Connect with us


India opposition leader says Twitter ‘curbing free speech’



Twitter posts $537 mn net loss over lawsuit payout

Twitter posted a net loss due to a lawsuit settlement – Copyright AFP/File Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV

The de facto head of India’s main opposition party has complained to Twitter about “strange” activity on his account, accusing the US giant of being the “unwitting” ally of the government in curbing free speech.

Rahul Gandhi of the Congress party told Twitter’s CEO in a letter that growth in his new Twitter followers “suddenly” stopped last August, falling from a monthly average of hundreds of thousands to nearly zero.

“I have been reliably, albeit discreetly, informed by people at Twitter India that they are under immense pressure by the government to silence my voice,” he said in the letter dated December 27 and shared by the party on Thursday.

He said he believed Twitter is part of an “unwitting complicity in curbing free and fair speech” but that the social media firm has an “enormous responsibility to ensure that Twitter does not actively help in the growth of authoritarianism in India”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has long been accused of seeking to suppress dissent, including on social media, in the world’s largest democracy. It denies such accusations.

Twitter said this week that India ranks fourth-highest globally in the number of requests made by the government to remove content, behind Japan, Russia and Turkey. The site is blocked in China and North Korea.


Global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders described social media suspensions during mass farmer protests in India last year as a “shocking case of blatant censorship”.

India also leads the world when it comes to internet shutdowns. Service was suspended for months in 2019 across Kashmir as part of a major security operation in the disputed territory.

The government last year introduced new social media rules requiring firms to remove and identify the “first originator” of posts deemed to undermine India’s sovereignty, state security and public order.

Social media companies and privacy activists have argued that the vagueness of the rules mean they could be forced to identify the authors of posts critical of the government. They are challenging the rules in court.

A senior Congress party official told AFP on Thursday that Gandhi’s follower count “jumped by 100,000 within two days of Twitter’s response to his letter”.

A Twitter spokesperson told AFP that the number of followers on the platform fluctuated and was linked to the removal of millions of accounts each week to tackle platform manipulation and spam.

“While some accounts notice a minor difference, in certain cases the number could be higher,” the spokesperson said.

Modi, with 75.1 million followers, is one of the most watched politicians on Twitter and regularly uses the platform to reach out to his supporters.


Source link


Instagram Tests Out New Ad Options, Including Explore Placement and Interactive AR Displays



Instagram Tests Out New Ad Options, Including Explore Placement and Interactive AR Displays

As we head into the holiday shopping push, Instagram has announced that it’s testing out some new ad options, in the hopes of maximizing its revenue intake, while also providing new opportunities for brands.

Though I can’t imagine that these will be entirely popular additions with users.

First off, Instagram’s adding new ads into Explore, with the first page of Explore now set to feature a new ad unit in the content feed.

As you can see in this example, that’s a pretty big ad. Instagram hasn’t clarified if all of these new Explore ads will be featured as prominently as this, but the option will provide another means to reach IG users ‘in the earliest stages of discovering new content they care about’.

It could be a good consideration, with a chance to get your products featured in the main discovery feed in the app.

Instagram’s also testing ads in profile feed – ‘which is the feed experience that people can scroll through after visiting another account’s profile and tapping on a post’.

So now, if you check out someone’s profile, and tap on a post, you’ll also be eligible to be served ads in that dedicated stream of their content, essentially inserting ads into another surface in the app.


Instagram’s also looking into whether this option could also be used as a monetization opportunity for creators, as that activity will be tied back to an individual profile and content.

Instagram’s also testing what it’s calling ‘Multi-Advertiser Ads’, which will display more promotions from similar businesses to users after they’ve engaged with an ad.

Instagram ad updates

As per Instagram:

“When a person expresses commercial intent by engaging with an ad, we deliver more ads from other businesses that may be of interest, powered by machine learning.”

So Instagram’s looking to push even more related businesses at you, stacking ads upon ads. I don’t know how effective that will be, but in theory, it could get your brand in front of interested users based on previous ad engagement.

Finally, Instagram’s also launched an open beta of its AR Ads, which will be available in both feed and Stories in the app.

Instagram ads update

As you can see here, Instagram’s AR ads, built in its Spark AR platform, will invite users to interact with their ad content, which could also include positioning virtual furniture in their home, or test driving a car in the app.

Which Meta also says will help brands align with future engagement shifts:

“By giving businesses tools to create more personalized and immersive experiences today we’ll help them drive performance and prepare for the metaverse.”

I mean, AR and the metaverse, which is largely VR-based (going on the examples we’ve seen thus far) are not the same thing, but the creation of 3D objects will play a part in that next stage, and could help to advance your thinking on ad approaches.


These are some interesting ad considerations, but they’ll also see a lot more promotions being squeezed into your Instagram feeds, which, as noted, likely won’t be welcomed by users.

But with parent company Meta under rising pressure, Instagram has to do its part. And while leaning into further Reels, and forcing in more ads, may not be a great play, long-term, the usage and engagement data will ultimately tell the tale.

Source link

Continue Reading

Subscribe To our Newsletter
We promise not to spam you. Unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address