July 2022 news roundup
Twitter/Musk deal to be decided in court
Micro-blogging platform Twitter has sued its would-be acquirer Elon Musk in a US court, in a bid to force the controversial billionaire to complete the US$44bn deal.
The Tesla founder and CEO caused a sensation earlier this year when he aggressively sought control of Twitter with the offer to purchase the company for $54.20/share, 38% above Twitter’s share price at the time.
But relations since the deal was inked soured quickly, with Musk accusing the platform of failing to provide accurate information on the number of fake — or bot — accounts operating on Twitter, the argument he later used to justify cancelling the deal.
For its part, Twitter says Musk’s repeated negative, public comments about Twitter have hurt its business and placed downward pressure on its share price. It has accused Musk of buyer’s remorse in the midst of a market downturn that has wiped $100bn off his personal wealth.
Arguments in the case, which is before the Delaware Chancery Court, began this week, with Twitter seeking to have the case heard as soon as September and Musk arguing for a delay until February.
The Delaware Chancery Court is the one of the US’ oldest, and is recognized as the nation’s preeminent forum for resolving corporate disputes. It has the power to force Musk to complete the Twitter deal if it decides he acted in bad faith, or to force him to pay Twitter a $1bn cancellation fee as agreed under the merger deal.
Instagram launches Subscriber Chats
After it began testing creator Subscriptions earlier this year, Instagram last week announced the introduction of a Subscriber Chats’ feature powered by Messenger.
The new feature allows creators to open limited, 24-hour chats with up to 30 followers directly from the inbox or story. Subscribers can join chats from a ‘join chat’ sticker on the story, similar to the subscription sticker rolled out earlier this year.
To date, Instagram has expanded access to subscriptions to creators across the US, with the feature designed to help creators establish closer community connections and make it easier for them to generate regular revenues.
The platform is also introducing exclusive content as Posts and Reels, and adding an exclusive tab on the profile for subscription content.
Snapchat launches Snapchat+ and web app
Photo messaging app Snapchat has launched a subscriber model of its platform, Snapchat+, which it says will enable it to provide prioritized support and deliver new features to the most passionate members of its community.
Snapchat+ is a collection of exclusive, experimental and pre-release features available to subscribers for $3.99/month. The initial launch has been limited to Snapchat users in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.
Since the launch of Snapchat+, the platform has also rolled out a web app exclusive to subscribers, enabling users to stay connected through the Snapchat camera while on their computers.
Snapchat for Web is accessible via Chrome at web.snapchat.com and includes messaging features such as Chat Reactions and Chat Reply, with Lenses to roll out soon on the web app.
‘Random’ act of kindness backfires on TikToker
TikTok creator Harrison Pawluk has found himself in the midst of a media storm after a woman he gave flowers to in a viral TikTok video took to local radio complaining of being used as “clickbait”.
Pawluk’s video, which he posted on TikTok with the caption ‘I hope this made her day better’, has so far racked up more than 60m views. But the woman says far from being delighted by the gift, Pawluk interrupted her quiet time, filmed her without her consent and lied about it.
“It’s the patronizing assumption that women, especially older women, will be thrilled by some random stranger giving them flowers,” the woman told ABC Melbourne radio. “At first it was a bit of a joke to me, but then I felt dehumanized after reading the article [in which Pulwark claimed the woman was so grateful for the gift that she began crying].”
Pawluk, who has 3m followers on TikTok, has apologized to the woman through his manager but not taken the video down.