In today’s ExchangeWire news digest: US politicians plead with social media giants to archive content about the war in Ukraine; Elon Musk announces his deal to take over Twitter is ‘pending’; and Netflix turns to live streaming as Switzerland backs “Lex Netflix” funding law.
US calls on Big Tech to save evidence of Russian war crimes
American politicians have written to numerous social media giants asking them to archive content about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, reports Sky News.
The bosses of Meta, YouTube, Twitter and TikTok have been asked to archive potential evidence of Russian war crimes against Ukraine. The request came in the form of letters from four prominent members of the Democratic Party, all of whom chair key committees on foreign affairs and national security in the House of Representatives.
Representatives Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y., chair of the oversight committee; Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., chairman of the National Security Oversight and Reform Subcommittee; Gregory Meeks, DN.Y., chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee; and William Keating, D-Mass, chair of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Energy, Environment and Cyber, released the letters with the specific request that social media companies “report or mark content as containing potential evidence of war crimes and other atrocities.”
A letter, addressed to Facebook founder and CEO of Meta Mark Zuckerberg and shown on CNBCreads that the representatives, “write to encourage Meta to take steps to preserve and archive content shared on its platforms that could potentially be used as evidence.” The letter adds that it would help, “the U.S. government and the international human rights and accountability community investigate Russian war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other atrocities in Ukraine.”
Although the letters are not legal obligations, the influence of these politicians lends considerable power to their request. As NCBC reports, social media companies have complied with requests like this in the past.
Musk reports Twitter takeover is temporarily ‘on hold’
Elon Musk revealed that its US$44bn (£35bn) deal to buy Twitter has been put on hold. Speaking to the social media platform on Friday, May 13, Musk tweeted that he was “waiting for details to support calculations that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users”, and had placed the agreement “on hold”.
Twitter has long been criticized for its lack of action to crack down on fake accounts on the platform. In a filing made in April, Twitter estimated that fake accounts accounted for less than 5% of its daily active users in the first quarter of 2022. The company acknowledged that this figure was based on an estimate and could be higher.
Although Musk later tweeted that he was “still committed” to acquiring the social media giant, some believe the billionaire may try to renegotiate the price of the business, or may even consider withdrawing his offer entirely. “The $44 billion price tag is huge, and it may be a strategy to get back on how much he’s willing to pay to acquire the platform,” said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter.
Following Musk’s tweets, Twitter’s stock price took a dizzying hit on the New York Stock Exchange, falling 10% in morning trading. As the BBC reportshowever, the company’s shares had already sold below Musk’s bid of $54.20 (£44.20), implying that markets already had little faith in the deal being struck.
Meanwhile, after weeks of declines, shares of Musk’s electric car and clean energy company Tesla jumped 5% following tweets from the SpaceX founder.
Netflix turns to live streaming as Switzerland approves ‘Lex Netflix’ law
A exclusive report from Deadline revealed that SVOD giant Netflix is exploring live streaming to bolster its existing content. The streaming giant has confirmed that the new feature is in the early stages of development and will be rolling out for upcoming specials and unscripted shows.
Netflix’s move towards live streaming could allow the platform to work more closely inline with linear networks, giving the company an edge over competitors. While Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers in the first three months of the year, rival Disney+ managed to garner 7.9 million subscribers in the same time frame, indicating that a content overhaul is exactly what the California-based company needs to keep up.
Meanwhile, Netflix faced another upheaval this weekend, as Swiss voters backed proposals for multinational streaming platforms to invest part of their Swiss-generated revenue in the country’s film industry.
The referendum, titled “Lex Netflix”, requires streaming giants such as Netflix, Disney and Amazon to invest 4% of the money they earn in Switzerland in domestic film production. Investments can include producing shows in the country, purchasing locally made programs or contributing to an investment fund for Swiss filmmakers.
Speaking at a press conference on Sunday May 15, Swiss Interior Minister Alain Berset said: “This result underlines the cultural importance of cinema in Switzerland.”
While Amazon and Disney have yet to comment, Netflix said it accepts the decision and will comply with the Swiss government to implement the settlement.
“We believe great stories can come from anywhere, and we’ve invested in content from Switzerland in the past,” a Netflix spokesperson said.
Also in the news:
– the7stars wins combined UK creative and media account for Cunard
– Adelaide and Mediahub launch first-ever media listening training program
– smartclip acquires Realytics to form a joint offering and accelerate the convergence of video advertising ecosystems
– Making Science and Silverbullet Group announce joint venture