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Meta främjar den tidigare brittiska parlamentsledamoten Nick Clegg till nyckelroll som formar dess bredare berättelse och svarar på bekymmer


Meta Publishes New Guide to the Various Security and Control Options in its Apps

Meta has made a key announcement as part of its ongoing effort to better ingratiate itself with world leaders, and avoid potential legal challenges and restrictive regulation, with current Vice‑President for Global Affairs and Communications Nick Clegg promoted to a new role which will give him more responsibility for shaping the company’s outreach and communications in this respect.

As explained by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg:

“I’ve asked Nick Clegg to take on a new position as President, Global Affairs. For the last three years, Nick has managed some of the most complex issues our company faces – including content policy, elections, the establishment of the Oversight Board, and more. Nick will now lead our company on all our policy matters, including how we interact with governments as they consider adopting new policies and regulations, as well as how we make the case publicly for our products and our work.”

As Zuckerberg notes, Clegg, who once served as the Deputy Prime Minister in the UK, has been Meta’s front man in explaining its position on various challenging elements. Clegg has become known for his long op-eds and blog posts, which seek to re-frame certain narratives. And while there’s an undeniable credibility to having such a high profile former politician as its spokeperson on such matters, there have also been questions about Meta’s approach, as it leans into politicization and spin, as part of its PR effort.

Indeed, a key concern in this respect is that by appointing a career politician (Clegg served as a British MP for 12 years), that then changes the motivations for Meta’s PR outreach and disclosure, because the motivations for a politician are very different to those normally adopted by a private company in this respect.

For a politician, all PR is about winning, about framing the opposition as negative, and diluting their points, while also highlighting the positives of your own policies and stances, generally in a totally biased and specifically angled way.

For Meta, that’s not necessarily a good thing, because that could then lead to it downplaying negative reports and insights, in order to ‘win’ by showcasing benefits, or at the least, watering down such criticism.

In Meta’s case, in operating the biggest inter-connected network of humans in history, it has huge potential to influence key elements, and cause seismic shifts in the political landscape, while also facilitating misinformation and other potential harms on a massive scale.

We know this, and we also know that Clegg’s position on such thus far has indeed been to play it down, and point to conflicting evidence as a means to deflect responsibility and counter scrutiny.

Is that a good thing? Should Meta be looking to deflect and redirect, when it could be taking a deeper look at its operations instead, and addressing these key concerns, rather than avoiding them?

That’ll be an even bigger question in the coming metaverse shift, with many people already raising concerns about the potential harms of harassment and abuse in these more immersive digital spaces. If anything, Meta’s tools will likely have even more impact moving forward, and as such, it will need to be held accountable, and pushed to address these issues, rather than minimizing them as it seeks to dominate the next tech space.

Meta wants to ‘move fast’ and ‘build awesome things’, but that also requires deeper consideration of the impacts of such too, and while Clegg may be good at rebutting claims, that may not be the best approach.

But Meta is also a private company, and as such, it can take whatever approach it deems fit in countering such narratives.

Zuckerberg says that Clegg’s new appointment will enable him to focus more energy on leading the company, while it will also support CTO Sheryl Sandberg as she continues to focus on other elements, as opposed to both being called upon to defend Meta’s position.

So expect more long essays from Clegg explaining why theories about Meta’s negative influence are wrong, and why the metaverse will be really, really good, despite concerns.

Which, to me at least, is definitely a concern in itself.



Twitter Will Start Displaying Tweet Reach Metrics Up-Front on Tweets


Elon Musk Launches Hostile Takeover Bid for Twitter

It’s been a relatively quiet few days in Elon town, as the new ‘Chief Twit’ re-assesses his next moves at the app, and considers how he can get more people more aligned to the platform, in order to build on growing interest.

Musk has repeatedly noted that Twitter usage has been at record highs since he took over at the platform, with more people seemingly tuning in to see what Elon might do next at the app. But now, it does appear that some of that momentum may be slowing, while questions are also being raised as to how much of a solution Elon’s $8 verification program will actually end up being, in terms of revenue intake.

On the first point, Elon is now apparently exploring why people don’t tweet, and how to better motivate participation from lurkers.

That’s a significant concern – according to research conducted last year, around 25% of Twitter users in the US produce around 97% of all tweets.

Most Twitter users simply don’t tweet, which is a problem for Elon’s $8 verification strategy, because if most people aren’t actively engaging, why would they care about having a blue tick, or getting better reach for their replies, which is another perk of Elon’s verification plan?

Musk’s looking to address this, by potentially shifting the indirect incentives of tweet metrics:

Musk says that people’s tweets are actually being seen, in general, by a lot more people than they think, and maybe, if Twitter can start highlighting this, in addition to Like and retweet counts, that could be a means to boost engagement.

But I don’t know.

Do you really want to know that a thousand people saw your tweet and not a single one of them felt compelled to engage with it in any way? I mean, sure, it’s interesting to know that people are actually seeing what you have to say, but if you’re not getting Likes, it could potentially be even more disengaging than not having that stat up front.

But Musk, of course, is an attention magnet, so maybe to him, it makes more sense that people would want to see this.

Will that improve tweet engagement? Probably not, but incentivizing participation is difficult, and there are no great answers for Twitter on this.

So he may as well try.

Which leads to the next Twitter note – in a new interview with Fast Company, a former Twitter staffer has said that most of Musk’s Twitter 2.0 plans won’t work, based on his knowledge of past market research they conducted at the app.

“All these ideas you’re seeing thrown out, of subscription models and verification and paying creators, we’ve already explored at least 75% of the ideas I’ve seen coming out from Elon and Jason Calcanis. We had extensive research on these topics. And a lot of people weren’t interested in them.”

Now, that doesn’t mean that they definitively won’t work, as sometimes people will say one thing and do another when the option is there.

But then again:

“[The former Twitter staffer] recalls that only around 10% of users surveyed said they were interested in Twitter Blue’s offering. They also tested different pricing levels, finding – unsurprisingly – that as the price went up, the interest rate went down. ‘It was pretty clear through this test that Twitter Blue wasn’t going to be a big moneymaker for us,’ the former employee says.”

That’s reflected in all of the stats for all of the various subscription offerings across the social media sphere – Twitter Blue peaked at 100k subscribers, or 0.04% of Twitter users, only 0,41% av Snapchat-användare betalar för Snapchat+, en bråkdel av LinkedIn-användare pay for Premium.

Musk has thus far seemed convinced that everyone will simply pay, because they’ll want a blue tick. But increasingly, with every delayed roll-out of the updated verification plan, it does seem like there’s a level of realization setting in that this won’t be the savior he may have hoped.

But of course, his supporters will pay.

Every time you dare to question the genius of Elon Musk, you get a range of commentators cropping up to inform you that you’re wrong, that you don’t understand Elon’s vision, that you’ve never created a billion-dollar business, so how could you possibly have the gall to query the great man?

And they’re right. Musk has, one way or another, overseen huge success at some now massive companies, which are operating in difficult niches. And I suspect, one way or another, that Twitter too will eventually get onto a more profitable path – I can’t imagine somebody just sinking $44 billion to see the company collapse.

But at the same time, Musk himself has said that Twitter’s going to end up trying stupid things, as he goes about essentially learning what will and won’t work.

And with each of those experiments having impacts for users and advertisers, it is important to question such, and to highlight the potential challenges in take-up.

So a proviso – this isn’t about ‘free speech’ or political leanings. The observations of Elon’s Twitter reformation are based on his comments and actions at the app, and what they may mean for how it works, not ideology or opposing some perceived cultural perspective.

So miss me with that rubbish.

Even more important on this front, Twitter hasn’t changed its approach to moderation, so for all of Elon’s talk about free speech, he hasn’t actually done anything to better enable such as yet.

Sure, he may be letting banned users back on the app, which could stoke advertiser concerns, and Twitter has ended its COVID misinformation policy, which could be related to a more fundamental change in its approach. But just this week, in an appeal to ad partners, Twitter re-stated that its content rules have not changed.

Yes, Elon is keen to toot his free speech horn when it suits him, in a bid to muster more support. But even as a potential factor, he hasn’t changed anything on this front as yet, so it’s not functionally an element of critique around his actions.

Maybe it will be, but only from the perspective of how it impacts usage, and ad placement. Fundamentally, Elon can do whatever he likes, but he will need to abide by EU and App Store rules, so there will always be some restriction on what he can and cannot change on this front.

But as a political statement, it’s up to him and his team what rules they may want to implement. That will potentially come with a level of risk, but again, that’s their decision.


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