Meta’s revenue is down, Twitter may be Elon Musk’s today, Apple and Microsoft predict a slow down. It doesn’t bode well economically and suggests something is a bit rotten in the state of social media, writes Anna Rawhiti-Connell in this excerpt from The Bulletin. To receive The Bulletin in full each weekday morning, sign up here.
Musk may own Twitter today
In the next 12 hours, Elon Musk may own Twitter. He walked into Twitter HQ with an actual sink yesterday (it’s a meme thing). Twitter rarely turns a profit but if the deal goes through today (who knows!), the company won’t have to withstand the glare of public reporting. Commentators are calmly predicting the platform’s decline and worrying about what journalists will do without it. Musk’s potential gutting of staff and promises to “restore free speech” (read: less content moderation), do not offer a good prognosis for democracy or online wellbeing. That’s cause for concern everywhere including New Zealand and may present challenges for any localised attempts at content regulation and research. Twitter has previously been a very cooperative partner on the Christchurch Call.
Bad news for Google, Amazon, Apple, Meta and Uber
As I am sure you’ve gathered, dark clouds loom on the economic horizon. ANZ CEO Antonia Watson cited them in her comments on the bank’s $2.3b profit yesterday. The US GDP announcement this morning showed growth but commentators are still pretty gloomy. Bloomberg ran a piece headlined Tech Is ‘Canary in Coal Mine’ yesterday. The New York Times has a very good summary of the bad financial news for Google, Amazon, Snap, Apple, Meta and Uber. It also touches on some existential issues: “The big tech companies haven’t really found a new, very profitable idea in years.” Microsoft reported the lowest growth in five years on Tuesday prompting a “Microsoft is the canary in the economic coal mine” headline.
Trade and technology restrictions in China exacerbating slowdown
The Meta news yesterday grabbed headlines because of billions of dollars of losses on its investment in the metaverse but it’s the Microsoft news that has people really worried. Microsoft is considered fairly reliable. Apple would also be in this category. The New York Times article mentions the growing threat of trade and technology restrictions in China as an exacerbator of tech company woes. Noah Smith published a dramatically titled piece this week called The end of the system of the world. It’s a big look at geopolitics and trade over the last few decades, and the decoupling of China from America. Smith uses Apple as an example of a company rapidly decoupling. I recommend reading but grab a snack for sustenance.
Reserve Bank governor warns of fragmentation in trade and policy consensus
Very sorry to leave you with that big system-shaking read on a Friday but it chimes with comments from Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr yesterday about “a fragmentation of global trade and policy consensus“. BusinessDesk’s Pattrick Smellie also hit on it this week in his column (paywalled) about the death of free trade where he mentions the “now-closing era of hyper-globalisation”. Smellie, as always, has some optimism, writing that what’s happening may “spur, at last, the focus required to compete internationally on the quality of our thinking rather than the quality of our cows.”