t realize that, and the beta update now lets you see and respond to those asks through the latest version of the mobile PlayStation App, not just via email.

Frankly, it still needs work: it’s a convoluted process that kicks you out to a web browser for setup, requires your kid to be signed into a PlayStation Network account (not just a local profile), has you set up all kinds of limits, and kicks you out to a web browser again (requiring you to log in) when you want to approve a request. And once you let your kid play a particular game, they get to keep playing until you remove it from the whitelist.

What I want is a simple rich phone notification that effectively lets me tap “yes, you can play this for 30 minutes” or “not right now, kid” and be done with it right away. Perhaps there’s time before the 2.0 software goes gold? Or perhaps in a future update.

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