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TikTok Will Now Explain Video Removals | MakeUseOf

If your video ever gets removed on TikTok, the platform will now provide a reason behind the takedown. TikTok hopes that this change will make content removals more transparent.

TikTok Makes Takedowns More Transparent

In a post on the TikTok Newsroom, the platform announced that it's been testing a new notification system that will provide more clarity about content removals. TikTok noted that it wants these notifications to give users a better understanding of its Community Guidelines, stating:

Our goals are to enhance the transparency and education around our Community Guidelines to reduce misunderstandings about content on our platform.

During the initial tests of this feature, the platform found that notifying users of its policies "helped reduce the rate of repeat violations," and also increased the number of visits to TikTok's Community Guidelines page. Moreover, TikTok said that the notifications reduced users' requests to appeal a removed video by 14 percent.

Because of these positive results, TikTok is rolling out the feature to all of its users. If TikTok removes one of your videos, you'll receive a notification that explains which rule you broke. You'll also get the chance to appeal the removal if you wish.

TikTok hopes to help its community through these notifications as well. For example, if a video is taken down for violating TikTok's policies on self-harm, TikTok will send out another notification to that user. This time, the notification will contain a link to TikTok's safety resources, and will also provide some suggestions on how to handle feelings of depression.

It's a good move on TikTok's part to include content to support the mental health of its users. After a graphic suicide video went viral on the platform in September 2020, it's clear that TikTok needs to put measures in place to help users in need. Fortunately, this notification does just that.

That said, providing users with an explanation about content removals will not only clear up any misunderstandings, but it will also decrease the likelihood that users will repeat the same offense or continue to spread hateful content.

Can Users Look Past TikTok's Scandals?

TikTok may have had its fair share of controversies, but the new notification policy is definitely for the best. Most major social media platforms already provide reasons behind content removals, so it's only right that TikTok offers that sliver of transparency as well.

But despite the steps that TikTok is taking to redeem itself, some users may still feel the need to uninstall the platform for privacy reasons.


What Is a URL, and How Can You Edit One? | MakeUseOf

When you're browsing the web, you're using URLs all the time. Whether you follow a link, click on a bookmark, or type a website address into your browser, there's a URL at the core of the operation. But what is a URL---and how do you edit one?

What Does That Acronym Mean?

First, you're right to recognize that "URL" is an acronym, but the full version won't necessarily help to explain things; URL stands for "Uniform Resource Locator". In a simplified sense, that phrase really just means "address" and that's exactly what a URL is: the address of a web page.

In general, a URL can be separated into five sections, each of which is more specific than the last. They're a bit like postal addresses in much of the Western world, except in reverse order. By the end of this article, you'll know what purpose each of those parts serves, and be able to understand any URL you come across on a deeper level than before.

The Protocol: What to Do With This URL

Most URLs you come across will be used to identify websites or individual web pages, but URLs can actually be used in other contexts; the protocol helps define this very broad context right at the beginning.

The standard protocol used to refer to websites is HTTP, but other common protocols include "mailto" (for email), "file" (for local filesystem access) and FTP (for file transfer).

There is another protocol you'll have come across: HTTPS. As you might guess, it's a close cousin of the standard HTTP protocol, but this URL prefix indicates it's a "secure" version. In essence, this means that your usage of such a URL is more private than the standard HTTP alternative—you'll often see such a URL accompanied by a padlock icon in your browser's address bar, which may even hide the protocol altogether.

Some browsers offer their own unique custom protocols such as in the URL for Chrome's preference page, "chrome://settings/".

Experimenting With Addresses

Try typing "file:///" into your browser's address bar to view files on your own computer. If you're viewing a non-secure webpage (such as try editing the URL to view the secure version instead (e.g. Many sites will automatically redirect you from their standard version to the secure equivalent.

The Host: an Address for the Whole Site

The host (similar to, although not necessarily exactly the same as, the hostname or domain) is what identifies a specific "website". It's made of a series of parts separated by periods, and it's often all you need to type to reach the homepage of a given company or product's website.

The order of parts in the domain is the opposite order from the overall URL—i.e. it starts specific and gets more general as it goes. In the example, "www" is the most specific bit, then comes a more general "amazon" bit, then finally the "top-level-domain" such as "com".

Read more: What URL Domain Extensions Stand For and Why They Are Needed

Experimenting With URLs

One of the most useful tweaks you can make to a domain is changing the final levels that refer to your location. This might be the top-level domain only, or possibly the previous part too.

For example, this book at (the US site):

can be viewed on Amazon Germany by switching the "com" for "de", giving:

The Path: an Address for a Specific Page

The path identifies a specific page on the URL's website. Whilst the host started off specific and got more general as we read from left to right, the path is exactly the other way round: it starts off "most general" and gets "more specific" as it narrows down the exact location of the final page. It's similar to the way you address files on a computer because it is, in the simplest case, doing exactly that.

Experimenting With Paths

There are no guarantees, but websites—usually the better organized ones—will often structure their paths in such a way that they can be navigated by manual editing. For example, if you're looking at this URL:

you can try removing the last part of the path to navigate "up" a level:

The Query: URL Parameters

When a resource is more complicated than just a basic page, enter the "query string", a collection of URL parameters which are typically name/value pairs, each separated by an "&".

Each site (in fact, each page on a website) is free to decide everything about how it handles URL parameters, including their names. In the YouTube example, "v" refers to a specific video and "t", a time at which to start playing the video.

Experimenting With Parameters

URL parameters offer possibly the most flexibility for URL "hacking"! For example, the YouTube URL's "t" parameter is quite flexible; instead of seconds, it can represent minutes:

or it can combine the two:

A Fragment Identifier: Point Within a Page

Another piece of highly technical jargon which describes a simple concept, a "fragment identifier" is the most specific part of the URL, addressing an individual part of the page.

It will only be available if the underlying page supports it, but Wikipedia is a good example of how it's done.

The links in the Contents section of the above Wikipedia URL all navigate within the same page, they just use different fragment identifiers to target different points.

Experimenting With Identifiers

Often, the first thing you'll want to do is simply remove the fragment identifier; this is not harmful in the slightest, it will just convert a "point specific" URL into one that defaults to the top of the page. You might need to do this if you've clicked a "contents" link, but you want to send someone the URL to the top of the page. To do so, start with the full URL:

then simply remove the fragment identifier:

And That's a URL!

Now you know everything about the anatomy of a URL, from protocol to fragment identifier. URLs start general and get more specific as you read them from left to right. Once you understand how each part works, you can edit a URL to make useful changes.

Another specific area that offers more information is the domain extension.

Image Credit: Chris Dlugosz/Flickr


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Pirate IPTV Reseller Agrees to Pay $30m in Damages and Puts Users At Risk

In 2018, US broadcaster DISH Network sued pirate IPTV service SET TV for offering many TV channels illegally obtained from DISH’s satellite service.

That lawsuit came to an end in 2018 when SET TV’s operators were ordered by a Florida court to pay $90 million in statutory damages. However, as far as DISH was concerned, there were more loose ends to tie up.

DISH Sues Simply-TV and Goes After a Reseller

Early 2019, DISH filed another lawsuit in Florida, this time targeting individuals and companies behind Simply-TV, a pirate IPTV service that was believed to be connected to SET TV. By August that same year, the lawsuit was over after DISH was awarded $30 million in statutory damages plus an injunction.

As recently reported, DISH still didn’t give up the chase, suing an individual named as Lisa Crawford in a Florida court, claiming she was a reseller of both SET TV and Simply-TV. Several business entities were also named as defendants.

These cases have a tendency to drag on but in this case, the whole thing was settled in a matter of weeks.

Agreed Judgment and Permanent Injunction

On Thursday, DISH filed a notice of dismissal against the business entities named in the original complaint including LC One LLC, LC Pryme Enterprises LLC, LC Pryme Holdings LLC, LC Pryme One Enterprises LLC.

“This Notice of Dismissal is filed pursuant to the Confidential Settlement Agreement reached between DISH and Defendant Lisa Crawford,” the notice reads.

A short time later, DISH filed documents relating to the agreement, establishing several agreed facts and laying out the terms of the settlement.

“Defendant sold device codes and subscriptions to the Unauthorized Streaming Services through various websites including,, and In addition, Defendant advertised the Unauthorized Streaming Services through Facebook and other forms of social media,” the filing reads.

“Defendant participated in the operation of the Unauthorized Streaming Services after the Set TV service was shut down. DISH Programming was redistributed without authorization on the Unauthorized Streaming Services throughout this time period.

“During that time Defendant trafficked in at least 40,000 device codes to the Unauthorized Streaming Services.”

Defendant Agrees to Pay DISH $30 Million in Statutory Damages

According to the agreement, the sale of the 40,000 “device codes” (subscriptions) will cost Crawford a huge amount of money. DISH says that each subscription is worth $750 in statutory damages, meaning that the total amount payable to the company is a cool $30 million. That being said, things could have been very much worse if DISH had pursued the $100,000 per offense/subscription maximum.

In addition to the damages agreement, the parties have also settled on a set of conditions for an injunction, including that Crawford never again gets involved in offering pirated DISH programming to the public. She is also barred from operating the websites,, and, which must be transferred to DISH.

Former Customers May Be at Risk

Part of the agreement requires Crawford to hand over pretty much everything associated with her reselling business over to DISH, including all computers, servers, receivers, software, and set-top devices. The agreement also goes much further than that though and may have consequences for Crawford’s former customers.

“Defendant shall transfer to DISH or a designee selected by DISH, within seven (7) days of the date of this Order, all device codes, renewal codes, subscriptions and applications for Defendant’s Pirate Streaming Services, as well as all computers, phones, servers and all social media, financial, online or other accounts associated in any way with Defendant’s Pirate Streaming Services,” the agreement reads.

This includes “books, documents, files, records, or communications whether in hard copy or electronic form, relating in any way to Defendant’s Pirate Streaming Services” plus “the identities of manufacturers, exporters, importers, dealers, or purchasers of such services and devices..”

This is important because DISH has a history of not only shutting down pirate services but also chasing down former subscribers for cash settlements. Whether it will do so in this case is yet to be seen but after shutting down a seller of satellite card-sharing codes a while back, the company has used the data handed over in the matter to pursue many other individuals.

The Agreed Judgment and Permanent Injunction is available here (pdf). It is yet to be signed off by the court but given its nature, that’s likely to be a formality.

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.


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How to Customize Your iPhone Home Screen With Widgets and App Icons

Even though everybody else owns an iPhone, you can still make yours stand out from the crowd. We'll show you how to customize your iPhone's Home screen with widgets and unique app icons so it truly reflects your style.

How to Add Widgets to Your iPhone Home Screen

For the first time ever, iOS 14 made it possible to add widgets to the Home screen on an iPhone. A widget is a light version of an app that displays information and lets you interact with it directly on the Home screen.

You can customize your iPhone Home screen with widgets for almost every stock Apple app and a growing selection of third-party apps. To add one:

  1. Tap and hold in a blank space on your iPhone's Home screen to enter Jiggle mode.
  2. In the top corner, tap the Add (+) icon to view your available widgets. Search or scroll through the selection to find the widget you want.
  3. After selecting a widget, swipe left and right to view different versions of it, then tap Add Widget.
  4. Drag and drop to move the widget around your Home screen just like you would with any other app. You can even drop multiple same-sized widgets on top of each other to create a widget stack.
  5. Tap Done or click the Home button to exit Jiggle mode.
Image Gallery (3 Images)

If you aren't sure where to start, take a look at our rundown of all the best iOS widgets.

Change the Size of Your Widgets

Most iPhone widgets are available in three sizes: small, medium, and large. To change the size of a widget, you need to delete it from your Home screen, then add it again in a different size.

Here's how to do this:

  1. Tap and hold in a blank space on the Home screen to enter Jiggle mode.
  2. Tap the Minus (-) icon on a widget and confirm you want to Remove it. Alternatively, tap and hold a widget, then tap Remove Widget from the quick-action menu.
  3. Finally, tap the Add (+) icon to add the widget again in a different size.

Customize the Widget Settings

A lot of iPhone widgets let you edit some basic settings to change how they work. This could mean changing the location displayed in the Weather widget or changing the list shown in the Reminders widget.

If you create a widget stack, you can also enable Smart Rotate or edit the arrangement of widgets in the stack. Here's how to change them:

  1. Tap and hold on a widget until a quick-action menu appears.
  2. Choose to Edit Widget or, if available, Edit Stack.
  3. Change the relevant settings, then return to the Home screen.

How to Hide Apps From Your iPhone Home Screen

Apple also made it possible to hide apps from your Home screen with the release of iOS 14. This means you can personalize your Home screen layout by only including the most important apps. Here's how:

  1. Tap and hold on an app until a quick-action menu appears.
  2. Choose to Remove App.
  3. Then choose to Move to App Library.
Image Gallery (3 Images)

When you move an app to the App Library, it remains installed on your iPhone despite vanishing from the Home screen. If you choose to Delete App instead, it vanishes from your iPhone entirely.

To view the App Library, swipe to the right past your last Home screen. You should find every app on your iPhone automatically categorized into smart folders. You can also tap the search bar to search for an app or view them in a list.

Hide Entire Home Screens

Rather than sending every app to the App Library individually, you can also choose to hide entire Home screens on your iPhone. When you do this, your iPhone saves the Home screen layout so it's easy to bring back if you ever change your mind.

Below is how you change Home screen layouts:

  1. Tap and hold in a blank space on the Home screen to enter Jiggle mode.
  2. Tap the Home screen dots at the bottom of the screen. You should see a zoomed-out view of all your iPhone Home screens.
  3. Tap the checkmarks to select or deselect each Home screen, choosing whether to hide it or not.

How to Create Custom Widgets and App Icons

Since the launch of iOS 14, we've seen a lot of stylized iPhone Home screens that use custom widgets and app icons to create an inventive new look. Creating a custom Home screen like this can be a time-consuming endeavor, but it pays off in style.

Create Custom Widgets for iPhone

A range of apps are available in the iOS App Store that serve no other purpose than letting you create custom widgets. You can use them to choose color schemes, icons, and widget size.

Most of these apps are free to download at first but offer in-app purchases to unlock more customization options. By far the most popular widget-customization app is Widgetsmith.

Here's how to use it to create custom widgets on your iPhone Home screen:

  1. Open Widgetsmith and tap a small, medium, or large widget to start editing it.
  2. Tap the Default Widget and scroll through all the options to choose what you want to display on it. You can choose between different styles of time, date, weather, photos, calendars, and more.
  3. Use the menus beneath the style to change the Font, Tint, Background, and Border Color for the widget.
  4. When you finish customizing the widget, go back a page to rename and save it.
  5. Add Widgetsmith widgets to your Home screen the same way you'd add any other widget: by entering Jiggle mode and using the Add (+) button.
  6. After adding a generic Widgetsmith widget to your iPhone, tap and hold to Edit Widget, then choose your custom widget from the dropdown menu.
Image Gallery (3 Images)

Create Custom App Icons

Although you might have seen what looks like custom app icons on someone else's iPhone Home screen, this is actually a shortcut for that app using Siri Shortcuts. When you do this, you can choose your own icon and name for the shortcut before adding it to your Home screen.

The end result is a custom shortcut that looks like an app.

You need to design or download the app icons you want to use first and save them to your iPhone. Of course, designing custom app icons can be incredibly difficult, which is why we recommend you search for pre-made icon packs to download instead.

When you use a shortcut to open an app in this way, it adds a noticeable delay to opening apps, because each app needs to launch through the Shortcuts app first.

If you still want to customize your app icons on the iPhone, here's what to do:

  1. Open the Shortcuts app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the Add (+) button to create a new shortcut.
  3. Tap Add Action and search for the Open App action, then tap Choose and select the app you want to open.
  4. Use the three dots (...) button to open the menu, then tap Add to Home Screen.
  5. Tap the app icon and use the popup menu to select the custom icon you want to use from the Files or Photos app on your iPhone.
  6. Name your shortcut after the app, then tap Add to add it to your Home screen. You can move it around the Home screen just like you would any other app.
  7. Repeat this process, creating a new shortcut for each app you want to customize.
Image Gallery (3 Images)

Find Even More Ways to Customize Your iPhone

Customizing the Home screen is only the first step to personalizing your iPhone. To create a truly unique device, you should also change the wallpaper, choose your own ringtone, and get a case to make sure your iPhone is as stylish as possible.


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