Tom Clarke welcomed Lydia Linna into the studio on Monday morning for the regular Delano’s Top of the Week slot on the Ara City Radio breakfast show.
The conversation focused on the chaos surrounding Twitter the past few weeks, following Elon Musk’s buyout of the social media company for $44bn. One of the things they discussed was how fake accounts have taken advantage of Twitter’s new $8/month verification system by impersonating companies or public figures. Even though it’s “only” happening online, these sorts of accounts can gain traction quickly and spread misinformation. Lydia talked about the example of a fake--but verified--account that tweeted that insulin would now be free, and the 4% drop in pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly’s stock shares that followed.
With the increased use of social media in politics and election campaigning, Twitter can be a double-edged sword. It allows politicians to reach wide audiences, but also provides opportunities for disinformation to spread. EU regulations require social media companies to be transparent about user policies and tackle disinformation--such as falsehoods related to covid-19 and vaccines--but Musk has decided not to enforce these rules at Twitter anymore. This could be a sign of further EU-Twitter regulatory battles in the near future.
Tom and Lydia also talked about how social media could be used for positive purposes as well, such as the emergence of Nafo following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine earlier this year. Nafo, which stands for North American Fella Organization and is a play on military alliance Nato, began in May 2022. Twitter users began to photoshop cartoon Shiba Inu dogs into images from Ukraine as a way to “troll” Russians and Russian diplomats, as well as counter misinformation. The movement has grown, with “forgers” creating personalised “fella” avatars for people who donate to support Ukraine, or for politicians and government figures such as Ukraine’s defense minister Oleksii Reznikov or Estonia’s prime minister Kaja Kallas.
The bottom line is: be careful on social media and make sure you think twice. Sometimes, it can be difficult to determine who’s behind a computer screen.
Tips for the week
The Top of the Week slot also provides listeners with some “what’s on” tips for the coming week. Check out the TechUkraine showcase on investment opportunities in Ukraine, the Kneip Insight 2022 conference on the fund industry or the Irish Club’s Children’s Christmas party.
Lydia’s music pick for this week was California Dreamin’ by Sia--dreaming of some California sunshine on this grey and chilly day in Luxembourg.