TWTR - Twitter, Inc.

NYSE - NYSE Delayed Price. Currency in USD
30.04
+0.04 (+0.13%)
At close: 4:04PM EST
Stock chart is not supported by your current browser
Previous Close30.00
Open30.08
Bid0.00 x 3200
Ask0.00 x 1300
Day's Range29.92 - 30.36
52 Week Range26.26 - 45.86
Volume10,654,611
Avg. Volume14,952,421
Market Cap23.322B
Beta (3Y Monthly)0.56
PE Ratio (TTM)14.64
EPS (TTM)2.05
Earnings DateFeb 6, 2020
Forward Dividend & YieldN/A (N/A)
Ex-Dividend DateN/A
1y Target Est34.33
  • Slack CEO: Microsoft views 'us as an existential threat'
    Yahoo Finance

    Slack CEO: Microsoft views 'us as an existential threat'

    Yahoo Finance speaks with Slack co-founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield following its latest quarterly earnings.

  • Uber Reports 3,000 Sexual Assault Claims Last Year in Its Safety Review
    Bloomberg

    Uber Reports 3,000 Sexual Assault Claims Last Year in Its Safety Review

    (Bloomberg) -- Uber Technologies Inc. found more than 3,000 allegations of sexual assaults involving drivers or passengers on its platform in the U.S. last year, part of an extensive and long-awaited review in response to public safety concerns.The ride-hailing company released an 84-page safety report Thursday, seeking to quantify the misconduct and deaths that occur on its system and argue that its service is safer than alternatives.U.S. customers took about 1.3 billion trips last year, Uber said. About 50 people have died in Uber collisions annually for the past two years, at a rate about half the national average for automotive fatalities, according to the company. Nine people were killed in physical assaults last year, Uber said.Uber drivers reported nearly as many allegations of sexual assault as passengers, who made 56% of the claims. There is little comparable data on assaults in taxis or other transportation systems, and experts have said the attacks are widely under-reported. The assault claims reported to Uber ranged from unwanted kissing to forcible penetration.“Uber is very much a reflection of society,” said Tony West, Uber’s chief legal officer who helped spearhead the two-year research effort. “The sad, unfortunate fact is that sexual violence is more prevalent in our society than people think. People don’t like to talk about this issue.”Uber had committed more than a year ago to release a safety study, a promise Lyft Inc. made soon after. Lyft, the second-biggest ride-hailing provider in the U.S., has yet to publish a report. On Thursday, Uber said it would regularly share data with Lyft and other companies about drivers accused of serious safety lapses and continue publishing safety reports every two years.Uber has faced a steady stream of complaints in court across the country over driver misconduct, and Lyft has recently seen an explosion in legal claims by passengers. Just in California, at least 52 riders have sued Lyft this year over allegations they were assaulted or harassed by their drivers, according to filings reviewed by Bloomberg.“We remain committed to releasing our own safety transparency report and working within the industry to share information about drivers who don’t pass our initial or continuous background checks or are deactivated from our platform,” Lyft spokeswoman Alexandra LaManna said in a statement.Any number of deaths or violence is a reminder of the risks inherent to taking a ride with a stranger and the limited oversight the company has over what occurs. By publishing the data, Uber is taking an unusual step for a company, by drawing attention to the dangers of its product. The stock fell about 1.5% in extended trading after Uber put out the report.Uber shares had already fallen more than 35% from its May initial public offering through Thursday’s close. Its largest shareholder is Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp., which has struggled with its bets on Uber, WeWork and other startups in recent months.Uber has faced similar complaints in countries beyond the U.S. The company was sued in 2017 by a woman who alleged top executives violated her privacy after one of its drivers in India allegedly raped her.Regulators in London cited uncertainty about Uber’s ability to ensure the well-being of its passengers as a reason they revoked the company’s license to operate there last week. Uber will be able to continue operating in the U.K. capital as it appeals the decision. Dara Khosrowshahi, the chief executive officer, said at an event earlier this week that “a precursor to trust is transparency.”According to the study, the proportion of assaults to total trips decreased by 16% last year as Uber implemented new safety tools, such as contacting drivers and customers when the system identifies unusual activity, as well as adding a button to dial 9-1-1 from the app. “I do think Uber is one of the safest ways to get from point A to point B,” said West.Uber disclosed five categories of sexual assault allegations. In 2018, Uber received 1,560 reports of non-consensual touching of a sexual body part, 594 reports of non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part, 376 reports of non-consensual kissing of a sexual body part, 280 reports of attempted non-consensual sexual penetration and 235 reports of non-consensual sexual penetration.The extent of sexual misconduct, while staggering, isn’t unique to Uber, said Ebony Tucker, executive director at Raliance, an advocacy and consulting firm focused on preventing sexual violence. Uber’s findings “didn’t surprise any of us,” she said. “Sexual assault is pervasive. It’s everywhere.”Counting assaults is a complicated exercise. Only about a third of claims the company received about penetration without consent were reported to the police, Uber estimated. In about a quarter of cases, Uber said its team didn’t successfully communicate with the victim after the initial report. Women reported 89% of the rape allegations, the company said.Uber opted not to disclose many other troubling forms of sexual misconduct that it had previously identified as possible reporting categories. For instance, the company didn’t say how many times drivers and riders made inappropriate comments to one another, nor did it disclose incidents of indecent exposure.But advocates for victims of sexual violence called the decision to release data a potential watershed moment. “It’s really unprecedented for a company to collect this kind of systematic data over time and then share it with the public,” said Karen Baker, chief executive officer of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, which advised Uber on the study. Baker said she has urged other companies in the hospitality and transportation industries in the U.S. to follow suit.Both Baker and Uber’s legal chief said the company may see an increase in reports of sexual misconduct in the future. That would actually be a positive sign, Baker said, because it would reflect victims’ confidence that their claims would be taken seriously.(Updates with Lyft statement in eighth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Robert Burnson.To contact the reporters on this story: Eric Newcomer in San Francisco at enewcomer@bloomberg.net;Lizette Chapman in San Francisco at lchapman19@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Milian at mmilian@bloomberg.net, Anne VanderMeyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Financial Times

    ‘Salvator Mundi’ and the limits of certainty

    Mona Lisa may be famously inscrutable, but “Salvator Mundi” has surely replaced her as Leonardo da Vinci’s most enigmatic work. that the long-lost painting had been sold to a Saudi prince as a gift to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, for an astonishing $450m — two and a half times the previous record for any painting sold at auction. In 2005, “Salvator Mundi” was bought for about $1,000 at an auction in New Orleans by two art dealers, Alexander Parish and Robert Simon.

  • PR Newswire

    Twitter Prices Offering of Senior Notes

    Twitter, Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) today announced the pricing of $700 million aggregate principal amount of its 3.875% senior notes due 2027 (the "Notes"). The offering of the Notes was upsized from an originally announced aggregate principal amount of $600 million. The Notes are being offered to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act"), and outside the United States to non-U.S. persons pursuant to Regulation S under the Securities Act. The sale of the Notes is expected to close on December 9, 2019, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. Interest on the Notes will be payable in cash semi-annually in arrears, beginning on June 15, 2020.

  • Investors like Twitter’s junk-bond deal so much it increased to $700 million, setting record for a first-time issuer
    MarketWatch

    Investors like Twitter’s junk-bond deal so much it increased to $700 million, setting record for a first-time issuer

    Social-media site Twitter Inc. collected a lot of “likes” on its debut $700 million junk-bond deal over the past three days.

  • Peloton Backlash Has Potential to Boost User Growth in Long Term
    Bloomberg

    Peloton Backlash Has Potential to Boost User Growth in Long Term

    (Bloomberg) -- Peloton Interactive Inc. has been pilloried online and punished on the stock market following the release of a holiday ad for its stationary exercise bike that was deemed culturally insensitive. But the backlash could be a good thing for the company in the long run.The commercial, which features a woman documenting a year in her life with the Peloton bike her male partner gave her, struck some viewers as out of touch -- suggesting the already thin “Grace from Boston” was undergoing a strenuous workout in order to lose weight for the guy. The video, released about a month ago, went viral on social media, eliciting a scathing parody by comedian Eva Victor and prompting Peloton to close comments on the official YouTube video.As the internet buzz seemed to hit a peak earlier this week, Peloton’s stock fell 9%. But some experts say the increased attention could end up boosting sales.“They might benefit more because people are looking it up and learning more about it,” Laura Ries, president of advertising consultancy firm Ries & Ries, said. It’s still a short-term bump for a company that has historically been largely successful with marketing, with a total member base of 1.6 million people including more than 560,000 who have one of the proprietary bikes or treadmills plus a fitness subscription, according to Peloton’s most recent quarterly report. The official Peloton ad on the company’s YouTube channel has been seen by more than 3.6 million people.The controversy comes at a crucial time for the New York-based company, which is new to market scrutiny after listing shares in September, as it seeks to capitalize on the all-important holiday sales season and expand in new markets like the U.K. and Germany. The shares had gained 27% since its initial public offering before the wave of internet commentary dragged it down on Tuesday. The shares closed 5% lower on Thursday.The company is also facing increased competition in the booming at-home fitness market, especially among workout apps. Nike Inc., Aaptiv Inc. and apps like Kayla Itsines’s Sweat with Kayla have all gained followings for exercise programs available on a user’s phone.Peloton has been punished by Wall Street for its focus on growth over profitability. The company sells a stationary bike starting at about $2,000 and a treadmill that costs about $4,000, in addition to a basic “connected fitness” subscription plan at $39 a month for those pieces of hardware, and the separate digital apps that don’t require equipment. Its loss narrowed in the three months ended Sept. 30 to $49.8 million.The stock surged almost 10% last Friday after the company was reportedly seeing strong demand on Black Friday. And earlier this month, Peloton lowered the price of its digital subscription app to $12.49 a month from $19.99 in conjunction with the launch of new apps for Amazon’s Fire TV and the Apple Watch, a move that could entice new users. JMP Securities analysts raised their price target on the stock to $38 after the subscription reduction, saying it “broadens Peloton’s reach, improves conversion, and reduces purchase friction.” Ronald Josey, a JMP analyst, said there are “a lot of good things going on” at the company and that people will continue to buy the bike and other products despite the controversy.According to the most recent earnings report, Peloton expects its user base to grow to 680,000 or more by the end of its second quarter thanks to holiday sales and New Year’s resolutions.Scott Galloway, a professor of marketing a the NYU Stern School of Business, said the commercial itself is tone deaf and borderline offensive. But “in this attention-driven economy, anything that gets attention is arguably a positive,” he said in an interview. “It’s bringing Peloton into the social discourse on very regular basis, which is what ads are supposed to do.” If Peloton had to do it again, Galloway said, “I’d argue they probably would.”To contact the reporter on this story: Julie Verhage in New York at jverhage2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Milian at mmilian@bloomberg.net, Molly Schuetz, Anne VanderMeyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Twitter Boosts Bond, Ties for Record-Low Yield Amid Buyer Frenzy
    Bloomberg

    Twitter Boosts Bond, Ties for Record-Low Yield Amid Buyer Frenzy

    (Bloomberg) -- Twitter Inc. managed to borrow at some of the lowest costs ever in the junk-bond market as investors clamored for a piece of the technology company’s debut sale.The size of the offering was increased to $700 million from a planned $600 million after Twitter received more than $6 billion in orders for its debt, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. It ultimately sold the notes at a yield of 3.875%, matching the yield Popeyes parent company Restaurant Brands International Inc. paid to borrow in September. The coupon is the lowest for securities maturing in eight years or more in the U.S. high-yield market, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.The strong demand for the bonds shows how eager investors are to get their hands on higher paying securities, especially ones with BB tier ratings that carry less risk than lower-rated junk bonds. Double B rated notes have returned 14.1% this year through Wednesday, compared with the broader high-yield market’s 12.1% gain. Large cash-flow positive technology companies like Twitter are also a relative rarity in a market that’s become accustomed to deals from cash-burners like Netflix Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc.Twitter and Restaurant Brands may have each other to thank for some of their junk bond market success. The fast-food operator brought its deal just weeks after Popeyes sold out of its famous chicken sandwich. Crowds descended onto stores eager to try a menu item that became a sensation on the microblogging site.\--With assistance from Gowri Gurumurthy.To contact the reporter on this story: Claire Boston in New York at cboston6@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nikolaj Gammeltoft at ngammeltoft@bloomberg.net, Christopher DeReza, Allan LopezFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Barrons.com

    Twitter Is Seeing Plenty of Demand for Its First-Ever Junk Bond — Maybe Too Much Demand

    Underwriters’ early Tuesday estimates put the yield of the eight-year non-callable note around 4.5%. That has since been cut to 4% and then to 3.875% by midday Thursday.

  • GlobeNewswire

    ROSEN, A GLOBALLY RECOGNIZED LAW FIRM, Reminds Twitter, Inc. Investors of Important December 30th Deadline in Securities Class Action – TWTR

    NEW YORK, Dec. 05, 2019 -- Rosen Law Firm, a global investor rights law firm, reminds purchasers of the securities of Twitter, Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) between August 6, 2019 and.

  • ACCESSWIRE

    IMPORTANT INVESTOR DEADLINE: The Schall Law Firm Announces the Filing of a Class Action Lawsuit Against Twitter, Inc. and Encourages Investors with Losses in Excess of $250,000 to Contact the Firm

    LOS ANGELES, CA / ACCESSWIRE / December 5, 2019 / The Schall Law Firm, a national shareholder rights litigation firm, announces the filing of a class action lawsuit against Twitter, Inc. ("Twitter" or "the Company") (NYSE:TWTR) for violations of §§10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Investors who purchased the Company's securities between August 6, 2019 and October 23, 2019, inclusive (the ''Class Period''), are encouraged to contact the firm before December 30, 2019.

  • Someone paying $120,000 for a banana duct-taped to a wall at Art Basel is the perfect picture of wealth inequality
    MarketWatch

    Someone paying $120,000 for a banana duct-taped to a wall at Art Basel is the perfect picture of wealth inequality

    Art sales and auctions have been setting records, which could be another sign of the wealth gap, according to a Citi report

  • Peloton (PTON) Stock Tries to Rebound After Commercial Backlash
    Zacks

    Peloton (PTON) Stock Tries to Rebound After Commercial Backlash

    Peloton (PTON) was down over 9% at one point in Tuesday's trading after it faced scrutiny over its new holiday commercial.

  • Bloomberg

    DeepMind Co-Founder Leaves to Join Owner Google in New Role

    (Bloomberg) -- The co-founder of DeepMind, the high-profile artificial intelligence lab, is set to move to the U.S. to take up a role at parent company Google.Mustafa Suleyman, who ran DeepMind’s “applied” division, was placed on leave in August after controversy over some of the projects he led. In a blog post Thursday, DeepMind said Suleyman is leaving for an unspecified role at Google.The post, written by fellow co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Demis Hassabis, added that the company wanted to ensure it was the “best place in the world for fundamental breakthroughs in AI, and that we conduct this work thoughtfully and responsibly.”Suleyman was a key public face for DeepMind, speaking to officials and at events about the promise of artificial intelligence and the ethical guardrails needed to limit malicious use of the technology.DeepMind was heavily criticized for its work in the U.K. health sector. DeepMind Health’s first product was a mobile app called Streams that was originally designed to help doctors identify patients at risk of developing acute kidney injury. In July 2017, the U.K.’s data privacy watchdog said DeepMind’s partner in the project, London’s Royal Free Hospital, illegally gave DeepMind access to 1.6 million patient records. Suleyman apologized in a statement at the time.In a tweet in August, Suleyman said he was looking forward to returning to DeepMind.Founded in 2010, DeepMind was bought by Google for 400 million pounds (currently $486 million) in 2014, an ambitious bet on the potential of AI that set off an expensive race in Silicon Valley for specialists in the field.“Over the past year, we’ve also been formalizing a leadership team with the seasoned experience and skills for our second decade,” Hassabis said in the post.To contact the reporter on this story: Giles Turner in London at gturner35@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Benzinga

    Cramer Shares His Thoughts On Twitter, Ventas And More

    Jim Cramer said on CNBC's "Mad Money Lightning Round," he wouldn't sell KLA Corp (NASDAQ: KLAC ). He thinks the company is in a very good situation. Cramer had gotten more positive on Twitter ...

  • Melania Trump says Pamela Karlan ‘should be ashamed’ of her Barron punch line at the impeachment hearings
    MarketWatch

    Melania Trump says Pamela Karlan ‘should be ashamed’ of her Barron punch line at the impeachment hearings

    The Trump campaign also called the Stanford law professor’s statement “disgusting.” Karlan has apologized.

  • Bloomberg

    Amazon Should Ban Auschwitz Ornaments, But Not Hitler’s Book

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- After an international outcry that included a Twitter campaign led by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, Amazon has removed Auschwitz-themed Christmas ornaments from its site. Most observers — myself included — were heartened by this decision. Does the world really need these products, or, for that matter, an Auschwitz-themed mouse pad and bottle opener?Still, the question arises: Where should a company such as Amazon.com Inc. draw the line when it comes to selling third-party merchandise? I propose a standard: Focus on whether the merchandise contributes to further understanding, one way or another, rather than whether it might embody evil.(1)This principle runs counter to how the world of social media works, I realize. “Cancel culture” tends to issue decisions based on the worst aspects of a product, writer or public figure, because that is what is endlessly circulated and condemned. But there is another way of thinking about the problem — namely, by focusing on the positive.It is still possible, for example, to buy Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” on Amazon, either through third-party merchants or Amazon itself. That book is more offensive than an Auschwitz bottle opener, as it directly calls for the extermination of the Jews and the conquest of Europe, and it probably still inspires neo-Nazis today. Nonetheless, I hope “Mein Kampf” continues to be for sale.For all of its evil, “Mein Kampf” is an essential document for understanding the rise of Nazism and Hitler. As such, it should be allowed in spite of its potential downside. There is both intrinsic and utilitarian value in maximizing public access to as much knowledge as possible.In contrast, it is hard to argue that an Auschwitz-themed mouse pad has anything positive to offer, whether to our historical knowledge or otherwise. At best, it is an act of obnoxious trolling and thus it was appropriate for Amazon to take it down. (As of this writing, it still appears to be unavailable.) Of course as a separate matter, Amazon should ban unsafe and illegal products as well.This positive-contribution standard can also apply to a social media platform such as Twitter. There will never be hard and fast lines about whether any given individual should be allowed to keep posting or maintain an account, even if the content is widely considered objectionable. Better to focus on whether that person offers substantive contributions, rather than judging them by their very worst or most offensive utterances.Of course that will lead to Twitter, Facebook and the like tolerating some pretty bad material. But if “cancel culture” is not appropriate for Hitler himself — and that seems to be the case — then surely other evil thinkers today should be tolerated as well. Maybe we can learn something from them, even if what we learn is not exactly what they are intending to teach us. The Nazi-sympathizing films of Leni Riefenstahl are not banned, for instance, and indeed are still watched for their aesthetic merits.I once had a Marxist professor (H. Bruce Franklin) who edited a book titled “The Essential Stalin.” I did not necessarily agree with his views, but I did learn a lot about Stalin and Marx along the way. And I am certainly glad that no one stopped him from teaching that class. To this day, I think of him as one of the best professors I ever had.One alternative option is for Amazon to allow everything on its site, in the interests of free speech and the free distribution of products. But Amazon has no obligation — as a private company — to sell offensive material, and Amazon is not outlawing whatever other channels people might have for buying the Auschwitz-themed mouse pads and other objectionable items.Another option would be an Amazon-authorized independent third party to rule on merchandise decisions, much as Facebook appears to be doing for controversial posts. Yet this does not solve the basic dilemma. At times public outcry will demand that Amazon act swiftly, such as with the Auschwitz-themed Christmas ornaments. A third-party adjudicator, presumably, would be bound by bureaucratic procedures, just as a court system is, and furthermore it would face a heavy volume of cases.It may strike you as odd that the standard I propose would allow Amazon to sell one of the most vile books of the 20th century yet prohibit the sale of a few tasteless ceramic ornaments. But Amazon — and its customers — should be grateful for any effort that reduces or eliminates their chances of encountering truly useless junk.(1) To be clear, my conflicts of interest in any Amazon-related column are massive. Not only does Amazon sell my books, but it also receives thousands of dollars of my business each year, it helps shape the future and fiscal future of my place of employment and affects just about every facet of my daily life.To contact the author of this story: Tyler Cowen at tcowen2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Newman at mnewman43@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tyler Cowen is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a professor of economics at George Mason University and writes for the blog Marginal Revolution. His books include "Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Financial Times

    House Democrats to draft impeachment charges against Trump

    against Donald Trump after the US president left her with “no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit”. “His actions are in defiance of the vision of our founders and the oath of office that he takes to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” Ms Pelosi said. Ms Pelosi’s comments came after Mr Trump questioned whether Democrats “love our country”.

  • Financial Times

    Crisis, what crisis? The US needs Nato as much as ever

    It is not often that a British prime minister plays hide-and-seek with a US president. Custom demands they doff their caps in deference to the prized “special relationship”. Boris Johnson, though, faces an election.

  • Financial Times

    FirstFT: Today’s top stories

    FT subscribers can click here to receive FirstFT every day by email. Nearly two-thirds of Americans say this year’s record-setting Wall Street rally has had little or no impact on their personal finances, ...

  • ACCESSWIRE

    The Klein Law Firm Reminds Investors of Class Actions on Behalf of Shareholders of TEUM, TWTR and ET

    NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / December 4, 2019 / The Klein Law Firm announces that class action complaints have been filed on behalf of shareholders of the following companies. If you suffered a loss, you have until the lead plaintiff deadline to request that the court appoint you as lead plaintiff.

  • ACCESSWIRE

    SHAREHOLDER ALERT: Pomerantz Law Firm Investigates Claims On Behalf of Investors of Twitter, Inc. - TWTR

    NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / December 4, 2019 / Pomerantz LLP is investigating claims on behalf of investors of Twitter, Inc. ("Twitter" or the "Company") (NYSE:TWTR). Such investors ...

  • Benzinga

    Reddit Users Are Growing Fast: How Does It Compare To Facebook And Twitter?

    Reddit says its monthly active users grew by 30% this year to 430 million, still a fraction of what Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) claims, but possibly increasing its lead over rival Twitter Inc. (NASDAQ: TWTR). Reddit’s 430 million monthly active users is still way below Facebook, which claimed 2.45 billion monthly active users at the end of October, and 1.62 billion daily active users, both up nearly 10% year-over-year. Comparing Reddit and Twitter on the measurement of monthly active users is no longer possible because Twitter stopped reporting that figure after coming in at 330 million in the first quarter of 2019.

  • A TikTok Craze Is Minting Celebrities and Ruining Lives in India
    Bloomberg

    A TikTok Craze Is Minting Celebrities and Ruining Lives in India

    (Bloomberg) -- Arpita Chaudhary, a newly recruited police constable in India’s western Gujarat state, became an overnight celebrity after posting a clip of her 15-second gambol -- clad in her civvies -- on the smash-hit social video app, TikTok.Then she paid the price. A snippet of her gyrating to a Bollywood song against the backdrop of a prison cell went viral and, days later, Chaudhary was suspended from her job. She had danced inside the police station while on duty.The short video app wildly popular with lip-syncing teenagers around the world has taken India by storm. Police officers, city workers and physicians looking to escape the humdrum of their work lives are finding its lure irresistible. They are regaling their countrymen with at-times cringe-worthy videos, shot inside police stations, public offices and government hospitals.In a recent TikTok video, two women officials of the Delhi Police groove to a movie song, and local media speculated that it appeared to have been shot while they were guarding VIPs in India’s capital.“Indians are bitten by the TikTok bug as the app makes it easy to create content using nothing more than a phone,” said Prasant Naidu, founder and CEO of the Bangalore-based digital technology consultancy Lighthouse Insights. “But it’s raising apprehensions because it’s Chinese-owned, stores Indian user data overseas and its mass base makes it easy to spread propaganda and porn.”More than 200 million users in India devour and share videos mimicking Bollywood dancing, movie dialog and comedy, making India TikTok’s biggest global market. ByteDance Inc., the Chinese internet giant behind TikTok, has a separate app called Douyin with similar features in China, where TikTok doesn’t operate. Videos of cavorting public officials highlight the lack of control over its use among government and law enforcement agencies and is lending strength to a backlash in India against the app. Some even say it’s a security risk.Prominent lawmaker Shashi Tharoor of the main Congress party last summer told Parliament that apps like TikTok are a “national security” threat and Indians are vulnerable to spying through the app because of the country’s lax data protection regulations. He is concerned that like other apps from China, TikTok has too close a relationship with China’s government. Tharoor said ByteDance’s paid influence could affect India’s democratic processes.Economic groups aligned with the ruling BJP have called for banning the app, saying it’s being used for “anti-national” content including videos advocating religious violence, inciting sentiments against particular social groups and poor treatment of women.A Southern court temporarily banned downloads of the app amid complaints that its content was degrading culture and encouraging pornography. In a Mumbai court, a litigant alleged that “unfiltered sexual content” from the app was harming young Indians and leading to crime.Security experts and lawmakers are more worried that TikTok seeks to access user information such as location, phone contacts, call records and audio. While other apps seek similar consent, “TikTok is from China with whom we have history and it becomes strategic and sensitive,” said Nikhil Pahwa, founder and editor of Medianama, which tracks the growth of India’s digital ecosystem.India is still working on a privacy and data protection framework, with the Personal Data Protection bill that regulates collection and transfer of data being considered. As long as rules and regulations regarding data are not robust, “these kind of apps can easily use the loopholes in law to collect user data,” said Tarun Pathak, associate director at consultancy Counterpoint Research.The world’s most downloaded app is controversial elsewhere. Indonesia had banned TikTok, saying it failed to block pornography and blasphemy. In the U.K., it is being investigated for collecting personal data of young users. The U.S. government has fined the app $5.7 million for collecting data of users under 13 without parental consent and is targeting the app for a national security review.Yet in no other country has the app taken hold as it has in India, with police officers and others risking their jobs to produce short videos. In one viral TikTok post set to a high-voltage movie song, five gun-wielding officers of a police SWAT team returning from an encounter in the central state of Uttar Pradesh are shown strutting across a field in slow motion, action movie style. Their chief unlocks his gun’s safety catch and pretend-fires at invisible bad guys.The SWAT team starring in the TikTok video was transferred out of the region.“We do not sanction unprofessional display of weapons and grotesque caricaturing of police,” the Uttar Pradesh police said in a statement.In another TikTok video shot in the southern city of Hyderabad, two physiotherapy students re-enact romantic movie scenes inside a government hospital and in another, four security guards prance about in the hospital’s emergency ward.The videos have continued to go viral, propelling ByteDance to the No. 1 spot among the world’s most valuable private companies. India, where millions of users continue to come online each month, is vital to its global ambitions. When the local court prohibited new downloads, ByteDance said the weeks-long ban caused “financial losses” of about to $500,000 a day.To stave criticism, TikTok has begun WaitASecToReflect digital literacy workshops to encourage users to pause before posting or sharing. TikTok implored users to “Bura na post karo, Bura na share karo, Bura na comment karo” [Post no evil, share no evil, comment no evil] and removed about 6 million videos since its India launch in early 2017.Meanwhile, the videos have even entered the political realm. In a regional election earlier this year, the ruling BJP nominated as its candidate a TikTok star whose sole qualification was her massive following on the app, where she lipsyncs to Bollywood songs. She lost the election narrowly.Police constable Chaudhary, still suspended from duty, has been luckier in parlaying her TikTok fame to success. Her music video TikTok ni Diwani (TikTok Crazy) scored over 2 million views within days of its release.To contact the reporter on this story: Saritha Rai in Bangalore at srai33@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at echan273@bloomberg.net, Jodi Schneider, Peter ElstromFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • ACCESSWIRE

    CLASS ACTION UPDATE for RUHN, TWTR and YJ: Levi & Korsinsky, LLP Reminds Investors of Class Actions on Behalf of Shareholders

    NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / December 4, 2019 / Levi & Korsinsky, LLP announces that class action lawsuits have commenced on behalf of shareholders of the following publicly-traded companies. To determine ...