The major tech companies are under pressure from the European Commission to be more proactive in curbing hate speech and provocation to terrorism. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) EU is one of the tech firms alongside Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR), Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google’s YouTube and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) that the European governments are looking up to. They have been asked to put their acts together in the code of conduct or face the possibility of laws.
The order comes in the midst of heightened racial tensions and national security concerns. Germany has particularly been in the spotlight because of the ongoing refugee crisis, which has sparked a chauvinistic backlash. Apparently, the country’s Justice Minister Heiko Maas points out that Facebook should be held legally responsible for any speech published to its platform.
Facebook EU: The tech giants have not been submissive to the code
It is a requirement that all the major US technology companies sign a code of conduct including Facebook EU in an effort to fight online hate speech. The firms are also required to agree to be part of a strengthening partnership with civil society organizations. However, a report commissioned by EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova indicates that the tech giants have not satisfactorily obligated to the code.
A majority of them have been struggling to comply with a voluntary code of conduct. Jourová says, “If Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft want to convince me and the ministers that the non-legislative approach can work, they will have to act quickly and make a strong effort in the coming months.”
The rapid spread of fake news online
There have been serious concerns over the online spread of racist content, which is primarily targeting refugees in Europe. Facebook has been one of the biggest victims. According to Jourová, social media companies need to live up their mandate of sharing responsibility in regards to online radicalization, fake news or illegal hate speech.
Apparently, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO and COO Sheryl Sandberg have been alleged to break national anti-speech laws. As a result, prosecutors in Munich launched an inquiry into these allegations. Nonetheless, it remains to be seen how committed Facebook EU is to its obligation.
Jana Partners Buys Stake In Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is the current news that is in everyone’s mouth. The Hedge Fund, which is a well-known activist investment firm, has confessed of having acquired a stake in Twitter of about 2.9 million shares. As a result, the microblog website’s shares rose to as much as 2%. The social media platform, which apparently has been struggling with recharge user growth, also received accolades from President-elect Donald Trump while referring to it as a great form of communication.
Given that Twitter has been facing a series of challenges in the recent past, speculations have it that Jana Partners could be pushing for additional reforms or better still, a sale of the company. Apparently, there have been ongoing discussions of a possible acquisition owing to its underperformance, stalling of user growth and leadership exodus. All these have made the company less and less appealing and perhaps the reason why various corporate are racing to acquire it.
Jana Partners Buys Stake InTwitter: Other interested suitors?
Twitter’s situation has been so wanting such that it has turned to cost-cutting measures the likes of widespread layoffs. A month ago, the company announced a 9% cut of its workforce. The revenue was at $616 million, which was 8% up year over year and a representation of the ninth quarter in a row of sales deceleration. The latest hit was the shutdown of its Vine video service, which triggered the notion that the company was in a terrible status. However, it remains unclear whether if Jana Partners Buys Stake In Twitter will solve a majority of Twitter’s problems.
While at this, Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google, Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS), and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) are some of the companies that had registered their interest in acquiring Twitter. While none of them succeeded, marketing software maker Salesforce.com was seen as the most serious suitor but apparently, it dropped the interest. Abuse and harassment were tagged as the reasons that made Salesforce walk away.
How possible is it that Jana Partners will bail out Twitter?
Given that it is behind the restructuring of the likes of McGraw-Hill Publishing and ConAgra Foods, it is likely that it could also offer a solution to Twitter. However, it has more issues with its business and product strategy than structure but nevertheless; there is still hope of a positive outlook.
Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) has been extremely active in acquiring new products in order to increase its number of users as well as ramp up its profits. The stock market saw ups and downs in Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR)’s stocks after it hired Goldman Sachs to allegedly fend off a takeover attempt. Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR)’s market capitalization currently stands at $33 billion.
Launch of Live Video Streaming
Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) has been actively engaged in increasing its user database. Most noticeably, its acquisition of Periscope has enabled the launch of live-streaming video service. Since video is fast emerging as a growing revenue earner for internet-based firms, Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR)’s investment in Periscope may help the firm cash in on it.
In addition to live-streaming, Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) purchased Vine, a short-video messaging service, in 2013. Vine has an average 1.5 billion views per day and lets viewers capture and edit 6 second videos that endlessly loop.
Streamlining User Interface
Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) has also added features to enable easier usage of trending topics. For trends that end up being indecipherable for most people, Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) has changed its mobile interface so that more information is available on trending topics. All this is aimed at acquiring and engaging new users for the social media platform.
Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) also added feature like ‘while you were away’ as well as launch of a ‘Buy Now button’ which was its venture into the e-commerce area.
Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) increasingly faces issues that sees users signing up but remaining inactive after it which highlights the company’s failure to keep its users engaged. Inactive users also indicate increasing presence of spam accounts or robots. Additionally, fake followers have found a huge market in attention-seeking Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) users.
Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) also faces piracy issues with its Periscope app which was reported to have been used to live-stream TV shows such as HBO’s Game of Thrones. Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) spokespersons have condemned the use of Periscope for such purposes.
If Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) manages to engage users and allow easier transition for new users to its platform, its revenue growth can be expected to grow upto 70%. Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) seems determined for now to perform better the coming year.