Sunday, November 27, 2022

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Elon Musk: Twitter user signups at all-time high

Twitter chiefeExecutive Elon Musk says new user signups to the social media platform are at an “all-time high,” as he struggles with a mass exodus of advertisers and users fleeing to other platforms over concerns about verification and hate speech.Signups were averaging over two million per day in the last seven days as of Nov. 16, up 66 percent compared to the same week in 2021, Musk said in a tweet late on Saturday.He also said that user active minutes were at a record high, averaging nearly 8 billion active minutes per day in the last seven days as of Nov. 15, an increase of 30 percent in comparison to the same week last year.Hate speech impersonations decreased as of Nov. 13 compared to October of last year.Reported impersonations on the platform spiked earlier this month, before and in wake of the Twitter Blue launch, according to Musk.Musk, who also runs rocket company SpaceX, brain-chip startup Neuralink and tunneling firm the Boring Company, has said that buying Twitter would speed up his ambition to create an “everything app” called X.Musk’s “Twitter 2.0 The Everything App” will have features like encrypted direct messages (DMs), longform tweets and payments, according to the tweet.In another tweet early on Sunday, Musk said he sees a “path to Twitter exceeding a billion monthly users in 12 to 18 months.”Advertisers on Twitter, including big companies such as General Motors, Mondelez International, Volkswagen AG, have paused advertising on the platform, as they grapple with the new boss.Musk has said that Twitter was experiencing a “massive drop in revenue” from the advertiser retreat, blaming a coalition of civil rights groups that has been pressing the platform’s top advertisers to take action if he did not protect content moderation.Activists are urging Twitter’s advertisers to issue statements about pulling their ads off the social media platform after Musk lifted the ban on tweets by former US president Donald Trump.Hundreds of Twitter employees are believed to have quit the beleaguered company, following an ultimatum by Musk that staffers sign up for “long hours at high intensity,” or leave.The company earlier in November laid off half its workforce, with teams responsible for communications, content curation, human rights and machine learning ethics being gutted, as well as some product and engineering teams.

Mathew Knowles keen to explore Arab music at Riyadh’s XP Music Futures  

DUBAI: Mathew Knowles, the architect of Destiny’s Child and his daughters Beyonce and Solange Knowles’ early solo careers, is more than ready to give his keynote speech at the second edition of Saudi Arabia's XP Music Futures music conference.  “I’m like a sponge ready to embrace and take in the local culture, food, the streets, art and the people. I want to listen to their music, I want to talk to the talent, I want to understand what moves the community and what impact music has on their lives and their economy,” said Knowles in an interview with Arab News.    This will be Knowles’ first visit to Saudi Arabia and he says he has been hard at work researching the country. “It seems like there’s a lot of growth and inspiration currently taking place which I’m really looking forward to experiencing. I want to be able to walk to different places – whether live events or restaurants – and understand the role that music plays within the Saudi community,” said Knowles.    “I’m also looking forward to the music conference to be able to meet and engage with policymakers and government representatives and understand the strategy for Saudi Arabia from a cultural and entertainment standpoint,” he added.    Titled “Reinvention & Relevance: Building Longevity in Your Career with Mathew Knowles,” Knowles keynote speech will feature tips for Saudi and regional talent on how to breathe life into their music and entertainment career.  “The music industry worldwide is a very tough one. It’s not easy to be an artist and stand out amongst a pool of talent, but with passion, artists are able to fuel their love for building a successful music career. It helps develop those essential traits needed to put in the hard work required for success and reflects in the work ethic and level of patience,” said Knowles when asking what musicians need to do in order to stand out.      “In Saudi Arabia, there’s a huge opportunity to tear down walls and build bridges to establish those foundations required for a successful music industry so talent can excel and shine on stages, which is what I’m most excited about being part of,” he added.  Knowles is also keen to understand the scope of Arab music when he visits Riyadh. “I’ve been researching and listening to all types of Arabic music but to me, I couldn’t really define what it meant. I hear a lot of traditional tunes, but is that the direction Arabic music is going in, or is that considered for an older audience? I’ve learnt that half of the population is of 25 years and younger so I’m eager to understand what appeals to them,” he said.    “I also wonder would (Arab) music be defined by the beats, or the sounds of the instruments, the lyrics or overall melody? For instance, African music has approached the marketplace with new sounds that have excited crowds worldwide: Afro beats or afro pop. From everything I’ve read and seen, I believe there’s huge potential to unlock those unique Arab sounds, if not done so already, which would help local artists connect with global audiences,” he added.  XP Music Futures is set to take place in Riyadh from Nov. 28-30. 

Oil Updates — Crude prices down; Ukraine wants lower cap on Russian oil 

RIYADH: Oil prices fell 2 percent on Friday in thin market liquidity, closing a week marked by worries about Chinese demand and haggling over a Western price cap on Russian oil. Brent crude futures settled down $1.71, or 2 percent, to trade at $83.63 a barrel, having retraced some earlier gains.  US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down $1.66, or 2.1 percent, at $76.28 a barrel.   Ukraine wants lower cap on Russian oil, at $30-$40 per barrel  The price for Russian seaborne oil should be capped at between $30 and $40 per barrel, lower than the level that the Group of Seven nations has proposed, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday.  EU governments, seeking to curb Moscow’s ability to fund the Ukraine war without causing an oil supply shock, are split over a G7 push that the cap be set at $65 to $70 per barrel. It is due to enter into force on Dec. 5.  “The limit that is being considered today — about $60 — I think this is an artificial limit,” said Zelensky, who has consistently pushed allies to impose tougher sanctions of all types against Russia.  “We would like the sanctions to be very effective in this fight, so that the limit is at the level of $30-$40, so Russia feels them (the sanctions),” he told a news conference.  The idea of the cap is to prohibit shipping, insurance and reinsurance companies from handling cargoes of Russian crude around the globe, unless it is sold for less than the price set by the G7 and its allies.  Poland, Estonia and Lithuania are pushing for a much lower cap than $65-70 per barrel while Greece, Cyprus and Malta want a higher cap.  OPEC+ meeting to take into account market conditions: Iraq  The meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, in December will take into account the condition and balance of the market, Iraq’s state news agency quoted Saadoun Mohsen, a senior official at the country’s state oil marketer SOMO, as saying on Saturday.  OPEC+’s October decision to reduce production by two million barrels per day bpd had played an important role in stabilizing global markets, Saadoun, who serves as Iraq’s delegate to OPEC, said. He said that the cut hadn’t reduced Iraq’s exports.  Iraq’s current production represents 11 percent of the group’s total output of 43 million bpd, he said, adding that Iraq expects a crude price range of at least $85-95 next year.  OPEC+, which includes members of the OPEC+ led by Russia, will hold its next meeting in Vienna on Dec. 4.  Oil markets are witnessing “severe fluctuations” due to the repercussions of the pandemic, a slowing global economy and the war in Ukraine, the Iraqi official said, making it harder to ensure price stability.  (With input from Reuters)   

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