President Donald Trump’s threat to shut down social media companies after Twitter labeled two of his tweets misleading sets up a fresh challenge for platforms as they struggle to deal with political misinformation during a toxic election campaign.
Twitter on Tuesday targeted tweets in which the president said that mail-in voting would lead to fraud and a “rigged election” in November, the first time the platform has placed a warning label on Trump’s comments.
The president’s angry response and threat to “strongly regulate” or “close down” social media firms highlights the conundrum for Twitter and other platforms, said Steven Livingston, director of the Institute for Data, Democracy, and Politics at George Washington University.
Livingston said he expects Twitter to narrowly enforce its misinformation policies, dealing only with specific issues such as the electoral process and the coronavirus pandemic.
The attacks by Trump and his supporters put “so much pressure (on Twitter) and they are blanching at the thought of taking the next step” on curbing political misinformation, Livingston said.
“They are caught on the horns of a dilemma and don’t know which way to go.”
Even while Twitter is pledging to foster a “healthy conversation” by filtering out hoaxes and toxic content, Livingston said the economic model for social platforms suggests the opposite.
“Platforms know very well they are accentuating extremism,” he said. “Extremism holds attention and allows them to sell more advertising, and that’s the whole point of the game.”
When asked about Twitter’s fact-checking during an interview on Fox News, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said his social network has a different policy.
“I just believe strongly that Facebook should not be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,” Zuckerberg said in a snippet of the interview posted online by Fox.
“I think, in general, private companies, especially these platform companies, shouldn’t be in the position of doing that.”
University of Texas social media researcher and professor Samuel Woolley nonetheless welcomed what he called “a very bold move by Twitter” in the face of political pressure.
“Twitter will face a lot of backlash and whether they can bear up on this remains to be seen,” Woolley said.
Karen Kornbluh, head of the digital innovation and democracy initiative at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, said Twitter’s action on content after it goes viral “may be a case of closing the barn door after the horse is out — but at least it communicates standards for acceptable activity on a platform’s site and that no one is completely exempt.”
Bias claims, redux
The latest clash between Trump and Twitter comes with the president and his supporters complaining of what he calls bias by internet firms against conservatives — despite his own vast social media following — and threatening to use antitrust enforcement or other regulatory efforts against the companies.
Daniel Kreiss, a professor and researcher at the University of North Carolina’s Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life, said Twitter “made the right call” in enforcing its policy on election misinformation without getting into the broader area of political speech or other topics, such as the president’s murder conspiracy comments this week against a TV journalist.
“Twitter is drawing a line in the sand on protecting electoral integrity, saying this outweighs anyone’s right to use the platform any way they want,” Kreiss said.
“I think they’re well justified. They have laid out clear values and a transparent policy.”
Kreiss said the measured approach could allow Twitter to navigate a toxic election campaign without getting bogged down in political debate, but noted that “they will be criticized whichever way they go.”
Michelle Amazeen, a Boston University professor of political communication, called Twitter’s move “a much needed step forward” but questioned how much impact this would have on misinformation on the platform.
“Are Twitter users now going to believe that if there is no label, Trump’s tweet is accurate? Research suggests they will,” she said.
Amazeen said Twitter’s actions still fall short of establishing the same kinds of standards in force in most news outlets.
“Twitter is not a reliable source for legitimate news,” she said. “Studies indicate that people who rely on social media for their news are more likely to be misinformed than people who go to mainstream news sources.”
As to Trump’s threats, legal experts say Trump has distorted the US constitution’s free speech guarantees which protect against government-directed controls.
“Thank goodness the First Amendment prevents him, or me or any other elected official from closing down speech platforms,” Democratic lawmaker Ted Lieu tweeted.
Reporting and photo: AFP
Emirates undertakes largest known fleet retrofit project
Emirates has kick-started its plans to upgrade the entire interior cabins of 120 Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft – two of the largest commercial aircraft types in service today.
This ambitious project, representing a multi-billion dollar investment to ensure Emirates’ customers “fly better” for the coming years, officially commences in November and is managed entirely by Emirates’ Engineering team.
The target is to completely retrofit four Emirates aircraft from start to finish every month, continuously for over 2 years. Once the 67 earmarked A380s are refreshed and back in service, 53 777s will undergo their facelift. This will see nearly 4,000 brand new Premium Economy seats installed, 728 First Class suites refurbished and over 5,000 Business Class seats upgraded to a new style and design when the project is complete in April 2025.
In addition, carpets and stairs will be upgraded, and cabin interior panels refreshed with new tones and design motifs including the iconic ghaf trees which are native to the UAE.
No other airline has handled a retrofit of this magnitude in-house, and there’s no blueprint for such an undertaking. Therefore Emirates Engineering teams have been planning and testing extensively, to establish and streamline processes, and identify and address any possible snags.
Trials began on an A380 in July, where experienced engineers literally took each cabin apart piece-by-piece and logged every step. From removing seats and panelling to bolts and screws, every action was tested, timed and mapped out. Potential impediments to completing the installation of Emirates’ new Premium Economy Class or the retrofit of the remaining three cabins in just 16 days were flagged and documented for expert teams to review and address.
As part of the programme, new purpose-built workshops will be set up at Emirates Engineering to repaint, re-trim and re-upholster Business and Economy Class seats with new covers and cushioning. First Class suites will be carefully disassembled and sent to a specialised company to replace the leather, arm rests and other materials.
From the trials, Engineers discovered several unexpected solutions for instance: that existing food catering trucks could be easily repurposed to move parts destined for refurbishment from the aircraft to the workshop for their refresh, as these vehicles had doors of the right width and offer sufficient space.
Until the retrofit programme starts in earnest in November, a cross-disciplinary team has been assembled to regularly review the planning process, address any issues, and track updates on various aspects of the project such as procurement, staffing, and training.
Emirates’ new Premium Economy cabin class, which offers luxurious seats, more legroom, and a service to rival many airlines’ business offering, is currently available to Emirates customers travelling on popular A380 routes to London, Paris, Sydney. More customers will be able to experience the airline’s new Premium Economy cabins starting from year end, as the retrofit programme picks up momentum.
Eleanor helps over 30 Maldives hotels elevate guest services
Eleanor has been named as one of the top 10 concierge software providers globally.
Based on accurate, timely reviews from real users, the HotelTechAwards rank the world’s best hotel software firms and products and it also provides hoteliers direct access to a growing network of hotel technology professionals and decision-makers.
“The guest experience is the cornerstone of our platform. Our unified resort wide solution, Eleanor, has been built for resorts off the back of many years working in the industry and addresses the needs of both Sales and Marketing departments and perhaps just as importantly, the operational requirements of the team on the ground at the property. The days of resorts working with disjointed systems are now behind us,” says Darren Caple, co-founder and CEO.
“We are on a mission to make the guest’s resort experience as easy and as frictionless as possible. Whereas traditional providers in the market have come at this purely from a guest communication perspective, our background in resorts has allowed us to combine this basic requirement with the streamlining of operational processes. The result is truly a resort wide solution that removes the need for countless different systems to be deployed.
Eleanor allows resorts to deliver consistent, superior service levels to guests across all stages of their journey with contactless features helping to alleviate sensitive touch-points in the post pandemic period. More than 30 properties in the Maldives use our Eleanor platform to help butlers and guest services elevate the guest experience. These properties are seeing an increase in incremental revenue by over 30% and operational efficiencies of 600+ man hours per month. We are also beginning to roll out the platform in some Caribbean properties!”
Eleanor is making waves in the hospitality industry by pushing the conventional limits of what a resort guest app can achieve through its unique ability to facilitate direct bookings for services and activities. The traditional ‘request to book’ feature that is common amongst almost all other hotel apps is removed by a power booking and operational platform sitting at the heart of the solution that covers all the resorts’ departments. It’s this module which realises enormous operational benefits and insights for the resort.
“We, at Eleanor, are humbled and honoured that our clients have provided such positive reviews. Feedback from our clients, partners and hoteliers are incredibly valuable for us and we will continue to improve our offering and services”, said Caple.
To celebrate this success, Eleanor is currently offering resorts a free one month trial, together with free setup and training and discounted monthly fees.
Eleanor, founded in 2018 and has its headquarters in the United Kingdom. Created from over 15 years of hands-on expertise, Eleanor allows resorts to deliver consistent, superior service levels to its guests across all stages of their journey with contactless features helping to alleviate sensitive touch-points in the post pandemic period. Eleanor also helps to unlock operational efficiencies and boost incremental revenue and guest loyalty.
Hotel Tech Report’s Best Concierge Software 2022 Runner Up, reviewed as a preferred and reliable hotel software product by the global hotelier community.
For more information, visit www.eleanorapp.com.
Emirates’ recruiters scour the world for cabin crew talent with 30 city stops
Emirates, the world’s most global airline, is seeking talented people with a passion for service to join its award-winning cabin crew team.
As air travel returns with a vengeance, the airline’s recruiters are busy meeting and hiring candidates in 30 cities from now until the end of June. In this latest drive, Emirates’ teams will travel from Australia to the UK, and dozens of European cities in between, as well as Cairo, Algiers, Tunis and Bahrain.
Abdulaziz Al Ali, Emirates Group’s Executive Vice President for Human Resources said: “There’s no more exciting airline than Emirates for anyone interested in a flying career, and we’ve received tremendous interest since we began our recruitment drive for cabin crew in November.”
“While parts of the application process are done online, we always make the effort to meet our candidates in person whenever we can, and that is why our Talent Acquisition team is doing a whirlwind 30-city tour over the next 6 weeks to assess prospective candidates.”
Emirates’ truly global cabin crew team represent 160 nationalities, reflecting its customer mix and international operations in over 130 cities on six continents.
All Emirates crew are based in the exciting cosmopolitan city of Dubai, with company-provided accommodation, tax-free salary and more benefits.
Interested candidates can read more about the Emirates cabin crew role, and apply online at: https://www.emiratesgroupcareers.com/cabin-crew/
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