What’s happening in the brandtech ecosystem this month?
Get the latest news on the Musk and Twitter saga; find out how the big tech companies are reacting face to the U.S. Supreme Court’s abortion ruling; get the key takeways on the Cannes Lions festival last month; read more about Meta’s latest move in its metaverse quest.
The latest in the Musk and Twitter saga!
On Friday 8 July, Elon Musk announced he was withdrawing from his $44bn bid to buy Twitter – but Twitter are not taking this lying down. Twitter has reacted by saying they plan to enforce the deal in court. In addition, if Musk were able to walk away from the deal, he could be fined $1bn.
So, what is Musk’s reason for pulling out? He is claiming that, for nearly two months now, he has been asking Twitter for data regarding the number of spam accounts on the app. While Twitter gives the figure at around 5% of 200 million users, Musk believes – or claims to believe – the figure to be much higher.
Musk is no stranger to lawsuits. His somewhat erratic behaviour has already led investors in his companies to file lawsuits against him. In 2018 for instance his tweets knocked off $14bn from Tesla’s value and, as a consequence, he was not only fined but had to step down as company chairman. For the richest man in the world, losing his position as CEO is far more painful than having to pay a fine! Meanwhile, Musk’s announcement is having a negative impact on Twitter’s stock price and on its employees’ morale.
Twitter will want the situation to be resolved sooner rather than later though the legal battle is likely to be lengthy. Such cases usually end in deals being re-negociated or in a settlement being agreed to allow the acquirer to walk away.
The Musk vs Twitter saga is not about to end just yet!
Tech companies react to US abortion ruling
In what way are tech companies affected by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on June 24 to declare that the U.S. Constitution no longer guarantees the right to abortion? Data privacy experts and civil rights activists are concerned that tech companies could be ordered to hand over data on users searching for abortion services. In the past, both Google and Meta have resisted broad state requests for more information, but pressure could mount. Location apps in particular could reveal useful information for those seeking to prosecute women wanting an abortion as well as people helping to access these services. The big tech companies may be forced to take a stance concerning user privacy. So how have they reacted so far? Google, for instance, has declared it will delete any sensitive user location history, from abortion clinics to addiction treatment centres.
And it’s not just their users but their employees, too, that the tech companies need to protect. Many companies in the US, including Microsoft, Apple and Netflix as well as Google, have confirmed that they support their employees’ access to healthcare, such as reproductive services and gender-affirming care, or are updating the health benefits on offer. While Google will allow its employees to relocate to more liberal states, Meta discourages theirs from discussing sensitive issues in the workplace.
What next? Will the tech companies need to consider their positions vis-a-vis same-sex marriage and LGBTQ+ rights? Watch this space!
Cannes Lions key takeaways
The Cannes Lions was back last month bringing together some of the biggest names in media, technology and advertising, after a two-year interruption due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
So what were the hot topics on the agenda during the four days at Cannes?
Not surprisingly, the advanced TV landscape was a major topic, with the future of streaming in an uncertain place. Dynamic creative technology also stood out this year with creative technology and the likes of QR codes developing exponentially, as well as growing demand for contextual shopping experiences.
But it wasn’t an all-round celebration. Following Extinction Rebellion’s unwelcome entry back in 2019, it was now Greenpeace’s turn to defy greenwashing, pointing its finger specifically at the gas and oil industry and protesting against the advertising industry’s role in its collaboration with fossil fuel clients.
Agencies have no other choice but to face up to their complicity in fabricating climate misinformation.
Meta starts testing NFT integration on Facebook
Wondering what the latest development at Meta is? A few months after the tech giant started testing integration of NFTs on Instagram, it comes as no surprise that it is now venturing the technology on Facebook as part of Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse quest.
This move will allow users to cross-post themselves on both Instagram and Facebook. The integration of NFTs on Facebook will most likely assist those that are minted on Ethereum and Polygon blockchain networks for now with a plan to expand to other blockchain networks further down the line. So how will it work exactly? Users will be able to display their collectibles on their timelines, post them as their profile picture as well as status updates, but will also be able to connect their cryptocurrency wallets to their Facebook profiles.
Meta does not intend to stop there: Zuckerberg plans to develop augmented reality NFTs but, in recognition of the sustainability issues this will cause, Meta will be purchasing renewable energy.