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Twitter Expands Community Notes to More Regions

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Twitter Expands Display of Community Notes, Flags Coming Improvements

Twitter continues to expand its Community Notes feature, which Twitter chief Elon Musk believes will be a key element in establishing the platform’s new ‘Trust as a Service’ approach, and see Twitter become a more critical provider of truth in news and information.

Which is a noble aim, but how that actually plays out remains to be seen.

The latest expansion sees Community Notes moving abroad, with users in more regions now able to apply to add notes to contextual notes and reference links to questionable claims in tweets.

As per the announcement, selected users in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand will now be admitted into the Community Notes program, which will greatly expand the amount of local knowledge and input feeding into the Notes system.

Twitter’s been working to build Community Notes (formerly ‘Birdwatch’) into a form of crowd-sourced fact-checking, as a means to both reduce its internal obligations in moderating content, and to empower Twitter users themselves to decide what’s acceptable and what’s not in the app.

Approved Notes contributors are able to add contextual explainers that are then appended to tweets, with all Twitter users then able to rate notes as helpful or not, thus influencing the trustworthiness of the Note creator (and their capacity to continue adding Notes). 

Which is a good experiment, though whether it’s a scalable replacement for actual, human fact-checkers and moderators is another question altogether.

Elon is pushing hard to make Community Notes a thing – which makes sense given that he’s also cut thousands of moderators as part of his cost-reduction measures.

But one of the key concerns with Community Notes is that they could potentially over-simplify complex issues, with notes that may seem right, but don’t really tell the full story.

Which is a broader problem with modern web culture. If you can explain something with a simple meme, it quickly spreads as a fact, when the world’s most divisive and challenging issues are actually far more complex than a screenshot of a cowboy telling it how it is.

Take, for example, this Community Note that Elon himself retweeted.

This is correct, egg prices are up due to avian flu – but also due to increasing costs of production, as well as higher demand. But does that justify a corporation upping its prices, and raking in more profit? They do this because they can – why would they eat the price rises from suppliers if they don’t have to – but in essence, both aspects are true, egg prices are higher because of avian flu AND corporate greed.

But that type of nuance could be restricted by a more simplified Notes system, which could then see misleading claims amplified, as opponents try to dunk on each other’s tweets.

And if you then apply the same process to even bigger issues, like, say, climate change, for which there are many complex elements, what then? What about vaccine take-up – it’s possible that you could disprove one element with a simple Note, while skipping over several other influential factors or points?

Definitely, giving users reason to pause on any potentially false claims is a positive. But when you also feel a need to make qualifying statements like this:

That seems a little concerning.

Either way, Elon sees Community Notes as part of his broader mission to make Twitter the source of truth, as ruled by, and for the people, whether that’s actually true or not.

As outlined in a recent overview by The Rabbit Hole, which Musk shared:

“To succeed as a [Trust as a Service provider], New Twitter must act as a defiant force by resisting pressure from Legacy Media to stifle conversations on its platform and by empowering citizen journalism in order to displace the role of old oligarchies in trust brokering.”

Community Notes is part of the ‘citizen journalism’ push, but as with most of Elon’s statements on this front, this also vastly overrates the perceived influence of outside forces in general media coverage, which people in positions of power, like Musk, can then use to imbue distrust, and dismiss any information that they find inconvenient.

But that’s, apparently, the mission. Which, given Twitter has lost 40% of ad revenue, and is potentially on track for bankruptcy, isn’t looking great. But maybe, through the added capacity of fact-checks via Community Notes – for which Twitter is developing a more robust solution for vetting and approving contributors – that could end up lessening the impact of false claims, while saving Twitter money in the process. 

But it feels risky to put so much reliance on it so quickly.

Twitter says that it will add new Community Notes contributors in batches, as it looks to grow the contributor base by 10% per week for the immediate future.



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Elon Musk Says That Twitter Will Continue to Offer Free API Access to Good Bot Accounts

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

It’s honestly difficult to make any assessment of Elon Musk’s time in charge of Twitter as yet, because while he has made some bad decisions, he’s also reversed course on most of them, and while he continues to try things that seemingly have no chance of working out, he’s also not taking past precedent as definitive.

Which is maybe a good thing?

In the latest example of Musk’s shoot first, ask questions later management style, Elon has seemingly reversed the unpopular decision to charge for all usage of Twitter’s API, at least in some applications

As per Elon’s tweet, Twitter will continue to allow ‘bots providing good content’ to access Twitter’s API for free, which looked set to be one of the key losses of Twitter’s recent decision to paywall all API access.

Though much of the angst in this case came down to poor communication – last week, Twitter announced that, starting February 9th, it would be cutting off free access to its API, which is the key connector that many third party apps and Twitter’s bots use to function.

That triggered a strong response from the developer community, though a day later, Elon further explained that:

This wasn’t an official announcement, nor was it communicated via the Twitter Developers account. This was Elon, in an exchange with another user, randomly providing valuable context that would have avoided much of the angst and concern that came with the original Twitter Dev statement.

Now, the bigger question is whether $100 is any disincentive to spammers, who likely make way more than that from bot activity. But regardless, $100 is likely affordable for most of the third-party apps which looked set to lose the most from this update in policy, so it’s actually nowhere near as bad as the first announcement seemed.

It’s just bad communication, and given that Twitter no longer has a comms department, that makes sense.

But it’s also the perfect microcosm of the Elon experience, which he both benefits and suffers from, though maybe not in equal measure.

The key thing to note is that Elon loves attention. His one undisputable skill is that he knows how to make headlines, how to get people looking his way, which is why his main money maker, Tesla, has never needed a comms department either. They just let Elon say whatever he likes, good or bad, and the press comes running – and in this respect, you can see how his approach to such announcements at Twitter actually helps them get wider coverage and awareness, as opposed to them being outlined through regular channels.

But is that a good thing? Getting the developer community offside seems like unnecessary collateral damage, while the negativity this creates also seems less conducive to functional working arrangements with external partners and suppliers.

It seems like that could be harmful for his companies, long term – but then again, the more transparent nature of such, and his willingness to change course in a responsive way, could also be beneficial. Maybe?

Essentially, what we’re getting with Twitter 2.0 is a window into Elon Musk’s ‘hardcore’ management style, which is not entirely reliant on internal debate and decision-making, and also takes into account audience response, and factors that into its process.

Which is actually, probably, better, at least in some ways. I mean, Twitter, in times past, took months, even years to gain any traction on updates, before rolling them out, then it was forced to stick with them, even if they were unpopular, due to the amount of time invested.

With 70% fewer staff, Musk doesn’t have that luxury, but he has repeatedly shown a willingness to listen to the case for and against each update, and shift tack accordingly.

So while he has made some bad decisions, and will continue to do so, Twitter is moving fast. It’s breaking things too, but it’s still running, and Musk seems confident that he can convert it into a revenue positive business sometime soon.

And now, your weather bots, your system updates, your automated accounts that let you know what you want via tweet, will continue to operate. Unless Elon changes his mind again.



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The Drum | What Does The Growth Of Little Red Book Mean For Post-pandemic China?

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The Drum | What Does The Growth Of Little Red Book Mean For Post-pandemic China?

The shopping app proves that consumer confidence and community are key to a thriving business post-Covid, writes Michaela Zhu of Emerging Communications.

Little Red Book, aka Xiaohongshu, or more simply ‘Red’, is a leading Chinese social shopping app. With over 300 million users (and counting), western brands are taking notice – and with good reason.

Little Red Book first appeared in 2013. From modest beginnings focussing on female beauty products, the app expanded to help all kinds of global brands connect with Chinese consumers. Whether it’s holiday inspiration, university choices or luxury fashion, Little Red Book is now the go-to app for lifestyle content and shopping.

With a unique mix of social sharing, long-form articles, live-streaming and e-commerce, it’s a vital part of the Chinese social media landscape. What’s more: Little Red Book is the place for interacting with Chinese gen Z and millennial audiences. In July 2022, nearly 30% of Little Red Book’s active users were under 24 years. Another 40% of users fall into the 25-35 age bracket.

Discover how Little Red Book has transformed over the last few years, key trends, and how to integrate them into your China digital strategy.

How Little Red Book is changing post-Covid China

By 2019, Little Red Book attracted over 200 million users. Fast forward nearly four years, and the platform has maintained its grip on affluent Chinese consumers. It’s one of the few social media platforms where growth still exceeds 30% year-on-year. Little Red Book is here to stay, and in a big way.

This user growth has brought significant changes in content, especially as Chinese consumers adapt to post-pandemic life. Gone are the days when Little Red Book catered exclusively to beauty and fashion niches. Instead, people use the platform to make significant life decisions as well as day-to-day purchases. With content on entering high school, getting married and buying property (to name just a few), you’ll find almost every aspect of daily life up for discussion.

While the relaxing of Covid restrictions has brought drastic changes alongside feelings of liberation, there’s understandable uncertainty among Chinese Gen Z. Long-term lockdown life caused younger generations to pay close attention to their immediate environment. There’s a focus on simplifying their lives and recycling items, as well as yearning for distant places and global cuisines.

A related trend for Little Red Book is the growing Chinese travel industry. Unsurprisingly, the recent easing of travel restrictions resulted in a travel bonanza. For example, two billion trips are expected during this Lunar New Year period. These figures are nearly double the previous year’s and represent a 70% recovery on 2019 levels.

China branding: two essential trends

For content marketing in China, there are two major Little Red Book trends that any marketer needs to know. These are the recent surge in travel-related content and the shift toward new minimalism and ‘rational consumption’.

1. Exploring opportunities for the travel sector

With China’s international borders reopening, travel is no longer a far-away dream. Many Chinese visited their nation’s most popular cities during the pandemic years. Others opted for secluded opulence, spawning the growth of glamping as a trend. Indeed, this luxury camping culture saw ‘glamping’ searches on Little Red book increase by 746% during 2022.

In 2023, foreign countries are also a possibility. As a result, nearby destinations such as Tibet and Southeast Asia predict a strong rebound in the coming months.

Global brands such as Marriott Bonvoy are already capitalizing on these trends, hitting the mark with their China marketing campaigns. For instance, the 2021 Power of Travel campaign used 10 Chinese key opinion leaders to show how travel inspired their lives.

With influencers including Chinese gen Z creatives, families and business executives – the brand showed their relevance to the China market as well as inspiration for rediscovering ourselves through post-Covid travel.

2. Embracing minimalist and rational consumption

In the aftermath of an unprecedented pandemic and global economic downturns, people all over the world are simplifying and streamlining their daily lives.

China is no different, and its younger population has particularly embraced a minimalist mindset. This doesn’t mean stopping purchases completely, but instead shows a shift towards ‘rational consumption’.

Young people are especially shunning impulse purchase decisions, resulting in a decline in ‘hard selling’ and live broadcast sales events. This trend has worked in Little Red Book’s favor due to the platform’s focus on in-depth consumer reviews and trusted user-generated content. Put simply, it’s all about building confidence and community before purchases take place.

For more in-depth insights into Chinese social media trends, download our guide to getting started with Little Red Book.

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8 Core Disciplines for a Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy [Infographic]

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8 Core Disciplines for a Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy [Infographic]

Are you looking to create an effective social media marketing strategy? Want to learn the core disciplines you need to pay attention to?

The team from MDG Advertising share their social media tips in this infographic.

They break things down as follows:

  • Strategy
  • Auditing
  • Technology
  • Paid media
  • Content development
  • Customer response
  • Compliance and risk assessment
  • Measurement

Check out the infographic for more detail.

A version of this post was first published on the Red Website Design blog.

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