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🌐 Why did Russia ban Meta?

The Hustle

There are now ~62 Chief Metaverse Officers on LinkedIn, which raises 2 questions. First, what does a Chief Metaverse Officer actually do? And second, is it ironic if a Chief Metaverse Officer works on the metaverse but not in the metaverse?

In today’s email:

  • Meta and Russia: It’s a complicated relationship.
  • Crypto lobbyist: The hottest new job in Washington?
  • Digits: Music revenues, NJ’s gas pump debate, 15-minute delivery flops, and more.
  • Around the web: Gas-saving tips, a wild optical illusion, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear more about Russia’s Meta ban, music’s record year, Pi Day, NJ’s gas pump debate, crypto lobbying, and more.

The big idea

Russia vs. Meta: A strained relationship just got more complicated

The relationship between Meta and Russia has been a hot topic since the 2016 elections — when Russian agents influenced 126m users on Facebook by sharing inflammatory posts.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and subsequent moves by Meta have complicated matters further.

Last week…

… Meta announced it would temporarily allow language on Facebook and Instagram that would usually be considered hate speech, per Reuters.

The policy…

  • Applies to language directed at Russian soldiers in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (e.g., “death to the Russian invaders”)
  • Is limited to Ukraine and a handful of countries in close proximity to Russia, including Estonia, Hungary, and Poland

Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, said the change was made to protect Ukrainian citizens’ rights to speech as an act of self defense, and to allow them to express resistance to invading military forces.

Russia’s response…

… was swift and hostile. Per CNN, a Russian investigative agency filed a criminal case against Meta, accusing the company of calls for violence against Russian citizens, and moved to label Meta an extremist organization.

Russian authorities, who banned Facebook in the country on March 4, announced it would begin restricting access to Instagram as well.

Putin is also reportedly weighing a ban on WhatsApp, Meta’s messaging platform, which is used by over 80% of Russians to communicate.

What’s next?

On Meta’s end, the bans could result in a ~$2B revenue hit, with Russia making up ~1.5% of the company’s advertising sales.

More importantly, banning Meta’s platforms has crimped Russians’ ability to get information — ~70m Russians use Facebook and ~63m use Instagram.

How do Russian citizens feel about all this? A recent study analyzing sentiment on Twitter among Russian speakers found a lower “happiness score” than at the beginning of the pandemic.

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Tech fail: Walgreens swapped some of its clear freezer doors for a high-tech, opaque solution that displays deals and info, and people hate it. #ecommerce-retail

Clever solution: Dust can make solar panels less impactful. But one fix is to apply an electric field that repels dust via static electricity. #clean-energy

Blast from the past: Researchers are using AR to bring extinct animals to life, including dire wolves and saber-toothed cats. #emerging-tech

Hack reporting: Some US companies must now report when they get hacked or pay ransomware demands as the federal government seeks to improve the nation’s cybersecurity. #privacy

Sketchy: Wealthy Russians are searching for financial safe havens in UAE crypto firms, buying property or converting it into currency. One firm said every request was for at least $2B. #fintech-crypto

Uber gas: Uber customers will pay a gas surcharge of 45-55 cents per trip for at least the next 60 days. This includes rides in EVs. #big-tech

Levels of Lobbying
lobbying spend chart

Selina Lee

Crypto lobbying is rising fast

Last week, President Biden signed an executive order on crypto. The move comes amid a rising trend in Washington: crypto lobbyists.

  • In 2020, there were 195 lobbyists supporting crypto. In 2021, there were 320.
  • Last year, crypto lobbying spend jumped 3x, from $2.8m to $9m.
  • Efforts were fueled by big names like Coinbase, Ripple, and the Blockchain Association, with each dropping $2m+.

While the rise is impressive, it’s still a fraction of the spending of the Securities and Investment sector (AKA Wall Street), which spent ~$108m last year.

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Free Resource

How to run influencer marketing in 2022

The massive growth of influencer marketing is real.

In 2021, 58% of marketers surveyed by HubSpot Blog said that influencer marketing was the most effective marketing avenue, even over SEO and short-form video.

Influencers all over the spectrum are proving to be agents for high-quality organic growth across social platforms. This free HubSpot guide breaks down how you should reach out to and manage relationships with influencers.

Included in the 2022 influencer marketing blueprint:

  • A breakdown of the influencer marketing industry
  • The do’s and don’ts of working with influencers
  • Trim templates for outstanding email outreach
  • Standard influencer compensation rates and guide
  • How to position a winning affiliate marketing program

Download the 7-part guide for better ROI.

Influencer marketing insights →
By the numbers
gas pump

Seventy-three percent of New Jersey residents want gas pump attendants. (Source: Tom Grill / Getty Images)

Digits: NJ’s gas debate, music revenues, 15-minute delivery flops, and more

1) New Jersey — love it or hate it — is debating whether to end its 73-year-long practice of having gas station attendants pump your gas. Some say stopping the practice could save drivers 15 cents a gallon; others say it’ll erase thousands of jobs.

2) US recorded music revenue hit $15B in 2021 — its best year ever, and up 23% from 2020. Streaming comprised 83% of that, but physical sales were up 42.3% to $1.66B. Vinyl alone notched $1B, up 61%.

3) Europe is searching for ways to replace Russian energy imports, which equate to $1B of fuel every day. It’s weighing its options, but interestingly, turning all European thermostats down by 1 degree Celsius would drop demand by 7%.

4) Fifteen-minute delivery startups face absolutely brutal economics. Last week, Fridge No More, with 600 employees, shut down after a failed DoorDash deal, and Russian-backed Buyk furloughed 98% of its staff (due to sanction-related funding cuts).

5) Mumbai recently laid out plans to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, which is 20 years ahead of India’s nationwide goal. Without intervention, experts say climate change could cost India $35T over the next 50 years.

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🚨On this day: In 1950, the FBI debuted its “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list, starting with Thomas James Holden — a convicted robber wanted for murder.

🎬Wait, what? The Godfather is widely considered one of the best films of all time, but it almost wasn’t made.

📝 Useful: Planet is an app for taking, organizing, and sharing short notes.

🧀 Haha: An extremely in-depth blind taste test of boxed mac and cheese. The winner is… surprising.

How to: As gas prices skyrocket, here are some tips for saving fuel.

🤯 Wow: This 2-in-1 optical illusion uses the Troxler effect for some mind-bending madness.

Meme of the day
Mark Zuckerberg

Meta? Feta? Feta. Definitely Feta. (Source: Know Your Meme)

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How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?

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