An all too common argument among anyone who has had a post removed on Facebook or had an item pulled from eBay is that the tech giants were violating the individual’s “First Amendment” rights or “censoring” their right to free speech. Neither is accurate, and yet, this week former President Donald Trump has actually taken it a step further by filing a lawsuit against Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and the companies’ respective executives.
On Wednesday, Trump filed three separate class-action lawsuits in federal court in Florida against the tech giants and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Google’ Sundar Pichai, Bloomberg reported. The lawsuits seek court orders to restore his social media accounts, while the former president is also seeking punitive damages.
“We’re going to hold big tech very accountable,” former President Trump said during his Wednesday press conference at his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster New Jersey. “If they can do it to me, they can do it to anyone.”
Twitter had permanently banned Trump while Google-owned YouTube froze his account on January 6, following the deadly Capitol Hill riot. Facebook had suspended the former president from its network for at least two years.
All of the tech giants have declined to comment. However, NetChoice, whose members include Amazon, did release a statement on the matter.
“President Trump has no case,” NetChoice CEO Steve DelBianco said in a statement. “The First Amendment protects Americans and our media from government control. Mr. Trump’s mistaken view of the First Amendment would empower the government to direct, mandate, and ban political speech on the internet.”
Yet, Trump is making news – and getting headlines for his actions.
“Our former president isn’t the only person who is suing three large internet companies to use their respective services,” said technology industry analyst Roger Entner of Recon Analytics.
“It is unlikely that he will succeed as Republicans have significantly strengthened the rights of companies to do business with who they want to as well as strengthened the companies’ rights not to distribute speech that they disagree with,” added Entner.
The Legal View
It is unlikely that Trump will actually accomplish much, except perhaps the publicity it will generate.
“Two things are simultaneously true: this lawsuit is a shameless publicity (and fundraising) stunt, and it is a waste of time on the merits of the suit,” explained Chicago attorney Ari Cohn, who specializes in First Amendment issues.
“Both of Trump’s claims are frivolous nonsense,” suggested Cohn. “The bar for when a private party can be deemed a government actor for First Amendment purposes is set very high. While I think it is inadvisable for platforms to be consulting with government officials about content moderation as a general matter, nothing in the complaint rises to the level where Facebook’s actions could reasonably be attributed to the government. Ironically, the complaint includes the story of a plaintiff who was suspended after sharing an NIH link on Facebook—not exactly what you’d expect if Facebook was taking its marching orders from the federal government.”
Additionally, the attempt to overturn Section 230 could be best seen as equally bad.
“Trump wants to claim that Section 230 is unconstitutional because it gives platforms the power to moderate content where Congress would be prohibited from itself censoring the speech,” added Cohn. “But putting aside the fact that Facebook would have a First Amendment right to moderate content anyway, Section 230 is a wholly permissive law that does not dictate what types of content websites should moderate or how they should do so. The courts have been clear that a law enabling private actors to do something at their discretion, without any coercion by the government, doesn’t create a constitutional violation. On its face, Section 230 simply gives websites the discretion whether to moderate or not, and what rules to set if they do.”
Trump’s case could certainly be seen as one that lacks merit, and shouldn’t be seen in any way as a defense of the First Amendment as it applies to social media.
The kicker is Trump’s request that the court order Facebook to not place warnings or labels on content—a request wholly inconsistent with the First Amendment principles the lawsuit farcically claims to be vindicating,” noted Cohn. “This lawsuit is simply intended to stir up the ‘anti-big tech’ sentiments of his followers by way of a frivolous lawsuit that has no place being filed. Make no mistake: this lawsuit doesn’t defend the First Amendment. This lawsuit attacks it.”
A Vertical Wall
If the goal was to get publicity, mission accomplished. But if it was in fact to actually change the status quo for Trump’s social media status, the former president may a serious fight ahead.
“The rules are there to protect the citizens from censorship by the government,” said Robert Sanders, chair of National Security at the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences at the University of New Haven.
“Private entities have a separate and distinct standard,” Sanders added. “There is the issue that some see these quasi-public forums and say the same standards should hold true, but that is not the law. Perhaps Trump thinks he could have Congress change the laws, but he is really climbing a steep vertical wall if he believes that will happen. Current law doesn’t give Trump the option to claim what he wants to claim in the courts. Will this go anywhere? I doubt it!”
Perfecting The Influencer Pitch: How To Design An Influencer Media Kit – Forbes
As an influencer, getting your first brand partnership is a big deal. And with new protections in place, even more creators, athletes and influencers can seek out partnerships with brands. Initiating that partnership effectively can be a challenge for influencers new to the scene.
For collegiate athletes, and any creator looking to partner with brands, creating a professional influencer media kit can help you set the tone for the relationship and ensure the partnership is mutually beneficial.
Traditionally, a media kit contains contact information, a brief description of your personal brand and a few work samples. For influencers, ambassadors, and creators, a media kit will bridge the gap between your hard-earned community and marketers at brands. But going beyond the basics can create better results, improve your response ratio, and ultimately, boost your professionalism.
Key Components of a Media Kit for Influencers
Building a compelling media kit should go beyond the basics. But which details feel superfluous? Casey Smith, Senior Social Media Manager at Kroger shares some of the core components influencers should include in their media kit.
“Share your passions – tell me something about yourself beyond just numbers. In terms of numbers it’s important to include audience demographics. The potential ambassador’s audience may be a really important one to us.”
A high-level overview of your audience demographics indicates a deeper understanding of how your content will resonate if you partner with the brand. But going one step further to customize the media kit for each potential brand partner can take your pitch to the next level, Casey explained.
“We like to see examples of sponsored content, if available. If that’s not available, then include some social posts that showcase the kind of content we could expect if partnering together.”
Giving an example of your quality of work can help ensure your style will align with the brand’s style. It’s best to determine fit before the scope of work is agreed upon – by showcasing sample work, you’re able to front load a lot of the evaluation process.
Other metrics can also be helpful during the evaluation process. Adam Ornelas, former Social Media & Influencer Strategist at Chipotle Mexican Grill shared some of the top data points influencers should include on their media kit.
“Sharing your audience size can be helpful, but you should also include the channels you’re active on in addition to engagement rate can be helpful for brands.”
In a space that can be tricky to quantify, showing brands important data points can go a long way for influencers.
Should Influencers Make the First Move?
Even though a lot of influencer marketing is driven by brand outreach, some of the most successful collabs originate from influencer pitches. In fact, influencer managers source somewhere between 10-40% of their influencer partnerships from influencer pitches. Adrienne Young, Former Social Media Manager for FENTY Beauty shared that pitches can be a great ‘in’ for influencers looking to get started.
“In my experience, I’ve found that inbound inquiries are a great way [for brands] to find more micro to mid-tier influencers who are already big fans of the brand. I usually find that brands need to take initiative and make the first connection when it comes to macro to mega-influencers, however.”
Perfecting the Pitch
Having your top stats and key content samples bundled together in one document can be helpful, but crafting an authentic and relevant pitch to brands can set your first impression apart from the rest, according to Adam.
“Consistency and genuine love for the brand is key. Organically showing interest and affinity on social media goes a long way. Marketing teams take note of brand love and it helps create and build a relationship between you and the brand. Pursue a genuine relationship with the company and the money will come.”
In terms of delivering the pitch, it’s important to consider where your audience is most likely to receive it. Fortune often favors the bold, Adam shared.
“Focus on your authentic affinity and passion for what they’re doing. If you don’t, it’ll come across in the content you create and will fall flat with your audience. Sometimes it’s better to pursue startups and mid-sized hyper growth companies because it gives you a chance to grow with them both as a partner and financially.”
The Authenticity Imperative
The content that resonates best with any audience is authentic. Letting that authenticity shine through in your media kit and pitch is critical, according to Greg Meade, CEO of CROSSNET.
“Being authentic can go a long way with how a brand can onboard an influencer. I know from experience, if someone really wants to work and even sends follow up messages, we will be more inclined to act on that deal as they’d probably end up creating the most genuine content.One of our best partnerships to date is working with Sam Pedlow. He’s just a genuine person that sees the benefits of working with us (and vice versa.) Partnerships like this are the best!”
Authenticity in the media kit and in the pitch itself are equally important. Letting that authentic and genuine interest shine through can also set your pitch above the rest. Adrienne Young shared some key ways influencers can separate themselves from the crowd.
“A cold influencer pitch stands out when I can tell that the influencer is genuinely interested in working with our brand specifically, rather than sending a generic cut and paste email that I can tell that they’re sending to other brands. An influencer can also stand out by demonstrating how well they know the brand, by pointing to specific brand ideals or launches that they resonated with, which shows initiative.”
Bridging Professionalism with Authentic Passion
Being an influencer means you’re equally invested in your chosen passion, community, and being a professional partner with your chosen brands. With a strong media kit, your community and content will shine through and generate powerful collabs with the brands in your space – and in the long run, could result in lasting brand partnerships.
NBA Plans Daily, Weekly Podcasts in New Deal With IHeart Media – BNN
(Bloomberg) — The National Basketball Association is developing a slate of original podcasts about the league’s greatest moments and players, part of a new deal with IHeart Media Inc., the largest radio station owner in the U.S.
The NBA and IHeart will collaborate on the shows, with the San Antonio-based radio giant handling the production, distribution and advertising sales, according to a statement Wednesday. In addition to its radio stations, IHeart operates one of the largest networks of podcasts in the U.S.
The NBA believes podcasts can help it reach a new audience, and lure more casual fans to watch games. Viewership of the NBA has slipped from its pre-pandemic heights. The audience for the most recent season was down about 25% from 2019. But the league has been one of the best at turning its players into global celebrities.
“We’ve been looking for the right partner to help bring our archives to life,” said David Denenberg, a senior vice president in charge of distribution and business affairs at the NBA’s entertainment arm. “We have tons of audio footage that’s never seen the light of day.”
The NBA has been dabbling in podcasting for a couple of years, and helped produce an audio companion to the popular documentary series “The Last Dance,” about Michael Jordan’s final year with the Chicago Bulls. The league has been an early adopter of many popular new media services, forging deals with YouTube, Twitter and Snapchat. About 80 million people listen to a podcast every week in the U.S., up 17% from a year ago.
IHeart and the NBA are in the process of formalizing their first slate of shows, which they plan to announce in the coming months. The lineup may include daily programs, as well as limited series running about 10 episodes. IHeartMedia owns the podcast “HowStuffWorks” and has discussed making something similar that explains basketball to casual fans.
There are already dozens of NBA podcasts, and the most popular sports podcaster, Bill Simmons, follows the NBA more closely than any other professional league.
Yet the NBA isn’t interested in talk podcasts, which make up the bulk of such shows. Instead, the 75-year-old league thinks its vault of recordings about players and historical moments will make it stand out.
“The NBA has an ability to drive culture beyond just sports in a way a lot of leagues are envious of,” said Conal Byrne, chief executive officer of IHeartmedia’s digital audio group. “We’ve had our eye on this league for a while to help it ramp up faster into podcasting.”
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
Chinese stocks pare losses as state media try to stem panic – Al Jazeera English
The wobbly trade in Chinese markets came as state-owned securities newspaper urged calm on Wednesday and talked up markets.
Chinese shares fell on Wednesday but trimmed earlier losses amid volatile trade as state-run financial media called for calm following a wild rout triggered by investor concerns about tightening government regulation.
The Shanghai Composite Index fell as much as 2 percent before finishing the morning session down 0.59 percent. The blue-chip CSI300 index clawed back some of its losses to end the morning flat, but was still down more than 6.6 percent for the week.
In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng Index flitted between gains and losses to fall 0.24 percent at midday after plunging an eight-month closing low a day earlier. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index was up 0.38 percent.
Andy Maynard, head of equities at China Renaissance in Hong Kong, said the market mood on Wednesday was “nervous” rather than panicked.
“Is the downside over? No, it’s not. Do we think there’s going to be more? Yes, there probably is. Do I think there’s some relief here? Yes.”
The Hang Seng Tech index, which hit record lows a day earlier, was barely lower. Real estate firms in Hong Kong rose 1.5 percent even as a mainland index tracking the sector fell 0.45 percent.
A CSI index tracking education firms listed on mainland and Hong Kong markets fell 0.52 percent.
Talking up markets
Chinese state media talked up the market after a wave of selling that had seen nearly $1.5 trillion of market value wiped off Hong Kong and mainland shares in the three trading days through Tuesday, according to Bloomberg-compiled data. Investors have dumped stocks in the crosshairs of Beijing’s sweeping regulatory crackdowns, with selling also spreading to bond and currency markets.
In a front-page commentary on Wednesday, the state-owned Securities Times said systemic risks “do not exist in the A-share market overall”.
“The macroeconomy is still in a steady rebound stage, and short-term fluctuations do not change the long-term positive outlook for A-shares,” the commentary said.
“The recent market decline to some extent reflects misinterpretation of policies and a venting of emotion. Economic fundamentals have not changed and the market will stabilise at any moment,” it said.
Other major securities dailies echoed the commentary in market reports.
In a front-page story citing domestic fund managers, the official China Securities Journal said the sell-off was a “structural adjustment”, a sustained plunge is unlikely and the market does not face systemic risk.
A story in the state-run Shanghai Securities News quoted domestic analysts as saying the sell-off would not continue, and that the market will gradually stabilise.
“For institutions, the decline brings the opportunity for positioning in high-quality shares,” it said.
Fixed income and foreign exchange markets were relatively steady on Wednesday after succumbing to Tuesday’s sell-off. The most-traded 10-year Chinese government bond futures, for September delivery, were last down 0.09 percent, following a 0.35 percent drop a day earlier.
China’s yuan firmed from a more than three-month trough against the dollar hit a day earlier, as some investors expected leading state banks could step in soon to support the currency. The yuan’s late slump fed into the People’s Bank of China’s weakest daily fixing in three months on Wednesday.
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