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Dead Beatles Are Talking on Twitter and It’s Weirding Us Out – Rolling Stone

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The Beatles, no longer satisfied with just being “more popular than Jesus,” have finally matched him on the resurrection front — well, at least on Twitter.

On Thursday, September 9th, some of the strangest chatter on the timeline came from the accounts of George Harrison (who died almost 20 years ago, on November 29th, 2001) and his fellow late Beatle, John Lennon (who died December 8th, 1980). While both accounts are regularly active — often doing promotional stuff with some archival treats thrown in — their tones shifted suddenly Thursday to something far more conversational as both tweeted through an online listening party celebrating the 50th anniversary of Imagine. The results were a little awkward, to say the least.

The tweets from both accounts appeared to be actual quotes from old interviews or writings, but they were presented with neither citations nor quotation marks, just laid out flat on the screen, almost as if Harrison and Lennon were somehow tweeting casually from beyond the grave.

For instance, Harrison tweeted: “Having gone through that LSD period with John, right from the first day we ever took it, I understood him and I believe our thoughts were much more in line with each other.” Elsewhere, he reminisced: “I liked the idea of their promoting peace — I was all for that. Right from the time we went to the dentist’s dinner party I knew what John felt about things and it was no surprise to me that he would want some peace. It was also fun for him because he could do it with Yoko.” (Both quotes seem to be from the 2000 Beatles Anthology book.)

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The replies contained plenty of earnest love and appreciation from diehard Beatles fans, but also plenty of raised eyebrows and quips. Highlights include: “Think I’m tripping right now listening to George talk to me on September 9, 2021”; “Will you let the man rest, he deserves it”; and, “Dude you’re literally dead.” The award for the most online reply, however, goes to the person who responded to a Harrison rumination about accepting imperfection and “allow[ing] for each others inadequacies or failings with a little compassion” with a “btw” accompanied by a New Girl GIF proclaiming, “You are hot, hot, hot!”

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btw pic.twitter.com/ZjhPfZHsbr

— lea is watching and reading one piece 🏴‍☠️ (@allthingsmp_94) September 9, 2021

While Lennon’s Twitter was similarly chatty, the replies weren’t necessarily as flummoxed, perhaps due to the regular inclusion of hashtags related to the Imagine listening party (Harrison’s account threw those in occasionally, but not all the time). A rep for The Beatles did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for comment on where the various quotes came from, and how this particular social media strategy was settled upon.

Of course, Harrison and Lennon’s Twitters are far from the only active social media channels operated by the estates and families of late musicians and celebrities. Accounts belonging to Bob Marley, Elvis Presley, Tom Petty, Aaliyah, Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Marilyn Monroe, and even Humphrey Bogart all tweet fairly regularly. Again these missives largely skew toward the promotional or archival, and many personal messages are clearly qualified (e.g. a recent birthday greeting to Bowie’s daughter Lexi, signed by “everyone at DBHQ”). But every now and then you get a break in the space-time continuum, like Tom Petty mourning the death of Charlie Watts.

The internet has greatly recalibrated the way people mourn celebrities. In a 2012 piece for Jewcy, Jacob Silverman wrote about the performative nature of online mourning and the way we’re prompted to “author our own mini-memoirs” about the deceased. The critic Lindsay Zoladz cited that phrase a year later in a Pitchfork essay about the strange experience of browsing FindAGrave.com and being unexpectedly moved by the messages and virtual flowers left by fans on the digital gravestones of artists like Judee Sill and Janis Joplin. They are “mini-memoirs,” Zoladz wrote, “But they don’t feel condemnably narcissistic to me. They’re joyful and sad and silly and heartbreaking. They humanize the musicians as much as they do the people who wrote them.”

The way those Harrison tweets came across yesterday feels almost like an inversion of all that: the dead being virtually re-humanized through their own words, repurposed and presented in a manner natural to social media, to create a kind of mirror of the parasocial relationship only living celebrities get to cultivate when they “engage” their fans online. At a moment when catalog is not only king, but hologram tours for dead artists (or living ones, if you’re ABBA) are becoming more common and popular, maybe this is the natural future of dead celebrity social media. Unnerved comments be damned — some of those Harrison tweets did solid numbers.

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Go figure, though, that an artist like Harrison — who was deeply spiritual and even wrote a song, “The Art of Dying,” about reincarnation and trying to leave this mortal coil peacefully — would wind up at the center of this. In a chapter in his memoir, I, Me, Mine, tied to the All Things Must Pass track, Harrison wrote, “You have to practice all your life as you are likely to be in great pain as you are leaving your body — which could be at any moment. I mean I don’t want to be lying there as I’m dying thinking, ‘Oh shit, I forgot to put the cat out,’ or ‘I didn’t get a Rolls-Royce’ because then you may have to come right back just to do those things, and then you have got more knots on your piece of string.”

Indeed, no one should ever leave this Earth thinking, “I wish I’d tweeted more.”

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Twitter Admits Policy ‘Errors’ After Far-Right Abuse Its New Rules of Posting Pictures

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Twitter’s new picture permission policy was aimed at combating online abuse, but US activists and researchers said Friday that far-right backers have employed it to protect themselves from scrutiny and to harass opponents.

Even the social network admitted the rollout of the rules, which say anyone can ask Twitter to take down images of themselves posted without their consent, was marred by malicious reports and its teams’ own errors.

It was just the kind of trouble anti-racism advocates worried was coming after the policy was announced this week.

Their concerns were quickly validated, with anti-extremism researcher Kristofer Goldsmith tweeting a screenshot of a far-right call-to-action circulating on Telegram: “Due to the new privacy policy at Twitter, things now unexpectedly work more in our favor.”

“Anyone with a Twitter account should be reporting doxxing posts from the following accounts,” the message said, with a list of dozens of Twitter handles.

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Gwen Snyder, an organizer and researcher in Philadelphia, said her account was blocked this week after a report to Twitter about a series of 2019 photos she said showed a local political candidate at a march organized by extreme-right group Proud Boys.

Rather than go through an appeal with Twitter she opted to delete the images and alert others to what was happening.

“Twitter moving to eliminate (my) work from their platform is incredibly dangerous and is going to enable and embolden fascists,” she told AFP.

In announcing the privacy policy on Tuesday, Twitter noted that “sharing personal media, such as images or videos, can potentially violate a person’s privacy, and may lead to emotional or physical harm.”

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But the rules don’t apply to “public figures or individuals when media and accompanying Tweets are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse.”

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By Friday, Twitter noted the roll out had been rough: “We became aware of a significant amount of coordinated and malicious reports, and unfortunately, our enforcement teams made several errors.”

“We’ve corrected those errors and are undergoing an internal review to make certain that this policy is used as intended,” the firm added.

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Jack Dorsey Post Twitter Is Chasing His Crypto, Fintech Dream

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At a packed Miami conference in June, Jack Dorsey, mused in front of thousands of attendees about where his real passion lay: “If I weren’t at Square or Twitter, I’d be working on Bitcoin.”

On Monday, Dorsey made good on one part of that, announcing he would leave Twitter for the second time, handing the CEO position to a 10-year veteran at the firm. The 45-year-old entrepreneur, who is often described as an enigma with varied interests from meditation to yoga to fashion design, plans to pursue his passion which include focusing on running Square and doing more philanthropic work, according to a source familiar with his plan.

Well before the surprise news, Dorsey had laid the groundwork for his next chapter, seeding both companies with cryptocurrency-related projects.

Underlying Dorsey’s broader vision is the principle of “decentralisation,” or the idea that technology and finance should not be concentrated among a handful of gatekeepers, as it is now, but should, instead, be steered by the hands of the many, either people or entities.

The concept has played out at Square, which has built a division devoted to working on projects and awarding grants with the aim of growing Bitcoin’s popularity globally. Bitcoin price in India stood at Rs. 44.52 lakh as of 12:50pm IST on December 1.

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Dorsey has been a longtime proponent of Bitcoin, and the appeal is that the cryptocurrency will allow for private and secure transactions with the value of Bitcoin unrelated to any government.

The idea has also underpinned new projects at Twitter, where Dorsey tapped a top lieutenant – and now the company’s new CEO Parag Agrawal – to oversee a team that is attempting to construct a decentralised social media protocol, which will allow different social platforms to connect with one another, similar to the way email providers operate.

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The project called Bluesky will aim to allow users control over the types of content they see online, removing the “burden” on companies like Twitter to enforce a global policy to fight abuse or misleading information, Dorsey said in 2019 when he announced Bluesky.

Bitcoin has also figured prominently at both of his companies. Square became one of the first public companies to own Bitcoin assets on its balance sheet, having invested $220 million (roughly Rs. 1,650 crore) in the cryptocurrency.

In August, Square created a new business unit called TBD to focus on Bitcoin. The company is also planning to build a hardware wallet for Bitcoin, a Bitcoin mining system, as well as a decentralised Bitcoin exchange.

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Twitter allows users to tip their favourite content creators with Bitcoin and has been testing integrations with non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a type of digital asset that allows people to collect unique digital art.

Analysts see the transition as a positive signal for Square, the fintech platform he co-founded in 2009. Square’s core Cash App, after a bull run in its share in 2020, has experienced slower growth in the most recent quarter. It is also trying to digest the $29 billion (roughly Rs. 2,17,240 crore) acquisition of Buy Now Pay Later provider Afterpay, its largest acquisition ever.

But these ambitions will not pay off until years from now, analysts cautioned.

“The blockchain platform they’re trying to develop is great but also fraught with technical challenges and difficult to scale for consumers. I think he’ll focus more on Square and crypto will be part of that,” said Christopher Brendler, an analyst at DA Davidson.

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© Thomson Reuters 2021

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Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Twitter Bans Sharing Personal Photos, Videos of Other People Without Consent

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Twitter launched new rules Tuesday blocking users from sharing private images of other people without their consent, in a tightening of the network’s policy just a day after it changed CEOs.

Under the new rules, people who are not public figures can ask Twitter to take down pictures or video of them that they report were posted without permission.

Beginning today, we will not allow the sharing of private media, such as images or videos of private individuals without their consent. Publishing people’s private info is also prohibited under the policy, as is threatening or incentivizing others to do so.https://t.co/7EXvXdwegG

— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) November 30, 2021

Twitter said this policy does not apply to “public figures or individuals when media and accompanying tweet text are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse.”

“We will always try to assess the context in which the content is shared and, in such cases, we may allow the images or videos to remain on the service,” the company added.

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The right of Internet users to appeal to platforms when images or data about them are posted by third parties, especially for malicious purposes, has been debated for years.

Twitter already prohibited the publication of private information such as a person’s phone number or address, but there are “growing concerns” about the use of content to “harass, intimidate, and reveal the identities of individuals,” Twitter said.

The company noted a “disproportionate effect on women, activists, dissidents, and members of minority communities.”

High-profile examples of online harassment include the barrages of racist, sexist,and homophobic abuse on Twitch, the world’s biggest video game streaming site.

But instances of harassment abound, and victims must often wage lengthy fights to see hurtful, insulting or illegally produced images of themselves removed from the online platforms.

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Some Twitter users pushed the company to clarify exactly how the tightened policy would work.

“Does this mean that if I take a picture of, say, a concert in Central Park, I need the permission of everyone in it? We diminish the sense of the public to the detriment of the public,” tweeted Jeff Jarvis, a journalism professor at the City University of New York.

The change came the day after Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey announced he was leaving the company, and handed CEO duties to company executive Parag Agrawal.

The platform, like other social media networks, has struggled against bullying, misinformation, and hate-fuelled content.


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