Elon Musk, Twitter’s biggest shareholder, on Saturday suggested a raft of changes to the social media giant’s Twitter Blue premium subscription service, including slashing its price, banning advertising and giving an option to pay in the cryptocurrency dogecoin.
Musk, who disclosed a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter just days ago, was offered a seat on its board of directors, a move which made some Twitter employees panic over the future of its ability to moderate content.
Twitter Blue, launched in June 2021, is Twitter’s first subscription service and offers “exclusive access to premium features” on a monthly subscription basis, Twitter says. It is available in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
In a Twitter post, the head of electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc. suggested that users who sign up for Twitter Blue should pay significantly less than the current $2.99 a month, and should get an authentication checkmark as well as an option to pay in local currency.
“Price should probably be ~$2/month, but paid 12 months up front & account doesn’t get checkmark for 60 days (watch for credit card chargebacks) & suspended with no refund if used for scam/spam,” Musk said in a tweet.
“And no ads,” Musk suggested. “The power of corporations to dictate policy is greatly enhanced if Twitter depends on advertising money to survive.”
Musk also proposed an option to pay with dogecoin and asked Twitter users for their views.
Twitter declined to comment on Musk’s suggestions.
The company already lets people tip their favorite content creators using bitcoin. Twitter had said last year that it planned to support authentication for NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, which are digital assets such as images or videos that exist on a blockchain.
Musk also started a poll on his Twitter account — which has more than 81 million followers — asking whether the firm’s San Francisco headquarters should be converted to a homeless shelter as “no-one shows up (to work there).” The poll got more 300,000 votes in an hour, with 90 percent answering yes.
LONDON: UAE billionaire real estate tycoon Khalaf Al-Habtoor slammed Forbes Middle East following its publication of a list of the top 10 richest Arab billionaires.
“We see global newspapers competing to publish lists of the wealthiest Arabs based on their personal fortunes,” Habtoor tweeted.
“The question here is, what did these newspapers rely on for their conclusion? Note that most of the names mentioned are owners of private companies and institutions that do not report their profits or budgets, and it is known that their businesses are much larger than what is advertised,” he added.
نرى الصحف العالمية تتسابق لإصدار لوائح أغنياء العالم العربي مقيمة ثرواتهم بطرقها الخاصة.
والسؤال هنا، علام اعتمدت هذه الصحف في هذه التحاليل؟ علماً أن غالبية الأسماء المذكورة هي لأصحاب شركات ومؤسسات خاصة لا تبلّغ عن أرباحها أو ميزانياتها، ومعروف أن أعمالها أكبر بكثير مما يُعلن.
Topping the Forbes list was Egyptian billionaire businessman Nassif Sawiris with $7.7 billion, followed by Algerian Yassaad Rabab and family at $5.1 billion, Nassif’s brother Naguib at $3.4 billion and the Lebanese Mikati brothers — Najib and Taha — each at $3.2 billion.
The bottom five included UAE real estate magnate Hussein Al-Sajwani with $2.7 billion and banker Abdullah bin Ahmad Al-Ghurair and family at $2.6 billion. Egypt’s Mohammed Mansour, Oman’s Suhail Bahwan and Emirati Abdullah Al-Futtaim and family came in at $2.5 billion each.
The list of the richest Arabs released by #Forbes for this year includes 21 billionaires with a combined fortune of $52.9 billion. Although Nassef Sawiris’ fortune dropped by $600 million last year, he is still the wealthiest Arab.
At the bottom of the Forbes list was a disclaimer that said: “Forbes stopped following the wealth of Saudi billionaires since 2018.” However, while there was no reason for this exclusion, other notable absences from the list included Qatari individuals. The country is the wealthiest Arab state by GDP per capita, according to the World Bank.
Forbes Middle East Editor-in-Chief Khuloud Al-Omian responded to Habtoor’s tweet, noting that the “Forbes wealth scale relies on public disclosure and the market value of the value of shares owned by individuals, and not companies without debt.
“Undisclosed private wealth is not approved out of respect for privacy unless the businessman submits financial reports approved by a financial auditor,” she said.
سعادتك، تسمحي الرد على سؤالك، تعتمد فوربس مقياس الثروات على الإفصاح العام والقيمة السوقية لقيمة الاسهم المملكومة من الافراد وليس الشركات من غير الديون، لا يتم اعتماد الثروات الخاصة غير مصرح عنها احتراما للخصوصية الا في حال قام رجل الأعمال بتقديم تقارير مالية معتمدة من مدقق مال
However, Habtoor responded further, claiming that the findings were inaccurate because Forbes “does not calculate the private wealth or the value of the private companies owned by these people, which often represents more than 90 percent of their wealth.”
سيدة @KhuloudAlOmian المحترمة،
شكراً على الرد.
إن كنتم لا تحتسبون الثروات الخاصة أو قيمة الشركات الخاصة المملوكة من هؤلاء، وهي في الغالب تمثل فوق ال90% من ثرواتهم، فمعنى ذلك أن المقياس المعتمد في هذه اللوائح غير دقيق. وهذا ما أعنيه بتغريدتي. https://t.co/fhhaL8pKTJ
Following that, Al-Omian said that to avoid legal accountability if a businessman does not submit an approved financial report — especially in the Arab world because of the lack of disclosure — the law requires that only publicly declared wealth be tracked.
شكرا لسعادتك، ابتعادا عن المسائلة القانونية اذا لم يقم رجل الأعمال بتقديم تقرير مالي معتمد
خصوصا في المنطقة العربية بسبب عدم الإفصاح
يلزم القانون اتباع فقط الثروات العامة المصرح عنها فقط، مؤشر الثروات هذا فردي وليس عائلي. كما ترى وفي الأغلب الشركات العربية شركات عائلية.
Agreeing with Habtoor, she added that “they are all discretionary fortunes, and it is always indicated and noted that they are discretionary fortunes according to what has been disclosed only. With the exception of the value of palaces, yachts, jewelry, private islands and lands unless they are approved by a financial auditor, businessmen often do not want to declare them.”
صحيح سعادتك ، ما تفضلت فيه صحيح، جميعها ثروات تقديرية ودائما يتم الإشارة والتنويه انها ثروات تقديرية حسب ما تم الإفصاح عنه فقط.
مع استثناء قيمة القصور واليخوت و المجوهرات والجزر الخاصة والأراضي ما لم يتم اعتمادها من مدقق مالي ، في الأغلب لا يرغب رجال الأعمال بالتصريح عنها.
The list itself also drew controversy online for featuring Lebanese Prime Minister Mikati and his brother — at a time when the country is enduring one of the worst financial and economic crises in its history — and the growth of their wealth by about $700 million.
“The prime minister of a bankrupt government who wants the Lebanese to endure bankruptcy, austerity and deprivation continues to remain on the list of the wealthy,” one Twitter user said.
رئيس الحكومة المفلسة اللي بدو اللبنانيين يتحملو الافلاس والتقشف والحرمان ما بيترك لائحة الأثرياء. وثروت زايدة 700 مليون دولار https://t.co/ONVX2yejJ4
Another user tweeted: “And they wonder how Lebanon went broke.”
ويقولون ليش لبنان افلست . https://t.co/zf41IomrdZ
YouTube has blocked Duma TV which broadcasts from Russia’s lower house of parliament, drawing an angry response from officials who said the world’s most popular streaming service could face restrictions in response.
On Saturday, a message on YouTube said the Duma channel had been “terminated for a violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service.”
YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc’s, has been under pressure from Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor and officials were quick to respond.
“From the look of it, YouTube has signed its own warrant. Save content, transfer (it) to Russian platforms. And hurry up,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on the Telegram messaging service.
The communications watchdog said it had requested Google restore access to the Duma channel immediately.
“The American IT company adheres to a pronounced anti-Russian position in the information war unleashed by the West against our country,” Roskomnadzor said.
Google did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment.
Vyacheslav Volodin, the Duma’s speaker, said YouTube’s move was further proof of rights and freedom violations by Washington.
“The USA wants to obtain a monopoly on promoting information. We cannot let it happen,” Volodin said on Telegram.
Russia has already restricted access to Twitter and Meta Platforms’ flagships Facebook and Instagram since sending thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Russia had earlier tried to ban the Telegram messaging app, now widely used by officials, but lifted its ban in mid-2020.
Some Russian media cast the move as a capitulation, but Roskomnadzor said it had acted as it did because the app’s Russian founder, Pavel Durov, was prepared to cooperate in combating terrorism and extremism on the platform.
RIYADH: Over the past few days Arab News has won three new design awards – taking its total tally up to 76 since its relaunch in 2018.
The latest awards that have come through are the Digital Award of Excellence for the UNESCO Deep Dive and the Print Award of Excellence for the Opinion year end illustration at the 2022 Society for News Design (SND 43rd Edition); as well as an Award of Excellence for the UNESCO Spotlight at the 2022 Asian Newspaper Design Awards.
It also won Best in Newspaper Front Page Design for its ‘9/11 – 20 years later’ special coverage and Best in Newspaper Infographics for its ‘NEOM – Ocean X’ Spotlight at the 2021 WAN-IFRA Asian Media Awards.
The UNESCO Deep Dive and its complementary Spotlight take a look at Saudi Arabia’s cultural heritage sites and their importance not just for the kingdom, but for the world. Through its interactive graphics and detailed structure, it transports the reader to the very sites themselves.
As for the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Arab News asked journalists and editors from the Middle East or working there to recount their memory from one of the darkest days in modern history. With NEOM – Ocean X, a figurative dive into the deep aquatic layers of what lies beneath the sea where the futuristic megacity will lie.
Arab News relaunched in 2018 with a commitment to become digital-first and design-focused. The new brand identity was reflected in its cutting-edge editorial and fresh design approach.
Jad Bitar, Brand Manager of Arab News, said: “I am extremely proud of Arab News’ creative team, and the recognition we have received on the global stage.”
“It was our Editor in Chief’s vision to turn Arab News into a more globally recognized brand, and these awards are a testament to that and the hard work and creativity of the team,” he added.
Last year, the Society of Publication Designers (SPD) awarded Arab News with a silver medal for Video Animation – Arabic Calligraphy and a Merit award for Web Custom Feature Design – Arabic Calligraphy.
Arab News also won a record nine awards in SND’s News Design Competition, which honors journalistic, visual and technical excellence in news media. Among the awarded works were the Saudi Cup Front Cover of February 2020, the Japan Calligraphy Cover of January 2020, the Beirut Blast graphic of August 2020 and the timely History of Pandemics Graphic of April 2020.
It also won three awards at the WAN-IFRA Asian Media Awards 2021 including a Bronze in the Newspaper Front Page Design category for its “Kingdom vs COVID-19” cover.
Over the years, Arab News has been honored by multiple international awards programs including the Indigo Design Awards, the Newspaper Design Competition, the Creative Communication Awards, and the European Newspaper Awards.
The trophies are reflective of Arab News’ commitment to design and the creativity and leadership of its creative director, Simon Khalil.
Khalil said: “Receiving so much recognition for the design at Arab News is something we are all very proud of. Winning 76 design awards since relaunch is an incredible achievement and it reinforces the creative vision we have at Arab News.”
“Our mission is to inform and delight our readers around the world and these awards push the whole team to be innovative with the design we deliver.”
He added: “Design awards help raise the brand recognition of Arab News globally and each award inspires the creative team to raise the bar even higher and deliver even more creative work for our readers.”
Arab News’ winning work can be viewed by clicking here.
RIYADH: The Saudi Research & Media Group (SRMG), today announced its new headquarters in the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD), the new global center for business and commerce in the capital, Riyadh. The announcement of the new headquarters comes in line with the growth and expansion strategy announced by the Group last year, which aims to cement its leadership position in the media sector in the region, redefine the regional media landscape and support its efforts to become one of the key leading media groups globally. The move lays the foundation for a global creative media hub in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that brings together the most prominent media, technology and content companies.
The new state-of-the-art headquarters will allow the group to meet the aspirations of millions of readers, viewers, and followers from across the globe monthly. The new environment, which will feature market-leading digital technologies and data capabilities, will enable the group to foster stronger integration and optimize synergies between the Group’s businesses and talent, and support the development and digitization of its media platforms. It will also enable the Group to enter new fields such as events, conferences, exhibitions, and book publishing, as well as support the Group’s research and polling capabilities.
The new headquarters will house the Group’s various media platforms and businesses under one roof including: “Asharq Al-Awsat”; Asharq network which includes “Asharq News” and “Asharq Business with Bloomberg”, “Arab News”, “Independent Arabia,” “Argaam”, “Manga Arabia”, “Sayidaty” and “Hia” magazines, as well as the Group’s businesses: SRMG Media, SRMG X and SRMG Think, ultimately leading to the establishment of a thriving creative media hub at the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD). The Group’s integration will also strengthen its position as a preferred media partner, and builds on the success of its existing partnerships with leading institutions such as Bloomberg and The Independent.
The new headquarters in the capital, Riyadh, marks the beginning of the Group’s global expansion, including that of Asharq network and its platforms “Asharq News” and “Asharq Business with Bloomberg”, with plans to establish several global offices in Washington and Singapore, in addition to its current offices in London and Dubai. In addition, the Group will employ top-of-the-line studio technologies with data-based capabilities, including social media, podcast and virtual reality studios, and introduce new content offerings such as cultural and scientific documentaries, supporting the Group’s legacy as a trusted source of news and information.
Commenting on the announcement, Chief Executive Officer of SRMG, Jomana Al-Rashid, said: “Our vision for the new headquarters is to drive the creation of a global creative media hub at KAFD in particular and in the city of Riyadh in general. The Group’s headquarters will attract creative talent and provide numerous career opportunities across more than 30 media platforms in all disciplines and fields, including content creation, journalism, production, directing, writing, event management and more. SRMG will also serve as an incubator for entrepreneurs by offering investment and strategic support, and facilitate new business opportunities underpinned by the latest technologies in connectivity, communication, and data analysis, which will ultimately lead to a great positive impact on the Group mainly and the wider media sector”.
“The King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) is considered an architectural masterpiece, characterised by the integration of its services and its pivotal location, all of which are success factors to attract the greatest talents and produce creative work” added Al-Rashid.
Gautam Sashittal, CEO of King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD), said: “The establishment of the headquarters in KAFD for the most prominent regional media group is an important step in our development as a premium business and lifestyle destination in the region. The presence of the new headquarters of the Saudi Research and Media Group will contribute to enriching the business environment within KAFD, in addition to its contribution to attracting talent and stimulating growth and expansion. We welcome SRMG to KAFD; together we will support the Kingdom’s future as a knowledge and information-based economy.”
The King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) is set to host the headquarters of many international companies and serve as the center of the Kingdom’s digital economy. SRMG’s new headquarters is located in the fourth district at KAFD and will consists of 10 floors to accommodate around 1,200 employees. The interior spaces of the new headquarters, to which the Group will gradually move, are designed to encourage cross-collaboration, and provide an interactive working environment.
PARIS: One of France’s leading newspapers, Le Monde, launched its first English-language digital edition on Thursday with articles translated in part by artificial intelligence.
The paper said it would start releasing a large range of English-language content as part of a mission to double its subscriber base to one million by 2025.
The articles will be primarily translations of its French articles done “by international agencies, with the help of an artificial intelligence tool,” though editing would be in the hands of English-speaking journalists.
“The challenge is an ambitious one: to carve out a place for Le Monde in an English-speaking world where there is no shortage of quality media,” the paper said in a statement.
A selection of the articles will be free, but most will be behind a paywall, in keeping with the French edition’s model.
The paper had considered launching an English edition several years ago, it said, but instead opted to deepen its reach in the French-speaking world, launching Le Monde Afrique in 2015.