Twitter Goes Old-School With Billboard Ads -- Tech Roundup

New media meets old: Twitter's (TWTR)  new advertising idea is to turn to old-school billboards to promote itself.

Twitter launched its billboard advertisement campaign in New York City this week, with plans to launch it in Los Angeles and San Francisco as well.

The billboard aren't just the name "Twitter" and blue bird, either.

The company has taken controversial topics and put them in picture form -- think smoke stacks for pollution, polar bears on an iceberg for global warming, guns, cannabis and even the presidential nominees -- adding a hashtag to that image and revealing them to the world.

Oh yeah, there is a little white Twitter bird in the upper right corner.

But still, it's a creative and interesting way to at least remind users and consumers about the popular microblogging site. The problem is that Twitter shouldn't have to remind users about its existence. But that's the situation it's found itself in with stagnant user growth.

Whether this causes people to take up the debate on the platform remains to be seen. 

Shares of Twitter closed at $17.58 Thursday, down 0.2%.


Are big tech companies paying their fair share to the Tax Man? WalletHub did some research and has released its corporate tax rate findings. However, it should be noted these rates are different than the companies' effective tax rate.

Facebook (FB) and Amazon (AMZN) , with their overall tax rate of 40.5% and 60.6%, respectively, were some of the highest payers. However, Alphabet (GOOGL) had an overall tax rate of just 16.8%, while Gilead Sciences (GILD) and IBM (IBM) posted similar rates.

Again, investors should keep in mind that Amazon is not actually paying a 60% tax rate. It is, in fact, much lower than that. But when it purely comes to the standard rate, this is what the companies face.

Because of how the tax code is written, companies are able to pay much less in taxes. However, controversy has come to life when it comes to corporate taxes, with some arguing they should pay more and others saying they should pay less.

More controversy, particularly for big tech, has been found overseas in Europe, too.

But there's one thing I think everyone could agree on: A simpler tax code would be easier -- and likely more fair -- for everyone.

Facebook and Alphabet are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells FB and GOOGL? Learn more now.


The Internet of Things has opened consumers' minds beyond tablets, phones and computers in terms of what the internet is capable of. But a few weeks ago we saw what can happen when a group aims to do cyber damage, prying into our Internet and causing outages on major U.S. sites.

It is believed consumers' connected devices played a role in bogging down these sites, giving us an early glimpse into the dangers that our devices could present without our knowledge.

The most recent display came in the form of light bulbs, when "hackers used a drone to target a set off Philips light bulbs in an office tower, infecting the bulbs with a virus that let the attackers turn the lights on and off, and flash an "SOS" message in Morse code," according to Fortune.

I know, it sounds crazy. And while hacking into light bulbs seems like a silly stunt rather than a major security breach, it simply underscores the vulnerability these products have.

What if those were the lights in a hospital or an arena? What if -- as we've seen in a demonstration before -- it was a car? Thermostats, transportation vehicles or control systems?

It's not hard to imagine where things could go really wrong in the event of a major hacking. Hopefully as our technology gets smarter, we can find ways to prevent such incidences from occurring.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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