Issue #74: Tomorrow's World Today
Social Media, Harm & Society | Musk & Twitter | Metaverse
w/Issue #74 - 22nd April 2022
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This week there's a focus on social media and its impact on society over the last decade. Plus the latest on the Elon Musk Twitter soap opera, the Revlon Rule, and a whole lot more.
This is a summary of the Weekly Newsletter that was sent to Premium Members 2 days ago.
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In This Issue:
What Is The Impact of a Decade of Social Media?
Back Story: When I saw Jeff Bezos' tweet that said: "This piece by Jonathan Haidt is thoughtful, beautifully written, and important. Very worth the long read", I had 2 thoughts.
First, to read the article (which I did).
And Second, what have I got to do to get Jeff to recommend one of my essays!?🤣
The article in The Atlantic is a long read and charts the evolution of social media over the past decade. It also plots society changes and attitudes over the same period and draws the correlation.
I recommend you get yourself a cup of tea (or coffee) and a plate of digestives before starting it.
One of the points that resonated with me was about the role of social media and the erosion of trust in society.
A working paper led by the social scientists Philipp Lorenz-Spreen and Lisa Oswald on the subject of social media concluded that “the large majority of reported associations between digital media use and trust appear to be detrimental for democracy.”
💬 The scientists found that, on balance, social media amplifies political polarization; foments populism, especially right-wing populism; and is associated with the spread of misinformation.
Teenage Angst Linked to Social Media (Again)
A UK study of 84,000 teenagers has identified a link between heavy social media usage and teenage anxiety. They also found it affects girls between ages 11 and 13. Whereas for boys, the sensitive period is 14 and 15.
Facebook Shift AI Focus to Metaverse and Away from Detecting Harm
Source: The Information
TikTok pushes teen safety measures internationally
Facebook's Effort to Attract Preteens: A Cause for Concern?
“They are a valuable but untapped audience.”
Internal Facebook documents show the company formed a team to study preteens, set a three-year goal to create more products for them and commissioned strategy papers about the long-term business opportunities presented by these potential users.
Source: Wall Street Journal
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Elon's Twitter Soap Opera - Scene 420
Meanwhile: Elon Musk continues his pursuit of Twitter ownership, with idealistic promises of a digital land for free speech, devoid of spambots, and populated only by real people.
Somehow, I think Musk (and the 1990 Internet generation) are missing the point. Free speech requires moderation, which means rules. Otherwise, it is more of a free-for-all than free speech.
IMHO, Twitter was right to deplatform Trump, thereby removing a major source of misinformation on Twitter that was fuelling opinions amongst his supporters. (On Nov 7th 2020, Trump tweeted; "I WON THIS ELECTION, BY ALOT". It was Liked 1.2 million times and ReTweeted 190,000 times. P.s. Trump did not win the election.)
The question of whether Musk would replatform Trump is a question he has yet to answer.
However, the key issue for now is, Can Elon Musk really afford to buy Twitter outright? He may be worth $270 billion and considered the world's richest man (after Putin?), but it's a volatile wealth based on his shareholdings in his companies.
What is The Revlon Rule?
Back Story: The Wall Street Journal reports this week that a Private Equity firm called Apollo was in a bid for Twitter. There's also speculation that PE firm Thoma Bravo is in a separate bid.
If it's true it means that Twitter is technically “in play”. Let me explain.
Elon talks Twitter, Tesla and how his brain works (Ted Talk)
Starlink ran a test with Delta Airlines to provide in-flight Wi-Fi
Tesla grew its earnings by 81% year over year in Q1, generating nearly $19 billion in revenue in the quarter
Elon Musk's tunnelling startup, The Boring Company, raised $675 million at a $5.6 billion valuation
Is Elon Musk the greatest entrepreneur of all time (The Pomp Letter)
Lego has partnered with Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite, to create a safe place for children to explore the Metaverse. Another example of a consumer brand developing its digital footprint in the brave new world of virtual reality.
Marriage moves to the Metaverse. It's not just a futuristic fever dream, but the natural progression of online romance.
Snap kicked off the tech sector's first-quarter earnings calls this week with 38% higher revenue than a year ago thanks to Snapchat's success. However, Snap were quick to dampen the mood with a relatively gloomy projection of just 20% to 25% growth for the second quarter. Meanwhile, MetaFacebook, Alphabet/Google and Twitter all report next week. What's to come?
Netflix stock dropped another 3.5% to $218.22 as the big sell-off continued. For more on the Netflix drama, read this inside look from The Information. The Wall Street Journal published a deep dive into Netflix’s cost-cutting efforts. And here’s an analysis of its U.S. subscriber churn.
The Wall Street Journal reports that MetaFacebook is scrutinizing Mark Zuckerberg's number 2, the COO Sheryl Sandberg, over her role in pushing a British tabloid to drop a story that would have revealed the filing of a restraining order against her then-boyfriend, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, by his ex-girlfriend
Intel has developed facial recognition software to detect whether school students are bored, distracted or confused. The AI tech has been built with Classroom Technologies, which sells virtual school software, and runs on top of Zoom. Source: AI Supremacy
MetaFacebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg and 28 other Americans are not allowed to enter Russia under new sanctions unveiled by Moscow.
Insurance and Technology
What's happening and what's next in the world of insurance and technology. The team from Sønr analyse the what's what of the latest $11.4 billion invested in 214 deals.
The latest survey of American Teenagers from Piper Sandler revealed some interesting findings:
Apple Pay is the most widely used payments app. No surprise there, 87% of teens in the survey said they have an iPhone
26% of teens own a VR device, but just 5% use it daily
48% of teens are either unsure or not interested in the Metaverse (see bullet above)
Teens spend 30% of their daily video consumption on either Netflix or YouTube (both 30%)
TikTok is the favourite social media platform (33% share) surpassing Snapchat for the first time (31%); Instagram was again third (22%)
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