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Digital Insights - 28 April 2023

Need to know

  • Twitter in chaos of its own creation over verification

  • Meta reports return to growth


Italian tourism campaign uses footage of people enjoying wine…in Slovenia

  • The Italian tourism ministry has been left with egg on its face after it published a tourism video which included people drinking Slovenian wine in a Slovenian town.

  • The video was part of the $9.9m Open to Meraviglia (Wonder) tourism push which already faced criticism due to the AI-enhanced version of Botticelli’s Venus fronting the campaign.

  • The video, which was filmed in the Cotar region of Slovenia near the Italian border, was made private following the criticism. The producers, the Armando Testa Communications Group, did not comment.

Oatly sends a message to the haters with new microsite

  • Oat Milk company Oatly has created ‘Fck Oatly’, a site dedicated to critics and fans alike that explores the company's controversies.

  • The candid and transparent look into Oatly's past, including selling oat residue to pig farms and a global boycott after adding a new investor, ties into the brand’s goal of going against traditional marketing in unexpected ways.

  • Oatly claims the negative attention is an “inevitable consequence of trying to create positive societal change.”

  • The website was not announced or promoted by Oatly but has gained organic popularity with over 247,000 page views – and for those who can't stand Fck Oatly, the company created a page fittingly titled ‘Fck Fck Oatly.’

Twitter verification chaos

  • On 20 April, Elon Musk’s Twitter removed all legacy verification ticks from over 400k users, kickstarting yet another chaotic week on the platform since his takeover.

  • Before the takeover verification ticks had been used by Twitter to verify that influential users, companies, and organisations were in fact who they said they were.

  • In December 2022, Musk introduced Twitter Blue, an $8 USD per month subscription service that provided subscribers with some extra features, including a blue verification tick. Twitter Blue subscribers do not need to provide any identification documents to Twitter to acquire a “verified” blue tick, a move which undermined the original intention of Twitter’s verification programme.

  • Under Musk, Twitter also launched an Organization Verification programme, charging companies $1,000 USD per month for a gold tick. Recently the New York Times reported that the 500 organisations that spend the most on Twitter Ads as well as the top 10,000 organisations by follower count would get Organization Verification for free.

  • With legacy verifications removed last week, it was thought that the only remaining blue ticks were for Twitter Blue subscribers, until some celebrities began Tweeting that their blue ticks had returned despite not subscribing to Twitter Blue.

  • It seemed some celebrities’ accounts were being assigned verified status at random. Some of these re-verified users stated that Musk was using their fame to falsely advertised Twitter Blue - when followers clicked on the verification ticks text would appear saying the account was a Twitter Blue subscriber.

  • In another move to convince Twitter users and organisations to subscribe to Twitter Blue, or Organization Verification, Musk announced that only subscribers would be able to use Twitter’s Ads platform.

  • The de-verification of accounts does not seem to have gone well for Twitter. The Guardian reported that by 22 April Twitter Blue had only gained a net of 28 new subscribers from the cohort of de-verified accounts. A day later, reports emerged that accounts with over 1 million followers would all have their verified status restored.

  • During the chaos some accounts were granted, or paid for, Verified Organization gold ticks, including a false “Disney Junior UK” account that shared inappropriate content, and UK far-right party Britain First.

  • Twitter also seems to have removed all its labels on government and state-affiliated media accounts –these labels prompted a dispute with many news broadcasters including the BBC and prompted NPR and PBS to announce that they’ll stop using Twitter entirely just last week.

Twitter’s new API model alienates businesses, including Microsoft

  • Microsoft announced that it is removing Twitter from its Microsoft Advertising platform.

  • The platform allowed advertisers to manage their accounts on various social channels in one place, enabling them to respond to posts and messages on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn in addition to Twitter.

  • The move comes after Twitter removed its free API and introduced an enterprise API priced at an eyewatering $42,000 per month.

  • The move also meant that a number of tools and small enterprises can no longer function, including Twitter clients likes Tweetbot and Twitterific, accounts like Possum Every Hour (which relied on the API to post) and, more seriously, Twitter alerts from the National Weather Service.

  • The new API pricing model comes after Twitter’s advertising revenues collapsed as advertisers left the platform following Elon Musk’s acquisition.

Meta reverses quarterly decline trend

  • Facebook and Instagram parent company Meta reported a return to sales growth after three consecutive quarters of decline, with a 3% YoY increase in Q1 2023 revenue reaching $28.6bn.

  • Shares jumped 14% as Meta's advertising business showed signs of recovery. The company’s focus on artificial intelligence development to enhance platform engagement, ad effectiveness, and streamline internal processes, was also well received.

  • AI-driven recommendations on Instagram Reels contributed to a 24% increase in time spent on the platform. The company highlighted the potential of AI in content creation and personalized ads. This comes following the challenges Meta has faced in growing its advertising business following Apple’s introduction of a number of privacy measures making targeting less accurate.

  • Meta's CEO Mark Zuckerberg also reaffirmed the company's commitment to the metaverse, denying suggestions that Meta was moving away from his vision there.

April 28, 2023
By Content Digital Data team
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