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Ukraine fight brings Russia’s nationalists in from the cold



In blog posts and on radio, Roman Antonovsky speaks up for 'the great Russian Empire'

In blog posts and on radio, Roman Antonovsky speaks up for ‘the great Russian Empire’ – Copyright POOL/AFP/File Jack TAYLOR


Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine has done wonders for the career of nationalist  blogger Roman Antonovsky, whose air time has spiked since fierce fighting broke out in February.

“Patriotism is the newest fad in Russia,” the 42-year-old marketing specialist with glistening eyes and a handlebar moustache reminiscent of Russia’s imperial era said before taking to the stage at a patriotic concert in Moscow.

“I like your faces. They haven’t been disfigured by liberalism!” he told the like-minded crowd, before reading out nationalist poems.

Once sidelined as a threat to the Kremlin, nationalists are emerging as a driving force behind what President Vladimir Putin has dubbed Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Their hardline support for the campaign has even emboldened them to unleash rare criticism of officials they deem responsible for mistakes on the battlefield.

After setbacks like in Ukraine’s northeast Kharkiv region and southern city of Kherson, nationalists have lashed out at generals, demanded a general mobilisation and even for the use of nuclear weapons.

– ‘Russophobia has united us’ –

Their growing clout was on display in August at the funeral of Daria Dugina — the daughter of far-right political figure Alexander Dugin — after her death in a car bomb blamed on Ukraine.

Hundreds gathered for the memorial service in Moscow and condolences poured in, including from Putin.

Bloggers, journalists and intellectuals with nationalist views once confined to social media now get frequent air time on Russian state TV.

“The Kremlin needs the nationalists to support the special military operation,” sociologist Lev Gudkov, head of independent pollster Levada Centre, told AFP.

Research carried out by the Levada Centre shows that 78 percent of Russians believe Russia is a “great country surrounded by enemies,” Gudkov said.

And a growing sense of Russia’s isolation is popular message for Russia’s new patriots to espouse.

In blog posts and on radio, Antonovsky speaks up for “the great Russian Empire” as “the last bastion of traditional values”.

He blasts what he describes as the liberal West and calls for a purge in Russia of “Russophobes” and to nationalise the media.

“Western Russophobia,” he says, “has united us”.

– ‘Marriage of convenience’ –

Valery Romanov, a student, says some young people are drawn to Russian history and nationalist voices partly to better understand “what is happening now”.

“Nationalism is not necessarily extremism,” the 19-year-old said. “It’s the highest form of patriotism”.

He also manages logistics at the Black Hundred publishing house named after a monarchist and ultra-nationalist movement in Russia in the early 20th century.

Two of his friends, he told AFP, took a year off from studying to fight in Ukraine.

Romanov however is contributing by collecting donations of medicine, food and clothes to send to the front.

Twenty-seven-year-old researcher Daniil Makhnitsky, who considers himself a “national-democrat” is the founder of a small political group called “Society.Future” which is also collecting donations for Russian troops.

Their next truck will leave with 2,300 first-aid kits, he said.

“Europe thought sanctions would push us to overthrow Putin. But they had the opposite affect: Russian patriotism is booming,” he said.

Gudkov, the sociologist, says the rising nationalist tide that currently serves the Kremlin has potential drawbacks.

“This imperial chauvinism could be very dangerous. It could become a dominant political force in the country due to the weakness of civil society,” he says.

Makhnitsky has “no illusions” about the Kremlin’s tolerance for the movement.

“It’s a marriage of convenience,” he says. “Once a peace deal is signed, it will be over”.

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Things May Finally Be Looking Up for Meta Stock



Things May Finally Be Looking Up for Meta Stock

Last year was brutal for Meta Platforms (META 3.01%). The Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger parent’s ad revenue suffered as a weak macroeconomic environment and changes to ad tracking and measurement on Apple‘s mobile operating system combined to create a significant headwind.

This headwind wreaked havoc on the stock, with shares of the tech company declining 65% last year. But The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that there may be some signs of improvement in Meta’s business — something that could prove to be a catalyst for the stock.

Here’s a look at why 2023 could be a decent year for Meta’s business and possibly its stock, too.

Meta’s nightmare 2022

It’s not surprising that Meta’s stock took a beating last year. The bad news started early in 2022, when Meta reported its fourth-quarter 2021 results and said first-quarter revenue growth would slow dramatically due to Apple’s iOS changes, a weak macroeconomic environment, and a shift of user engagement within the company’s apps to its TikTok-like Reels format, which was monetizing at a lower rate than its more mature formats. 

These trends largely persisted throughout 2022, as revenue growth decelerated dramatically in Q1 and turned negative by Q2. Revenue growth continued to decline on a year-over-year basis in Q3, and management said it expected fourth-quarter revenue to decline between 3% and 11% year over year. The midpoint of this range would be worse than the company’s 4% revenue decline in Q3.

A turnaround may be underway

While Meta’s performance was dismal last year, management emphasized on several occasions that it was confident it could turn things around eventually. In particular, the social media company believed it would be able to build out solutions to make its ad tracking and measurement less reliant on Apple’s mobile operating system’s capabilities. Further, Meta said throughout the year that even though its Reels format may be a headwind today, it would become a tailwind as the company improved its monetization.

Based on a report from WSJ on Friday, Meta has been making progress on these fronts. Investment in artificial intelligence tools to improve ad-targeting and forecasting and a shift to ad products that are less reliant on Apple’s mobile operating system are paying off, WSJ reports. “Executives told employees in October that Meta expected to begin rebounding from Apple’s change as soon as that quarter, which ended Dec. 31,” wrote WSJ‘s Jeff Horwitz and Salvador Rodriguez, citing “internal documents” at Meta.

Of course, it’s still impossible to know what Meta’s fourth-quarter results may look like. We’ll find out when the company reports fourth-quarter results on Feb. 1. It’s worth noting that Meta’s third-quarter report was released toward the end of October — the same month WSJ said executives reported these improvements to employees, and almost a month into Q4. Management, therefore, likely attempted to conservatively bake in any improvements it was seeing into its fourth-quarter revenue guidance.

While it’s possible Meta surprises to the upside for its fourth-quarter 2022 results, the internal documents WSJ cites at least provide an encouraging backdrop for a potential turnaround in the company’s top-line trajectory in 2023.

Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. His clients may own shares of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Apple and Meta Platforms. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long March 2023 $120 calls on Apple and short March 2023 $130 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Twitter Publishes 2023 Marketing Calendar to Assist with Campaign Planning



Twitter Publishes 2023 Marketing Calendar to Assist with Campaign Planning

Looking to map out your content calendar for the year ahead?

This will help – Twitter has published its annual events calendar, which highlights all of the key dates and celebrations that you need to keep in mind in your planning.

The interactive calendar provides a solid overview of important dates, which could assist in your strategy. You can also filter the list by region, and by event type.

Twitter marketing calendar 2023

You can also download any specific listing, though the download itself is pretty basic – you don’t get, like, a pretty calendar template that you can stick on your wall or anything.

Twitter marketing calendar 2023

Twitter used to publish downloadable calendars, but switched to an online-only display a couple of years back. Which still includes all the same info, but isn’t as cool looking.

Either way, it may help in your process, as you map out your 2023 approach.

In addition to this, Twitter’s also published an overview of some of the major events that it’ll be looking to highlight in the app throughout the year, along with a pitch to advertisers, amid the more recent chaos at the app.

As per Twitter:

We’re moving more quickly than ever, and we’re still the place people turn to see and talk about what’s happening. A great example is the recent FIFA Men’s World Cup. We saw a whopping 147B impressions of event-related content on the platform, up nearly +30% from 2018. We also generated 7.1B views on World Cup video1, with everything from memes to nail-biter outcomes to history being made.”

There’s also this:

Not only is Twitter alive with content and conversation around big moments, but we are also growing. We saw global mDAU acceleration in Q4 to 253.1M, driven by an average sign-up rate of more than 1 million new daily users across Q42.”

That’s the first official usage stat Twitter has shared since Elon Musk took over at the app, and is a significant jump on the 238 million mDAU that Twitter reported in Q2 last year, its last market update before the sale went through.

It’ll be interesting to see if that usage level holds, as Twitter works through its latest changes and updates.

You can check out Twitter’s 2023 marketing calendar here.

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‘Stop the hate’ online, UN chief pleads on Holocaust Day



A person visits the Holocaust Memorial, in Berlin, Germany on January 27, 2023, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day

A person visits the Holocaust Memorial, in Berlin, Germany on January 27, 2023, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day – Copyright AFP Michal Cizek

The UN secretary-general warned of social media’s role in spreading violent extremism around the globe as he marked Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday, urging policy makers to help stop online hate.

Antonio Guterres said parts of the internet were turning into “toxic waste dumps for hate and vicious lies” that were driving “extremism from the margins to the mainstream.”

“Today, I am issuing an urgent appeal to everyone with influence across the information ecosystem,” Guterres said at a commemoration ceremony at the United Nations. “Stop the hate. Set up guardrails. And enforce them.”

He accused social media platforms and advertisers of profiting off the spread of hateful content.

“By using algorithms that amplify hate to keep users glued to their screens, social media platforms are complicit,” added Guterres. “And so are the advertisers subsidizing this business model.”

Guterres drew parallels with the rise of Nazism in 1930s Germany, when people didn’t pay attention or protest.

“Today, we can hear echoes of those same siren songs to hate. From an economic crisis that is breeding discontent to populist demagogues using the crisis to seduce voters to runaway misinformation, paranoid conspiracy theories and unchecked hate speech.”

He lamented the rise of anti-Semitism, which he said also reflects a rise of all kinds of hate.

“And what is true for anti-Semitism is true for other forms of hate. Racism. Anti-Muslim bigotry. Xenophobia. Homophobia. Misogyny”

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