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Elon Musk Unveils Twitter Valuation at $20 Billion, Sees Clear Path to $250 Valuation

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Recent reports reveal that Twitter CEO Elon Musk has put the company’s valuation at $20 billion, which is a significant drop from the price he purchased the company in October last year at $44 billion.

Despite the unimpressive company’s valuation, the billionaire owner told employees that he sees a clear but difficult path to a $250 billion valuation, a hypothetical outcome that would make the company’s current stock price worth 10 times as much in the future. 

He further added that the company would allow employees to sell stock every six months, a practice that is also implemented at SpaceX, his space equipment manufacturing company. The sales of private stock would allow employees to have liquid stock but without the stock price chaos and lawsuit burdens of a public company.

Musk disclosed that radical changes including mass layoffs and cost-cutting would be carried out at the company where necessary, to avoid bankruptcy and streamline operations. The decline in the valuation of Twitter doesn’t come as a surprise owing to the fact that since Musk’s takeover of the micro-blogging platform, he has carried out a series of changes, especially in content operations which have scared off advertisers from the platform.

It would be recalled that at the start of 2023, the company’s daily revenue was reportedly down 40 percent from a year ago after more than 500 of its top advertising partners such as Audi, Pfizer, Ford, and the likes paused ads spending on the platform.

Also, concerns about an increase in hate speech on the platform after its acquisition by Musk who described himself as a “free speech absolutist” prompted advertisers to withdraw in droves. They have also been alarmed by a spate of impersonator accounts that flourished on the site after a botched relaunch of its blue tick scheme for verified users. Ever since, Twitter has remained in the grip of an advertising squeeze, after the social media platform hit a 40% drop in revenue.

Advertising is disclosed to be the main source of income for Twitter, which represents more than 85% of the company’s revenues. In 2021, advertising accounted for more than 90% of its $5.1bn in revenue. Musk perturbed by the company’s revenue decline in a bid to woo back advertisers on the platform, offered free advertisements to brands.

Musk rolled out a lucrative plan where companies who spend more than $500,000 on Twitter ads will receive a 100% match on their spending in equivalent marketing value up to $1 million. The platform also partnered with ad tech companies DoubleVerify and IAS on brand safety initiatives amid advertiser exits. These platforms will inform advertisers if their ad is placed around inappropriate content.

Investors King understands that Musk has been working tirelessly to increase Twitter’s revenue, the recently launched Twitter Blue program according to reports looks to have around 300,000 subscribers, which would mean that Twitter is currently bringing in an extra revenue of around $2.4 million per month via the program, or $7.2 million per quarter.

Known for his ambitious nature, Musk will continue to look for ways to generate more revenue for Twitter, after he recently told employees that “Twitter is being reshaped rapidly”.

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Norwegian Watchdog Slams Meta for Cumbersome Opt-Out Process in AI Training Plans

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Meta Platforms Inc., the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is facing a new legal challenge in Norway over its plans to utilize user images and posts to train artificial intelligence (AI) models.

The Norwegian Consumer Council has lodged a complaint, criticizing Meta’s cumbersome and deceptive opt-out process, which it argues breaches stringent EU data protection regulations.

The Council’s statement on Thursday highlighted that Meta’s method for allowing users to opt out of data collection for AI training is overly complicated and intentionally confusing.

“The process to opt-out breaches strict EU data protection rules and has been made deliberately cumbersome by using deceptive design patterns and vague wording,” the Council said.

This isn’t Meta’s first run-in with European regulators regarding data privacy. The tech giant has previously faced multiple complaints for allegedly failing to obtain proper consent from users before collecting their data to target advertisements.

Also, the European Union’s top court has warned Meta about safeguarding public information on users’ sexual orientation from being used for personalized advertising.

“We are urging the Data Protection Authority to assess the legality of Meta’s practices and to ensure that the company is operating in compliance with the law,” stated Inger Lise Blyverket, head of the Norwegian Consumer Council.

The complaint was prepared by the European Center for Digital Rights and will be submitted to the Norwegian Data Protection Authority, as well as other European data protection authorities.

Due to Meta’s EU base in Dublin, the Irish Data Protection Commission will serve as the lead authority in this matter.

The outcome of this complaint could have significant implications for how Meta, and other tech companies, handle user data within the EU.

Meta’s use of user data for training AI has raised significant privacy concerns. Critics argue that without clear and straightforward consent mechanisms, users are often unaware of how their data is being used.

This latest complaint underscores the ongoing tension between big tech companies and European regulators striving to enforce robust privacy standards.

The Norwegian Consumer Council’s action reflects a growing impatience with tech giants’ data practices, emphasizing the need for transparency and user control.

As AI technologies continue to advance, ensuring ethical and lawful data usage remains a critical challenge for both companies and regulators.

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Meta’s Revenue Woes Shake Tech Industry Confidence

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The tech industry faced a wave of uncertainty as Meta Platforms Inc., formerly known as Facebook, delivered a disappointing earnings report that sent shockwaves through the market and dented investor confidence.

Meta’s forecast of weaker-than-expected sales for the current quarter, coupled with plans for higher capital expenditures, rattled investors who were eagerly anticipating robust results.

Shares of Meta plummeted by as much as 19% in after-hours trading to trigger a cascade effect across the tech sector.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 Index experienced a decline of up to 1%, reflecting broader concerns about the health of the industry.

Analysts and investors alike expressed dismay at Meta’s inability to meet revenue expectations, citing uncertainties surrounding the company’s adoption and monetization of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

Jack Ablin, Chief Investment Officer at Cresset Wealth Advisors, highlighted the disappointment on the revenue front, overshadowing any optimism about AI adoption.

Questions lingered regarding the efficacy of AI investments and their potential benefits to users, leading to increased skepticism among stakeholders.

The repercussions of Meta’s earnings miss extended beyond its own stock, impacting other tech giants slated to report earnings in the coming days.

Alphabet Inc., Amazon.com Inc., and social media companies like Snap Inc. and Pinterest Inc. all witnessed notable declines, signaling a broader sentiment shift within the industry.

The fallout from Meta’s revenue woes reverberated across the tech landscape, affecting chipmakers, server manufacturers, and software firms. Nvidia Corp., Micron Technology Inc., and International Business Machines Corp. were among the companies affected, as investor concerns over AI investment and revenue growth cast a shadow over the sector’s outlook.

As the tech industry grapples with Meta’s disappointing results, stakeholders are left to ponder the implications for future investments and strategic decisions.

The episode serves as a stark reminder of the inherent volatility and uncertainty within the tech sector, underscoring the importance of diligent risk management and strategic foresight in navigating turbulent markets.

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TikTok Vows Legal Battle Amid Threat of US Ban

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As the specter of a US ban looms large over TikTok, the popular social media platform has declared its intention to wage a legal battle against potential legislation that could force its Chinese-owned parent company, ByteDance Ltd., to divest its ownership stake in the app.

In what amounts to a fight for its very existence in one of its most crucial markets, TikTok is gearing up for a high-stakes showdown in the courts.

The alarm bells were sounded within TikTok’s ranks as Michael Beckerman, the company’s head of public policy for the Americas, issued a rallying cry to its US staff.

In a memo obtained by Bloomberg News, Beckerman characterized the proposed legislation as an “unprecedented deal” brokered between Republican Speaker and President Biden, signaling TikTok’s readiness to challenge it legally once signed into law.

“This is an unprecedented deal worked out between the Republican Speaker and President Biden,” Beckerman stated in the memo. “At the stage that the bill is signed, we will move to the courts for a legal challenge.”

The urgency of TikTok’s response stems from recent developments in the US Congress, where lawmakers have fast-tracked legislation mandating ByteDance’s divestment from TikTok.

The bill, intricately linked to a vital aid package for Ukraine and Israel, has garnered significant bipartisan support and is expected to swiftly pass through the Senate before landing on President Biden’s desk.

Beckerman minced no words in his critique of the proposed legislation, labeling it a “clear violation” of TikTok users’ First Amendment rights and warning of “devastating consequences” for the millions of small businesses that rely on the platform for their livelihoods.

TikTok’s defiant stance reflects the gravity of the situation facing the tech giant, which has spent years grappling with concerns from US officials regarding potential national security risks associated with its Chinese ownership.

Despite extensive lobbying efforts led by TikTok CEO Shou Chew to allay these fears, the company now finds itself at a critical juncture, where legal action appears to be its last line of defense.

ByteDance, TikTok’s Beijing-based parent company, has also signaled its intent to challenge any US ban in court, signaling a united front in the face of mounting pressure.

However, navigating the legal landscape will not be without its challenges, as ByteDance must contend with both US legislative measures and potential obstacles posed by the Chinese government, which has reiterated its opposition to a forced sale of TikTok.

As TikTok prepares to embark on what promises to be a protracted legal battle, the outcome remains uncertain.

For the millions of users and businesses that call TikTok home, the stakes have never been higher, as the platform fights to preserve its presence in the fiercely competitive landscape of social media.

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