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Sale or No Sale: As Twitter tries to broaden its appeal to more people, Users are bound to see Changes

A new parent could inject fresh life into a 10-year-old company that's never turned a profit and remains confounding to many people

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The Twitter logo appears on a phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Oct. 27, 2016. VOA

Sale or no sale, Twitter users are bound to see changes as the beleaguered communications service tries to broaden its appeal to more people and advertisers.

A new owner could clean up Twitter and curb some of the nastiness that’s become synonymous with it. Or perhaps a new owner would just show more ads. Or let it languish while it moves the best of what Twitter now has into its existing products and services.

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All of this is speculation, of course, and there might not even be a new owner. Twitter’s stock plunged after rumored bidders were, well, rumored to be no longer interested, but the company’s third-quarter adjusted earnings of 13 cents per share on revenue of $616 million beat analysts’ expectations. The company also said Thursday that it would lay off about 350 people, or 9 percent of its global workforce, as part of a restructuring.

A new parent could inject fresh life into a 10-year-old company that’s never turned a profit and remains confounding to many people. But even if Twitter stays independent, drastic changes to its service might just be what it needs to be competitive with Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

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[bctt tweet=”Twitter has never turned a profit, and whoever buys it will need to fix this.” username=””]

How might it change? Facebook’s absorption of Instagram and WhatsApp in recent years could offer clues. Both services have kept separate identities, to an extent, and have experienced user growth. But slowly, they are acquiring Facebook-like features. For example, Instagram no longer presents feeds chronologically; they are now sorted much like Facebook’s news feed, using some secret formula known only to Facebook.

Though the change has turned off some early Instagram users, its user base has soared, to 500 million as of June. That’s nearly 200 million more than Twitter, even though Instagram is three years younger.

More ads

Twitter has never turned a profit, and whoever buys it will need to fix this. That means boosting the user base, so advertisers would follow. That also could mean better targeting, so that ad rates go up.

Search giant Google is the leader in online ads. Imagine what its might and muscle could do to Twitter’s ad business. YouTube hardly had any ads when Google bought it; now, ads are so prevalent that YouTube is able to charge $10 a month for an ad-free version called Red.

FILE - An Instagram login page is pictured on a laptop screen in Pasadena, Calif., Aug. 14, 2013. VOA
FILE – An Instagram login page is pictured on a laptop screen in Pasadena, Calif., Aug. 14, 2013. VOA

Instagram has also inserted ads into users’ feeds of perfectly composed snapshots featuring everything from cappuccino foam to seafoam. It started out slowly with a carefully curated ad here and there, but today you’re not likely to avoid ads when opening the app.

Salesforce, a company that provides internet services to businesses, has also been mentioned as a contender to buy Twitter, leading to a lot of head-scratching among users. Would Twitter become a business product, used for customer service and marketing instead of revolutions, neo-Nazi memes and political outbursts?

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“Salesforce is a very technology-driven company,” eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson said. “It seems they would want [Twitter] mostly for the data that Twitter has.”

Remember once-popular MySpace? News Corp., the stodgy media conglomerate, bought it for $580 million in 2005. But users started falling off as MySpace failed to keep up with Facebook’s speedy innovations. After layoffs and failed relaunches, News Corp. sold the fallen giant for $35 million in 2011, and that was just about the end of it. It’s not unthinkable that Twitter could suffer the same fate under a big media company.

What about Disney?

Walt Disney’s reputation as a squeaky-clean, family-friendly company is perhaps the clearest antithesis to Twitter’s soul, as many users see it.

“My chief fear is that Disney will wield Twitter as one large PR machine to prop up their image and squash dissent,” said Timothy Hayes, an Ohio State University student who says he fell in love with Twitter in high school. “The Mouse is not above silencing [its] opponents.”

Some users, on the other hand, might welcome some thorough housecleaning that goes beyond the steps Twitter is currently taking to curb abuse and nasty behavior on its service.

One Twitter user, New York attorney Danny Mann, says that while Google has improved YouTube “in ways that were unimaginable at the time,” he finds many of his fellow YouTube users difficult to deal with. In this sense, it’s possible that even with Google’s weight behind Twitter, the abusive and nasty nature of many Twitter comments would remain as is. (VOA)

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Facebook, Google, Bing and Twitter Join The Trust Project to Help Users Combat Fake News

In their bid to combat fake news and help readers identify trustworthy news sources, Facebook, Google, Twitter and several media organisations have joined the non-partisan "The Trust Project"

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To Combat Fake News
To Combat Fake News Facebook, Twitter , Google have joined 'The Trust Project'. PIxabay.

San Francisco, Nov 19: In their bid to combat fake news and help readers identify trustworthy news sources, Facebook, Google, Twitter and several media organisations have joined the non-partisan “The Trust Project”.

“The Trust Project” is led by award-winning journalist Sally Lehrman of Santa Clara University’s Markkula Centre for Applied Ethics.

Starting from Friday, an icon will appear next to articles in Facebook News Feed.

When you click on the icon, you can read information on the organisations’ ethics and other standards, the journalists’ backgrounds, and how they do their work.

“Leading media companies representing dozens of news sites have begun to display ‘Trust Indicators’. These indicators, created by leaders from more than 75 news organisations also show what type of information people are reading a” news, opinion, analysis or advertising,” the university said in a statement.

Each indicator is signalled in the article and site code, providing the first standardised technical language for platforms to learn more from news sites about the quality and expertise behind journalists’ work.

“Google, Facebook, Bing and Twitter have all agreed to use the indicators and are investigating and piloting ideas about how to best to use them to surface and display quality journalism,” the university said.

German press agency DPA, The Economist, The Globe and Mail, the Independent Journal Review, Mic, Italy’s La Republica and La Stampa, Trinity Mirror and The Washington Post are among the companies starting to go live with “Trust Indicators” this month.

The Institute for Non-profit News has developed a WordPress plug-in to facilitate broader implementation by qualified publishers.

“An increasingly sceptical public wants to know the expertise, enterprise and ethics behind a news story. The Trust Indicators put tools into people’s hands, giving them the means to assess whether news comes from a credible source they can depend on,” Lehrman explained.

The eight core indicators are: Best Practices; Author Expertise; Type of Work; Citations and References; Methods; Locally Sourced; Diverse Voices and Actionable Feedback.

New organisations like the BBC and Hearst Television have collaborated in defining the “Trust Indicator” editorial and technical standards, and in developing the processes for implementing these.

“Quality journalism has never been more important,” said Richard Gingras, vice president of news products at Google.

“We hope to use the Type of Work indicator to improve the accuracy of article labels in Google News, and indicators such as Best Practices and Author Info in our Knowledge Panels.”

“The Trust Indicators will provide a new level of accessibility and insight into the news that people on Facebook see day in and day out,” said Alex Hardiman, Head of News Products at Facebook.

A growing number of news outlets are expected to display the indicators over the next six months, with a second phase of news partners beginning implementation work soon. (IANS)

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Just in! No More Blue Tick to Verify your Account on Twitter

The announcement came after people criticised Twitter for verifying the account belonging to the organiser of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one dead in August

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Twitter app on a mobile phone. Pixabay

San Francisco, November 10, 2017 : Twitter has suspended its account verification exercise – a process that gives public figures on the micro-blogging platform a blue tick mark next to their names.

The announcement came after people criticised Twitter for verifying the account belonging to the organiser of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one dead in August, TechCrunch reported on Friday.

“Verification was meant to authenticate identity and voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance.

“We recognise that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it. We have paused all general verifications while we work and will report back soon,” read a tweet from @TwitterSupport account.

Jason Kessler, the organiser of the supremacist rally, was given the preferred status indicated by the blue tick.

Twitter had earlier withheld blue tick mark for whistleblower Julian Assange.

“We should’ve communicated faster on this: our agents have been following our verification policy correctly, but we realised some time ago the system is broken and needs to be reconsidered.

“And we failed by not doing anything about it. Working now to fix faster,” tweeted CEO Jack Dorsey.

Launched in 2016, the micro-blogging website created an online application process for Twitter accounts to receive verified status, which allows people to identify key individuals and organisations on Twitter as authentic and are denoted by a blue tick icon.

This typically includes accounts maintained by public figures and organisations in music, TV, film, fashion, government, politics, religion, media, sports, business and other key interest areas. (IANS)

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Demonetisation Anniversary: BJP acts cheeky, releases new video showing Frustration of ‘Corrupt’ Politicians following Demonetisation

The one-minute video, which is now going viral on social media, has already been re-tweeted more than 2 thousand times since it was released on November 7, on the eve of demonetization move.

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Demonetisation Anniversary
Screen grab of the sarcastic video released by BJP to mark Demonetisation Anniversary. Twitter

New Delhi, November 8, 2017 : On November 8 2016, every Indian citizen sat glued to their TV screens as Narendra Modi was set to make a big announcement. Outcome? The Indian Prime Minster shocked the entire nation with the introduction of Demonetisation, a move that was to change the very foundation of the cash-dependent Indian economy.

The much-debated move by Modi garnered the attention of several well-versed economists from the country and abroad, alike. While some people willingly welcomed the move, there were others who stood in staunch criticism.

As the move completes its first year, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to observe November 8 as ‘anti-black money day’ to celebrate Demonetisation anniversary in the country.

On the eve of the Demonetisation anniversary, the BJP released a cheeky video claiming to depict how ‘corrupt’ politicians have been criticizing the move, as the nation won following demonetisation.

WATCH BJP’S TONGUE-IN-CHEEK VIDEO

In the video, the BJP attempted to take a dig at corrupt politicians, who have been criticizing PM Modi’s Demonetisation move.

In the video, a woman, playing the character of a frustrated, corrupt politician can be seen going on a rant over PM Modi’s note ban initiative, which was aimed to combat black money, corruption, fake currency and terrorism.

The video ends with a voice-over saying demonetisation has not only brought out this frustration of corrupt citizens, but also black-money, claiming that almost 99 per cent cash which was previously lying hidden with people has now entered the banking system.

The one-minute video, which is now going viral on social media, has already been re-tweeted more than 2 thousand times since it was released on November 7, on the eve of demonetization move.

Ahead of the Demonetisation anniversary, the last few days have witnessed several leaders present their opinions on PM Modi’s demonetization move.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley called PM Modi’s note ban initiative a ‘watershed moment’ while Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways believes the move has pushed India towards a more transparent economy.

However, the move is being criticized by ex-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calling it ‘irresponsible’. The opposition maintains that PM Modi’s note ban initiative has caused reckless damage to the country and the Indian economy.

On Demonetisation anniversary, the BJP is set to observe November 8 as ‘anti-black money day’, while opposition leaders are set to observe the day as ‘black day’ in protest against the note ban initiative.