Skip to main content
Global (EN)
Global (EN)中文FrancaisعربيDeutsch日本語

Digital Insights - 26 May 2023

Need to know

  • Ron DeSantis launches campaign on Twitter…and it fizzles

  • 10 criticised for misusing Twitter alt text

  • Meta fine in Europe has implications for US-EU data flows

  • Fake AI image of exploding Pentagon sparks brief stock market panic

Executive Leadership on Social Media

Rishi Sunak criticised for misusing alt text on social media

  • UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak faced backlash for posting a tweet with alt text that read "We're growing the economy" on multiple images instead of accurately describing the images for blind users.

  • The misuse of the accessibility feature comes after companies like McDonald's were called out for hiding jokes in alt text.

  • The UK government's accessibility guidance for public bodies, published in 2018, does not specifically reference social media.

  • The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) responded with a video demonstrating how a blind and partially sighted person would perceive Sunak’s tweets, with the repetitive alt text message “we are growing the economy” being repeated read out by a screen reader, as it passed through each image.

  • Number 10 stated they aim to ensure their communications are as accessible as possible, including using alternative text on social channels.


Ron DeSantis launches campaign on Twitter…and it fizzles

  • Ron DeSantis launched his 2024 presidential campaign on Wednesday 24th May, alongside Elon Musk on a Twitter Spaces event in a move described as both “unorthodox” and “embarrassing”.

  • The platform crashed several times due to the volume of viewers trying to tune in (estimated at 478,000) and was ultimately resumed on venture capitalist David Sacks’ account, where DeSantis asserted that the social media industry is biased towards his viewpoints.

  • The move has been interpreted as a signal that he will “lean into culture war issues as a central strategy” as he competes for the Republican nomination with Donald Trump.

  • Speculation has circulated regarding whether Musk would endorse DeSantis or another presidential candidate. To date he has made no indication but has said he would hold another online event with any presidential candidate.

  • The New York Times commented on what was meant to be a “crowning moment for Musk’s Twitter” noting that Twitter employees stated there was “no planning for site reliability issues” and suggesting that this spoke to broader weaknesses with the platform under Musk’s stewardship.

Biden campaign spends big to close digital deficit

  • President Biden’s re-election campaign has already tripled what Donald Trump’s team has spent in online ads in 2023, an attempt to jump-start small donations and lessen Trump’s digital advantage.

  • Biden's campaign team has spent over $2.4 million on Facebook and Google ads in its first month and remained the top campaign spender on Facebook ads for the past four weeks.

  • Trump has spent over $600,000 on such ads in all of 2023 and Ron DeSantis has spent $680,000 on ads. 

Minister attacks Meta boss over Facebook message encryption plan

  • Security Minister Tom Tugendhat criticised Mark Zuckerberg for implementing encryption in Facebook messages, accusing Meta of allowing child abusers to operate freely.

  • The government plans to launch an advertising campaign to inform parents about Meta's choices and their impact on child safety.

  • Meta argues that encryption is necessary for privacy and security, while still taking action against abuse.

  • The Home Office's Online Safety Bill proposes powers for regulatory intervention in encrypted messaging platforms.

  • Apple has engaged with regulatory teams regarding the enforcement of relevant sections of the bill but has not publicly stated its position.

Meta fined record €1.2bn for transferring users’ data to US

  • Facebook's owner Meta has been fined a record €1.2 billion for breaking EU privacy rules by transferring data to the US. It is the biggest fine for a breach of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), beating the €746 million levied on Amazon in 2021.

  • Nick Clegg, president of global affairs at Meta, and Jennifer Newstead, chief legal officer, responded in a blogpost stating: “This decision is flawed, unjustified and sets a dangerous precedent for the countless other companies transferring data between the EU and US. No country has done more than the US to align with European rules via their latest reforms, while transfers continue largely unchallenged to countries such as China.”

  • The case highlights the mismatch between EU and US data protection laws, with the EU requiring higher levels of data protection.

  • The European Court of Justice invalidated two EU-US frameworks, Safe Harbor and Privacy Shield, due to concerns about US laws not meeting EU standards.

  • Meta has been given a deadline to suspend data transfers to the US and stop processing EU citizens' data previously sent there. The company plans to appeal the ruling, and its hope rests on a new EU-US data privacy framework that may face legal challenges.

  • The ruling is expected to have “seismic” implications for data security and could affect any company with data backed in the US.

  • A new transatlantic data agreement, agreed in principle between the US and Europe was announced in March as is expected to be finalised in the next six months.

Montana becomes first US state to ban TikTok

  • Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed legislation banning TikTok from operating within the state, citing concerns over alleged intelligence gathering by China.

  • The ban will make it illegal for Google and Apple's app stores to offer TikTok within Montana, effective Jan. 1, 2024, though no penalties will be imposed on individuals using the app.

  • TikTok, owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, stated the new law infringes on the First Amendment rights of Montana's citizens and aims to defend the rights of its users.

  • The app, which has over 150 million American users, faces increasing scrutiny from US lawmakers and state officials over concerns regarding Chinese government influence over the platform.

  • Despite TikTok's denials of sharing data with the Chinese government, Governor Gianforte, a Republican, says the bill aims to protect Montanans from Chinese Communist Party surveillance.

Fake 'AI created' image of Pentagon explosion sparks brief US stock market panic

  • A fake AI-generated image depicting a Pentagon explosion went viral on social media, sparking a momentary stock market frenzy in the US.

  • Despite confirmation from police and fire officials that no explosion occurred, some news publications, like the Russia’s state-owned RT, initially presented the image as factual news, highlighting concerns about the potential chaos emerging AI technologies can cause.

  • The image's dissemination led the Arlington County Fire Department to debunk the rumours through social media.

  • The image also swiftly circulated among investment circles, coinciding with the opening of US stock markets, resulting in a ripple of panic. The S&P 500 briefly dipped, while investors sought refuge in traditional safe havens like US Treasury bonds and gold. 

May 26, 2023
By Content Digital Data team
Want to see more of this in your inbox?