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Timeline: Twitter mayhem since Musk takeover

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Twitter turmoil, staff exodus aggravate security concerns

The Twitter Headquarters in San Francisco, California. – © AFP Hector RETAMAL

Since buying Twitter, Elon Musk has made radical changes that have sparked fears for the future of the platform, from firing half the staff to restoring ex-president Donald Trump’s account and temporarily suspending those of several journalists.

After Twitter users voted on Monday to oust Musk, AFP looks back at a rollercoaster two months at the Silicon Valley giant.

A series of radical changes for Twitter since he bought the platform has culminated in users voting for Musk’s removal as CEO – Copyright AFP Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV

– Enter Elon –

Musk, the world’s second-richest richest man and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, buys Twitter in late October for $44 billion after months of on-off negotiations.

“Let the good times roll,” he tweets after the deal is sealed on October 28. He becomes the sole director of the company after dissolving its corporate board.

– ‘Content moderation council’ –

In one of his first moves, the self-declared free speech absolutist announces he will form a “content moderation council”, in a nod to concerns that Twitter could become a free-for-all platform for disinformation and hate speech.

– Monthly charge –

On November 1, Musk announces the site will charge $8 per month to verify the accounts of celebrities and companies — a service that used to be free. But the November 6 launch of the Twitter Blue subscription plan goes awry. Musk is forced to suspend the move after an embarrassing rash of fake accounts alarm advertisers.

– Brands step back –

Top global companies, including General Mills and Volkswagen, suspend their advertising on Twitter on November 3 as they monitor the new direction the company will take.

– Massive layoffs –

On November 4, half of Twitter’s 7,500-strong staff are made redundant, sending shockwaves through Silicon Valley.

Musk tweets that “unfortunately there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day”.

– Regulator’s ‘concern’-

The chaos draws a rare warning on November 10 from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the US authority that oversees consumer safety.

“We are tracking recent developments at Twitter with deep concern,” says an FTC spokesperson.

– Ultimatum to staff –

Musk delivers an ultimatum to Twitter staff on November 16, asking them to choose between being “extremely hardcore” and working long hours, or losing their jobs. He gives them a day to decide.

Large numbers of staff quit.

– Trump reinstated –

Musk reinstates the account of banned former president Donald Trump after conducting a poll of users, a narrow majority of whom support the move.

A few days later he announces an “amnesty” for all banned Twitter accounts.

– Covid controversy  –

In late November, Twitter says it is no longer enforcing a policy of combatting Covid-19 disinformation. Musk had fiercely opposed Covid restrictions.

– Kanye suspended –

Musk revises his promises of unfettered free speech after rapper Kanye West tweets a picture that appears to show a swastika interlaced with a Star of David. His account is suspended for “incitement to violence”.

– Twitter Blue take two –

In mid-December Musk relaunches Twitter Blue. This time, Twitter conducts a review of the account before giving it the coveted blue check mark.

– Journalists suspended, then reinstated –

On December 15, Twitter suspends the accounts of more than a half-dozen journalists, including reporters from CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.

Musk accuses them of endangering his family through their reporting on Twitter’s shutdown of an account that tracked flights of his private jet.

The EU threatens to sanction the company.

On December 17 some of the accounts are reactivated.

– Vote to oust Musk –

On December 19, Twitter users vote by 57.5 percent to oust Musk as CEO in a poll he organized and promised to honour.

Musk has not yet responded.

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YouTube Will Now Enable Brands to Buy Specific Time Slots Around Major Events for Masthead Ads

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YouTube Will Now Enable Brands to Buy Specific Time Slots Around Major Events for Masthead Ads

YouTube has added a new time targeting element to its Masthead Ads, which will enable brands to display their promotions in key times leading up to key events.

As explained by YouTube:

In a time of multiple screens and countless ways to stay entertained, it can be challenging to get your audience’s attention. But even with so much content available at any time, people are drawn to moments they can experience together: a new movie release, a big game, a product launch, a holiday. And these are key opportunities to connect with a brand. Marketers, you know this well: you center advertising campaigns around the tentpole moments most likely to inspire your audience, shift perceptions or influence a purchase decision.”

YouTube’s Cost-Per-Hour Masthead enables brands to own the most prominent placement in the app during the hour(s) leading up to, during or after priority moments.

For example:

“[During the recent World Cup], McDonald’s Brazil turned to the YouTube Cost-Per-Hour Masthead. Their strategy was savvy: reach anyone in Brazil who was watching YouTube an hour before the Brazil vs. Cameroon match and remind them to pick up McDonald’s before the game started. This perfectly timed execution delivered tens of millions of impressions at the very moment fans were preparing for the match.

It could be a good way to hook into key moments, and build momentum for your campaigns, while also establishing association with key events and subjects.

“Just a few weeks ago, Xiaomi, the leading smartphone manufacturer in India, prepared to launch their highly anticipated Redmi Note 12 series via YouTube livestream. To drive viewership, Xiaomi ran the Cost-Per-Hour Masthead during the event. Not only did this activation drive scaled awareness, it led to over 90,000 concurrent livestream views. The Redmi Note 12 went on to generate a record number of first-week sales, making it one of their most successful launches to date.

It’s an expansive, but potentially significant targeting option, which could hold appeal for big brands looking to make a big splash around major events and releases.

You can learn more about YouTube’s Cost-Per-Hour Masthead process here.

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'Astonishing' New Cognitive Research Shows Gaining Knowledge, Learning New Skills, and Achieving Mastery Comes Down to the Rule of 7

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'Astonishing' New Cognitive Research Shows Gaining Knowledge, Learning New Skills, and Achieving Mastery Comes Down to the Rule of 7

While talent matters, the good news is we all learn at basically the same rate–and can “learn anything we want.” Think you don’t have the talent for entrepreneurship? For leadership? For programming, for design… for whatever pursuit you may want to, um, pursue? According to HubSpot co-founder …

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How to Successfully Use Social Media: A Small Business Guide for Beginners [Infographic]

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How to Successfully Use Social Media: A Small Business Guide for Beginners [Infographic]

Are you a small business owner or marketing manager, just getting started on building your social media strategy? Need to learn the basics before launching your first social media campaign?

In this infographic, Sprout Social shares social media tips broken down as follows:

  • Who uses social media?
  • What does social media do for you?
  • Define your goals
  • Targeting your audience
  • Choosing a platform
  • Social media metrics

Check out the infographic below to learn more.

How to Successfully Use Social Media: A Small Business Guide for Beginners

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