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Digital Insights - 9 June 2023

Need to know

  • The EU announces AI regulation

  • Jack Dorsey’s new social media network

  • Purpose-driven marketing sees backlash

  • Meta introduces verification

Executive Leadership on Social Media

Twitter officially has a new CEO – who takes over as ad revenues plunge by 59%

  • Linda Yaccarino has had her first official day at Twitter, tweeting to her 444k followers on 6 June that her first day was ‘…in the books’.

  • However, the outlook is less than rosy at Twitter. According to an internal memo obtained by the New York Times, US ad revenue from 1 April to the first week of May declined 59% from the year before.

  • Within Twitter, some employees are concerned that a rise in hate speech, coupled with an increase in adverts for gambling and marijuana, are causing some advertisers to rethink whether or not they want to advertise on the platform. They note that some of Twitter’s biggest advertisers – including Apple, Disney and Amazon – have scaled back their marketing spend on the platform.


Start of Pride Month sees online backlash against some companies

  • LGBTQ+ Pride Month is June, the season where many companies make statements and take actions in support of LGBTQ+ people, many are accused of ‘rainbow-washing’ and many are attacked by queerphobic online campaigners. This June has been no different.

  • Following significant online campaigning on Twitter, Target announced it would be removing certain items from its Pride range. In response, US-based LGBTQ+ group the HRC launched a petition to put pressure on Target and Anheuser-Busch, who had recently drawn the ire of the LGBTQ+ community after disavowing a trans-inclusive campaign following protests from transphobes.

  • Outdoor clothing brand North Face, on the other hand, launched the ‘Summer of Pride’ campaign with drag queen Pattie Gonia, which was criticised by right-wing Marjorie Taylor-Greene. But North Face held their ground, stating: “We recognise the opportunity our brand has to shape the future of the outdoors and we want that future to be a more accepting and loving place.”

  • The lessons for corporates? Without concrete actions and support for LGBTQ+ communities, your Pride support may be criticised as ‘rainbow-washing’. If you do take an action or make a statement of support, given the polarised world we’re living in, you should expect to receive online backlash – if you back down, you could end up angering all sides.  

Apple unveils Apple Vision Pro augmented reality headset at $3,499

  • Apple has announced its new augmented reality headset, Apple Vision Pro, is set for release early next year in the US. The headset is priced at $3,499, significantly higher than other virtual reality headsets on the market.

  • Apple Vision Pro allows users to access apps, watch movies and write documents in a virtual world, blending the real world and the virtual world. The device is controlled using a combination of hands, eyes, and voice.

  • Despite the eye-watering price point and the 54% drop in global headset sales last year, Apple has a history of overcoming scepticism and driving mainstream appeal for emerging technologies, as it did with the iPhone or Apple Watch.

  • If the technology does take off, in conjunction with pricing dropping to a more mass-market level, VR and AR may become a major communications channel to consider, alongside traditional media and social media.

WordPress introduces OpenAI-powered content generator with free and paid versions

  • WordPress websites can benefit from AI-powered content generation. Jetpack, a software company owned by WordPress’ parent, has unveiled a new WordPress plugin, Jetpack AI Assistant, which integrates OpenAI content generation directly into the WordPress editor. This allows publishers to generate content within the WordPress publishing workflow.

  • The plugin offers 20 free requests, after which users can opt for the unlimited paid version at $10 per month. The paid version includes high volume requests and priority support. The AI assistant is available within the WordPress editor block and features a conversational user interface.

  • Jetpack AI Assistant can create articles, titles, summaries, check spelling and grammar, and translate between multiple languages.

AirDrop and other file-sharing programs face tighter government controls in China

  • New rules released by the Cyberspace Administration of China will more strictly regulate wireless technologies that allow users to instantly send files, images, and other data to nearby devices, it has been reported.

  • Customers will be required to register their identities with service providers, who will likely be required to hand over user data to the authorities on security grounds if requested. Meanwhile, new features linked to the ‘mobilisation of public opinion’ will have to undergo a security assessment before they can be released.

  • AirDrop was reportedly used during demonstrations against China’s zero-Covid measures last year and the new rules are part of a wider clampdown on communications technology, including encrypted-messaging apps.

Amazon to close China app store, further retreating from the market

  • Amazon will close its official app store in China on July 17, according to reports. The company's latest retreat from the Chinese market, which was announced without a detailed explanation of the reasons behind the move, follows last year’s announcement that its Kindle e-book service would also shut.

  • Its official shopping site will remain operational, as will other services such as Amazon Global Selling, Amazon Global Store and cloud unit Amazon Web Services (AWS). Amazon ranked 12th among all e-commerce platforms in China, far behind the top three Taobao, and short video app Douyin.

Army of fake social media accounts defend UAE presidency of climate summit

  • An army of some 100 fake social media accounts across Twitter and Medium have been defending the appointment of Dr Sultan al Jaber and the UAE as the president designate and host of Cop28.

  • Posts from the fake accounts claimed: “The UAE’s commitment to being the perfect host for Cop28 is a testament to its leadership in tackling climate change,” and that Al Jaber is “the ally the climate movement needs”. Others retweeted content from the official Cop28 account or otherwise tried to rebuke criticism.

  • The accounts were revealed by Dr. Marc Owens on Twitter, a professor at Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar, and an expert in social media disinformation. He described the phenomenon as “a large, multilingual astro-turfing effort” using at least 100 fake accounts and 30,000 tweets.

  • The Cop28 presidency responded stating that the fake accounts were “...generated by outside actors unconnected to Cop28 and are clearly designed to discredit Cop28 and the climate process.”

  • This latest controversy comes after the presidency was accused of greenwashing its Wikipedia page last week.

July 21, 2023
By Content Digital Data team
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