US Officials Investigate Activision Blizzard; Elon Musk becomes Twitter’s biggest actor


In this weekly segment, ExchangeWire summarizes key industry updates in media, marketing and trade from around the world. In this issue: US officials investigate potential insider trading at Activation Blizzard; Elon Musk becomes Twitter’s largest shareholder and is appointed to the company’s board of directors; India bans 22 YouTube channels for violating country’s IT rules; and Meta are exploring the creation of virtual currency.

US officials will consider a meeting between Bobby Kotick and Alexander von Furstenberg

Officials from the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating a meeting between Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick and Alexander von Furstenberg to find out if insider trading took place, according to people familiar with folder.

The meeting came just days before von Furstenberg would buy options in the group following Microsoft’s $75bn (~£57.25bn) acquisition. The deal was struck on behalf of Barry Diller (von Furstenberg’s mother’s husband) and music mogul David Geffen, and has raised concerns about whether non-public information about the unannounced acquisition has been used for personal purposes.

Activision options were bought at $40 (~£30.53) per share by the three aforementioned people on January 14. Microsoft’s cash deal was announced four days later, valuing the Call of Duty developer at $95 (~£72.52) per share.

Diller and Kotick have denied the allegations, marking the event as a mere “coincidence.” “We had no knowledge of this transaction and it belies the credulity to think that if we had done it we would have proceeded,” the media mogul said in a statement.

Elon Musk becomes Twitter’s largest shareholder

Billionaire Elon Musk bought a US$2.89bn (~£2.3bn) stake in Twitter, taking his total shares to 9.2%. The purchase made Musk the largest shareholder in the social media company, with a stake more than four times the 2.25% stake of Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.

The entrepreneur, whose business ventures include founding SpaceX and running Tesla Inc., has more than 80 million Twitter followers and is a frequent user of the platform. Musk has been highly critical of the site, however, having recently said he was “thinking seriously” about developing his own social media platform after questioning whether Twitter had adhered to freedom of speech principles. expression.

Following the news of Musk’s purchase on Monday (April 4), Twitter shares soared more than 25% in premarket trading, adding around US$8bn (~£6bn) during the year. the action of the company. The rise in share price also lifted the value of Musk’s shares to over US$3.5bn (~£2.6bn).

The next day (April 5), Twitter welcomed Musk to its board, with chief executive Parag Agrawal tweeting: “Through conversations with Elon over the past few weeks, it became clear to us that he would bring a great value to our board, he is both a passionate believer and an intense critic of the service, which is exactly what we need on Twitter and in the boardroom, to make us stronger in the long run Welcome Elon!”

India bans 22 YouTube channels over alleged misinformation

Twenty-two YouTube channels have been banned by the Indian government for misinformation regarding national security and public order, the country’s Information and Broadcasting Ministry announced on Tuesday (April 5th).

The obstruction is the latest move by the government to crack down on social media platforms, using new IT rules introduced last year.

The Information Technology Rules 2021 is secondary legislation to India’s Intermediate Guidelines Rules 2011. The legislation stems from the Information Technology Act 2000 and was developed by the Central Government of India, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the Ministry of Information and broadcasting. to counter the spread of false information. Since the introduction of the rules in December 2021, 78 YouTube channels have been blocked in India.

The blocked channels, four of which were of Pakistani origin, had 2.6 billion viewers combined.

“Several YouTube channels have been used to post fake news on various topics such as the Indian Armed Forces,” the government said in a press release. The press releases went on to say that the blocked YouTube channels had posted “a significant amount of fake content” regarding the war in Ukraine, which the government saw as “aimed at undermining India’s foreign relations with other countries. “.

India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has already used similar powers to block 55 channels on Big Tech companies, including Google, Twitter and Facebook. “Intelligence agencies and the ministry continue to work closely together in order to secure the overall information environment in India,” the ministry confirmed in a press release.

According to the Hindustan Times, a Facebook account, three Twitter accounts and a news site were also blocked by the Indian government for breaching the 2021 IT rules.

Meta explores the creation of virtual currency

Meta, Facebook’s parent company, has outlined plans to introduce virtual currency and lending services into its apps. Led by founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, the company, which also owns Instagram and Whatsapp, is venturing into alternative revenue streams and features to bolster its digital presence. The move comes just months after the collapse of Facebook’s plan to launch a cryptocurrency, which had been developed over a period of nearly 3 years.

Meta Financial Technologies, the financial arm of Facebook, investigated the potential creation of a virtual currency for use in the metaverse. Called “Zuck Bucks” by employees, the currency is unlikely to be blockchain-based and will instead take the form of in-app tokens similar to those used in gaming apps, reports the Financial Times.

Meta is also believed to be exploring the creation of “social tokens” or “reputation tokens” to reward users on the platform, in addition to developing “creator corners”, which could be associated with influencers and creators. notable content on Instagram.

Along with its adventures in virtual currency, Meta is also said to be in the very early stages of exploring traditional financial services, such as helping to provide loans to small businesses at attractive rates. The company’s plans to integrate non-fungible tokens (NFTs) into its apps are said to be further developed, with Mark Zuckerberg confirming that Instagram will soon support NFTs, and an internal Meta memo outlining a pilot for sharing and posting NFTs. on Facebook for launch in May this year.

Meta’s push into virtual currency follows months of legal issues and uncertainty for the big tech giant. In February, Meta lost more than £220bn (£168.2bn) of its market valuation following news that users were leaving its apps for competing platforms, such as the short-form video app TikTok .

The announcement of Meta’s venture into virtual currency comes as US-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase launches crypto trading in India, gaining exposure to the world’s second-largest internet market.

Also in the news:

– Harriet Cunningham of Scibids on AI regulation; Google Privacy Sandbox; and measures of attention

– Xandr’s Thomas Jones on the difference between tag and create in the broadcast automation channel

– The future of contextual targeting

– How marketers can adapt to a post-cookie world with OneTrust’s Alex Cash

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