Instagram is considering offering collaborative School Stories that only a certain school’s students can see or contribute to. And to make sure these Stories wouldn’t become bullying cesspools, Instagram’s code shows a warning that “School stories are manually reviewed to make sure the community is safe.” School Stories could create a fun space for kids to share with their peers beyond the prying eyes of their parents or strangers, though they could also exacerbate teen culture issues around envy and exclusionary social scenes.
The code was first discovered by TechCrunch’s top tipster Jane Manchun Wong. Instagram declined to comment on the record regarding the code, though previous discoveries from its code that it also “no-comment’ed” — such as video calling and Nametags — went on to officially launch. But typically, Instagram confirms if it’s internally or externally testing features we spot, so if it ever decides to actually launch School Stories, it might not be for months or longer.
Instagram could still scrap the feature rather than having to risk the harassment issues and invest in moderation. Bullying isn’t always obvious name-calling. It can mean excluding certain kids from gatherings, using inside jokes to belittle people or just purposefully making life look more glamorous than it is. Instagram would have to develop an extraordinarily nuanced rubric for deciding what’s allowed, and do deep training of moderators to make sure they don’t miss anything. The question will be whether the teen engagement is worth the gamble.
In other news from Wong’s findings, Instagram is also prototyping a URL scheme for Stories so users could share deep links directly to their Stories outside of Instagram. That could be very powerful for influencers, public figures and brands trying to build their audience with behind-the-scenes and day-to-day Stories content instead of just feed posts that already have URLs.
Instagram declined to comment on a Stories URL as well, so again it could be a while before this rolls out, if ever. But marketers might especially love the idea of being able to funnel ad clicks or fans of their other social profiles to their Instagram Stories. You could imagine Stories links floating around Twitter, YouTube and more. Snapchat has never offered more than a deep link to user profiles, so this could be a way for Instagram to show it does more than just copy.
Instagram already allows users to contribute to public collaborative Stories around locations and hashtags, while Facebook offers them for Events and Groups. And Facebook Stories recently launched holiday Stories where friends can see collections of each other’s posts for Halloween or other big moments.
School Stories could build on the idea of Instagram sub-networks, which it first started testing last month with universities. Instagram used signals from what you post about, your location and your network to invite users to join their university’s network. This lets them show off a line in their profile with their school, class year, major, sports team and/or Greek affiliation, and show up in a directory for the school so people could follow them or DM their pending inbox.
Facebook was originally school network-based when it launched in 2004. Users could leave their content visible by default to everyone at their school. While Facebook and Instagram are a lot more careful with privacy these days, School Stories could bring back that feeling of in-group community where users can post things that might be irrelevant or confusing to outsiders.
Spotify releases a new exclusive podcast hosted by Kim Kardashian • TechCrunch
Today, Spotify released the first two episodes of the new original podcast “Kim Kardashian’s The System: The Case of Kevin Keith,” narrated by reality TV star Kim K and true-crime producer Lori Rothschild Ansaldi. The series will be available worldwide and is free for all Spotify listeners.
The podcast will have eight episodes in total and explore the story of Kevin Keith, who was convicted of a triple homicide in 1994. For 28 years, Keith has been trying to prove his innocence. Kardashian and Rothschild Ansaldi will work with investigators and experts to demonstrate how the legal system is broken, Spotify wrote in its release.
New episodes of “The System” will be released on Mondays.
Kardashian has been open about her thoughts on the flawed justice system and is currently pursuing a career as a lawyer. She passed the “Baby Bar” exam in California and claims to have plans to open her own law firm in the future.
Kardashian entered a deal with Spotify in 2020 to produce and host an exclusive podcast for the music streaming platform. Her podcast deal joins other celebrities who have inked with Spotify as part of the company’s strategy to expand its exclusive audio offerings. Also, in 2020, Spotify closed a deal with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
“The System” podcast launched on the same day that the SEC charged Kardashian for “unlawfully touting a crypt security.” Kardashian settled the case and paid $1.26 million.
Mad Realities’ Devin Lewtan talks onboarding new crypto users through content at TC Sessions: Crypto
If crypto is going to reach “mass adoption,” the industry still has a lot of people it needs to bring on board. Approximately 83% of U.S. adults haven’t ever invested in, traded or used cryptocurrency, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted this summer.
While many builders and investors agree that it’s still relatively early in the life cycle of blockchain technology, there’s less of a consensus around exactly what applications will catalyze widespread adoption. Consumer-facing crypto startups are trying to build intuitive products that have low barriers to entry, but how will they actually convince people their products are worth using?
Mad Realities, an audience-owned TV production studio, is betting on content and entertainment as the next big on-ramp for the crypto-curious. The company debuted an interactive reality dating show called “Proof of Love” this year that engaged audience members through NFTs and attracted $6 million in seed funding from investors, including celebrity Paris Hilton and crypto venture firm Paradigm.
That’s why we are delighted to have Mad Realities co-founder and CEO Devin Lewtan at TechCrunch Sessions: Crypto in Miami on November 17, where we’ll discuss competitive dynamics in web3 media, how to make web3 products accessible and easy to use, and the opportunities and challenges Lewtan sees ahead as her company tries to recruit Gen Z into crypto.
Before co-founding Mad Realities, Lewtan was a product engineer at Sequoia-backed Clay.run and a founder of the viral Clubhouse show, Shoot Your Shot: NYU Girls Roasting Tech Guys, which went viral on Clubhouse during the peak days of the pandemic.
Lewtan and her co-founders are all in their twenties and remain deeply plugged into digital culture trends, so we’re especially excited to chat with Lewtan about how Mad Realities can continue to stand out in a sea of viral video content.
Take advantage of our special launch pricing — save $250 on General Admission passes while supplies last. Buy your pass today, and then join the web3, DeFi and NFT communities at TC Sessions: Crypto on November 17 in Miami.
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Draymond Green will flip the script at TechCrunch Disrupt • TechCrunch
Golden State Warrior and four-time NBA champion Draymond Green will take the stage at TechCrunch Disrupt on October 18–20 in San Francisco — and get ready for a plot twist.
He will bring his popular podcast, “The Draymond Green Show,” to the Disrupt stage with a very special guest — himself. Turning the tables, Green will hand host duties over to TechCrunch’s own Brian Heater for an interview covering the star athlete’s thoughts on disrupting media, podcasting and sports commentary.
Never one to shy away from straight talk, Green told CNBC of his desire to become a billionaire by the time he hits 40. He’s made several investments along the way, including Smile Direct Club, Blink Fitness gyms, Lobos 1707 (along with LeBron James) and Uninterrupted — part of James’s SpringHill Company.
For his most recent acquisition, Green teamed up with Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers — along with James and other investors — to purchase a Major League Pickleball team.
We can’t wait to hear more about where Green might focus future investments, his perspective on becoming a disruptive media mogul and how that billionaire status is coming along.
Green’s main gig, of course, is power-forward for the Golden State Warriors. He’s a four-time NBA champion, four-time All-Star, a two-time member of the All-NBA Team, a five-time member of the NBA All-Defensive Team and a two-time Olympic gold medalist.
His off-court career rose to new heights this year when he became the first active NBA player to sign a broadcasting deal with TNT. His podcast, “The Draymond Green Show,” features A-list guests and real talk from Green. He regularly appears on a variety of programs, is a voice-over artist and an executive producer of multiple entertainment endeavors. Green also stars in Prime Video’s “The Sessions: Draymond Green,” “Throwing Bones” and TNT’s “Opening Night.”
TechCrunch Disrupt takes place on October 18–20 in San Francisco. Buy your pass today and find out why Disrupt is the place where startups go to grow.
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