Connect with us

SOCIAL

Old Twitter vs X: Israel-Gaza war spotlights ‘information crisis’

Published

on

Old Twitter vs X: Israel-Gaza war spotlights 'information crisis'

Users of X, formerly Twitter, complain they can no longer decipher truth, as captured by news photographers, from fiction on the site ± © AFP/File MOHAMMED ABED

Anuj CHOPRA

Twitter won fame in the Arab uprisings nearly a decade ago as a pivotal source for real-time crisis information, but that reputation has withered after the platform’s transformation into a magnet for hate speech and disinformation under Elon Musk.

Historically, Twitter’s greatest strength was as a tool for gathering and disseminating life-saving information and coordinating emergency relief during times of crisis. Its old-school verification system meant sources and news were widely trusted.

Now the platform, renamed X by new owner Musk, has gutted content moderation, restored accounts of previously banned extremists, and allowed users simply to purchase account verification, helping them profit from viral — but often inaccurate — posts.

The fast-evolving Israel-Gaza conflict has been widely seen as the first real test of Musk’s version of the platform during a major crisis. For many experts, the results confirm their worst fears: that changes have made it a challenge to discern truth from fiction.

Elon Musk bought the platform, then known as Twitter, for $44 billion last year – © AFP DAVID GRAY

“It is sobering, though not surprising, to see Musk’s reckless decisions exacerbate the information crisis on Twitter surrounding the already tragic Israel-Hamas conflict,” Nora Benavidez, senior counsel at the watchdog Free Press, told AFP.

The platform is flooded with violent videos and images — some real but many fake and mislabeled from entirely different years and places.

Nearly three-fourths of the most viral posts promoting falsehoods about the conflict are being pushed by accounts with verified checkmarks, according to a new study by the watchdog NewsGuard.

In the absence of guardrails, that has made it “very difficult for the public to separate fact from fiction,” while escalating “tension and division,” Benavidez added.

– ‘Fire hose of information’ –

That was evident on Tuesday after a deadly strike on a hospital in war-ravaged Gaza, as ordinary users scrambling for real-time information vented frustration that the site had become unusable.

Confusion reigned as fake accounts with verified checkmarks shared images of past conflicts while peddling hasty conclusions of unverified videos, illustrating how the platform had handed the megaphone to paying subscribers, irrespective of accuracy.

Accounts masquerading as official sources or news media stoked passions with inflammatory content.

Musk has repeatedly cited a desire for free speech as motivating his changes

Musk has repeatedly cited a desire for free speech as motivating his changes — © AFP ALAIN JOCARD

Misinformation researchers warned that many users were treating an account of an activist group called “Israel war room,” stamped with a gold checkmark –- indicating “an official organization account,” according to X –- as a supposedly official Israeli source.

India-based bot accounts known for anti-Muslim rhetoric further muddied the waters by pushing false anti-Palestinian narratives, researchers said.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera warned that it had “no ties” to a Qatar-based account that falsely claimed affiliation to the Middle East broadcaster as it urged its followers to “exercise caution.”

“It has become incredibly challenging to navigate the fire hose of information — there is a relentless news cycle, push for clicks, and amplification of noise,” Michelle Ciulla Lipkin, head of the National Association for Media Literacy Education, told AFP.

“Now it’s clear Musk sees X not as a reliable information source but just another of his business ventures.”

The chaos stands in sharp contrast to the 2011 Arab uprisings that prompted a surge of optimism in the Middle East about the potential of the platform to spread authentic information, mobilize communities and elevate democratic ideals.

– ‘Break the glass’ –

The breakdown of the site’s basic functionality threatens to impede or disrupt the humanitarian response, experts warn.

Humanitarian organizations have typically relied on such platforms to assess needs, prepare logistical plans and assess whether an area was safe to dispatch first responders. And human rights researchers use social media data to conduct investigations into possible war crimes, said Alessandro Accorsi, a senior analyst at the Crisis Group.

“The flood of misinformation and the limitations that X put in place for access to their API,” which allow third-party developers to gather the social platform’s data, had complicated those efforts, Accorsi told AFP.

X did not respond to AFP’s request for comment.

The company’s chief executive Linda Yaccarino has signaled that the platform was still serious about trust and safety, insisting that users were free to adjust their account settings to enable real-time sharing of information.

But researchers voiced pessimism, saying the site has abandoned efforts to elevate top news sources. Instead, a new ad revenue sharing program with content creators incentivizes extreme content designed to boost engagement, critics say.

Pat de Brun, head of Big Tech Accountability at Amnesty International said X should use every tool available, including deploying so-called “break the glass measures” aimed at dampening the spread of falsehoods and hate-speech.

“Platforms have clear responsibilities under international human rights standards,” he told AFP.

“These responsibilities are heightened in times of crisis and conflict.”

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address

SOCIAL

Adobe Highlights Rising Visual Trends in 2024 Creative Trends Report

Published

on

Adobe Highlights Rising Visual Trends in 2024 Creative Trends Report

Looking for creative inspiration for your 2024 strategic planning?

This will help. Today, Adobe has published its annual Creative Trends Report, which incorporates insights from Adobe’s 30 million+ Creative Cloud users, in order to determine rising visual styles of interest, which look set to resonate with audiences in the new year.

Based on its research, the Adobe team has established four creative trends that are worthy of note:

  • Calming Rhythms – Fluid and flowing forms that soothe the senses and support emotional balance
  • Wonder and Joy – Visuals that inspire a sense of awe, joy, and enchantment
  • Dynamic Dimensions – Where all dimensions and types of content seamlessly merge
  • The New Nostalgia – Contemporary interpretations of vintage styles

Adobe’s 22-page report, which you can download here (with email sign-up), provides more insight into each of these trends, along with various examples, and data that explains why they’re set to gain more momentum.

There are handy notes and insights for each, which help to illustrate how to use them in your process.

Adobe 2024 Creative Trends Report

Interestingly, a lot of the images used by Adobe in the report look like they’ve been created by generative AI. I don’t know that they have, but it is worth noting the composition in this regard, as another potential means to tap into these trends.

Adobe 2024 Creative Trends Report

The report provides some interesting perspective on rising visual trends, which could help in your planning. Maybe one of these resonates especially well with your branding, or aligns with what your target audience has been sharing.

Either way, some additional, data-backed considerations, which could be helpful in your process.

You can download Adobe’s “2024 Creative Trends Report” here.

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

SOCIAL

Elon Musk’s X and Amazon discuss potential collaboration

Published

on

Elon Musk’s X and Amazon discuss potential collaboration

In a significant development in the social media industry, Elon Musk’s social media platform, X, is reportedly engaging in preliminary discussions …

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

SOCIAL

Threads Looks Set to be Made Available to European Users Next Week

Published

on

Threads Looks Set to be Made Available to European Users Next Week

Good news with EU social media fans, with Threads looking set for a December 14th launch in the region, just in time to capitalize on holiday engagement.

As reported by The Verge, EU Instagram users can now access a countdown timer at www.threads.net, which seemingly indicates the exact time for the upcoming EU launch. Meta hasn’t made any official announcement, but the countdown clock is only visible to European users, while EU users can also search ‘ticket’ in the Instagram app to find a digital invitation to Threads.

Which replicates the original Threads launch back in July, which included similar Easter eggs and indicators pointing to the launch date (like the above).

The EU launch of Threads has been delayed by evolving EU data privacy regulations, which, due to the timing of the implementation of these new rules, has put additional development burden on the Threads team to ensure compliance with the new parameters. Amid the initial Threads launch, Instagram (and Threads) chief Adam Mosseri said that it could take “many months” for Threads to reach EU users due to these additional complications.

But we have since seen indicators that Threads is coming.

Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Meta had an established plan to launch Threads to EU users in December, while app researchers have found various references to an upcoming “Threads EU Launch” in the app’s code.

Threads EU launch

Given the various strands of evidence, it does indeed seem likely that European users will get access to the app next week. And again, with social media usage increasing during the holiday break, that would also provide the best opportunity for Meta to capitalize on its opportunities.

Which are seemingly on the rise. As more people turn away from Elon Musk’s X project, largely due to Musk’s own divisive commentary, they’re seeking a real-time social alternative, and for many Threads is already filling that void.

That’s especially true for journalists, a common target of Musk’s attacks, who are now establishing new networks within the Threads ecosphere. And while live sports engagement remains high on X, Threads is also making a push to win over more sports communities, even placing ads courtside during the new NBA in-season tournament showcase in Las Vegas.

Threads NBA ad

That’s seemingly prompting more sports fans to post in the app, which will expand again with the arrival of potentially millions more users in the EU region.

So how many more users can Threads expect to gain as a result of its European expansion?

Based on Meta’s EU disclosure data on active users, Instagram currently serves some 259 million monthly active users in Europe.

Instagram’s total, official user count is 1 billion MAU, while Threads now has over 100 million monthly users. So presumably, around a tenth of active IG users are also signing up to the app, which would mean that, at a rough estimate, we’re set to see around 25.9 million new Threads users incoming, if/when Threads is launched in the EU region.

Which is probably not as many as you might expect, but this is based on rough estimates, as Instagram reportedly has more than a billion actives now, and we don’t know the exact, current user counts of either app.

But either way, it will expand the conversation in the app, and enable more people to take part, which has its own expanded benefits. And with around 60 million X users also in the region, that could see a number of them looking to make the switch.

Which is the real aim here. Meta has created Threads as the X alternative, aiming to scoop up former Twitter cast-offs who are unhappy with Elon’s changes at the app. In order to do that, Threads needs to be available in all regions where X users may be looking to jump ship, so its EU expansion is another critical step in this respect.

It’ll be interesting to see what Threads user numbers rise to over the holiday period, and whether it can indeed become a genuine rival for X in total active engagement.

We’ll keep you updated on any official announcement on the Threads EU launch.



Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

Trending