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#SocialStocks: Potential Meta and Twitter Competitors Emerge

Posted June 22, 2023 at 9:45 am
Andrew Perez
The Fly

Music publishers sue Twitter, congress cracks down on deepfakes and other notable stories from this week.

Welcome to “#SocialStocks,” The Fly’s weekly recap of Wall Street’s reactions to social media stock news.

ABOVE CRITICISM: 

Meta Platforms (META) is planning tighter content rules in Vietnam, its seventh largest market, and is keeping a list of officials not to be criticized, following government requests, The Washington Post’s Rebecca Tan reports.

REALS: 

Integral Ad Science (IAS) announced that it has rolled out ad measurement tools for Meta’s Facebook and Instagram Reels videos. Expanding a partnership that began in 2016, IAS will now provide viewability and invalid traffic measurement for Meta’s rapidly growing Reels video feed inventory so that advertisers can be assured that their ads are seen by real users.

NEW METAVERSE ENTRANT: 

SoftBank-backed (SFTBY) Improbable, a startup developing large virtual worlds, has unveiled plans for a network of metaverses that it hopes will eventually be able to host thousands of users and compete with platforms from Meta and Microsoft (MSFT)CNBC’s Ryan Browne reported. The U.K.-based startup released a white paper detailing its vision for MSquared, which it calls a “network of interoperable Web3 metaverses,” the author noted.

VOICEBOX: 

In a post on its corporate newsroom, Meta said: “Today, we’re announcing a breakthrough in generative AI for speech. We’ve developed Voicebox, a state of the art AI model that can perform speech generation tasks – like editing, sampling and stylizing – that it wasn’t specifically trained to do through in-context learning. Voicebox can produce high quality audio clips and edit pre-recorded audio – like removing car horns or a dog barking – all while preserving the content and style of the audio. The model is also multilingual and can produce speech in six languages. In the future, multipurpose generative AI models like Voicebox could give natural-sounding voices to virtual assistants and non-player-characters in the metaverse… Voicebox is an important step forward in our generative AI research, and we look forward to continuing our exploration in the audio space and seeing how other researchers build on our work.”

LLAMA: 

Meta is working on ways to make the next version of LLaMA, a foundational large language model designed to help researchers advance their work in this subfield of AI, available for commercial use, The Information’s Sylvia Vamham O’Regan, Jon Victor, and Amir Efrati reported. The model is currently only licensed for research use.

TWITTER COMPETITOR IN BETA: 

In an invite-only beta on the App Store, Twitter (TWTR) competitor Spill launched in beta on iOS, wrote Amanda Silberling for Tech Crunch. Ex-Twitter employees including Spill CEO Alphonzo Terrell who was head of social and editorial at Twitter, formed the new enterprise, added the story. The CEO Terrell explained that the underlying ethos for the platform is “building for underserved culture drivers would create a superior platform for all,” added TC.

BROADCAST CHANNELS: 

“Today we’re expanding Instagram broadcast channels globally, giving millions of creators a new way to directly engage with their followers at scale. We’re also highlighting a few channels that are live in India already, which you can choose to join. To help creators deepen their connections with their followers, in February we began testing broadcast channels on Instagram. Broadcast channels are a public one-to-many messaging tool that creators can invite all of their followers into and share text, video and photo updates. Creators can also use voice notes to share their latest updates and behind-the-scenes moments, and even create polls to crowdsource fan feedback. Only creators can send messages in broadcast channels, while followers can react to content and vote in polls.” said the company in an earlier blog posting on Thursday.

LICENSING ISSUE: 

A group of 17 music publishers filed a lawsuit against Twitter, claiming copyright infringement on roughly 1,700 songs and seeking up to $250M in damages, the New York Times’ Ben Sisario and Ryan Mac reported, citing the suit. “Twitter stands alone as the largest social media platform that has completely refused to license the millions of songs on its service,” David Israelite, the president of the National Music Publishers’ Association, said in a statement.

DEEPFAKES DISALLOWED:

“U.S. Senators Josh Hawley R-Mo. and Richard Blumenthal D-Conn, the Ranking Member and the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, respectively – introduced the No Section 230 Immunity for AI Act. This new bipartisan legislation would clarify that Section 230 immunity will not apply to claims based on generative AI, ensuring consumers have the tools they need to protect themselves from harmful content produced by the latest advancements in AI technology. For example, AI-generated “deepfakes” – lifelike false images of real individuals – are exploding in popularity. Ordinary people can now suffer life-destroying consequences for saying things they never said, or doing things they never would. Companies complicit in this process should be held accountable in court. “We can’t make the same mistakes with generative AI as we did with Big Tech on Section 230,” said Senator Hawley. “When these new technologies harm innocent people, the companies must be held accountable. Victims deserve their day in court and this bipartisan proposal will make that a reality.” “AI companies should be forced to take responsibility for business decisions as they’re developing products-without any Section 230 legal shield,” said Senator Blumenthal. “This legislation is the first step in our effort to write the rules of AI and establish safeguards as we enter this new era. AI platform accountability is a key principle of a framework for regulation that targets risk and protects the public.”

ANALYST COMMENTARY: 

BofA raised the firm’s price target on Meta Platforms, citing a higher multiple applied to its “above-Street” 2024 EPS estimate due to sector multiple expansion. BofA continues to expect Meta to reaccelerate growth in 2023 faster than peers given lapping IDFA comps, ramping Reels and messaging monetization, increasing adoption of Advantage+ products and advertiser preference for core platforms. The firm also thinks Meta’s compute assets could help the company build a bigger AI-based services business, BofA added.

Originally Posted June 21, 2023 – #SocialStocks: Potential Meta and Twitter competitors emerge

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