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Advertisers drop X after Musk backs anti-Semitic post

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Elon Musk bought Twitter, now known as X, nearly a year ago for $44 billion

Elon Musk bought Twitter, now known as X, nearly a year ago for $44 billion – Copyright AFP Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV

Glenn CHAPMAN

An exodus of big-name advertisers appeared under way at X, formerly Twitter, on Friday in the wake of Elon Musk endorsing an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

Nonprofit group Media Matters added Apple, Disney, Comcast, Lionsgate Entertainment, and Paramount Global to its list of companies pausing advertising on X.

“Lionsgate has suspended advertising on X because of Elon Musk’s recent antisemitic tweets,” a spokesperson for the motion picture production and distribution company told AFP.

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IBM on Thursday said it stopped advertising on X due to a report its ads were shown next to pro-Nazi posts at X.

Apple and Disney did not reply to requests for comment.

“Major blue-chip companies are announcing they will suspend all advertising,” the group said on a web page featuring a running list.

– White House rebuke –

The White House on Friday condemned Musk, the world’s richest person, for “abhorrent promotion” of anti-Semitism.

The White House was reacting to a post by Musk in which the controversial Tesla and SpaceX tycoon replied to an anti-Semitic post on X with the words: “You have said the actual truth.”

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The original post has been perceived by the White House and the US media as a reference to a longtime conspiracy theory among White supremacists that Jews have a secret plan to bring in illegal immigrants to weaken white majorities.

Most notoriously, the idea was promoted by the man who carried out a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018, killing 11 people.

Referring to Musk’s post, White House spokesman Andrew Bates said it was “unacceptable” to repeat such a “hideous lie.”

“We condemn this abhorrent promotion of anti-Semitic and racist hate in the strongest terms, which runs against our core values as Americans,” Bates said.

– ‘Musk-induced chaos’ –

In the year since taking over Twitter, now rebranded as X, Musk has gutted content moderation, restored accounts of previously banned extremists, and allowed users to purchase account verification, helping them profit from viral — but often inaccurate — posts.

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A recent study by the disinformation monitoring group NewsGuard found that paying subscribers at X were the big spreaders of misinformation about the Israel-Hamas war.

“During all of this Musk-induced chaos, corporate advertisements have also been appearing on pro-Hitler, Holocaust denial, white nationalist, pro-violence, and neo-Nazi accounts,” Media Matters said in a post displaying samples of what it found at X.

Media Matters reported that it found Apple, Oracle and IBM ads displayed next to posts touting Hitler and the Nazi Party on X.

“IBM has zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination and we have immediately suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation,” the New York-based tech firm said in response to an AFP inquiry.

An X executive told AFP that it did a “sweep” of accounts pointed out by Media Matters and they will no longer be able to make money from ads.

The posts themselves will be labeled “sensitive media,” according to the executive.

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“Ads follow the people on X, in this case the Media Matter’s researcher that was going to actively look for this content – that’s how user targeting works,” the executive said in an emailed reply.

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

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This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

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“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

Instagram’s testing out some new options to help spice up your live-streams in the app, with some live broadcasters now able to select a game that they can play with viewers in-stream.

As you can see in these example screens, posted by Ahmed Ghanem, some creators now have the option to play either “This or That”, a question and answer prompt that you can share with your viewers, or “Trivia”, to generate more engagement within your IG live-streams.

That could be a simple way to spark more conversation and interaction, which could then lead into further engagement opportunities from your live audience.

Meta’s been exploring more ways to make live-streaming a bigger consideration for IG creators, with a view to live-streams potentially catching on with more users.

That includes the gradual expansion of its “Stars” live-stream donation program, giving more creators in more regions a means to accept donations from live-stream viewers, while back in December, Instagram also added some new options to make it easier to go live using third-party tools via desktop PCs.

Live streaming has been a major shift in China, where shopping live-streams, in particular, have led to massive opportunities for streaming platforms. They haven’t caught on in the same way in Western regions, but as TikTok and YouTube look to push live-stream adoption, there is still a chance that they will become a much bigger element in future.

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Which is why IG is also trying to stay in touch, and add more ways for its creators to engage via streams. Live-stream games is another element within this, which could make this a better community-building, and potentially sales-driving option.

We’ve asked Instagram for more information on this test, and we’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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