Apple and Amazon resume advertising on Twitter — reports

Some major ad buyers have halted advertising on the platform after Musk’s takeover. (Reuters)
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Updated 05 December 2022

Apple and Amazon resume advertising on Twitter — reports Inc. and Apple Inc. are planning to resume advertising on Twitter, according to media reports on Saturday.
The developments follow an email sent by Twitter on Thursday to advertising agencies offering advertisers incentives to increase their spending on the platform, an effort to jump-start its business after Elon Musk’s takeover prompted many companies to pull back.
Twitter billed the offer as the “biggest advertiser incentive ever on Twitter,” according to the email reviewed by Reuters. US advertisers who book $500,000 in incremental spending will qualify to have their spending matched with a “100 percent value add,” up to a $1 million cap, the email said.
On Saturday, a Platformer News reporter tweeted that Amazon is planning to resume advertising on Twitter at about $100 million a year, pending some security tweaks to the company’s ads platform.
However, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters that Amazon had never stopped advertising on Twitter.
Separately, during a Twitter Spaces conversation, Musk announced that Apple is the largest advertiser on Twitter and has “fully resumed” advertising on the platform, according to a Bloomberg report.
Musk’s first month as Twitter’s owner has included a slashing of staff including employees who work on content moderation and incidents of spammers impersonating major public companies, which has spooked the advertising industry.
Many companies from General Mills Inc. to luxury automaker Audi of America stopped or paused advertising on Twitter since the acquisition, and Musk said in November that the company had seen a “massive” drop in revenue.
Apple and Twitter did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment on the matter.

Al Jazeera accuses Israel of targeting home of one of its journalists resulting in his father’s death

Smoke and debris rises over Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Updated 25 sec ago

Al Jazeera accuses Israel of targeting home of one of its journalists resulting in his father’s death

  • The targeting came after threats to Al-Sharif since November, the Qatari-based network said

GAZA: Al Jazeera TV network accused Israel’s army of targeting a residential house in Palestinian Gaza strip belonging to one of its journalists, Anas Al-Sharif, resulting in his father’s death.
The targeting came after threats to Al-Sharif since November, the Qatari-based network said.
“We call on the international community to take urgent measures to stop the occupation army’s massacres of journalists and civilians in Gaza,” it said.

‘Shabab Al Bomb 11’ among Saudi Arabia’s top Google searches of 2023

Updated 11 December 2023

‘Shabab Al Bomb 11’ among Saudi Arabia’s top Google searches of 2023

  • Tech giant releases annual roundup of top-trending searches


“Shabab Al Bomb 11” was the top-trending Google search of 2023 in Saudi Arabia on a list of TV series, films, and programs.

It was followed by “Oppenheimer movie,” “Jawan movie,” “Barbie movie,” and “The Last of Us series.”

The tech giant’s annual survey, released on Monday, rounded up the most trending search queries experiencing a higher volume of search over a sustained period this year compared to 2022.

Lists included the top-searched news, platforms, events, movies, TV series, tournaments, and personalities.

Marwa Khost, Google’s communications manager for the Middle East and North Africa region, told Arab News: “Every day, billions of searches are made globally on Google and 15 percent of these searches are new.

“In the Middle East and North Africa, people use Google search to look for news, their favorite TV shows or sports game, or to discover new recipes.”

She noted that they also used it as “an engine of growth” to look for new skills and jobs.

In addition, people in the Kingdom had been searching for football-related terms throughout the year. The match between Al-Hilal and Real Madrid was ranked top in the football tournaments list, while footballers Aleksandar Mitrovic and Karim Benzema remained at the top of the personalities list.

The nation’s interest in football was also evident in the local/regional events list where “Saudi Professional League” ranked first followed by “Arab club champions club.”

The Israel-Hamas war was the top-searched topic in the news list, which also included the devaluation of the Pakistani rupee, and Buerger’s disease (a condition of the blood vessels).

In the UAE, there was significant interest in cricket matches with the Cricket World Cup game between India and Sri Lanka being the top-searched tournament.

Events such as Gitex 2023, COP28, and UFC 294 were also highly ranked, as well as earthquakes in Turkiye, Syria, and Morocco, and the conflict in Palestine.

In Egypt, the Israel-Hamas war ranked first in the news list, followed by the devaluation of the Egyptian pound, and the quake that hit the country earlier this year.

Among the top-trending searches for personalities, Egyptian footballer Emam Ashour came first, followed by actress Jory Bakr, and comedian Bassem Youssef after his interview with British journalist Piers Morgan.

TikTok set to restart e-commerce in Indonesia with $1.5 bln Tokopedia investment

Updated 11 December 2023

TikTok set to restart e-commerce in Indonesia with $1.5 bln Tokopedia investment

  • Acquisition is driven by Indonesia's ban on online shopping through social media platforms
  • TikTok will assume control of Tokopedia, GoTo’s e-commerce unit, during a pilot period in consultation with regulators

JAKARTA: China’s TikTok has agreed to spend $840 million to buy most of Indonesian tech conglomerate GoTo’s e-commerce unit — a move that appears to allow it to restart its online shopping business in Southeast Asia’s largest economy.
It also said it will invest further in the business, Tokopedia, which is Indonesia’s biggest e-commerce platform, for a total outlay of $1.5 billion.
TikTok had been forced to close its relatively new e-commerce service, TikTok Shop, in Indonesia after the country banned online shopping on social media platforms in September, citing the need to protect smaller merchants and users’ data.
The new partnership will commence with a pilot period carried out in close consultation with and supervision by relevant regulators, the companies said in a joint statement.
“We are creating an Indonesian e-commerce champion, combining Tokopedia’s strong local presence with TikTok’s mass market reach and technological prowess,” GoTo CEO Patrick Walujo said in a statement.
“GoTo now sits on a much stronger foundation and we expect this partnership to bring many benefits not just for e-commerce, but for our on-demand services and fintech businesses as well,” he said.
GoTo’s businesses include ride-hailing, delivery and financial services.
Under the deal, TikTok, which is owned by China’s ByteDance, will buy 75.01 percent of Tokopedia and inject TikTok Shop’s Indonesia business into the enlarged Tokopedia entity.
Officials at Indonesia’s trade ministry did not respond to requests for comment.
Many of Indonesia’s more than 270 million people are active social media users and TikTok has been looking to translate its 125 million user base there into a significant source of e-commerce revenue.
TikTok Shop is currently available in only a few countries including the United States, Britain and Singapore, according to its website.
The deal will be concluded by the first quarter of 2024 and Tokopedia will receive a $1 billion promissory note from TikTok that can be used to fund working capital needs, the companies said.
Tokopedia competes with Shopee owned by Singapore-headquartered Sea and Lazada owned by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
It saw half-year gross revenue climb 14 percent to 4.5 trillion rupiah ($288 million) in August while its underlying loss narrowed sharply to 752 billion rupiah from 3.7 trillion rupiah a year ago.
Shares in GoTo, however, tumbled 13 percent on Monday — their biggest percentage decline in six months — as some investors took profits after the stock had rallied on expectations of a deal with TikTok.
Indonesia’s e-commerce industry is set to expand to be worth about $160 billion by 2030 from $62 billion this year, according to a report by Google, Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings and consultancy Bain & Co.

What did you Google in 2023? ‘Barbie,’ Israel-Hamas war are among the year’s top Internet searches

Updated 11 December 2023

What did you Google in 2023? ‘Barbie,’ Israel-Hamas war are among the year’s top Internet searches

  • Ongoing Israel-Hamas war topped news trends in 2023, per Google’s global data

NEW YORK: Your Google search history for 2023 has arrived.
Well, actually, the world’s. On Monday, the California-based tech giant released its “Year in Search,” a roundup of 2023’s top global queries, ranging from unforgettable pop culture moments (hello, Barbenheimer), to the loss of beloved figures and tragic news carrying worldwide repercussions.
The ongoing Israel-Hamas war topped news trends in 2023, per Google’s global data, followed by queries related to the Titanic-bound submersible that imploded in June, as well as February’s devastating earthquakes in Turkiye and Syria.
Damar Hamlin was Google’s top trending person on search this year. A safety with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, Hamlin experienced a near-death cardiac arrest on the field during a January game, but has since completed a celebrated comeback. Actor Jeremy Renner, who survived a serious snowplow accident at the start of 2023, followed. Meanwhile, the late Matthew Perry and Tina Turner led search trends among notable individuals who passed away.
In the world of entertainment, “Barbie” dominated Google search’s movie trends this year — followed by Barbenheimer co-pilot “Oppenheimer” and Indian thriller “Jawan.” In TV, “The Last of Us,” “Wednesday” and “Ginny and Georgia” were the top three trending shows in 2023.
Yoasobi’s “アイドル (Idol)” was Google’s top trending song on search. Jason Aldean’s “Try That In A Small Town” — which soared in the charts after controversy this summer — and Shakira and Bizarrap’s “Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53” followed.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for Google’s 2023 global search trends. Bibimbap was the top trending recipe. Inter Miami CF, the new home of Argentine soccer superstar Lionel Messi, led Google’s sports teams trends. And in the US specifically, many consumers spent 2023 asking why eggs, Taylor Swift tickets and sriracha bottles were so expensive — while “rizz” (recently named Oxford’s word of the year) was a frontrunner for trending slang definition inquires.
You can find more data, including country-specific lists and trends from years past, on Google’s “Year in Search” archive. The company says it collected its 2023 search results from Jan. 1 through Nov. 27 of this year.
Google isn’t the only one to publish annual data as 2023 draws to a close — and from dictionary lookups to music streams, chances are, you’ve probably seen other lists recapping online activity this year. Last week, for example, Wikipedia released its year-end list of most-viewed entries — with its article about ChatGPT leading the pack.
To mark the search engine’s 25th birthday, Google also released top search data “of all time” across various specific categories. Since 2004 (when the company’s trends data first became available globally), the most-Googled Grammy winner of all time has been Beyoncé, for example, while Portuguese soccer great Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest-searched athlete, and the most-searched movie or TV cast is “Harry Potter.”

20-year-old comic book on Gaza rushing back to print

Updated 10 December 2023

20-year-old comic book on Gaza rushing back to print

  • Comic, written by Maltese-American journalist Joe Sacco, pioneered what was dubbed “comic journalism”

LONDON: A graphic novel looking into Gaza that was published in 2003 has rushed back into print after the conflict broke out between Israel and Hamas in October.

The comic, written by Maltese-American journalist Joe Sacco, pioneered what was dubbed “comic journalism” and tells the tales of his own work on the ground in the enclave in 1991.

It even drew praise from renowned Palestinian-American academic Edward Said, who said: “With the exception of one or two novelists and poets, no one has ever rendered this terrible state of affairs better than Joe Sacco.”

Since the outbreak of the conflict, the comic’s publisher said that demand for the novel soared.

Fantagraphics co-founder Gary Groth said: “We blew out of our inventory of several thousand copies quickly and are reprinting now. Retailers and wholesalers began ordering the book in far greater quantities than in the recent past, which indicates that every element down the chain — consumers and retailers — are expressing demand for it.”

Sacco, a cartoonist from Portland, told the UK’s Observer: “Things had seemed very bad when I was visiting in the early 1990s, at the end of the first intifada, but things were very much worse 10 years later.

“That the book itself still has relevance is a sorry testament to the enduring tragedy of the Palestinians — though, in some ways, it’s also a tribute to their fortitude, their unwillingness to give in.

“I would go back, if I could get in. Thankfully, many brave Palestinian journalists are doing exemplary work despite the appalling conditions and the very real danger to themselves and their families. But the main reason I would like to go back to Gaza is to see my friends there. I hope they will make it through this.”