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Op-Ed: Twitter suppression revelations and America’s war against itself, The Wonder Decades

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Rise in searches for 'how to delete Twitter' in the Musk era

Image: — © AFP Jung Yeon-je

In the broad context, America, the most highly medicated, heavily armed, and financially encumbered nation on Earth, has now been at war with itself for about 15 years. This war has now gone on much longer than the actual Civil War. Nobody is winning, particularly America or Americans. Things have got much worse.  

Now, apparently, it’s time for a retrospective. Twitter has released information indicating that the former management of Twitter engaged in the active suppression of right-wing activists. This is according to News Corp, that famously unbiased source of news and fashion tips for the dead.

Twitter’s former management denied doing so, but it seems at face value, subject to confirmation, that they did. (Sorry, a few screenshots don’t qualify as court-standard evidence.) Things get weird fast enough on Twitter, and some actual scrutiny is required. I’ll even take Musk’s commentary at face value, but this is an extremely odd case in more ways than the obvious.

A bit of background – Depth perception

Twitter is a reliable indicator of the sheer lack of depth and depth perception in US politics. If you search the term “Woke” on Twitter and browse for a bit, you get a pretty high dose of this anti-woke stuff, more spin on subjects the writers can barely spell. “Woke” originally meant “justice”, a word also seen in the Pledge of Allegiance, and basic law, but who cares about that? Any degree of depth is dangerously like knowing what you’re talking about.

There’s a long history to synopsize here. Since at least 2007, before Obama, disinformation has been in the spin cycle. It goes around a lot and does nothing useful. In short, the spin is now and always about the spin, and in this Twitter case, ancient spin. Nor as usual is there any depth perception.

This case will be all about suppression in the headlines, but not in context with anything else. Nobody will talk about FOX and others shouting down and suppressing all counter-commentary for all these years.

Anything that distracts from the present is usually pretty good market content in America. The present isn’t very nice. The words “failed state” won’t go away. Unresolved issues include education, crime, health, rights, homelessness, and so on, in a sort of never-ending elegy of obscenities. Most of Gen Z wasn’t even in grade school when these massive crises hit.

These aren’t even issues in US politics. The big deal will be about suppression. So Twitter, as the true incarnate form of the short attention span of US politics, is an archive of the issues of the past, as well as the place for the “national reflux” of the present. Twitter is the perfect place to talk about Twitter, things that happened years ago, and anything but issues.

If you want to bring up the past, (you might not) Twitter is a strange montage of right-wing has-beens, too:

  • Breitbart
  • Cambridge Analytica
  • QAnon
  • Alex Jones
  • Gamergate and various hate campaigns against anyone and everyone
  • MAGA
  • Various nonentities like the legions of failed GOP candidates, etc.

Suppression; the other side of the sewer

There’s a point that needs making here in context with suppression. None of these ex-somebodies, never-somebodies and ex-issues were “suppressed” as such.  They ranted and raved freely. They all obliterated themselves in a sort of blaze of self-destruction and self-obsolescence.

As media marketing, (which is what politics is, for those wondering), it’s like a Golden Oldies chart for some senile Billboard retro history. Maybe my list is selective, but they all have that “expiry factor” in common. They came and went like old cars.

That’s what will happen with the current cases of rabies, too. Any website, particularly social media, can restrict anyone through terms of service. That’s standard practice. Exactly why Twitter denied it was doing so is highly questionable.

Stranger still – If they wanted to endear themselves to the other side of politics, they could have done so easily without triggering First Amendment issues. Why not?

The provision of a service subject to terms of service is 100% unambiguous. Otherwise, you just don’t get that service, and that’s the whole story. You don’t go to your local dry cleaner and expect service while acting like a homicidal maniac to other customers, either.

So why is the former Twitter management in this weird position? They were perfectly within their rights to block whoever they wanted through TOS. It does not, and cannot, make sense, that they didn’t do it on that basis.

I do not “revere” the former regime. I only started getting notifications about my Twitter hits a few days ago after years on the site, and I’m on the other side of politics. What’s to admire?

I don’t begin to believe the Twitter pre-takeover balance sheet numbers, either. I also can’t believe that “we’re not doing what we were doing for years” as public policy for all that time adds much to their credibility.

There’s definitely a case to answer. The trouble is that like most things in US politics, the simple answer, not the correct answer, will get the coverage.

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Disclaimer
The opinions expressed in this Op-Ed are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Digital Journal or its members.

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4 new social media features you need to know about this week

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New social media features to know this week


Social media never stands still. Every week there are new features — and it’s hard for the busy comms pro to stay up-to-date on it all.

We’ve got you covered.

Here’s what you need to know about this week.

LinkedIn

Social media sleuth Matt Navarra reported on Twitter that LinkedIn will soon make the newsletters you subscribe to through the site visible to other users.

This should aid newsletter discovery by adding in an element of social proof: if it’s good enough for this person I like and respect, it’s good enough for me. It also might be anopportunity to get your toe in the water with LinkedIn’s newsletter features.

Instagram

After admitting they went a little crazy on Reels and ignored their bread and butter of photographs, Instagram continues to refine its platform and algorithm. Although there were big changes over the last few weeks, these newer changes are subtler but still significant.

 

 

First, the animated avatars will be more prominent on profiles. Users can now choose to flip between the cartoony, waving avatar and their more traditional profile picture, rather than picking one or the other, TechCrunch reported, seemingly part of a push to incorporate metaverse-esque elements into the app.

Instagram also appears to have added an option to include a lead form on business profiles. We say “appears” because, as Social Media Today reports, the feature is not yet listed as an official feature, though it has rolled out broadly.

The feature will allow businesses to use standard forms or customize their own, including multiple choice questions or short answer.

Twitter

In the chaotic world of Twitter updates, this week is fairly staid — with a useful feature for advertisers.

The platform will roll out the ability to promote tweets among search results. As Twitter’s announcement points out, someone actively searching for a term could signal stronger intent than someone merely passively scrolling a feed.

Which of these new features are you most interested in? That LinkedIn newsletter tool could be great for spreading the word — and for discovering new reads.

Allison Carter is executive editor of PR Daily. Follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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Twitter Tests Expanded Emoji Reaction Options in DMs

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Twitter Tests Expanded Emoji Reaction Options in DMs

Twitter’s looking to give users a broader set of emoji reactions for their DMs, while also, potentially, enabling personalization of your quick reactions display in the app.

As you can see in these mock-ups, shared by Twitter designer Andrea Conway, Twitter’s testing a new search option within the reaction pop-up in DMs which would enable you to use any other emoji as a reaction to a message.

An extension of this would also be the capacity to update the reactions that are immediately displayed to whatever you choose.

Twitter DM reactions

It’s not a game-changer by any means, but it could provide more ways to interact via DMs, and with more interactions switching to messaging, and more private exchanges, it could be a way for Twitter to better lean into this trend, and facilitate a broader array of response options in-stream.

Twitter’s working on a range of updates as it looks to drive more engagement and usage, including tweet view counts, updated Bookmarks, a new ‘For You’ algorithm, and more. Elon Musk has said that he can envision Twitter reaching a billion users per month by next year, but for that to happen, the platform needs to update its systems to show people more of what they like, and keep them coming back – which is what all of these smaller updates, ideally, build to in a broader approach.

But that’s a pretty steep hill to climb.

Last week, Twitter reported that it’s now up to 253 million daily active users, an increase on the 238 million that it reported in July last year. Daily and monthly active usage is not directly comparable, of course, but when Twitter was reporting monthly actives, its peak was around 330 million, back in 2019.

Twitter MAU chart

As noted in the chart, Twitter switched from reporting monthly active users to daily actives in 2019, but looking at the two measurements, it’s hard to imagine that Twitter’s monthly active usage is any more than 100m over its current DAU stats.

That means that Twitter has likely never reached more than 350 million active users – yet Musk believes that he can best that by close to 200% in a matter of months.

Seems unlikely – even at current growth rates since Musk took over at the app, Twitter would only be looking at around 500 million users, optimistically, by the end of 2024.

If it can maintain that. More recent insight from Twitter has suggested that user activity has declined since those early post-Musk purchase highs – but maybe, through a range of updates and tweaks, there could be a way for Musk and Co. to maximize usage growth, beyond what seems possible, based on the stats.

We’ll find out, and as it pushes for that next level, you can expect to see more updates and tweaks like this, with enhanced engagement in mind.  



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Tarte Influencer Marketing Criticized 01/31/2023

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Tarte Influencer Marketing Criticized 01/31/2023

With consumers obsessed over the price of a dozen eggs, could conspicuous consumption-driven influencer marketing falling out of favor? That is the question brands might be considering after the
backlash that cosmetics brand Tarte is receiving after a sponsored trip to Dubai. “Influencers were called out for appearing not …

Read the whole story at Marketing Brew »



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