Twitter considers charging users for special content, in revenue push


San Francisco: Twitter said Thursday it plans to offer a subscription service in which users would pay for special content from high-profile accounts, part of an economic model to diversify its revenue.

The globally popular social media platform announced the potential new Super Follows service at its annual investor meeting, as it searches for new revenue streams beyond targeted advertising.

 

“Exploring audience funding opportunities like Super Follows will allow creators and publishers to be directly supported by their audience and will incentivize them to continue creating content that their audience loves,” a Twitter spokesperson told AFP.

Top Twitter executives discussed Super Follows while outlining goals and plans for the near future during the streamed presentation.

“We are examining and rethinking the incentives of our service — the behaviors that our product features encourage and discourage as people participate in conversation on Twitter,” the spokesperson said.

 

Super Follows was described during the presentation as a way for Twitter audiences to financially support creators and receive newsletters, exclusive content and even virtual badges in exchange.

Twitter, which currently makes money from ads and promoted posts, might be able to add additional revenue via the Super Follows transactions.

Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi was not convinced people will be inclined to pay for special content on Twitter.

Such a model makes sense for content on platforms like YouTube, where hours of craftsmanship might be devoted to producing entertaining videos, but it is debatable whether the same could be said for tweets on Twitter, she said.

 

No timeline was given for when Super Follows might become a feature, but it is expected that the tech giant will make further announcements in the coming months.

Building communities

Twitter is also considering allowing users to join communities devoted to topics via a feature seemingly similar to Facebook’s “groups.”

Twitter aims to reach a milestone of 315 million “monetizable” users in 2023, a steep increase from the 192 million it had at the end of last year, according to a filing with US financial markets regulators at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

 

The San Francisco-based firm defined monetizable users as people who log in daily and can be shown ads.

Twitter, like Google and Facebook, makes most of its money from digital advertising.

The company said it is aiming for $7.5 billion in revenue in 2023, more than double the $3.7 billion it took in last year.

Twitter also plans to double “development velocity,” meaning the number of new features it releases per employee to get people to engage more with the service.

Apple bite

Twitter revenue product lead Bruce Falck told analysts that the tech company was mindful of a potential crimp in revenue that could be caused by new privacy labels Apple is mandating for apps on its mobile devices.

 

App makers are concerned that the labels will discourage users from allowing collection of data used to more effectively target ads.

“It’s still too early to tell exactly how this will impact the industry, but it will be felt by the entire industry,” Falck said, adding that Twitter was innovating to soften the blow.

Twitter’s plan to boost revenue also includes getting more involved in online commerce.

“Imagine easily discovering and quickly purchasing a new skincare product, or trendy sneaker from a brand new follow with only a few clicks,” a Twitter executive told analysts.

 

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Child marriage stopped in Vadapalani


Police personnel from All Women Police, Vadapalani prevented a marriage of a 15-year-old girl with 26-year-old youth to be held in a wedding hall in Vadapalani.

Following an alert received by the women’s emergency 181 helpline, District Child Protection Officer Abirami passed on to All Women Police, Vadapalani, about the proposed marriage between the 15-year-old girl who lives in Ashok Nagar Police station limits and her maternal uncle Dinesh kumar, 26, in Padmaraman wedding hall, Vadapalani. While the betrothal ceremony was on, police and other officers prevented the marriage and rescued the girl.

They counselled both the parents in the presence of the elders and explained the consequences if a minor is married. The girl was admitted at a child care institution, Shenoy Nagar.

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Maharashtra awaits guidelines on role of private sector in next phase of Covid vaccination


While the Centre has, in its review meeting with states and union territories, stressed on improving the pace of vaccination in Maharashtra, health officials are awaiting directives on the involvement of the private sector in rolling out the Covid-19 vaccine.

From March 1, Covid-19 vaccination will be extended to people aged 60 years and above, and those above 45, who have comorbidities.

States and union territories have been advised to expand vaccination sessions to all public healthcare facilities, along with CGHS and PM-JAY empaneled hospitals, from March.

State Immunisation Officer Dr D N Patil told The Indian Express, “We need to wait for standard operating procedures and guidelines from the Centre…. The announcements have been made and presently, we have enough doses for the listed vaccine beneficiaries – 28.37 lakh doses of Covishield vaccine and 4.8 lakh doses of Covaxin.”

Maharashtra has vaccinated 11.09 lakh vaccine beneficiaries so far. After Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra is on the fifth spot, with the highest number of vaccinations. In Pune district, 65.2 per cent healthcare workers have been vaccinated (73,624). Satara district has registered 75.4 per cent vaccination of healthcare workers (19,667) and Solapur district has registered 80 per cent vaccination of healthcare workers (27,147)

However, at Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture, president Sudhir Mehta has pointed out that given the rising case load in Maharashtra and Kerala, the central government should prioritise vaccination of the vulnerable population in these two states.

“Pune, which is again emerging as the epicenter of the disease, would need 2 million doses and that should be provided forthwith. The logic is simple — the crisis in these two states is acute and all efforts should be taken to defuse the same. The government’s decision to include the private sector in the vaccine rollout is certainly welcome,” Mehta told The Indian Express.

He also raised concerns about the lack of preparation to roll out the third phase of the vaccine. “The COWIN app will be rolled out and soon technical glitches can be anticipated due to the heavy rush to register. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has generated its own database, which will be exported onto the COWIN platform once it is launched. Something similar could have been done at least in Pune and Mumbai to make the experience seamless,” said Mehta, who is also among the founders of a voluntary group, Pune Platform for Covid Response.

“We are waiting for more clarity on what is termed as comorbidity, which would be a criterion for 45 plus people to get the vaccine. Such a definition would help the authorities be better prepared. The pandemic at its present stage is certainly scary… given the fact that Pune’s numbers are again on the rise. The vaccine rollout should be as smooth as possible to arrest the spread of the disease. Uncontrolled spread would force the hands of the authorities towards a lockdown, which would have catastrophic effect,” said the MCCIA president.

– Stay updated with the latest Pune news. Follow Express Pune on Twitter here and on Facebook here. You can also join our Express Pune Telegram channel here.

Indian Medical Association member Dr Sanjay Patil, who is also chairman of the Hospital Board of India, Pune Chapter, said that the IMA has requested Pune Municipal Corporation authorities to start a vaccination centre on the IMA campus. “IMA’s 15 to 20 hospitals are ready to participate in the vaccination drive,” said Dr Patil.



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Malaika Arora Posts Throwback Thursday Pic. Katrina Kaif Is A Fan


Malaika Arora shared this throwback (courtesy malaikaaroraofficial)

Highlights

  • Malaika shared a Throwback Thursday post on Instagram
  • “Run, Malla, run,” she captioned it
  • “One of my favorite photo shoots,” wrote Katrina Kaif

New Delhi:

Thank you, Malaika Arora, for the Throwback Thursday treat. Malaika Arora took a trip down memory lane and bumped into an old memory of a photoshoot, which she then shared on her Instagram. Inspired by a dialogue from Tom Hanks’ 1994 movie Forrest Gump, Malaika captioned the photo in these words: “Run, Malla, run.” The dramatic shot, clicked by photographer Farrokh Chothia, features a glimpse of Malaika running through a field. Dressed in white, her face appears to be hidden from the lenses, adding a sense of mystery to the surreal photo. Now, actress Katrina Kaif appears to remember the photoshoot, who posted this comment on Malaika’s post.

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“One of my favourite photo shoots,” wrote Katrina Kaif. Gabriella Demetriades and Tahira Kashyap were also all hearts for Malaika Arora’s throwback photo. Here, take a look:

Malaika Arora has an impressive collection of throwback gems. Here are some extreme ones, which she shared on her Instagram over time, each accompanied by an interesting story. Our particular favourite is the one with her son, which she shared during the lockdown, remembering what “normal” used to mean before the pandemic began: “Throwback to a time where life felt normal compared to all that is restricted today …. (food, travel, hugs, kisses, work, friends, family )… don’t take life for granted. Stay positive and don’t wipe that smile off your face,” Malaika wrote in the caption.

Newsbeep

In terms of work, Malaika Arora currently features as one of the judges in the dance reality show India’s Best Dancer, alongside choreographers Terence Lewis and Geeta Kapur. She’s best known for her performances in songs such as Chaiya Chaiya, Munni Badnaam Hui, Anarkali Disco Chali and Hello Hello.



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Congress calls Motera stadium renaming insult to Patel; BJP flags stadia named after Gandhis


J P Nadda said that naming the world’s largest stadium after Prime Minister Modi is a ‘humble attempt to honour his vision’

New Delhi: The renaming of the refurbished Sardar Patel cricket stadium in Ahmedabad after Prime Minister Narendra Modi triggered a political slugfest on Wednesday, with the opposition Congress saying it was an insult to India’s first home minister and the ruling BJP flagging the naming of numerous stadia in the country after Nehru-Gandhi family members.

Amid the controversy, the government said the name change involves only the Motera stadium and the sports complex where it is located will continue to be named after Sardar Patel.

 

Soon after President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the world’s largest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad, which will now be known as ‘Narendra Modi stadium’, social media was flooded with remarks, including by some leaders of the Congress and other opposition parties who alleged that the renaming exercise amounted to an “insult” to Sardar Patel.

Union ministers Prakash Javadekar and Ravi Shankar Prasad hit out at the Congress leaders, saying those who never respected Sardar Patel were objecting to the stadium being named after Modi.

Asked about the allegations, Javadekar told reporters that only the Motera stadium has been renamed and the complex where it is located continues to be named after Vallabhbhai Patel.

 

Prasad, who was present alongside Javadekar at the media briefing after a cabinet meeting, took a swipe at the Congress leaders, asking whether party chief Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi have so far praised the world’s tallest statue of Sardar Patel erected at Kevadiya in Gujarat.

Javadekar said the two Congress leaders have not even visited the statue.

Prasad continued, “I want to say this with full responsibility that a tourist place getting global praise has not been visited yet or praised by the two Congress leaders. What else is there to say?”

The Congress said the renaming of the refurbished Sardar Patel cricket stadium in Ahmedabad after Prime Minister Modi is “an insult to every single Indian”, and asserted that the BJP can never be a “game changer” but can only be a “name changer”.

 

Taking a dig, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi again invoked his ‘Hum do humare do’ jibe, claiming that the truth was out with the stadium having the prime minister’s name, two ends being named after corporate houses and Amit Shah’s son being involved in cricket administration.

“Beautiful how the truth reveals itself. Narendra Modi stadium — Adani end — Reliance end. With Jay Shah presiding,” Gandhi tweeted, with the hashtag ‘HumDoHumareDo’.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor tweeted, “Maybe they just realised the stadium was named for a Home Minister who had banned their parent organisation! Or maybe this is advance booking to ensure the next visiting Head of State is hosted here, like Trump? Or is this the beginning of a legacy-creation-thru-labelling spree (sic)?”

 

Congress spokesperson Pawan Kher, at a media briefing, said the removal of Patel’s name is an “insult to every single Indian, that hurts every single Indian”.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Javadekar tweeted, “The name of the Sports Complex is Sardar Patel Sports Enclave. Only the name of the cricket stadium, within the complex, has been named after Narendra Modi. Ironically, ‘The Family’, which never respected Sardar Patel, even after his death, is now making hue and cry.”

A similar post was tweeted by Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs and Sports.

Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs and Sports. Rijiju later also tweeted, “In 2007, Smt Sonia Gandhi came to Arunachal Pradesh and changed beautiful Arunachal University as Rajiv Gandhi University, laid foundation for Rajiv Gandhi Polytechnic, after having Indira Gandhi Park, Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Nehru Museum, Jawahar Nehru College, list is endless…”

 

BJP’s national president J P Nadda said that naming the world’s largest stadium after Prime Minister Modi is a “humble attempt to honour his vision” to take India to the top-most position in the sports arena as well.

The party’s IT cell head Amit Malviya said that “the usual suspects” have a problem just because the cricket stadium, one of the many facilities in the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Sports Enclave, has been named after Modi.

“Get used to it! Today, several people speak of India and PM Modi in the same breath…,” he tweeted.

Malviya hit back at Rahul Gandhi, saying he forgets that Adani End is the legacy of times when Congress politicians controlled Gujarat Cricket Association.

 

“Stands are allocated through an open auction and RaGa and his family are welcome to bid for it But this constant targeting of job creators is a problem!” Malviya said.

He also said probably Rahul Gandhi does not remember that 22 big stadia in the country are named after his father Rajiv Gandhi, grandmother Indira Gandhi and great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru.

end-of

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Farmer protests: India's sedition law used to muffle dissent



In recent years there’s been increasing use of a law which bans speaking out against the government.

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NSE hit by massive tech glitch, markets shut till further notice


The National Stock Exchange (NSE) was hit by another technical snag during the first half of the trading session on Wednesday.

According to stock brokers and dealers, the problem started with rates of Bank Nifty index were not updating and later spread to the Nifty index as well. They pointed out that the issue with Bank Nifty feeds started between 10 AM and 10.20 AM. Around 11.40 AM, the NSE said it was suspending trading across futures and options segment.

In the next few minutes, the NSE said it was suspending trading for the day until further notice.

NSE shut trading for entire markets till further notice.

Both Nifty and Bank Nifty are the largest traded derivative contracts of the NSE and the glitch caused market disruption just a day ahead of the February month futures and options expiry leading to much heartburn among traders.

Option writers benefit the most if markets are shut for trading as those who have bought or sold options loose out on time value, brokers said.

Bank Nifty index had gained 22 percent between February 1 and February 16 and fell by around 8 percent in the next few days. However, just two days ahead of the monthly derivative expiry, the index had started to move up again. On Wednesday, the index was up nearly 2 percent before it was hit by a tech glitch.

Before Wednesday, the NSE was hit by a massive tech glitch in December 2020.

Read more: NSE Clearing suffered a tech glitch before Nifty fell by 3%

NSE Clearing, the trade clearing and settlement arm of the NSE, was hit by a ‘technical glitch’ on December 21 that affected several stock brokers. Before the Nifty index witnessed its worst single day fall in nearly seven months by over 3 percent or 432 points, many brokers saw their trade orders being automatically deleted and some even had their terminals disabled.

In September 2020, the NSE Clearing arm suffered a tech glitch after SEBI introduced new margin norms. Also, pay-in and pay-out was disrupted for three days back then.

Read more: Tech glitches mar SEBI new margin regime

“NSE has multiple telecom links with two service providers to ensure redundancy and we have received communication from both the telecom service providers that there are issues with their links due to which there is an impact on NSE system. We are working on restoring the systems as soon as possible. In view of the above all the segments have been closed at 11.40 and will be restored as soon as the issue is resolved,” NSE Spokesperson said.

Although tech glitch has been a recurring phenomena for NSE for the past few years, SEBI has not made public any of its analysis of it. Last year, brokers association ANMI had even shot-off a letter to NSE alleging severe loss to its members due to tech glitch. In 2017,NSE had to suspend trading for three hours after a tech glitch.

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crude oil price today: Oil holds near year-long highs as Covid lockdowns seen easing


LONDON: Oil prices were steady on Tuesday, trading close to more than year-long highs on signs that global coronavirus restrictions were being eased although concerns about the pace of a US economic recovery kept gains in check.

Brent crude was up 7 cents, or 0.1%, at $65.31 a barrel by 1505 GMT, still close to its highest levels since January 2020. US crude fell 14 cents, or 0.2%, to $61.56 a barrel.

Both contracts rose more than $1 earlier before retreating.

“Vaccine news is helping oil, as the likely removal of mobility restrictions over the coming months on the back of vaccine rollouts should further boost the oil demand and price recovery,” UBS oil analyst Giovanni Staunovo said.

But, tempering the upbeat mood, the chair of the US Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, said the US economic recovery remained “uneven and far from complete” and it would be “some time” before the central bank considered changing policies it had adopted to help the country back to full employment.

Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said the recent oil price rise was buoyed by upbeat price forecasts from US brokers.

Goldman Sachs expects Brent prices to reach $70 per barrel in the second quarter from the $60 it predicted previously, and $75 in the third quarter from $65 forecast earlier.

Morgan Stanley, which expects Brent to reach $70 in the third quarter, said new COVID-19 cases were falling while “mobility statistics are bottoming out and are starting to improve”.

Bank of America said Brent prices could temporarily spike to $70 per barrel in the second quarter.

In the United States, traffic at the Houston ship channel was slowly returning to normal after last week’s winter storm, although production was not expected to fully restart soon.

Some US shale producers forecast lower oil output in the first quarter.

Stockpiles of US crude oil and refined products likely declined last week, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday, due to the disruption in Texas.



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Anganwadi workers continue stir – The Hindu


Several anganwadi workers and assistants continued their waiting agitation for the second day near the Collectorate here on Tuesday in support of their demands.

Their demands to the government included regularisation as government employees and provision of time-bound scale of pay. Over 300 anganwadi workers participated in the stir, said police sources.

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CBI at Abhishek Banerjee’s residence to examine his wife in coal pilferage case


A CBI team visited the residence of Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee on Tuesday to examine his wife Rujira in the coal pilferage case, officials said. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited the residence of her nephew Abhishek in south Kolkata’s Harish Mukherjee Road minutes before the CBI team landed there.

The CBI’s visit to Abhishek’s residence comes after Rujira told the central agency that she will be available for examination between 11 am and 3 pm on February 23, replying to a notice that the sleuths had hand-delivered her on Sunday.

The agency sought the examination of Rujira Banerjee to ascertain the details of her bank transactions, suspecting a connection to the proceeds of the illegal coal excavation money, sources said.

On Monday, the CBI examined Rujira’s sister Menaka Gambhir in connection with the same case.

Two woman officers of the CBI visited Gambhir’s residence off EM Bypass and had examined her for nearly three hours.

The developments come months ahead of the assembly elections in the state with Trinamool Congress alleging it to be a political vendetta.

The CBI on November 28 last year carried out a massive search operation in a number of locations across four states — West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh — after registering a case against one Anup Majhi alias Lala.

It is alleged that Lala, the alleged kingpin of the scam, is involved in illegal mining and theft of coal from leasehold mines of ECL in Kunustoria and Kajora areas, sources said.



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