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Social networks pledge to fight fake news in Brazil vote

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French anti-discrimination groups brought a case against Twitter over what they see as a longstanding failure to properly moderate posts


Image: © AFP/File Charly TRIBALLEAU

Eight leading social networks signed an agreement Tuesday to fight disinformation during Brazil’s October presidential elections, though far-right President Jair Bolsonaro’s new favorite, Telegram, was notably absent.

Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, WhatsApp, Google, Instagram, YouTube and Kwai all signed the deal with Brazil’s Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE) pledging to work with electoral authorities and their users to root out deliberately false information.

“This is an important moment in Brazilian life and the life of our democracy. We are all devoted to preserving an environment of free debate, within the minimal limits of civility,” said TSE president Luis Roberto Barroso at the signing ceremony.

“We are here to push fake news, disinformation and conspiracy theories to the margins of history.”

The TSE tried to contact Telegram to join the accord, but did not receive a response, the court told AFP.

Bolsonaro, who faces numerous accusations of using fake news as a political weapon, has recently turned to Telegram as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have acted to stop him from spreading disinformation on their platforms.

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A small plane carries a banner that reads “Twitter shuts you up? Come to GETTR and talk”, in promotion of the US social media company targeted to conservative voters founded by Jason Miller, a former Donal Trump aide and spokesman, during a demonstration in support of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on September 7, 2021 – Copyright ANP/AFP/File Evert Elzinga

However, Telegram faces scrutiny from Brazilian authorities over accusations it has failed to cooperate with efforts to stop the spread of harmful disinformation.

Barroso said recently the platform may need to be suspended before the elections.

The October vote is expected to pit Bolsonaro against leftist ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who currently has a large lead in the polls.

Bolsonaro relied heavily on social networks during the 2018 election campaign, which was rife with fake news, and continues to use them to fire up his hardline base.



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Snapchat Launches Snapchat+ Service in India, at a Significantly Lower Price Point

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Snapchat Officially Launches its New 'Snapchat+' Subscription Program

This is one way to boost your ‘average revenue per user’ stats.

A month after launching its new Snapchat+ subscription offering to users in predominantly western markets, Snap is now also making the option available in India – though at a much lower price point than the initial push.

Snapchat+, which offers exclusive access to new and experimental features, including alternative icons, profile badges, additional analytics and also a desktop version of the app, is available to users in the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, and UAE for $US3.99 per month (or local equivalent).

But in India, Snapchat+ will be launched at a starting price of 49 – which converts to around $US0.62.

That seems like a fairly big discount, and according to reports, Snapchat+ in India will offer access to all the same features and tools that the general offering has.

So why so cheap?

Well, for one, it’s a different market, and Snap needs to price its offerings in line with the local economy. Snapchat+ also doesn’t cost Snap anything to produce, as such, as there are no production costs built in (other than system maintenance), so it has the flexibility offer variable price points, if it so chooses.

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And as noted, it could crucially be a way for Snap to enhance its revenue per user stats, which, right now, reflect its strong reliance on the North American market for revenue.

Snapchat Q2 2022

If Snap can even that out, and show how it can become a more important, valuable platform in other markets, and make money from its presence, that could help to improve its market standing, while also bringing in additional revenue – which would also be income that’s not reliant on ad spend. And like all social apps, Snap’s ad revenue has taken a hit due to Apple’s ATT update.

It seems like a logical and sensible approach, helping to make the app more sticky with Indian users, and ideally, increasing adoption and revenue intake in another key region.

Snap has seen significant growth in India since it upgraded its Android app back in 2019. Android is by far the most popular OS in the Indian market, and as local connectivity and tech continues to evolve, that’s also opened the door for Snapchat to establish a bigger local presence, while the banning of TikTok in 2020 also pushed Indian users to find alternatives, further enhancing Snap’s appeal.

Indeed, Snapchat is now reportedly up to 144 million daily actives in the Indian market, overtaking the US (108m) as its top country by user adoption – so while it’s not the highest earning region for the company, it is now, arguably, the most important, which is why the expansion of Snapchat+ makes sense.

And while western users may be annoyed that they have to pay more for these features, it could be a clever push by Snap, which could end up paying off big time for the app.  

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