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Digital Insights - 12 May 2023

Need to know

  • Musk announces new CEO for Twitter

  • To blunt criticism that it drives gentrification and costs way too much, Airbnb goes ‘back to its roots’

  • LinkedIn cuts 700 jobs and shutters its Chinese app

Executive Leadership on Social Media

Musk announces new CEO for Twitter

  • Elon Musk has announced that he has found a new CEO for Twitter, and although he has been tight-lipped about the person's identity, reports are that it is likely Linda Yaccarino, the NBCUniversal Head of Advertising.

  • After sharing his announcement in a tweet, Musk plans to transition from his role as CEO of Twitter to serving as its executive chair and chief technology officer.

  • For anyone hoping that Twitter won’t continue its right-wing trajectory the news may not be good – it’s reported that Yaccarino and Musk are politically aligned and, as one astute tweeter pointed out, Yaccarino’s Twitter accounts follows several right-wing politicians and far-right and ultra nationalist commentators.

  • After purchasing Twitter for $44 billion, Musk took over as CEO and made many quick and controversial changes, including laying off half the staff in November. He previously stated he'd step down as CEO and it looks like he may keep his word after all.

  • Musk's decision to appoint a new Twitter CEO will likely appease Tesla investors who have been concerned about his time spent on Twitter, taking him away from his position as CEO of Tesla.

  • Though Musk won't be Twitter's CEO anymore, he still owns the company and has big plans for it – renaming it X Corp with aims to create "X, the everything app”. 


Airbnb launches Rooms targeting young and budget-conscious travellers

  • Airbnb is ‘going back to its roots’ with a renewed focus on encouraging travellers to book single rooms in shared accommodation with its new Rooms feature.

  • Rooms is focused on budget travellers and includes more filters (such as locking door and en suite bathrooms) and includes a Host Passport, which allows users to get to know more about their hosts before they stay. Encapsulated by a video focusing on the joy of human connections that comes from staying with a host, CEO Brian Chesky was unsurprisingly keen to also point out that the average price for Rooms is only $67/night.

  • If you’ve noticed that Airbnb prices seem much more expensive than they used to be, you’re not imagining it: prices in London, for example, are 25% higher than they were before the pandemic.

  • The push towards Rooms comes as Airbnb is facing continued criticism across the globe from Mexico City to Wales that Airbnb flats are pushing up rents and making towns and cities unaffordable for the people who live there.

  • This week, Airbnb shares fell 10% despite Q1 results that beat analysts’ expectations. 

Google unveils major AI update in attempt to regain leadership

  • Google is attempting to reclaim its position as the leader in artificial intelligence from Microsoft with the introduction of PaLM 2, a next-generation language model that outperforms other leading AI systems on some tasks.

  • Revealed at its annual I/O conference, Google plans to integrate PaLM 2 into 25 new products and features as the company races to catch up with competitors, in particular Microsoft, which had previously announced its AI integrations for its Office suite.

  • PaLM 2 is a general-purpose AI model that will be able to power chatbots, translate languages, write computer code, and analyze and respond to images.

  • The most accessible way to interact with PaLM 2 will be through Google's chatbot, Bard, which is opening up to the general public and rolling out globally in multiple languages.

  • However, the company has warned that systems built on PaLM 2 "continue to produce toxic language harms," which underlines a common concern about AI models and which has limited the availability of the Bard chatbot to only three languages at launch.

LinkedIn announces 700 job cuts and the closure of its China app

  • LinkedIn is cutting 716 jobs, roughly 3.5% of its workforce, and closing its local jobs app in China.

  • The move is part of an initiative to streamline the company's operations, as stated by CEO Ryan Roslansky.

  • In addition to the layoffs, LinkedIn plans to create 250 new jobs in sales, operations, and support teams, for which the affected employees can apply.

  • The InCareers app, which solely served the Chinese market, will be phased out by 9 August. This follows LinkedIn's partial withdrawal from China in 2021 due to a "challenging environment", when it shuttered an already limited version of its social network.

  • Despite the app's closure, LinkedIn will maintain a presence in China to assist companies in hiring and training employees outside of the country, still remaining the only major Western social-media platform still operating in China.

  • When LinkedIn launched in China in 2014, it agreed to comply with Chinese government requirements, a move criticised by US senator Rick Scott as "gross appeasement and an act of submission to Communist China."


Twitter plans to remove and archive inactive accounts

  • Elon Musk announced plans to remove Twitter accounts left dormant for several years to "free up abandoned handles."

  • The move has faced criticism, as people expressed concerns about losing access to accounts of relatives who had passed away or accounts containing historically significant content.

  • Musk hinted that old accounts would be archived rather than deleted, potentially addressing concerns about losing access to important historical content.

  • Twitter's inactive-account policy currently states that users must log in at least every 30 days, and accounts "may be permanently removed" if left dormant.

  • However, as recently as April 2023, the policy required users to log in only every six months, according to the Internet Archive, which takes snapshots of web pages. The change in policy has added to the debate surrounding the removal and archiving of inactive accounts on the platform.

  • If your company currently has a Twitter that isn’t actively used but that you want to retain, we recommend logging in every 30 days to avoid risk of removal.

The CMA further restricts Microsoft and Activision merger

  • The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued an interim order restricting Microsoft and Activision Blizzard from acquiring an interest in each other without prior written consent from the regulator.

  • The order applies to the companies as well as their subsidiaries and is aimed at preventing pre-emptive action from either company after the CMA previously blocked Microsoft's $68.7bn deal to buy Activision Blizzard.

  • The CMA argued the deal would reduce innovation and choice for gamers in the nascent cloud gaming industry.

  • Microsoft and Activision plan to appeal, with the deal still needing approval from regulatory bodies in the UK, US, and EU. While the latter two were expected to approve the transaction, the UK’s block is a major obstacle for the two firms.

  • Activision official said the decision showed the UK was "clearly closed for business", while Microsoft remains committed to the deal. 

May 12, 2023
By Content Digital Data team
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