Connect with us

OTHER

Elon Musk Fires Twitter’s Board of Directors to Become Sole Member

Published

on

elon-musk-fires-twitter’s-board-of-directors-to-become-sole-member

Billionaire Elon Musk is already floating major changes for Twitter — and faces major hurdles as he begins his first week as owner of the social-media platform.

Twitter‘s new owner fired the company’s board of directors and made himself the board’s sole member, according to a company filing Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

He’s also testing the waters on asking users to pay for verification. A venture capitalist working with Musk tweeted a poll asking how much users would be willing to pay for the blue check mark that Twitter has historically used to verify higher-profile accounts so other users know it’s really them.

Musk, whose account is verified, replied, “Interesting.”

Critics have derided the mark, often granted to celebrities, politicians, business leaders and journalists, as an elite status symbol.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

But Twitter also uses the blue check mark to verify activists and people who suddenly find themselves in the news, as well as little-known journalists at small publications around the globe, as an extra tool to curb misinformation coming from accounts that are impersonating people.

“The whole verification process is being revamped right now,” Musk tweeted Sunday in response to a user who asked for help getting verified.

On Friday, meanwhile, billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said he and his Kingdom Holding Company rolled over a combined $1.89 billion (nearly Rs. 15,600 crore) in existing Twitter shares, making them the company’s largest shareholder after Musk. The news raised concerns among some lawmakers, including Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut.

Murphy tweeted that he is requesting the Committee on Foreign Investment — which reviews acquisitions of US businesses by foreign buyers — to investigate the national security implications of the kingdom’s investment in Twitter.

See also  Elon Musk Receives Pleas to Remove Bans on Accounts Soon After Twitter Takeover

“We should be concerned that the Saudis, who have a clear interest in repressing political speech and impacting US politics, are now the second-largest owner of a major social media platform,” Murphy tweeted. “There is a clear national security issue at stake and CFIUS should do a review.”

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Having taken ownership of the social media service, Musk has invited a group of tech-world friends and investors to help guide the San Francisco-based company’s transformation, which is likely to include a shakeup of its staff. Musk last week fired CEO Parag Agrawal and other top executives. There’s been uncertainty about if and when he could begin larger-scale layoffs.

Those who have revealed they are helping Musk include Sriram Krishnan, a partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, which pledged back in the spring to chip in to Musk’s plan to buy the company and take it private.

Krishnan, who is also a former Twitter product executive, said in a tweet that it is “a hugely important company and can have great impact on the world and Elon is the person to make it happen.”

Jason Calacanis, the venture capitalist who tweeted the poll about whether users would pay for verification, said over the weekend he is “hanging out at Twitter a bit and simply trying to be as helpful as possible during the transition.”

Calacanis said the team already “has a very comprehensive plan to reduce the number of (and visibility of) bots, spammers, & bad actors on the platform.” Twitter is currently free for most users because it depends on advertising for its revenue.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Musk agreed to buy Twitter n April but it wasn’t until Thursday evening that he finally closed the deal, after his attempts to back out of it led to a protracted legal fight with the company. Musk’s lawyers are now asking the Delaware Chancery Court to throw out the case, according to a court filing made public Monday. The two sides were supposed to go to trial in November if they didn’t close the deal by the end of last week.

See also  Facebook Threatens to Block News Content in Canada Over Upcoming Compulsory Revenue-Sharing Bill

Musk has made a number of pronouncements since early this year about how to fix Twitter, and it remains unclear which proposals he will prioritize.

He has promised to cut back some of Twitter’s content restrictions to promote free speech, but said Friday that no major decisions on content or reinstating of banned accounts will be made until a “content moderation council” with diverse viewpoints is put in place. He later qualified that remark, tweeting “anyone suspended for minor & dubious reasons will be freed from Twitter jail.”

The head of a cryptocurrency exchange that invested $500 million (nearly Rs. 4,100 crore) in Musk’s Twitter takeover said he had a number of reasons for supporting the deal, including the possibility Musk would transition Twitter into a company supporting cryptocurrency and the concept known as Web3, which many cryptocurrency enthusiasts envision as the next generation of the internet.

“We want to make sure that crypto has a seat at the table when it comes to free speech,” Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao told CNBC on Monday. “And there are more tactical things, like we want to help bring Twitter into Web3 when they’re ready.”

Advertisement
free widgets for website

He said cryptocurrency could be useful for solving some of Musk’s immediate challenges, such as the plan to charge a premium membership fee for more users.

“That can be done very easily, globally, by using cryptocurrency as a means of payment,” he said.


Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.

OTHER

Twitter Under Elon Musk Leaning on Automation to Moderate Content Against Hate Speech

Published

on

By

twitter-under-elon-musk-leaning-on-automation-to-moderate-content-against-hate-speech

Elon Musk’s Twitter is leaning heavily on automation to moderate content, doing away with certain manual reviews and favoring restrictions on distribution rather than removing certain speech outright, its new head of trust and safety told Reuters.

Twitter is also more aggressively restricting abuse-prone hashtags and search results in areas including child exploitation, regardless of potential impacts on “benign uses” of those terms, said Twitter Vice President of Trust and Safety Product Ella Irwin.

“The biggest thing that’s changed is the team is fully empowered to move fast and be as aggressive as possible,” Irwin said on Thursday, in the first interview a Twitter executive has given since Musk’s acquisition of the social media company in late October.

Her comments come as researchers are reporting a surge in hate speech on the social media service, after Musk announced an amnesty for accounts suspended under the company’s previous leadership that had not broken the law or engaged in “egregious spam.”

The company has faced pointed questions about its ability and willingness to moderate harmful and illegal content since Musk slashed half of Twitter’s staff and issued an ultimatum to work long hours that resulted in the loss of hundreds more employees.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

And advertisers, Twitter’s main revenue source, have fled the platform over concerns about brand safety.

On Friday, Musk vowed “significant reinforcement of content moderation and protection of freedom of speech” in a meeting with France President Emmanuel Macron.

Irwin said Musk encouraged the team to worry less about how their actions would affect user growth or revenue, saying safety was the company’s top priority. “He emphasizes that every single day, multiple times a day,” she said.

See also  Instagram Rolls Out Parental Supervision Tools, Family Center in India: Details

The approach to safety Irwin described at least in part reflects an acceleration of changes that were already being planned since last year around Twitter’s handling of hateful conduct and other policy violations, according to former employees familiar with that work.

One approach, captured in the industry mantra “freedom of speech, not freedom of reach,” entails leaving up certain tweets that violate the company’s policies but barring them from appearing in places like the home timeline and search.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Twitter has long deployed such “visibility filtering” tools around misinformation and had already incorporated them into its official hateful conduct policy before the Musk acquisition. The approach allows for more freewheeling speech while cutting down on the potential harms associated with viral abusive content.

The number of tweets containing hateful content on Twitter rose sharply in the week before Musk tweeted on November 23 that impressions, or views, of hateful speech were declining, according to the Center for Countering Digital Hate – in one example of researchers pointing to the prevalence of such content, while Musk touts a reduction in visibility.

Tweets containing words that were anti-Black that week were triple the number seen in the month before Musk took over, while tweets containing a gay slur were up 31%, the researchers said.

‘More risks, move fast’

Irwin, who joined the company in June and previously held safety roles at other companies including Amazon.com and Google, pushed back on suggestions that Twitter did not have the resources or willingness to protect the platform.

See also  Is Instagram Down? Thousands of Users Face Suspended Accounts, Global Outage

She said layoffs did not significantly impact full-time employees or contractors working on what the company referred to as its “Health” divisions, including in “critical areas” like child safety and content moderation.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Two sources familiar with the cuts said that more than 50 percent of the Health engineering unit was laid off. Irwin did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the assertion, but previously denied that the Health team was severely impacted by layoffs.

She added that the number of people working on child safety had not changed since the acquisition, and that the product manager for the team was still there. Irwin said Twitter backfilled some positions for people who left the company, though she declined to provide specific figures for the extent of the turnover.

She said Musk was focused on using automation more, arguing that the company had in the past erred on the side of using time- and labor-intensive human reviews of harmful content.

“He’s encouraged the team to take more risks, move fast, get the platform safe,” she said.

On child safety, for instance, Irwin said Twitter had shifted toward automatically taking down tweets reported by trusted figures with a track record of accurately flagging harmful posts.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Carolina Christofoletti, a threat intelligence researcher at TRM Labs who specializes in child sexual abuse material, said she has noticed Twitter recently taking down some content as fast as 30 seconds after she reports it, without acknowledging receipt of her report or confirmation of its decision.

See also  Elon Musk Twitter Takeover: How Journalists Could Be Impacted if Twitter Collapses

In the interview on Thursday, Irwin said Twitter took down about 44,000 accounts involved in child safety violations, in collaboration with cybersecurity group Ghost Data.

Twitter is also restricting hashtags and search results frequently associated with abuse, like those aimed at looking up “teen” pornography. Past concerns about the impact of such restrictions on permitted uses of the terms were gone, she said.

The use of “trusted reporters” was “something we’ve discussed in the past at Twitter, but there was some hesitancy and frankly just some delay,” said Irwin.

“I think we now have the ability to actually move forward with things like that,” she said.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

© Thomson Reuters 2022


Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.

Continue Reading

OTHER

Elon Musk Introduces ‘Live Tweeting’ Feature Amid Ongoing Plans for Twitter

Published

on

By

elon-musk-introduces-‘live-tweeting’-feature-amid-ongoing-plans-for-twitter

Twitter CEO Elon Musk, on Saturday, added a new feature ‘live tweeting’ and now it is currently active on the platform.

Author Matt Taibbi becomes the first user to use this new feature with his cryptic tweet “Thread: THE TWITTER FILES”

Taking to Twitter, Musk wrote, “Here we go!!” with popcorn emoticons.

Earlier, he tweeted, “We’re double-checking some facts, so probably start live tweeting in about 40 mins.”

We’re double-checking some facts, so probably start live tweeting in about 40 mins

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 2, 2022

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Griftopia writer followed his first tweet which reads, “Thread: THE TWITTER FILES”, “What you’re about to read is the first installment in a series, based upon thousands of internal documents obtained by sources at Twitter.”

He added, “The “Twitter Files” tell an incredible story from inside one of the world’s largest and most influential social media platforms. It is a Frankensteinian tale of a human-built mechanism grown out the control of its designer.”

Twitter’s new boss is also working on “purging a lot” of spam/scam accounts.

On Thursday, Musk took to his Twitter account and shared the word limit update with everyone. He tweeted, “Twitter is purging a lot of spam/scam accounts right now, so you may see your follower count drop.”

Twitter is purging a lot of spam/scam accounts right now, so you may see your follower count drop

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 1, 2022

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Musk is also planning to up Twitter’s character limit from 280 to 1000.

A few days ago, a social media user tagged Musk and tweeted, ” Idea on explanding character limit to 1000.”

In response, Musk wrote, “It’s on the todo list.”

The character limit has been one of the prime differences between Twitter and other social media services.Musk has shown interest in the idea of increasing the character limit on a number of occasions since his takeover of the platform, as per a report by Mashable. On November 27, a Twitter user suggested to Musk to increase the platform’s word limit from 280 to 420.

“Good idea” Musk wrote in response. Prior to that, another user had suggested “get rid of character limits.”

Advertisement
free widgets for website

“Absolutely”, the multi-billionaire responded.

Now it remains to be seen when Musk finally makes the changes regarding character limit.


Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.

See also  Meta Ex-COO Sheryl Sandberg Reportedly Being Investigated Over Use of Company Resources
Continue Reading

OTHER

WhatsApp Begins Beta Testing Android Tablet Support, iOS Testers Get ‘Search by Date’ Feature

Published

on

By

whatsapp-begins-beta-testing-android-tablet-support,-ios-testers-get-‘search-by-date’-feature

WhatsApp is rolling out an update for its beta testers on Android that introduces support for WhatsApp for tablets. Select Android beta testers can now link their existing WhatsApp account on their phones with the tablet version of the app. Until now, a WhatsApp account on an Android phone could not be accessed on a secondary Android device. Meanwhile, some beta testers on WhatsApp for iOS are reportedly getting access to a new feature that will allow them to quickly jump to messages based on the date they were sent or received.

Spotted by WhatsApp feature tracker WABetaInfo, users who have signed up for WhatsApp’s beta programme will begin to see an in-app banner announcing the feature. A screengrab on the website shows a banner on top of chats which reads “Have an Android tablet? WhatsApp for tablet is available for beta testers.’ The banner will be visible as part of WhatsApp beta 2.22.25.8 update for Android, which makes the popular messaging app compatible on tablets. Gadgets 360 staff members who are part of the beta programme also received the banner on their smartphones.

However, the feature tracker states that the new tablet version of the app might not be feature-complete. “Note that some features may still not be available when installing WhatsApp on your tablet, for example, the ability to share a new status update, live locations, and broadcast lists,” the report said.

Notably, WhatsApp users can access their primary account on computer and WhatsApp for Web. The feature is finally coming to Android tablets, allowing beta testers to access their messages on both their smartphone and their tablet.

See also  Elon Musk's Relationships With Other Countries 'Worthy of Being Looked At', US President Joe Biden Says

Meanwhile, WABetaInfo also reports that beta testers on iOS are getting a new update that adds the ability to search for messages by date. WhatsApp version 22.24.0.77, via the TestFlight beta programme, will make it easier for users to jump to specific dates in a chat window. To check if the feature is available, users can look for a calendar icon inside the search option for a chat. The icon lets you use the ‘Jump to Date’ feature to look for specific messages sent on the day.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

WhatsApp has been busy in the past few weeks, rolling out multiple features on both Android and iOS. The app recently rolled out a ‘Message Yourself’ feature on both platforms that lets users text themselves, in case they need to note down important information, reminders, or store files. Additionally, iOS users also received an update that adds the ability to include captions for forwarded media.


Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.

Continue Reading

Trending