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Elon Musk Said to Avoid Discussing Collapsed Twitter Deal at Sun Valley, Mentions Bots Issue

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Elon Musk avoided discussing the collapsed Twitter deal, only repeating allegations of fake account issues at the social media platform, as he addressed an audience of moguls on Saturday, two people who attended the conference told Reuters.

In a wide-reaching interview Saturday, Musk spent most of his time talking about Mars and extolled the virtues of boosting birth rates on Earth, one of the sources said. Musk, Chief Executive of Tesla Inc and rocket company Space X, has said he aims to establish a civilization on Mars.

Musk earlier this week said that he will do his best to help what he called “the underpopulation crisis,” following a media report that said he had twins with a top executive at his brain-chip start-up Neuralink.

The billionaire entrepreneur took the stage at the Allen & Co Sun Valley Conference, an annual gathering of media and technology executives in Idaho, less than 24 hours after he announced he was terminating his $44 billion (roughly Rs. 42 crores) deal to buy Twitter Inc.

The interview was conducted by Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research company, founded by Musk and several others.

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Musk’s arrival at the Allen & Co Sun Valley Conference delivered a jolt to the off-record event this week, where the headline-making typically happens beyond the prying eyes of the media.

“It just seems like an absolute mess,” said one senior media executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the interview. “The guy makes his own rules … I’d hate to be Twitter, where you have to take this guy seriously.”

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Sun Valley is typically covered like an athleisure version of the Met Gala, with photographers capturing the arrivals of fleece-vested media moguls and reporters making note of power-lunches at the Konditorei cafe on the property.

One Hollywood power-broker Friday expressed hope that the Musk interview would enliven the conference’s staid, cerebral atmosphere this year.

Hours later, Musk’s attorneys delivered an eight-page letter to Twitter, saying he planned to call off the deal to acquire the social network. The document, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, alleged Twitter failed to respond to repeated requests for information over the past two months, or obtain his consent before taking actions that would impact its business — such as firing two key executives.

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Up until that point, conversations in media circles focused on Wall Street’s reappraisal of the streaming business in the wake of Netflix Inc’s subscriber losses. One digital media executive said Hollywood, which has typically been insulated from recessions, is suddenly worried about how a worsening economy will affect their multi-billion-dollar investments in streaming services.

“For the first time, people are aware the economy does impact the entertainment business, because inflation does impact churn,” the digital media executive said, referring to subscribers leaving a service. “People are now saying, ‘Wow, will people really pay for three of these things?”

Following Musk’s announcement, one chief executive noted the elephant in the room — Saturday’s remarks might well be uncomfortable to two conference attendees: Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal and Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal.

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One of Musk’s last public messages to Agrawal came in the form of a tweet of a poop emoji in response to the Twitter CEO’s defense of how the company accounts for spam bots.


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Facebook, Instagram Integration Improved With Deeper Account Centre Integration by Meta

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Facebook and Instagram are set to offer better integration as parent company Meta announced it is testing a deeper integration across both platforms. The firm has revealed two updates that include a new user interface for the Accounts Center feature across mobile and Web platforms, and a redesigned login and onboarding experience on its mobile apps. The tests include two new features that are intended to make it easier for users to switch between and create new accounts and profiles on Facebook and Instagram. The company is also testing allowing users to receive notifications for both Facebook and Instagram profiles in the same place.

In an announcement on its blog, Meta revealed that the new interface is currently in testing and allows existing users who have added their Instagram and Facebook credentials to the same Account Center, to switch between the two apps without navigating to their phone’s home screen, multitasking menu, or app drawer. Meanwhile, a redesigned mobile login and onboarding experience being tested allows iOS and Android users to sign in or create multiple accounts from a single Instagram or Facebook credential.

Meta also confirmed that existing security features will continue to apply to the updates that include blocking unrecognized devices from using interoperating login credentials for Instagram and Facebook accounts that have the two-factor authentication feature turned on for either of the accounts.

Users will also be notified of any account activity across Facebook and Instagram accounts on a single Accounts Center section including the creation of a newly linked Facebook or Instagram account, according to the company.

See also  Elon Musk Faces US SEC Scrutiny Over Tweets on $44 Billion Twitter Deal

Meta says it is now testing the new user interface on iOS, Android, and the Web while the login and onboarding workflow redesign is being tested on iOS and Android. The company adds that both features are being tested across the globe. The new features are “currently limited to Facebook and Instagram,” Meta said.

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The updates have arrived post the introduction of Meta accounts in August of this year and a recently reported downturn in both revenue and user growth for the American social-media giant.


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Instagram Story Time Limit Increased to 60 Seconds: Report

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Instagram is reportedly increasing the time limit for Instagram Stories to 60 seconds, from the earlier limit of 15 seconds. Previously, Instagram Stories that were longer than 15 seconds would be broken up into separate segments. The social media company is said to have begun testing the change with select users towards the end of last year. Earlier this month, Instagram rolled out parental supervision tools and Family Center in India. Meta had announced the parental supervision tools and the Family Center tool back in March. The company was recently slapped with EUR 405 million (roughly Rs. 3,200 crore) fine for violating strict European Union data privacy rules.

According to a recent report by TechCrunch, Instagram confirmed that it is increasing the time limit of Instagram stories to 60 seconds from the earlier limit of 15 seconds. Previously, if a user had posted a video longer than 15 seconds, it used to get broken up into smaller segments. This made the process of uploading videos to Instagram Stories more challenging, including tagging and mentioning other users.

As mentioned earlier, Instagram is said to have begun testing the new change with select users towards the end of last year.

Earlier this month, Instagram also rolled out parental supervision tools and Family Center in India. The Family Center is a place for parents and guardians to access supervision tools and resources from leading experts. These tools will let them see the screen time spent by their kids on Instagram and impose time limits. The new parental controls are part of Meta’s attempts to protect children who actively use its social media apps.

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Instagram was recently slapped with a EUR 405 million (roughly Rs. 3,200 crore) fine for violating strict European Union data privacy rules. The Meta-owned social media platform was found mishandling the personal information of teenagers. Ireland’s Data Protection Commission’s investigation revealed that Instagram displayed the personal information of users between the age of 13 and 17 years. Instagram’s parent Meta said it disagrees with the way the fine was calculated and has expressed its desire to appeal the fine imposed by the regulator.

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Elon Musk, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal Said to Postpone Depositions Ahead of Upcoming Trial

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk won a reprieve from questioning by Twitter lawyers Monday, according to several press reports. The billionaire had been scheduled to give a deposition in his high-stakes court fight with Twitter over whether he has to follow through with his agreement to buy the social platform for $44 billion (roughly Rs. 3,37,465 crore).

Instead, Musk’s questioning was postponed to a future date. Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, who was also scheduled to face Musk lawyers on Monday, likewise postponed his deposition, according to a person who was briefed on the matter.

The Musk postponement was reported by Bloomberg, Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, all of which attributed the information to anonymous sources.

News of the postponements fueled a brief rally in Twitter shares, which jumped 5.4 percent to $43.03 (roughly Rs. 3,500), apparently on hopes of a settlement in the case. That enthusiasm waned later in the day. Twitter shares closed Monday at $41.58 (roughly Rs. 3,300), eight cents higher than they opened.

Court watchers said that such postponements are not unusual ahead of major pretrial hearings. A hearing on several significant pretrial motions is scheduled for Tuesday.

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Both men were expected to answer questions posed by opposing lawyers ahead of an October trial that will determine who is at fault for the seeming collapse of Musk’s Twitter bid, not to mention who owes whom large sums of money as a result. The trial is set to begin October 17 in Delaware Chancery Court, where it’s scheduled to last just five days.

Musk, the world’s richest man, agreed in April to buy Twitter and take it private, offering $54.20 (roughly Rs. 4,180) a share and vowing to loosen the company’s policing of content and to root out fake accounts. In July, he attempted to back out of the deal, leveling a number of charges at Twitter as justification for his action.

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Twitter subsequently sued Musk to force him to complete the acquisition.


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