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China Crackdown?

China Crackdown?

Congress has intensified interest and activity on China in recent weeks, including three high-profile hearings. Common concerns expressed by members included:

  • Deep skepticism and mistrust toward the Chinese Government. Members described an "existential" struggle between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), who they perceive as intently focused on displacing the U.S. as global leader. Members agreed the United States must marshal its resources to counter the influence of China across a range of sectors.

  • Depictions of the CCP as all-powerful and omnipresent, with unchecked power to manipulate China-based or Chinese-owned businesses, gain access to data and spread disinformation. The view of the CCP as always present was expressed by both Republicans and Democrats across the three hearings, who described the party as "Orwellian," a "digital dictatorship," "deceitful" and "coercive." Members believe the CCP is manipulating the business community by encouraging censorship, accessing data, pushing misinformation and using technology for surveillance.

  • Growing interest in decoupling American and Chinese business ties. Members expressed concerns about American companies’ presence in or investment in China and have embraced policies to "decouple" American and Chinese business ties. Members have identified several legislative actions they may pursue to rein in perceived threats by China that would impact American businesses, including: 

    • Increased enforcement of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

    • Comprehensive data privacy legislation

    • Legislation to prevent deceptive user interfaces

    • Strengthening outbound and inbound investment reviews

    • Strengthening U.S. trade remedy laws and 

    • Preventing Chinese ownership of American farmland.

By the Numbers

Pay Up or Shut Up

Since Elon Musk’s Twitter acquisitionTwitter Blue has made verification less about securing one’s identity and more of a "pay-to-play" style system where anyone can get a "blue check" and other features for a monthly fee. 

Now, Twitter has announced it intends to remove all "legacy" blue checkmarks as of April 1 from:

  1. Individual users who do not subscribe to Twitter Blue; and

  2. Brands/Organizations who do not apply to become a Verified Organization, which comes with a hefty monthly base fee of $1,000.

As of today, however, many original blue check marks remain (including mine.)

Public reactions suggest influential users and brands may avoid paying for verification. The New York Times announced it will not pay for Twitter Blue on any institutional accounts nor reimburse reporters for verification of their personal accounts, while Politico, BuzzFeed and Vox have adopted a similar policy for their reporters. The White House will also not pay for Twitter verification or reimburse staff who enroll in Twitter Blue. 

A week after the announcement, Business Insider reported Twitter will waive the $1,000 blue check fee for the 10,000 most-followed organizations and its top 500 advertising clients already verified before the policy change. 

Many feel paying for verification will, at best, not impact overall engagement, and at worst, expose their account to negative public reaction from target audiences who disapprove of Elon Musk’s Twitter leadership. 

Brands should remain mindful as the removal of verified check marks may also lead to increased misinformation, identity confusion, viral communications crises and/or public harm

Our recommendations remain largely the same as when Musk acquired the platform: Evaluate your posting strategy, monitor the conversation and be prepared for change.

Hello World

As generative AI tools like ChatGPT grow in popularity, it’s becoming clear this technology has some wide-reaching implications. FGS Global’s Dan Stone and Adam Shapiro share some observations of this fast-growing market:

  • Generative AI is a massive and growing marketplace. Companies are already leveraging this technology in a number of ways, as exemplified in the use cases on the OpenAI website.

  • AI-generated content is susceptible to factual errors. With no regulation on this type of content, it can be difficult to discern from human-generated text. Clients are already seeing misinformation by generative AI content articles masquerading as press coverage.

  • Some generative AI tools (like ChatGPT’s free version) can take information for reuse. It is therefore imperative not to provide these platforms with confidential information without first understanding the specific terms and services.

  • The ways in which communications firms can influence brand reputationusing generative AI is still developing. As more people use these platforms, the ways they reference brands will become as important as search engines or even press coverage.

  • There will be a need to accelerate the adoption of generative AI tools to deliver increasingly valuable services at scale. Leveraging these tools to create, write and summarize while maintaining a unique, human perspective is key. 

  • ChatGPT won’t replace human intelligence anytime soon. While it can help get work done more efficiently, it still requires professional finesse from people.

For more information, reach out to

April 4, 2023
By Nedra Pickler and Irene Moskowitz
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