Donald, who? “We are a platform that’s obviously much larger than any one topic, or any one account,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said in reporting the platform’s upbeat 2020 financials.
That may be true but Donald Trump, Twitter's superstar, was still Tweeting lies, distortions, personal attacks and misinformation during the fourth quarter when the platform's revenues advanced 28 percent to $1.3B, which topped Wall Street’s expectations.
The company did detect “a small but measurable negative impact” after it rolled out safeguards ahead of the presidential election to combat disinformation and protect what it calls the integrity of civic-related conversations.
From Oct. 27 to Nov. 11, Twitter applied labels, warnings and other restrictions on misleading information in Tweets to remind people that election results were likely to be delayed and that voting by mail is safe and legitimate.
Dorsey promised to continue labeling misinformation to add context to the future in the event a reincarnation of Trump rises on Twitter.
The former president was permanently banned from Twitter on Jan. 8 “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”
Famous last words… Though ratings are slumping, Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch believes Fox News should stay the course as a “center-right” news outfit.
He told an earnings call: “We don’t need to go further right. We don’t believe America is further right. And we’re obviously not going to pivot left. All of our significant competitors are to the far left. So, we’ll stick where we are. With that, we’ll see a return to our ratings dominance. We believe the center-right is where American politics are.”
There is one problem with Murdoch’s strategy. The leader of the center-right, who used to be Fox’s No. 1 booster, may take his very loyal fans elsewhere.
That could be to NewsMax, One America News or Trump TV.
Forewarned is forearmed... The International Monetary Fund warns that pandemics usually trigger social unrest once the disease has run its course.
Protests don’t happen during the height of a crisis as people rally together in solidarity and incumbent regimes use the crisis to consolidate power and crush dissent.
The IMF notes that since the beginning of the pandemic, only the US and Lebanon experienced widespread protests.
Its analysis shows that over time—usually two years after the pandemic—the risk of riots and anti-government demonstrations grows.
“If history is a predictor, unrest may reemerge as the pandemic eases,” said the IMF in its Feb. 3 blog. “The threats may be bigger where the crisis exposes or exacerbates pre-existing problems such as a lack of trust in institutions, poor governance, poverty, or inequality.”
Those problems cited by the IMF sound like the current state of the US.
President Biden better get cracking on his $1.9T American Rescue Plan. Time is running out.
KPMG UK chairman Bill Michael must have flunked out of charm school.
The blunt talking 52-year-old Australian raised more than a few eyebrows during a Feb. 8 town hall meeting when he told staffers to “stop moaning” about the impact of COVID-19 and the possible effect it might have on their paychecks.
Recognizing that he crossed the line, Michael apologized to staff via an email.
“I know that words matter and I regret the ones I chose to use today," he wrote. “I think the lockdown is proving difficult for all of us. I am very sorry for what I said and the way that I said it.”
Michael has first-hand experience with the pandemic, which sent him to the hospital last March after he tested positive for COVID-19.
“I can only imagine what you and your families are going through and what you’re continuing to contend with each and every day,” he wrote in the email. “Having endured my own experiences, I should have appreciated the impact it’s having on all of us.”
There is good news for KPMG UK.
Bonuses will be paid next month and pay rises will go into effect. Partners agreed to an 11 percent cut to support other jobs that may have been wiped out by the pandemic.
Clock ticks for TikTok... The China-owned video platform sweated out the Trump administration. President Trump tried to arrange a shotgun wedding to Oracle and Walmart for TikTok’s US operations.
Larry Ellison, Oracle chairman and co-founder, supported and raised money for Trump.
"I think Oracle is a great company, and I think its owner is a tremendous guy,” Trump said in announcing his TikTok plan. ”He's a tremendous person. I think that Oracle would certainly be somebody that could handle it.”
TikTok owner, ByteDance, waged a successful legal battle to thwart Trump’s plan and now must wait until Joe Biden formulates his strategy on how to deal with the national security threat posed by TikTok collecting information about its US users.
At the very least, TikTok bought some valuable time.
Team Biden’s almost exclusive focus on the pandemic and economic recovery will provide plenty of breathing room for TikTok and its lobbying team that features the well-connected former Senators Trent Lott and John Breaux.
There’s still a lot of time for TikTok to gather more data on its young American fans.
Trump blamed for more pollution deaths.....A report by The Lancet blames former president Trump for 22K extra pollution-related deaths due to his hostility towards environmental regulations that worsened living conditions, especially in hard-hit economic regions of the US.
The respected British medical journal also cites Trump’s disdain for science and cuts to global health programs and public health agencies for impeding the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, causing tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths, and imperiling advances against HIV and other diseases.
The US has lost 475K people to COVID-19.
The Lancet notes that Trump failed in one of his priorities: overturning the Affordable Care Act. He did succeed in weakening coverage and increased the number of uninsured Americans by about three million people.