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Your Employees Want You to Post on Social Media – BNN



(Bloomberg) — CEOs who think having a Twitter account is optional may want to think again.

Employees prefer working for business leaders who are active on social media by a ratio of 4 to 1, according to a survey by Brunswick Group, an advisory firm. Executives who are vocal online are seen as more transparent and accessible, a perception crucial for retention and recruitment, the firm found.

Far from a frivolous sideshow, platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn have increasingly become a way for C-suite executives to communicate directly with staff, investors and the public. 

Tesla Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has famously leveraged his Twitter following over the years, including into a bid to take over the platform itself, while Adam Aron of AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. took to the site to ride the meme-stock frenzy that sent the company’s stock price soaring. Aviva Plc’s CEO Amanda Blanc last week addressed sexist comments she received during a shareholders meeting in a post on LinkedIn.

Brunswick surveyed 3,600 employees of companies with staff of more than 1,000 and 2,800 readers of financial publications. 

Some 82% of employees will research a CEO’s online presence when considering joining the company and nearly 80% of employees and over 90% of financial news readers expected leaders to communicate on social media when a crisis hits. 

Nearly 90% of employees and financial readers use social media every month compared to just 70% that use traditional media sources, according to Brunswick, adding to both the importance and risk of these platforms.

Executives can highlight what they want and control the narrative about their company in real-time, Arvind Malhotra, professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the University of North Carolina Kenan–Flagler Business School, said in an interview. There’s always a chance there will be people who disagree, or who use the platform to express grievances, he said. Even when the response is negative, executives who respond directly and honestly might still win more support than they lose.

“But this requires a communication style very different from a letter to shareholders in an annual report — if you’re not authentic you can turn people off rather than get them excited about the firm,” Malhotra said. 

(Updates with commentary in last two paragraphs.)

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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Trump media company subpoenaed in federal criminal probe of SPAC deal – CNBC



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Former U.S. President Donald Trump gives the keynote address at the Faith & Freedom Coalition during their annual “Road To Majority Policy Conference” at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center June 17, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Seth Herald | Getty Images

Donald Trump’s media company was subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in connection with a criminal probe, according to the company with which the former president’s firm plans to merge.

Digital World Acquisition Corp. said in a filing Friday that Trump Media and Technology Group received a subpoena from the grand jury in Manhattan on Thursday. The Trump company also received a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding a civil probe on Monday, DWAC said.

DWAC also said some current and former TMTG employees have also recently received grand jury subpoenas. Later Friday, TMTG said it would comply with the subpoenas, and that none of them were directed at its chairman, Trump, or CEO, former U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes.

The filing came days after DWAC said the government investigations could delay or even prevent its merger with Trump’s newly formed company, which includes Truth Social, a social media app intended to be an alternative to Twitter.

Neither TMTG nor a spokeswoman for Trump immediately responded to CNBC’s requests for comment.

The Justice Department and the SEC, which regulates the stock market, are investigating the deal between DWAC and Trump Media. By merging with DWAC, which is a kind of shell company called a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, Trump’s firm would gain access to potentially billions of dollars on public equities markets.

Trump established Truth Social months after Twitter banned him for his tweets on Jan. 6, 2021, when hundreds of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in a bid to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election. Parent company Trump Media was incorporated in February 2021, weeks after Trump left office. The company’s CEO, Nunes, is one of the former president’s most ardent loyalists in the Republican Party. Trump is also considering whether to run for president in the 2024 election.

Trump has continued to spread the lie that the election was stolen from him. His alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection is being probed by a House select committee that has accused the former president of being at the center of a multipronged conspiracy to block the peaceful transfer of power to Biden.

Early criticism of the Trump-DWAC deal came from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. In calling for an investigation, she wrote to SEC Chair Gary Gensler in November, telling him that DWAC “may have committed securities violations by holding private and undisclosed discussions about the merger as early as May 2021, while omitting this information in [SEC] filing and other public statements.” The lawmaker’s request came shortly after The New York Times published a report that said the deal might have violated securities laws and regulations.

DWAC shares are far off their highs, closing Friday at $24.20. The stock had surged above $90 in October, after the deal with Trump’s group was announced.

DWAC on Monday revealed in a securities filing that it learned June 16 that each member of its board of directors received subpoenas from the same federal grand jury.

The grand jury sought documents similar to those the SEC already requested as part of its civil probe, DWAC said. The company itself was served with a subpoena a week ago with similar requests, along with other requests relating to communications, individuals and information involving Rocket One Capital.

DWAC also revealed Monday that a board member, Bruce J. Garelick, had told management that he would quit the board during the previous week. Garelick said his resignation “was not the result of any disagreement with Digital World’s operations, policies or practices,” according to the company filing.

— CNBC’s Kevin Breuninger and Thomas Franck contributed to this story.

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State media say a man has been rescued two days after ship sank south of Hong Kong, rescue chance 'slim' for 26 others – ABC News



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State media say a man has been rescued two days after ship sank south of Hong Kong, rescue chance ‘slim’ for 26 others  ABC News

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Putin's Media Blitz on Africa Food Crisis Sparks Alarm in Europe – BNN



(Bloomberg) — European governments have been alarmed by a Russian disinformation campaign that seeks to deflect criticism that President Vladimir Putin’s war with Ukraine risks leaving millions of people in Africa facing famine.

Russian diplomats have gone on a media offensive in recent months to push the narrative that sanctions, rather than Russian blockades, are causing shortages of grains and fertilizer in Africa. The public-relations onslaught shows how the months-long war in Ukraine is becoming a global propaganda battle as food, fuel and crop-nutrient prices surge.EU and UK officials who’ve recently met their African counterparts at meetings in New York and Rwanda expressed concern that the Russian message is gaining traction, said senior European diplomats who asked not to be identified. In response, European governments are increasing their engagement with leaders on the continent and boosting their own information campaigns to counter the Russian narrative, the diplomats said.

A senior European intelligence officer said the Kremlin had manufactured the debate as a means to get sanctions lifted and was intent on using the threat of global hunger as a bargaining tool in any future peace talks. Moscow has focused much of its influence operations on Africa and the Middle East, the official said.

No Link

The US and EU haven’t sanctioned any Russian agricultural products and say there’s no link between penalties on Moscow and grain or fertilizer exports from Russia or Ukraine.

That’s not stopped Russian embassy officials across Africa from placing the blame for the crisis on the west. Recent examples include Russia’s ambassador to Djibouti posting a graphic on Twitter accusing the EU of lying about gas and food shortages, while a Russian diplomat in South Africa wrote an editorial in the Mail & Guardian newspaper entitled “The Russian embassy rejects accusation of ‘provoking global famine’ spread by Western propaganda.”

Social media campaigns have amplified their messages, with Facebook pages parroting Kremlin talking points in French, targeting West African nations including Mali and Ivory Coast, according to Moustafa Ayad, executive director for Africa, the Middle East and Asia at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a London-based think tank that analyzes online disinformation. Online conspiracy communities in South Africa have also been targeted, he said.

The head of the United Nations World Food Program, David Beasley, said Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports was a “declaration of war” on global food security, with 49 million people in 43 countries facing famine.

“Since the Ukraine war began, the price of food and fuel has risen dramatically in countries around the world,” he said June 24. “Now, millions may starve.”

Global food prices surged to a record after Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion disrupted exports of grain and vegetable oil through Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, adding to cost pressures from logistics snarl-ups and a rebound in consumer demand after the coronavirus pandemic. That’s exacerbated a hunger crisis affecting countries including Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

While Ukraine and its US and European allies blame Russia for blocking exports and Moscow points the finger at Kyiv, UN-sponsored talks have so far failed to yield a compromise to resume deliveries.

Read: Putin Has Reason to Slow-Walk a Ukraine Grain Deal

Before the war, Russia and Ukraine accounted for three-quarters of global sunflower-oil exports, about 30% of wheat and 15% of corn, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Shortages of grains have driven up prices, with global benchmarks for wheat and corn rising 22% and 12% respectively this year.

“The crisis is caused by Russia. Without that invasion we wouldn’t be in the situation we are in,” said Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist at the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa. “The price shock is inescapable and that is directly related to the war.”

Food costs account for 40% of consumer spending in sub-Saharan Africa, compared with 17% in advanced economies.

In 2020, Africa imported $4 billion of agricultural products from Russia, with 90% of that being wheat, while $2.9 billion of wheat, corn, sunflower oil, barley and soy came from Ukraine, according to Sihlobo. FAO data shows that Eritrea and Somalia were almost entirely dependent on Russia and Ukraine for their wheat supplies last year, while Tanzania, Namibia and Madagascar relied on them for more than 60% of supplies.

Russian and Ukrainian harvests and exports have surged in the past decade and farmers in the region typically produce at lower costs than more traditional suppliers like Canada and the US, which has helped to keep wheat prices lower. Their proximity to North Africa also reduces shipping costs versus suppliers further afield.

Part of Russia’s propaganda effort has been to amplify statements by African officials that can be seen as supportive of Russia’s argument. After African Union President Macky Sall met Putin for talks June 3 in the resort town of Sochi, Sall said sanctions had exacerbated the food crisis.

“Anti-Russia sanctions have made this situation worse and now we do not have access to grain from Russia, primarily to wheat,” Sall said . “And, most importantly, we do not have access to fertilizer. The situation was bad and now it has become worse, creating a threat to food security in Africa.”

Colonial Legacy

Russia can draw on its historical role of having supported liberation movements in parts of Africa during the wars and struggles against colonial and Whites-only rule — backing that helped the former Soviet Union undermine the US and Europe as part of its Cold War strategy to gain influence in Africa. By contrast the UK and France, as former colonial powers, still attract suspicion.

“What we have seen are narratives focused very precisely on how the US is orchestrating this conflict along with NATO in order to starve the globe,” Ayad said. “Colonialism has to be taken into account with African disinformation. That’s what the Kremlin is counting on: calling out Western states rather than the Kremlin as an imperial force.”

The danger is “very big” that Putin will attempt to establish a narrative that the West is responsible for the famine threatening Africa, German foreign ministry spokeswoman Andrea Strasse said June 3. “This is a narrative that we want to strongly resist,” she said.

French President Emmanuel Macron said last week at the Group of Seven leaders summit in the Bavarian Alps that he will announce measures in September to intensify the “fight against disinformation.” At a press conference, he referred to Russia’s efforts to link the food crisis to sanctions as “fake news.”

The Russian propaganda campaign is also getting under the skin of the Americans.

“The Russian government’s attempts to deflect responsibility for its actions by blaming others for the worsening crisis in the global food system are reprehensible,” the US State Department said in a June 22 statement entitled ‘Lying to the World About Global Food Security.’ “The Russian government should stop weaponizing food and allow Ukraine to safely ship out its grain so that millions of hungry people in the Middle East and Africa can be fed.”

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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