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Twitter Suspends Accounts of Several Journalists

Twitter suspended the accounts of several journalists who have been critics of owner Elon Musk on the grounds of them violating Twitter’s latest rule change.

Eduardo Razo

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On Thursday, Twitter suspended the accounts of several journalists and news media members who have been critics of new owner Elon Musk on the grounds of them violating Twitter’s latest rule change about accounts that track private jets, including one owned by Musk himself, which the platform put in place Wednesday.

The accounts belong to Ryan Mac of The New York Times, Donie O’Sullivan of CNN, Drew Harwell of The Washington Post, Matt Binder of Mashable, Micah Lee of The Intercept, Steve Herman of Voice of America and independent journalists Aaron Rupar, Keith Olbermann and Tony Webster were all suspended. 

“You doxx, you get suspended. End of story. That’s it,” Musk said during a Twitter Space, which was hosted by BuzzFeed News’ Katie Notopoulos and was listened to by more than 30,000 listeners. 

Musk tweeted that the accounts banned Thursday posted “my exact real-time location, basically assassination coordinates, in (obvious) direct violation of Twitter terms of service.” 

Additionally, the Tesla CEO stated that the suspensions would last seven days. CNN issued a statement when it became aware that O’Sullivan was one of the news media members that Twitter suspended. 

“The impulsive and unjustified suspension of a number of reporters, including CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, is concerning but not surprising,” CNN said in their statement

“Twitter’s increasing instability and volatility should be of incredible concern for everyone who uses the platform. We have asked Twitter for an explanation, and we will reevaluate our relationship based on that response.”

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Media Business

New Study: Podcast Ads Are More Effective Than TV & Radio

“The younger you go with the podcasting audience, the less likely they are to watch linear or television or listen to commercial broadcast AM/FM.”

Maddy Troy

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According to a recent study commissioned by Sounds Profitable, podcast advertising is proving to be more effective than broadcast radio and television advertising.

The study surveyed 2,002 Americans aged 18 and older in February, comparing weekly users and non-users of each platform for various measures. Respondents were also asked about their perceptions of advertising in each channel, according to Podcast News Daily.

The results showed that podcast audiences are more receptive to ads compared to those of broadcast radio and TV. Brands placing their ads on podcasts are reaching audiences that broadcast radio and TV are not.

“The younger you go with the podcast audience, the more likely these are additive net new consumers that are not currently being reached by TV and radio,” said Tom Webster, a partner at Sounds Profitable.

The study also found that podcasting is pulling apart from the audiences for AM/FM radio and TV, especially among younger demographics. Additionally, the reach of podcasting is beginning to approach that of both radio and TV. 

Half of Gen Zs already listen to podcasts, and the average age of podcast listeners is just under 40, which is nine years younger than radio and a decade younger than TV viewers’ average age, according to the study.

The study showed that podcasting’s heavy users have an average age of 37, while radio and TV viewers have an average age of 56 and 59, respectively. “The younger you go with the podcasting audience, the less likely they are to watch linear or television or listen to commercial broadcast AM/FM,” said Webster. “The other factor is the fact that broadcast and podcast audiences are pulling apart. The podcasting audience is increasingly less reachable by broadcast media.”

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Congress Grills TikTok CEO Over CCP and Data Safety

“I have zero confidence in your assertion that ByteDance and TikTok are not beholden to the CCP.”

Maddy Troy

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https://www.reuters.com/technology/tiktok

On Thursday, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew appeared before U.S. Congress to answer questions about the social media platform’s data privacy and security policies. The hearing was held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee and was attended by several lawmakers, including Committee Chair Frank Pallone Jr. and Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

During a congressional hearing, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew faced tough questions from both Republican committee chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and ranking Democratic member Frank Pallone (D-NJ) about the platform’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party and China’s influence over TikTok’s management.

McMorris Rodgers alleged that top ByteDance executives, including CEO Liang Rubo and CEO of its China office Kelly Zhang, have ties to the CCP. Chew, who often communicates with both executives, stated that he has not communicated with any Chinese government officials during his tenure as TikTok CEO.

McMorris Rodgers also referenced a statement from China’s Commerce Ministry, which suggested that any sale or divestiture of TikTok would require approval from the Chinese government due to the export of proprietary technology. 

She argued that this indicated that the CCP believes it has the final say over the company and expressed skepticism towards TikTok’s claims of independence.

“I have zero confidence in your assertion that ByteDance and TikTok are not beholden to the CCP,” McMorris Rodgers said.

McMorris Rodgers and other committee members also repeatedly cited a report about ByteDance tracking the physical location of Forbes journalists in an attempt to uncover their sources.

Ranking member Frank Pallone and the other members of the committee were also not convinced by Chew’s testimony. They expressed that the only way to control Big Tech’s data collection practices is through the implementation of a national privacy law

“Today, the American people are powerless to stop this invasion of their privacy,” Pallone said. “And we can’t wait any longer to pass comprehensive national privacy legislation that puts people back in control of their data.”

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Media Business

Twitter Eliminates Legacy Verification Starting April 1st

Maddy Troy

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https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/

Starting April 1st, Twitter will begin phasing out its legacy verified program and removing “legacy verified checkmarks.” In order to keep their blue check, users will need to pay for Twitter’s Blue subscription service.

Although the announcement had been anticipated, the exact date and process were unknown until Twitter made the statement. CEO Elon Musk has been vocal about his desire to eliminate the “legacy” blue check marks since November of last year, describing them as having been awarded in a “corrupt and nonsensical” manner.

Twitter’s free verification program was previously used to authenticate “notable” accounts held by celebrities, politicians, influencers, journalists, companies, brands, and governments. Musk tweeted on Friday that any Twitter account associated with a verified organization would be “automatically verified.”

However, according to Twitter’s website, verified organizations must pay a fee of $1,000 per month, plus an additional $50 per user per month, to nominate individuals or entities for verification, such as leadership, support handles, employees, and brands.

For individuals who are not associated with a verified organization, the only way to obtain verification will be to purchase a Blue subscription for $8 per month or $84 per year.

The move is an attempt by Twitter to streamline and improve its verification process, which has long been criticized for being opaque and favoring certain users over others. While some users are welcoming the change, others are concerned about the financial burden that the new verification system will impose on individuals and smaller organizations.

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