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Published on

September 22, 2023


Social Media, This Week in Social, TWIS

There are so many updates coming to X. But are you willing to pay for them? This week, Elon teases that he may start charging people to use the platform. Instagram releases a new broadcasting feature for creators. And Toby shares a podcast about the endangered Killer Whale. Keep reading to get up-to-date with This Week in Social.

Trending Stories

Elon’s Paywall Scare

Elon Musk, owner of X, has heavily hinted at the prospect of charging all users to access the platform. Musk suggested that imposing a modest monthly fee could deter the creation of automated bot accounts, which have been a persistent issue. However, he didn’t confirm if this plan would proceed. 

Musk also disclosed that X now boasts 550 million monthly users, up from its previous metric of monetizable daily active users. The potential introduction of a paywall comes as X grapples with a 60% drop in ad revenue due to advertiser boycotts and content concerns. Many X users have started moving from the platform due to the news. #BoycottX started trending on the platform, with many users hating this paywall’s potential. Will Elon listen to his users? Or will he carry on with his paywall plan? Who knows. All we know is people are already jumping ship and making their opinions heard.

Written by: Matthew Bleaney

Alexa gets a revamp with generative AI 

Amazon has announced it will incorporate generative AI models into its popular voice assistant device, Alexa. Users can expect more control over home settings, more conversational experiences based on body language, and more “personality” from Alexa. Citing some use cases, David Limp, the SVP of devices and services at Amazon, said that “it can help you with recently-played music, or even come up with recipe recommendations based on your grocery purchases.” 

It seems inevitable that the impact of large language models would float over these kinds of devices. The vision Limp sets out is reminiscent of a Blade Runner-esque future. In an attempt to avoid hasty mistakes, Amazon announced that it will only be rolled out in the US “in the coming months”. 

Written by: Amber Sim

The designer brands taking over the big cities 

It’s officially Fashion Week season, and runways, models and influencers have been popping up across London and New York. Designer brands are following suit and making their mark on the big cities. Earlier this week, the famous Marc Jacobs ‘The Tote Bag’ appeared larger than ever. Squashed between two buildings on a street in NYC, the inflatable bag pop-up shop was a monumental attraction for two days.

 In London, Burberry partnered up with TFL and caused a stir when they renamed Bond Street station Burberry Street. The blue-branded tube station on the famous red Central line confused many tube-goers, including expert commuters. On X, users questioned how this might impact travel for tourists and whether the stunt was really worth it. Any press is good press, right?  

Written by: Ellie-Mae Turner-Wood


Toby’s Tiny Tales

Welcome back to Toby’s Tiny Tales. Toby Fairhead, a RISE Academy graduate now Senior Campaign Executive in our UK team, has three new recommendations of what you should stream, watch, and read this weekend:


AI can detect diseases 

Google DeepMind is now being used to detect genetic mutations in genes before they occur.


Is it time to kill delivery vans? – 6mins

E-bike deliveries are the way forward. They’re cleaner. They’re safer. Why aren’t we using them?


People are misunderstanding Killer Whales – 1hr 16mins

Johnathan Van Ness talks with Dr. Deborah Giles about the endangered series of Killer Whales.


Platform Updates

What the heck are Instagram broadcast channels? 

This week, Instagram users have been terrorised by Instagram’s new feature, Broadcast channels. This feature allows creators to send messages, media, and polls to select followers, but you can’t reply once added. Upcoming features include question prompts and guest invites.

They’ve also caused a flurry of notifications, causing many Instagram users to be annoyed. TikTok was filled with anger from the notifications and many were sharing ways to turn this off. Although an amazing new feature for creators, the reception of it hasn’t been ‘broadcast’ well this week.

Written by: Matthew Bleaney

X will now collect users’ biometric data as it transforms its privacy policy  

It seems changes to Elon Musk’s ‘X’ are happening virtually every second. Significant updates to the user privacy policy will be the next major development on the app. X now intends to collect biometric data in a move to enhance security. 

What is biometric data, and what does that mean for users of the app? The National Cybersecurity Centre defines biometrics as ‘biological characteristics of an individual, such as face or fingerprint, which can be used to verify an identity.’ X’s new policy, which will come into force from the 29th September, “may collect and use your biometric information for safety, security, and identification purposes.”  

The policy highlights that this is “based on your consent”, indicating that users may be able to choose whether they share such data or not. Users are becoming increasingly discerning about data collection, as well as how and where their personal information is being used. Tech giants now need to be hyper-transparent on their policies or risk lawsuit. 

Written by: Amy Blakelock 

TikTok allows users to clock what’s AI and what’s not  

With the AI content wave growing ever closer, platforms are pressured to work towards solutions that will stem the potential flood of misinformation. Among these, TikTok is the first to launch ‘in-stream’ labels specifically for AI-generated content. It gives users an additional layer of transparency.  

The onus will be on creators to apply the labels to their content, which is AI-generated, with the incentive being user trust. The risk being that neglecting to do so could result in content being removed. The tag will appear under the username in the feed video and is aimed to reduce confusion and limit the rapid spread of misinformation. The virality and effectiveness of lifelike AI and Augmented reality can be found from the Maybelline Lash Metro to BarbieCan station, to a puffer jacket pope and the fake explosion outside of the Pentagon.  

If rolled out effectively, these AI-generated tags may diminish the effect of bold brand stunts. However, this is a small price to pay when we look at the bigger picture. 

Written by: Struan Walker


That’s This Week in Social all wrapped up! If you can’t wait for Fridays to hear the latest news in marketing and social, you can sign up to our fortnightly newsletter, REFUEL, here 🚀

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