Ta kontakt med oss


Twitter to Provide Musk with its ‘Full Firehose’ of Tweets as it Works to Finalize Takeover Deal


Elon Musk Launches Hostile Takeover Bid for Twitter

The Twitter/Elon Musk saga is moving to the next uncomfortable stage, with Twitter now planning to provide Musk’s team with its ‘full firehose’ of tweets, in order to let Musk determine for himself the amount of fake and bot profiles in the app.

Earlier this week, Musk’s legal team filed an official statement with the SEC in which it explained that Musk will not go through with his $44 billion takeover of the company if Twitter’s unable to provide evidence to support its claim that fake accounts and bots make up just 5% of its active user base.

Musk’s team asserts that this is critical information, as Twitter relies on its reach data to maximize its core ads business, and if a significant proportion of its users are not actual, real people, that materially changes the deal.

Thus far, Twitter has stood by its numbers, which it says have been measured via processes that have been accepted by the SEC in the past. Now, it’s looking to hand over all the information that it can to Musk’s team.  

As reported by The Washington Post:

After a weeks-long impasse, Twitter’s board plans to comply with Elon Musk’s demands for internal data by offering access to its full “firehose,” the massive stream of data comprising more than 500 million tweets posted each day, according to a person familiar with the company’s thinking.”

What, exactly, Musk will then do with all that info is hard to say, but clearly, Twitter’s legal team has advised that this is the only way to appease Musk’s demands, providing all the information that it can, which will then enable Musk and Co. to develop their own assessment process to determine the amount of fake profiles in the app.

What happens from there is hard to say. If Elon comes up with his own methodology, and finds that the fake profile count is more like 20%, what then?

Some have noted that Musk waived various due diligence elements in his initial takeover offer, in order to hasten the deal, which means that he essentially has to go through with the purchase, no matter what.

But clearly, Elon himself believes that won’t hold up in this respect.

And he’s likely right, but when it comes to bots and fake accounts, the challenge for Elon will be in proving that Twitter acted with ill-intent – i.e. has Twitter intentionally misreported its numbers in order to enhance its market position?

I would suggest that would be difficult to prove definitively, even if Musk can come up with his own detection methodology – if Musk’s team comes up with a better solution for detecting bots, I suspect that Twitter will say ‘thanks for that, we weren’t aware of that in the past’, and the deal would then have to go through as planned, because Twitter hasn’t acted in bad faith in its past disclosures.

Though there is another argument – that Musk can wriggle out of the deal if he’s able to demonstrate that a ‘major event’ has significantly altered Twitter’s value, which then changes the parameters of the initial deal. That’d be a lot harder to prosecute, but maybe, if Musk can come up with a breakthrough reporting process, which shows that many more than 5% of Twitter’s active users are fake, that could be classified as a ‘major event’ in itself?

That seems like weaker legal ground, but Musk seems to believe that if he’s able to provide clear evidence that the amount of fake profiles on the platform is indeed much higher than Twitter says, that he’ll be able to walk away, or maybe reduce his offer price.

In reality, I’m not sure that’s actually how this will play out.

In any event, Twitter’s moving ahead with its preparations for an Elon takeover, with Reuters reporting that it’s planning to hold a shareholder vote by early August to consummate the deal.

At the same time, legal challenges continue to provide additional distractions for the company, with Twitter also fighting a January 6th committee request for its employees’ internal communications – “including Slack messages about moderating Tweets related to the Capitol attack”.

As per Rolling Stone:

“The social media giant is asserting a First Amendment privilege to push back on the panel’s demand for communications about moderating tweets related to the Capitol insurrection.”

Of course, Twitter’s constantly facing challenges and issues of this type. But you can only imagine that Musk’s legal team would be grinding their teeth at the thought of having to deal with such in future.

If such issues are bothering Elon himself, however, he’s hardly showing it. He’s too busy tweeting about the believability of ‘Red Riding Hood’, and setting his sights on another social app.

It’s like he’s just now realizing that there’s a lot of scam activity on social platforms, which you would think that someone would take more note of before offering $44 billion to purchase a social app.

Will Elon eventually become the owner of Twitter? On balance, taking legal considerations into account, and looking at the public-facing evidence, that still seems the most likely outcome.

But there’s a lot more to come before we reach a final conclusion.

Source link


Cheeky branding wins (and missteps)


Cheeky branding wins (and missteps)


Branding and rebranding is getting more fun, here we look at some of cheekiest brands that have caught our eye – for the right and wrong reasons.

Source link

Fortsätt läsa


Google Outlines Ongoing Efforts to Combat China-Based Influence Operations Targeting Social Apps


Google Outlines Ongoing Efforts to Combat China-Based Influence Operations Targeting Social Apps

Over the past year, Google has repeatedly noted that a China-based group has been looking to use YouTube, in particular, to influence western audiences, by building various channels in the app, then seeding them with pro-China content.

There’s limited info available on the full origins or intentions of the group, but today, Google has published a new overview of its ongoing efforts to combat the initiative, called DRAGONBRIDGE.

As explained by Google:

In 2022, Google disrupted over 50,000 instances of DRAGONBRIDGE activity across YouTube, Blogger, and AdSense, reflecting our continued focus on this actor and success in scaling our detection efforts across Google products. We have terminated over 100,000 DRAGONBRIDGE accounts in the IO network’s lifetime.

As you can see in this chart, DRAGONBRIDGE is by far the most prolific source of coordinated information operations that Google has detected over the past year, while Google also notes that it’s been able to disrupt most of the project’s attempted influence, by snuffing out its content before it gets seen.


Worth noting the scale too – as Google notes, DRAGONBRIDGE has created more than 100,000 accounts, which includes tens of thousands of YouTube channels. Not individual videos, entire channels in the app, which is a huge amount of work, and content, that this group is producing.

That can’t be cheap, or easy to keep running. So they must be doing it for a reason.

The broader implication, which has been noted by various other publications and analysts, is that DRAGONBRIDGE is potentially being supported by the Chinese Government, as part of a broader effort to influence foreign policy approaches via social media apps. 

Which, at this kind of scale, is a concern, while DRAGONBRIDGE has also targeted Facebook och Twitter as well, at different times, and it could be that their efforts on those platforms are also reaching similar activity levels, and may not have been detected as yet.

Which then also relates to TikTok, a Chinese-owned app that now has massive influence over younger audiences in western nations. If programs like this are already in effect, it stands to reason that TikTok is also likely a key candidate for boosting the same, which remains a key concern among regulators and officials in many nations.

The US Government is reportedly weighing a full TikTok ban, and if that happens, you can bet that many other nations will follow suit. Many government organizations are also banning TikTok on official devices, based on advice from security experts, and with programs like DRAGONBRIDGE also running, it does seem like Chinese-based groups are actively operating influence and manipulation programs in foreign nations.

Which seems like a significant issue, and while Google is seemingly catching most of these channels before they have an impact, it also seems likely that this is only one element of a larger push.

Hopefully, through collective action, the impact of such can be limited – but for TikTok, which still reports to Chinese ownership, it’s another element that could raise further questions and scrutiny.

Source link

Fortsätt läsa


The Drum | Trump’s Instagram & Facebook Reinstatement Won’t Cause Marketers To Riot Yet, Experts Say


The Drum | Trump's Instagram & Facebook Reinstatement Won’t Cause Marketers To Riot Yet, Experts Say

While the reinstatement of Donald Trump’s Twitter account in November had some advertisers packing up in protest, many will strike a different tune with Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram, experts predict.

Meta Wednesday announced that it’s lifting the ban on a handful of Facebook and Instagram accounts, including that of former US president Donald Trump – who was suspended nearly two years ago following the January 6, 2021 riots at the Capitol.

In a blog post yesterday, Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, explained the reasons for the company’s decision, saying that it “evaluated the current environment” as it pertains to the socio-political landscape and security concerns and determined that “risk has sufficiently receded.” As a result, the company will welcome Trump back onto Facebook and Instagram.

The former president will be expected to comply with Meta’s user policies, but, considering his past violations, will face “heightened penalties for repeat offenses,” Clegg explained.

While it’s unclear whether Trump will become an active user on either platform following the decision, media and marketing experts are already sounding alarm bells at his potential return.

In particular, experts are cautious considering recent developments at Twitter. Elon Musk’s turbulent takeover – which has included mass layoffs, dramatic platform changes and the decision to reinstate the accounts of controversial figures like Trump and Kanye West (whose account has since been re-suspended) – has led to an exodus of advertisers. Could Meta’s decision to reintroduce Trump invite a similar fate?

‘Fear, frustration and protest’ could catalyze drawback

Concerns regarding brand safety and suitability on Facebook and Instagram are piquing among marketers. Trump’s presence on social media has long proven to exacerbate the spread of misinformation online. The risks of a potential recession, paired with new political tensions spurred by the 2022 midterms and the anticipation of the 2024 presidential election, may only up the ante.

“Misinformation on Meta’s platforms was an issue prior to Trump’s ban, during the ban and will likely continue to be an issue, even with the new [policies that] Meta has put in place,” says Laura Ries, group director of media and connections at IPG-owned ad agency R/GA. In light of this fact, Ries says, “Advertisers will need to continue to consider the type of content they’ll show up next to when evaluating whether or not to advertise on the platforms, especially as we march toward the 2024 election.”

She predicts that Meta may see some advertisers leave Facebook and Instagram “out of fear, frustration or protest.”

Others agree. “I suspect advertisers will not be pleased with this move and might make reductions in spend as they have done with Twitter,” says Tim Lim, a political strategist, PR consultant and partner at creative agency The Hooligans.

Although some advertisers are sure to pull back or cut their investments, the number will likely be low – largely because the scale and reach promised by both Facebook and Instagram will make it hard for most advertisers to quit. Smaller brands and startups in particular often rely heavily on Meta’s advertising business to spur growth, says Ries.

A ripple, not a wave

Most industry leaders believe Trump’s reinstatement won’t cause anything more than a ripple in the advertising industry. “Marketers who advertise on Facebook and Instagram care about their own problems, which generally [entail] selling more products and services,” says Joe Pulizzi, an entrepreneur, podcaster and author of various marketing books. “If Meta helps them do that, they don’t care one bit about brand safety – unless this blows up into a big political issue again. It might not, so marketers won’t do a thing.”

The sentiment is underscored by Dr Karen Freberg, a professor of strategic communications at University of Louisville, who says: “Facebook and Instagram are key fundamental platforms for advertisers. Marketers may … be aware of the news, but I am not sure if it will make a drastic change for the industry.” She points out that Twitter’s decision to lift the ban on Trump’s account in November caused such a big stir among marketers advertisers that Meta’s decision to do the same may come as less of a shock.

Trump’s return may even benefit Meta’s ads business by giving the company new opportunities to serve ads to Trump devotees, says Pulizzi. Ultimately, he says, Meta “needs personalities like Trump,” who, whether through love or hate, inspire higher engagement. “With Facebook plateauing and Instagram now chasing – and copying – TikTok at every turn, Trump’s follower base is important to Meta, which is hard to believe, but I think it’s true.”

But while some users may be energized by the former president’s return to Meta platforms, others may be outraged – even to the point of quitting Facebook and Instagram, points out Ries. In this case, she says, “advertisers will need to follow them to TikTok, Snap or other platforms where they’re spending their newfound time.”

R/GA, for its part, which services major brands including Google, Samsung, Verizon and Slack, will work on “a client by client basis” to address concerns about Facebook, Instagram or any other platform, says Ries. “R/GA recommended pausing activity on Facebook and Instagram after the insurrection and won’t hesitate to do so again if another incident occurs.”

For more, sign up for The Drum’s daily US newsletter here.

Source link

Fortsätt läsa