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Twitter Acquires OpenBack to Improve the Timeliness and Relevance of Push Notifications

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Twitter Acquires OpenBack to Improve the Timeliness and Relevance of Push Notifications


Twitter’s looking to improve the relevance and timeliness of its notifications, while also potentially reducing the impacts of Apple’s ATT update, with the acquisition of Dublin-based app enhancement platform OpenBack, which will provide Twitter with more capacity to customize and personalize its app notifications for every user.

OpenBack’s system utilizes a range of on-device signals and machine learning processes to determine the best time to deliver push notifications to each user.

As per OpenBack:

“OpenBack uses real-time personalization of content without complex backend systems and data synchronizations, meaning you can use any data in your app to segment and personalize messages for each user, on the fly, in real-time, for greater click-through rates.”

OpenBack process overview

Through this, OpenBack says that the app on each users’ individual device ‘controls, updates and tracks’ delivering push notifications and in-app messages at the perfect moment, ‘instead of just receiving push notifications from the cloud’.

That’s important, because it essentially lessens the reliance on iOS and Android systems to deliver notifications, which could reduce the impacts of Apple’s privacy-preserving ATT update.

As per Twitter’s most recent performance update, the platform hasn’t been impacted by Apple’s ATT change as much as other apps, but even so, it’s still working to reduce any impacts where it can. And while switching to an on-device notification process won’t stop people from disconnecting Twitter from data tracking when prompted, it will enable Twitter to better customize its notifications, even if it is shut off, while it’s also another element that Twitter can note in its ATT alerts to users.

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It’ll also help Twitter prompt users with more relevant notifications, at the best time.

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As explained by Jay Sullivan, the Head of Consumer Product at Twitter:

“The best push notifications bring people to the conversations they care about on Twitter. But irrelevant notifications are a distraction. With millions of people visiting Twitter via notifications every day, we want them to be timely, relevant and engaging.

Discovery remains a key bugbear for Twitter, with the platform working for years to improve the discovery process for new users, while new features like Spaces still suffer from exposure challenges.

If Twitter can highlight the best tweet content, at just the right time, and get more people engaged in real-time discussion in the app, that could be a big step in boosting usage, and users, and making Twitter a more essential utility.

If Twitter knows, for example, when you’re more likely to engage, based on past behavior, or what alerts you’re more likely to tap through on, that could be a big step, and OpenBack will help with these elements.

OpenBack’s team will be joining Twitter, and will get to work on updating the app’s notification systems.

Expect to see changes in your tweet alerts soon.  





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Elon Musk’s Team Asks for More Data to Complete Assessment of Twitter Bots

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Elon Musk's Team Asks for More Data to Complete Assessment of Twitter Bots

Okay, let’s just check in on the latest with the Twitter/Elon Musk takeover saga, and where things are placed to close out the week.

According to the latest reports, Musk’s team recently asked Twitter for more tweet info, in order to help it make an accurate assessment of bot activity in the app. This comes after Musk questioned Twitter’s claim that bots and fake accounts make up only 5% of its active user base, and said that his Twitter takeover deal could not go ahead unless Twitter could produce more evidence to support this figure.

Which Twitter did, by providing Musk with access to its ‘full firehose’ of tweets over a given period, which it shared with Musk’s team back on June 8th. Musk’s group has now had that data for a couple of weeks, but this week, it said that this info is not enough to go on, and that it needs even more insight from Twitter to make its judgment.

And after initially resisting calls for more data access, Twitter has now reportedly relented and handed over more tweet data access to Musk’s team.

Which may or may not be a concern, depending on how you see it.

In its initial data dump, Twitter reportedly gave Musk’s team info on:

  • Total user tweets (within a given time period)
  • Data on which devices were used

As noted, Musk’s team says that this has not provided it with the insight that it needs to conduct an accurate analysis of potential bot activity, so Twitter has now provided Musk with more ‘real-time API data’.

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It’s not clear whether that means that Twitter has provided everything that its API systems can provide, but that could mean that Musk’s team can now access:

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  • Real-time info on tweet text and visual elements/attachments
  • Data on retweets, replies, and quote Tweets for each
  • Data on tweet author, mentioned users, tagged locations, hashtag and cashtag symbols, etc
  • Date, time, location, device info

That should satisfy any analytical needs to uncover potential bot trends, and get a better handle on Twitter’s bot problem, though it also means that Musk has all your tweet info – which, again, it’s worth noting, Twitter up till now had been hesitant to provide.

I’m sure it’s fine. Musk’s team is beholden to disclosure laws around such, so it’s not like they can do anything much with that info anyway, in a legal sense. But the idea that the sometimes erratic Elon Musk now has all the tweets could be a little concerning for some.

But Twitter likely had to provide what it can, and if Musk is going to become CEO of the app soon anyway, he’s going to have access to all of that data either way.

But still, given Musk and Co’s past history of undermining and attacking critics, sacking trouble maker employees and digging up potential dirt on rivals, it sits a little uneasy.

Should be fine. No problems – no need to go deleting all your DMs (which are likely not included in the data that Twitter has provided at this stage).

According to reports, Musk’s team says that it now has the info it needs to make its assessment of bot activity, which should see the deal move forward (or not) sometime soon.

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Of course, no one knows what exactly is going to happen next, and whether Musk’s team will look to renegotiate, or even back out of the deal entirely as a result of its bot analysis. But it does seem like, one way or another, Musk will be forced to go ahead with the $44 billion transaction, with Twitter’s past bot reporting methodology already accepted by the SEC, giving it legal grounding to argue that it’s acted in good faith, regardless of what Musk’s team finds.

The next steps then, according to Musk, would be securing debt financing and gaining Twitter shareholder approval, clearing the last hurdles for Musk to change the app’s name to ‘Telsla Social’, and add a million references to ‘420’ into the platforms various terms and conditions.

Because of the memes, because weed jokes are still funny to the richest man in the world – because he vacillates between inspired genius and a massive nerd who now gets to play out some fantasy of being cool.

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Or something. Who knows what goes on in Elon Musk’s head – which is also why most are hesitant to bet against him, as nobody knows if and how he might be able to fix Twitter, and whether this is a great investment or a massive disaster.

It seems like we may soon find out. Maybe. Who knows. Either way, the memes should be great.



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