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Russia’s anti-war lobby goes online

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After hundreds of arrests at the first anti-war demos in Russia, the movement has gone online


After hundreds of arrests at the first anti-war demos in Russia, the movement has gone online – Copyright AFP Hoang Sa

maxime Popov and Anna Smolchenko

The head of Russia’s state-run RT television is in no doubt. If fellow citizens oppose President Vladimir Putin’s action in Ukraine then they are no longer Russians.

Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the English language international news network, is never one to mince her words and is used to making cutting remarks on Twitter in defence of Putin who she refers to simply as “leader”.

“If you are ashamed of being Russian now, don’t worry, you are not Russian,” was her summation of the anti-war movement at home.

Several thousand Russians demonstrated against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but the police reaction was the usual one when it comes to Kremlin critics: hundreds of arrests.

So the anti-war movement has moved online, where it is beginning to make itself heard and to garner support, some of it high-profile.

Ukrainian flags adorn profile pictures and teary-eyed emojis are scattered liberally among the online statements. The hashtag #NoToTheWar was trending on Twitter on Saturday.

Since early Thursday, when the invasion of Ukraine began, various Russian celebrities, journalists and bloggers have expressed their horror and helplessness, pleading for an immediate end to the war.

The popular video blogger and documentary filmmaker Yuri Dud saw one of his online posts get a million “likes”.

“I write these words for a reason. When my children grow up and discover this moment in history… and ask me ‘Dad, what did you do?’, I want to have written proof that I did not choose this regime and did not support its imperialist rage,” he wrote.

– ‘This must be stopped!’ –

Elena Chernenko, a journalist with the Kommersant daily, said she was excluded from the pool of journalists covering Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov because she started an anti-war petition among her colleagues.

An open letter from the arts and cultural fields on Saturday had the support of more than 2,000 actors, directors and other creative figures.

They dismissed Putin’s argument that the invasion is a “peacekeeping” operation to save Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine.

“Forcing peace through the use of force is absurd,” the letter said.

Just as many doctors, nurses and paramedics have signed their own online missive.

“No matter how you seek to justify the use of lethal weapons, they are still lethal,” they wrote.

And an anti-war petition on the change.org website has gathered more than 750,000 signatures in two days.

Among the celebrities making their voices heard, including regulars on loyal public television, is popular singer Valery Meladze.

“This must be stopped!” was her message on Instagram on the first day of the invasion.

– ‘Shame added to suffering’ –

Dmitry Muratov, the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and editor-in-chief of the opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta, expressed his shame in an online video.

“We are suffering,” said Muratov. “Our country, on the orders of President Putin, has started a war against Ukraine. And nobody can stop it. Therefore, to our suffering is added shame.”

In a highly symbolic move, the founders of the “Immortal Regiment”, an organisation dear to the Kremlin because it is responsible for preserving the memory of the dead of the Second World War, called on the Putin “to cease fire”, describing the use of force as “inhuman”.

Moscow’s Garage museum of contemporary art, founded by Kremlin-linked oligarch and Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, announced it would close on Saturday, refusing to “maintain the illusion of normality”.

Also two communist MPs who voted for the recognition of the independence of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, have denounced the invasion of Russia’s neighbour.

“I voted for peace, not for war. I voted for Russia to be a shield (for the separatists… not for Kiev to be bombed,” wrote MP Mikhail Matveyev.

Addressing the celebrities and “thousands and thousands” of anonymous Russians denouncing the invasion,  Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked them and asked them to stop those who “lie to the whole world”.

Putin has described Zelensky and his government as “terrorists” and “a gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis”, urging the country’s military to topple him.



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17 Content Options for Each Stage of the Sales Journey [Infographic]

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17 Content Options for Each Stage of the Sales Journey [Infographic]

Looking to formulate a better content strategy for 2023?

This will help – the team from Orbit Media has put together a listing of 17 content formats, and where they fit within the sales funnel which could provide some inspiration for your planning.

There are some good pointers here, with specific approaches that you can take at each stage of the journey.

Check out the full listing below – while you can read more on the Orbit Media website.

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Meta Soars by Most in Decade, Adding $100 Billion in Value

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Meta Soars by Most in Decade, Adding $100 Billion in Value

Correction: February 2, 2023 This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: An earlier version of this article misstated how much Meta expected to spend on its deal with the virtual reality start-up Within. It is $400 million, not $400 billion. Meta’s stock surged on Thursday …

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Twitter’s Cancelling Free Access to its API, Which Will Shut Down Hundreds of Apps

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Twitter’s Cancelling Free Access to its API, Which Will Shut Down Hundreds of Apps

Well, this is certainly problematic.

Twitter has announced that, as of February 9th, it’s cutting off free access to its API, which is the access point that many, many apps, bot accounts, and other tools use to function.

That means that a heap of Twitter analytics apps, management tools, schedulers, automated updates – a range of key info and insight options will soon cease to function. Which seems like the sort of thing that, if you were Twitter, you’d want to keep on your app.

But that’s not really how Twitter 2.0 is looking to operate – in a bid to rake in as much revenue as absolutely possible, in any way that it can, Twitter will now look to charge all of these apps and tools. But most, I’d hazard a guess, will simply cease to function.

The bigger business apps already pay for full API access – your Hootsuite’s and your Sprout Social’s – so they’ll likely be unaffected. But it could stop them from offering free plans, which would have a big impact on their business models.

The announcement follows Twitter’s recent API change which cut off a heap of Twitter posting tools, in order, seemingly, to stop users accessing the platform through a third-party UI. 

Now, even more Twitter tools will go extinct, a broad spread of apps and functions that contribute to the real-time ecosystem that Twitter has become. Their loss, if that’s what happens, will have big impacts on overall Twitter activity.

On the other hand, some will see this as another element in Twitter’s crackdown on bots, which Twitter chief Elon Musk has made a personal mission to eradicate. Musk has taken some drastic measures to kill off bots, some of which are having an impact, but Musk himself has also admitted that such efforts are reducing overall platform engagement

This, too, could be a killer in this respect

It’ll also open the door to Twitter competitors, as many automated update apps will switch to other platforms. This relates to things like updates on downtime from video games, weather apps, and more. There are also tools like GIF generators and auto responders – there’s a range of tools that could now look for a new home on Mastodon, or some other Twitter replicant. 

In this respect, it seems like a flawed move, which is also largely ignorant of how the developer community has facilitated Twitter’s growth. 

But Elon and Co. are going to do things their own way, whether outside commentators agree or not – and maybe this is actually a path to gaining new Twitter data customers, and boosting the company’s income. 

But I doubt it.

If there are any third-party Twitter apps that you use, it’ll be worth checking in to see if they’re impacted before next week.



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