The PCGuide Weekly Roundup – September 27th

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We’re almost at the end of September and the last weekly update for the month. It’s been another big one this week with the release of the Nvidia RTX 3090 graphics cards as well as preorders going live for the Xbox Series X and S. Moreover, there’s been a bunch going on in the tech world in regards to TikTok, YouTube, and other high-profile companies. As usual, we’ve covered all of these stories but we’ll only be going through the highlights here so head over to their individual article pages for more.

There’s no better place to start than the RTX 3090 launch so let’s jump right into it. As the 3090 graphics cards launched on both Nvidia’s site as well as retailers around the globe, there was a sea of consumers flocking to get their hands on the most powerful GPUs around. However, as expected, a frightening number of prospective buyers failed to get their orders in. But, it wasn’t down to website crashes and bots/scalpers getting in there far too quickly, it was simply because most of the cards never actually came in stock. There was also some more price altering going on, again, taking advantage of customers eagerly trying to get their payments through.

So, akin to the RTX 3080 launch, the 3090 went pretty much the same. A pretty disastrous affair all round. We still have the RTX 3070 on the horizon so, will that be any better? Time will tell.

Now, let’s talk about another ordering fiasco, the Xbox Series X/S. With obvious learnings from the PS5 preorder debacle, Microsoft chose (and rightly so) to inform the public when all the links were going live directly from themselves and from third-party retailers, in an effort to give people more of a chance to actually pick up the console of their choice. Yes, Nvidia also did this with their RTX 3080 launch and that was a complete mess, so, again, it didn’t prevent scalpers from securing a few consoles to ultimately sell on at a premium but, it certainly gave the public more of an opportunity than those surprised by the PS5 links going live at random times. Moreover, Microsoft set concrete rules for third-party retailers stating that if they broke the embargo time, they would be punished with a reduced supply of consoles, again, giving customers absolute certainty of timings thus being able to prepare.

Things went well in the UK with a ton of preorders going through. However, the US was a different story with links not even going live on retailers such as Amazon for hours or not at all. Therefore it was a mixed bag, ultimately better than the PS5 and 3080 but still not the best.

That’s all the launches out the way let’s get into the other news from the industry. There’s been a number of TikTok revelations including issues with the Oracle-Walmart deal, the platform removing over a million videos violating the app’s rules.

Looking at the Oracle-Walmart deal speedbumps, it might be that the deal could fail after all.

The companies involved in the deal, Oracle, Walmart, and China-based ByteDance (TikTok’s parent company) publicly clashed over the contract fine print when Oracle said as soon as TikTok Global (the new, separate US arm of TikTok) was established, ByteDance would no longer retain its ownership. President Trump said he would approve any deal that left any Chinese companies out of the equation. ByteDance, however, said it would retain an 80% majority of the company until it goes public next year. Let’s see how the deal progresses.

Moving to those videos being removed, like YouTube, TikTok has been relying heavily on AI and machine learning to tackle content moderation. TikTok’s latest transparency report revealed that 105 million pieces of content were taken down for violating its rules in the first half of 2020 alone (again, no doubt a symptom of the pandemic and stay at home orders). That was double the number of videos removed in the final half of 2020 – though the platform has grown rapidly since then.

While nearly 97% of the videos were removed proactively by TikTok (with 90.32% of them removed before receiving any views), the rapid rate at which the video of McNutt’s death circulated is a cause for concern and it only seems right that other platforms take TikTok’s lead and join forces to create a safer web.

It’s not looking great that the companies involved are already clashing but, at least they’re making changes to the platform for the better.

These were the top stories of the week but we’ve published much more, here are a few examples:

We’ve also published a couple of featured pieces including; Can the Individual User Make the Internet a Safer Place? and How to Spot a Phishing Scam so check out those for some in-depth breakdowns.

See you next week for another exciting time in the tech world!