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U.S. Senators Accuse X of Profiting From Terrorist Propaganda in the App

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X is Reportedly Looking to Charge $50k for Dormant Handles in the App

The challenges keep coming for X, with a group of more than two dozen House Democrats in the U.S. issuing a letter that accuses the platform of “profiting off violent content by a terrorist organization”, in relation to the Israel-Hamas war.

The accusations primarily relate to X’s “X Premium” subscription program, which the senators claim has seen X take in money from terrorist groups, who are looking to spread their propaganda and messaging in the app.

As per the letter:

Researchers reported that at least 20 out of 45 accounts it found to have posted terrorist propaganda were X Premium accounts, meaning that they are paying for verification without any formalized vetting process and being promoted by the website’s algorithm.”

The Senators also claim that X “has financially benefited from the spread of demonstrably false and misleading content” in the app:

“The media watchdog, NewsGuard, recently published analysis of the 250 most-engaged posts – likes, reposts, replies, and bookmarks – during the first week of the conflict that promoted at least one of ten prominent false or unsubstantiated narratives relating to the war. Their analysis revealed that 186 out of these 250 posts (74 percent) were posted by accounts verified by X – accounts that X directly profits from. Their analysis also found that posts advancing these myths collectively received 1,349,979 engagements and were cumulatively viewed more than 100 million times globally in just one week.”

The letter also highlights X’s creator ad revenue share program as another vector for concern, as it enables users to get paid for their posts, and any claims in them, in the app.

The senators allege that this has created an inadvertent incentive for people to post more divisive, harmful content, including terror-related material and misinformation, in order to maximize engagement, and thus, ensure greater revenue intake.

The Senators have further raised “grave concern” about X’s “ongoing failure to abide by its own policies” relating to the promotion of misinformation and hateful, violent, and terroristic propaganda videos.

“This follows a troubling pattern of increased antisemitism on the platform since Mr. Musk’s purchase. A March 2023 study by CASM Technology and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) documented a near-doubling of the total number of anti-Semitic tweets in his first three months of ownership. In September, in response to this dramatic increase of antisemitism on X, Israel’s Prime Minister personally urged Mr. Musk to tackle antisemitism on the platform. Now, in the days following Hamas’ horrific October 7th terrorist attack on Israel, we’ve seen an inexcusable situation become outright indefensible.”

The Senators have called on X to provide explanations as to how its working to address these concerns, and what measures it’s implementing to improve its systems on each front.

The accusations, which are co-signed by 27 Democrat representatives, are set to further underline the political division around the app, and comes just a day after Texas’ Republican Attorney-General Ken Paxton opened his own investigation into Media Matters over it potentially fabricating evidence in its recent reports, which showed that X is displaying ads alongside racist and anti-Semitic content.

X owner Elon Musk, meanwhile, is using such accusations to embolden his push for “free speech”, accusing those who make such claims of working for a pro-censorship agenda, as the broader powers that be look to shut down X for challenging mainstream narratives.

Which is a vague, and unproven accusation, and really, more of a rallying cry for Musk’s supporters than it is an actual, realistic defense. But regardless, that’s what Musk is going with, as he and his team look to challenge such claims in court, despite all available evidence suggesting that X has no real way to demonstrably counter such evidence.

Indeed, Musk’s push back against the latest accusations that X is showing ads alongside harmful content has prompted a range of users to find their own examples of such in the app, which has seen many able to replicate the ad placement that Media Matters displayed.

It seems likely, then, that the accusations in this new letter will be provable, which will cause more challenges for X, which is already facing an advertiser boycott over the latest accusations, along with Musk’s own controversial comments.

Elon, however, seems confident that he can fight back. But the real challenge for X will be in how long it takes for such a legal challenge to go through, and what impact that has on its ad business in the meantime.  

X was already staring down a significant loss for the year before these new challenges, after seeing a more than 50% decline in ad revenue following Musk’s takeover at the app. The loss of more ad dollars will only worsen its financial state, though Musk, of course, has other resources that he could tap into to keep the company afloat. But the challenges will continue to grow, unless X can get its ad business back on track.

Meanwhile, Threads, Meta’s X competitor app continues to grow, with U.S. President Joe Biden yesterday joining the app, which, again, will further underline political division between the two alternatives.

Which could push X more into conservative social app territory, which hasn’t been fruitful ground, from a financial perspective, for Parler, Gab, Truth Social, etc.

But that does increasingly seem like where X is headed, due to Elon’s insistence on sharing his thoughts and opinions on every divisive topic, and his resolution to fight back, rather than seeking to address potential problems.

And it does seem, based on a growing number of third-party investigations, that there are flaws to address in X’s systems.

In this sense, it’s less of an assault on free speech, and more of a push to reduce instances of harmful, terror-related content, but Elon also seems to have made his stand. Which could be a big problem for his “everything app” vision.



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12 Proven Methods to Make Money Blogging in 2024

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Make money blogging

 

Make money bloggingThis is a contributed article.

The world of blogging continues to thrive in 2024, offering a compelling avenue for creative minds to share their knowledge, build an audience, and even turn their passion into profit. Whether you’re a seasoned blogger or just starting, there are numerous effective strategies to monetize your blog and achieve financial success. Here, we delve into 12 proven methods to make money blogging in 2024:

1. Embrace Niche Expertise:

Standing out in the vast blogosphere requires focus. Carving a niche allows you to cater to a specific audience with targeted content. This not only builds a loyal following but also positions you as an authority in your chosen field. Whether it’s gardening techniques, travel hacking tips, or the intricacies of cryptocurrency, delve deep into a subject you’re passionate and knowledgeable about. Targeted audiences are more receptive to monetization efforts, making them ideal for success.

2. Content is King (and Queen):

High-quality content remains the cornerstone of any successful blog. In 2024, readers crave informative, engaging, and well-written content that solves their problems, answers their questions, or entertains them. Invest time in crafting valuable blog posts, articles, or videos that resonate with your target audience.

  • Focus on evergreen content: Create content that remains relevant for a long time, attracting consistent traffic and boosting your earning potential.
  • Incorporate multimedia: Spice up your content with captivating images, infographics, or even videos to enhance reader engagement and improve SEO.
  • Maintain consistency: Develop a regular publishing schedule to build anticipation and keep your audience coming back for more.

3. The Power of SEO:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ensures your blog ranks high in search engine results for relevant keywords. This increases organic traffic, the lifeblood of any monetization strategy.

  • Keyword research: Use keyword research tools to identify terms your target audience searches for. Strategically incorporate these keywords into your content naturally.
  • Technical SEO: Optimize your blog’s loading speed, mobile responsiveness, and overall technical aspects to improve search engine ranking.
  • Backlink building: Encourage other websites to link back to your content, boosting your blog’s authority in the eyes of search engines.

4. Monetization Magic: Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing allows you to earn commissions by promoting other companies’ products or services. When a reader clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you get a commission.

  • Choose relevant affiliates: Promote products or services that align with your niche and resonate with your audience.
  • Transparency is key: Disclose your affiliate relationships clearly to your readers and build trust.
  • Integrate strategically: Don’t just bombard readers with links. Weave affiliate promotions naturally into your content, highlighting the value proposition.

5. Display Advertising: A Classic Approach

Display advertising involves placing banner ads, text ads, or other visual elements on your blog. When a reader clicks on an ad, you earn revenue.

  • Choose reputable ad networks: Partner with established ad networks that offer competitive rates and relevant ads for your audience.
  • Strategic ad placement: Place ads thoughtfully, avoiding an overwhelming experience for readers.
  • Track your performance: Monitor ad clicks and conversions to measure the effectiveness of your ad placements and optimize for better results.

6. Offer Premium Content:

Providing exclusive, in-depth content behind a paywall can generate additional income. This could be premium blog posts, ebooks, online courses, or webinars.

  • Deliver exceptional value: Ensure your premium content offers significant value that justifies the price tag.
  • Multiple pricing options: Consider offering tiered subscription plans to cater to different audience needs and budgets.
  • Promote effectively: Highlight the benefits of your premium content and encourage readers to subscribe.

7. Coaching and Consulting:

Leverage your expertise by offering coaching or consulting services related to your niche. Readers who find your content valuable may be interested in personalized guidance.

  • Position yourself as an expert: Showcase your qualifications, experience, and client testimonials to build trust and establish your credibility.
  • Offer free consultations: Provide a limited free consultation to potential clients, allowing them to experience your expertise firsthand.
  • Develop clear packages: Outline different coaching or consulting packages with varying time commitments and pricing structures.

8. The Power of Community: Online Events and Webinars

Host online events or webinars related to your niche. These events offer valuable content while also providing an opportunity to promote other monetization avenues.

  • Interactive and engaging: Structure your online events to be interactive with polls, Q&A sessions, or live chats. Click here to learn more about image marketing with Q&A sessions and live chats.

9. Embrace the Power of Email Marketing:

Building an email list allows you to foster stronger relationships with your audience and promote your content and offerings directly.

  • Offer valuable incentives: Encourage readers to subscribe by offering exclusive content, discounts, or early access to new products.
  • Segmentation is key: Segment your email list based on reader interests to send targeted campaigns that resonate more effectively.
  • Regular communication: Maintain consistent communication with your subscribers through engaging newsletters or updates.

10. Sell Your Own Products:

Take your expertise to the next level by creating and selling your own products. This could be physical merchandise, digital downloads, or even printables related to your niche.

  • Identify audience needs: Develop products that address the specific needs and desires of your target audience.
  • High-quality offerings: Invest in creating high-quality products that offer exceptional value and user experience.
  • Utilize multiple platforms: Sell your products through your blog, online marketplaces, or even social media platforms.

11. Sponsorships and Brand Collaborations:

Partner with brands or businesses relevant to your niche for sponsored content or collaborations. This can be a lucrative way to leverage your audience and generate income.

  • Maintain editorial control: While working with sponsors, ensure you retain editorial control to maintain your blog’s authenticity and audience trust.
  • Disclosures are essential: Clearly disclose sponsored content to readers, upholding transparency and ethical practices.
  • Align with your niche: Partner with brands that complement your content and resonate with your audience.

12. Freelancing and Paid Writing Opportunities:

Your blog can serve as a springboard for freelance writing opportunities. Showcase your writing skills and expertise through your blog content, attracting potential clients.

  • Target relevant publications: Identify online publications, websites, or magazines related to your niche and pitch your writing services.
  • High-quality samples: Include high-quality blog posts from your site as writing samples when pitching to potential clients.
  • Develop strong writing skills: Continuously hone your writing skills and stay updated on current trends in your niche to deliver exceptional work.

Conclusion:

Building a successful blog that generates income requires dedication, strategic planning, and high-quality content. In today’s digital age, there are numerous opportunities to make money online through blogging. By utilizing a combination of methods such as affiliate marketing, sponsored content, and selling digital products or services, you can leverage your blog’s potential and achieve financial success.

Remember, consistency in posting, engaging with your audience, and staying adaptable to trends are key to thriving in the ever-evolving blogosphere. Embrace new strategies, refine your approaches, and always keep your readers at the forefront of your content creation journey. With dedication and the right approach, your blog has the potential to become a valuable source of income and a platform for sharing your knowledge and passion with the world, making money online while doing what you love.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos



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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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