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Is Spreading Medical Misinformation a Doctor’s Free Speech Right?

NYT Technology - Wed, 11/30/2022 - 04:00
Two lawsuits in California have pre-emptively challenged a new law that would punish doctors for misleading patients about Covid-19.

Sony is ready to motion-capture its way into the metaverse, but only in Japan

Techradar - Tue, 11/29/2022 - 14:08

Sony is trying its hand at the metaverse with new  motion capture devices collectively known as Mocopi.

Comprised of six color-coded sensors, the Mocopi system goes at key parts of a person's body (your head, hip, wrists, and ankles) using velcro straps or a clip in order to capture movement via a dedicated smartphone app. With this tech, users can control an anime style avatar in real time to either create videos or hang out with people in compatible metaverse services like VRChat. It’s similar to a big Hollywood-style motion capture system but without the dedicated equipment or operators. Sony hopes Mocopi will help content creators “involved in movie and animation production” and facilitate development in key areas like fitness platforms, according to the announcement.

If the preview video is to be believed, Mocopi is actually pretty accurate. The avatar closely follows a person's motions from running, dancing, and even lip syncing. Once done, users can view the video of the avatar in motion on the mobile app. 

Features

The sensors themselves measure 32mm (a little over an inch) in diameter and weigh 8 grams (0.28 ounces). They’re battery-powered and come with a charging case, so users don’t have to worry about getting tangled in cords. According to the Mocopi product page, each sensor has a battery life of up to 10 hours depending on how often you would use them. They even have a protection rating of IP65 meaning they’re completely protected against dust and can survive splashes of water.

The setup seems pretty straightforward too. Each puck connects to smartphones via Bluetooth LE, but must stay stationary during the pairing process so they can connect properly. Afterward, you calibrate the sensors so the avatar is properly synced.

Video recordings will be saved as an MP4 file with a 1080p (1920x1080) resolution and a frame rate of 30fps. The motion data itself is recorded separately, which can be uploaded to a PC for further animation. If you don’t like the avatar’s anime style, you can upload your own. 

Sony will provide a Mocopi software development kit (SDK) on December 15, allowing creative users to create custom assets. Motion data can also be edited on select 3D development software like the Unity game engine and MotionBuilder. The full list of supported software is still unknown, but that info will be released on December 15 alongside the SDK.

Mocopi will be exclusive to Japan as it launches in late January 2023 for 49,500 yen (around $356 USD) alongside the official app. Pre-orders start mid-December.  It’s unknown whether or not Mocopi will see an international release, but considering the app is entirely in English, it’s definitely possible. Besides, Sony is no stranger to exporting its tech to willing buyers overseas. 

Future of VR

Admittedly, Mocopi is pretty cool, but it’s way too early to tell whether or not it can convince people to join the metaverse. Part of the hesitancy is the high barrier to entry whether it's expensive headsets, the lack of a killer app, or in Sony’s case, limited smartphone support. According to the Mocopi product page, Android users must own one of six Sony Xperia models like the 5 IV to use the app. The selection for iOS devices is much bigger, however, ranging from the iPhone 12 to the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Still, putting virtual reality tech into the hands of users may be the push the metaverse needs to break into the mainstream. 

If you’re interested in diving into virtual reality, be sure to check out TechRadar’s recently updated best VR headsets list

Former FedEx execs' company S+V Technologies scores partnerships with Chicago, Seattle firms

Memphis Business Journal - Tue, 11/29/2022 - 13:24
Local startup S+V Technologies has forged a partnership with project44, the Chicago-based company that's valued at $2.7 billion.

Microsoft Teams just got another game changing accessibility feature

Techradar - Tue, 11/29/2022 - 12:30

Microsoft Teams is getting a significant upgrade to its accessibility tools that should make the video conferencing platform better for more users.

In a Microsoft blog post , Accessibility Architect Chris Sano announced the creation of a “best-in-class experience for the deaf and hard of hearing (D/HH) community” on Teams.

Sano, who is deaf himself, had been tasked with making the platform more accessible, and the first release - Sign Language View - is now ready, and hopes to transform how D/HH users to take part in Microsoft Teams calls for the better.

Teams Sign Language View

When needed, up to two sign language interpreters’ video feeds are kept in a consistent location so that D/HH meeting participants can dive straight into the call. The video tiles are also designed to be an optimal shape and size, and will automatically stream at the highest possible quality.

In its promise to listen to customer feedback, Microsoft has made Sign Language View preferences “sticky”, so that any settings don’t need to be re-applied for each call.

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According to Sano, you can also "pre-identify a set of preferred signers that you work with inside your organization on a regular basis – for example, your regular interpreters (or for interpreters, your regular clients)." There is an option to turn on captions by default for all of your meetings as well.

Sano asks that D/HH customers continue to provide feedback through the ‘Help’ menu from within Teams, or to call the US helpdesk to communicate directly in ASL.

It is expected to roll out “in the coming weeks” which coincides with an entry on the company’s roadmap stating a December 2022 general availability. Right now, a version of Sign Language View has been rolled out to the Public Preview program on a per-user basis, so you may be able to get it that way, too.

Apple's App Store Awards 2022 brings surprises and VR hype for next year

Techradar - Tue, 11/29/2022 - 07:03

Apple has announced the winners of the App Store Awards 2022, with BeReal – the new social platform that has you snapping and sharing a pair of photos (one from your phone's front and one from the back camera) each day, took the App of the Year award this year.

The App Store Awards is a yearly event where Apple recognizes developers and the apps they've created that have made the biggest impact on its users and the company. Whether that’s in social media, games or sport, they take advantage of the hardware and software that Apple's recently brought out.

There were a bunch of games that were highlighted this year, such as Wilde Flowers and Inua winning the Apple Arcade game of the year and Cultural Impact award respectively, while GoodNotes 5, developed Time Base Technology Limited, took the iPad App of the Year award.

It's interesting to spot that there's 16 winners here, rather than 15 of the previous years – that's because there's a new 'China Game of the Year' added to the roster, which only shows the breadth of how one country is making an impact on the App Store.

With this in mind, TechRadar reached out to the developers of Wylde Flowers, Gentler Streak and Inua about plans for their apps in the near future, after winning these awards from Apple.

Apple's App Store shows no sign of slowing down

WildeFlowers on iPhone 14 Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

Available on Apple Arcade, Wylde Flowers is a game reminiscent of Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley, where you control the protagonist – Tara, building and running a farm during the day while also moonlighting as a witch during the night.

Developed by Studio Drydock, the developers told us that they were proud to receive the Apple Arcade game of the year, but that there's also an upcoming update called 'Endless Seasons and Romance' – due for a December release – which will feature different weather effects and new content that players will be able to enjoy.

We asked the team if they would also include the ability to finally customize Tara, and while they said that they were aware of this request from many players, it wasn't something that they were considering for the time being.

Image 1 of 2

Gentler Streak on iOS and watchOS

(Image credit: Apple)Image 2 of 2

Inua game on iOS

(Image credit: Apple)

Inua is a time-traveling adventure game that makes for an immersive time on iPhone and iPad, and while developers Arte Experience told us that a version of the game appearing on Apple TV would make for a good next step when we suggested it, they didn't confirm whether this is expansion would be in the game's future.

Alongside this, Gentler Streak achieves the unique task of encouraging you to work out in a calm and concise way, with useful information inside a well-designed app. The team also confirmed that Live Activities – a feature from iOS 16.1 that allows widgets to show live updates on the Lock Screen – is coming to a future update of the app, alongside adding photos to workouts and more complications to the watchOS app.

Overall, it's encouraging to see so many varied apps earning awards this year, although it would be nice to see another award that highlights accessibility; either as a separate award or included as a mention as part of other awards.

Regardless, with rumors of an Apple VR headset allegedly debuting in 2023, we could see a completely different App Store Awards next year. It's a good time to be an Apple user, with the innovation that these independent developers are still bringing to the table, almost 15 years since the App Store debuted, alongside the iPhone 3G, back in 2008.

Twitter's security issues predate Elon Musk – and firing staff isn't going to help

Techradar - Tue, 11/29/2022 - 06:55

A month of Twitter's new management passed and the blue bird icon hasn't stopped making headlines. 

A tumultuous series of back and forths finally led to Musk's takeover at the end of October, finally culminating in a $44 billion deal.

The richest man in the world offered to buy the popular social media platform for, he said, protecting free speech. However, people are now wondering if he has the same vision in terms of their right to privacy.

From firing top executives along with roughly half the company's staff to setting up a premium version and appointing himself as the new CEO, Musk has been pretty busy in his first 30 days in command. 

While Twitter already tainted by previous data privacy and security pitfalls, cybersecurity experts are now voicing concerns about Musk's reckless behavior. And, while controversial banned profiles have made their return on the platform, many users are flocking towards alternative services instead. 

So, what's at stake for the privacy of those willing to stay?  

Pre-Musk Twitter and privacy issues

It isn't surprising that all eyes are on the blue bird now. 

Twitter's privacy problems started long before Musk's takeover. The popular social media company actually has quite the history when it comes to failing to protect users' data. 

In 2009, a hacker hijacked several high-profile accounts to send out phishing messages using an employee’s corporate login. The hacked profiles included Barack Obama, Fox News and Britney Spears. 

Only a year later, US regulator FTC filed a complaint against the social media firm for abusing users' data. This played out with the commission barring Twitter for 20 years from misleading consumers while maintaining "a comprehensive information security program."

Unfortunately, not much seems to have changed since then. 

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The FTC fined Twitter for $150 million for similar allegations in May this year. The company was found guilty of misusing users' data like email addresses and phone numbers for targeted ads. 

While encouraging users to provide their personal numbers for security reasons, the company de-facto abused their trust for six long years between 2013 and 2019. 

In December 2020 it was the turn of an Irish GDPR officer to punish the social media firm with a $550 million fine for failing to correctly report a data breach. 

More recently, a Twitter whistleblower sounded the alarm. Major security flaws threatening users’ personal information and even national security still persist on the platform.  

Famous hacker Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, who worked as the head of Twitter security division between November 2020 and January 2022, claimed that thousands of employees can access any user’s personal information despite not needing so to carry on their job. 

He also alleged that the company kept misleading regional oversight bodies by hiding its security issues.  

What's changed from Musk's takeover?

It is fair to say that Musk not only acquired Twitter, but also its blighted privacy and security infrastructure with it. However, many experts believe that the company's fragile state has worsened since the new CEO took charge. 

The wave of layoffs that followed Musk's takeover is likely the most worrying event - and not just from a worker's rights perspective.

That's a recipe for disaster.

Vuk Janosevic, Blindnet's CEO

More than 50% of staff were fired, and many other employees decided to quit. These included many executives of the most critical departments like data privacy, compliance and transparency.

Privacy expert Vuk Janosevic, CEO and co-founder of privacy consultant firm Blindnet, said that this is particularly worrying for a company like Twitter which lacks a network of privacy-preserving technologies. 

"They have a software that is not built for privacy and the whole infrastructure around - like chief security officer, chief privacy officer and chief legal counsel - they all left, " he said.     

Following the exodus, the legal team is now passing the burden to engineers to self-certify compliance with FTC's rules, GDPR and other regulations. Something that even prompted a warning from one of its attorneys.

That's because each engineer is building just a small part of the entire product flow. So, it needs to rely on the fact that everyone has the same ethics and understanding of data privacy. 

"That's a recipe for disaster," Janosevic told TechRadar. "There are ways to build privacy-preserving software, something called subject rights and consent measurement, radiation interoperability. But rebuilding Twitter to do this requires a massive undertaking." 

These outcomes have already made an impact, with users being locked out from their account for some flaws with multi-factors authentication, for example. 

Elon Musk and Twitter

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"It’s time. Delete your Twitter DMs," wrote again another cybersecurity expert, Graham Cluley, in a blog post as the social media giant's reputation is slowly crumbling.

At the same time, Musk's decision to make Twitter's blue check for verified accounts an exclusive for premium members has also led to an increase in scam profiles looming across the platform. This might facilitate misinformation to spread, too.

Despite Janosevic deeming this issue as a "product flaw," a paid membership means that the firm will have to handle even more sensitive data like payment details and billing addresses. 

What's more, Musk's ambitious vision of turning Twitter into an "everything app" certainly doesn't appease new and old privacy concerns. 

All this requires much more data to be collected, stored, and yes, shared. 

At the moment, both the FTC and GDPR officers confirmed they are carefully following new events as they unfold from inside the HQ.

What's next for users' privacy?

Like it or not, Twitter 2.0 is slowly taking shape. And what's certain now is that Musk and the remaining staff will have to work hard to gain back the trust of everyone: from users and investors to privacy experts and compliance officers.  

"From a privacy perspective I would say I'm very concerned," Janosevic told TechRadar. "It doesn't mean that it's gonna end badly. It can be done, but there's a lot of challenges at Twitter right now. 

"Political challenges, technical challenges, regulatory challenges: I can't even imagine what the priority list looks like for Elon, but there's no excuse not to do it, to rebuild a system that brings back user trust into the platform." 

That's true, Twitter's track record when it comes to privacy is shady to say the least. However, some new features might be reassuring for most users.  

It's been a long time since Elon Musk pointed out the lack of encrypted DMs as a concern. Now, he has officially announced that his Twitter revamp will include end-to-end encryption to all messages. Encrypted voice and video chats are in the pipeline, too. 

"We want to enable users to be able to communicate without being concerned about their privacy, [or] without being concerned about a data breach at Twitter causing all of their DMs to hit the web, or think that maybe someone at Twitter could be spying on their DMs," said Musk, detailing his vision for Twitter 2.0, The Verge reported

"That’s obviously not going to be cool and it has happened a few times before."  

Slides from my Twitter company talk pic.twitter.com/8LLXrwyltaNovember 27, 2022

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While Twitter is busy healing his public and technical reputation, users can leave nothing to chance around their privacy protection. 

From using security software like VPN services and password managers to carefully customizing privacy settings, as Janosevic argued, in 2022 users need to be aware about their own data. 

"If you're not asked for consent and you don't have the ability to easily control the information in the system, you have to assume that they're abusing it. 

"If you're on Twitter and still tweeting, just be cognizant of it. You can still share information, personal or public, whatever that is. You just have to be cognizant that the system doesn't have the infrastructure to protect your consent and protect your privacy. Your privacy rights." 

‘No Cooperation’: How Sam Bankman-Fried Tried to Cling to FTX

NYT Technology - Tue, 11/29/2022 - 04:00
Emails and text messages show how lawyers and executives struggled to persuade the 30-year-old entrepreneur to give up control of his collapsing crypto exchange.

The Latest on FTX’s Bankruptcy, BlockFi and More

NYT Technology - Mon, 11/28/2022 - 16:45
The collapse of FTX, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency companies, is still sending shock waves through the crypto world.

Elon Musk Takes On Apple’s Power, Setting Up a Clash

NYT Technology - Mon, 11/28/2022 - 16:20
In a series of tweets on Monday, Mr. Musk accused Apple of threatening to pull Twitter from its App Store and of trying to censor.

U.S. Crypto Exchange Kraken Settles With Treasury Dept.

NYT Technology - Mon, 11/28/2022 - 13:34
The crypto exchange, which had been under investigation for violating U.S. sanctions, agreed to pay $360,000 to settle the allegations.

Grammarly is half price for Cyber Monday – and that's not a typo

Techradar - Mon, 11/28/2022 - 12:16

The Cyber Monday deals are flooding in, with a host of deals going live throughout the day. Some of these deals are better than others, but this half-price deal on the Grammarly writing tool is one of the better offers we've seen.

If you're looking to improve your spelling and grammar in emails and documents, Grammarly can help you do just that – and right now you can get 50% off any Grammarly Premium plan. The best deal is on an annual plan, with the price slashed from $144 to just $72, but you can save on quarterly and monthly plans too.

Today's best Cyber Monday Grammarly deal

Grammarly Premium on iOS, Android and Windows: was $144 now $72 at Grammarly
Once you install the app, you can use a Grammarly keyboard, which will go over what you've written, and suggest corrections and alternate sentences to be clearer for the recipient. This is a yearly subscription, saving you 50% off, but you can use it on as many devices as you wish.

Today's best Cyber Monday Grammarly deal (UK)

Grammarly Premium on iOS, Android and Windows: was £144 now £72 at Grammarly
This is a yearly subscription, saving you 50% off, but you can use it on as many devices as you wish. You can use a Grammarly keyboard once you've installed the app on your iPhone, Windows laptop or Android phone; the app will then suggest corrections and alternate sentences to make your writing clearer.

Grammarly is one of the most popular apps for improving grammar and structure, and we praised its ease of use and effectiveness in our Grammarly review.

This one of the best Cyber Monday deals we've found today, so if you're looking for some help with your writing, this is great opportunity to give Grammarly a try.

Looking for more cut-price apps? We've rounded up the best Cyber Monday app deals for iOS and macOS.

You'll find more Cyber Monday deals in both the US and UK below.

More US Cyber Monday deals More UK Cyber Monday deals

Proton Mail is looking to topple Gmail with new features

Techradar - Mon, 11/28/2022 - 11:30

Privacy-focused email provider Proton has announced a complete overhaul of its Mail and Calendar apps.

The Swiss company's service, whose USP is end-to-end encryption of user emails, has fallen behind the likes of Gmail and Apple Mail in recent years, both of which tout more advanced features.

Proton now hopes to reverse its fortune by improving the current user experience of its suite and offering similar elements to its competitors.

Proton Mail updates

In a game of catch-up, Proton has introduced some fairly substantial updates to its app - most notably email scheduling. 

This has become a more in-demand feature since the surge in hybrid working and flexible hours has blurred the boundaries between work and home life, allowing workers to send mail at times appropriate for their colleagues to read. 

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Also added is email snoozing, designed to allow workers to set up their own focus times, and categorization, which the company hopes will be able to automatically filter out emails like social media notifications.

Behind-the-scenes work has also been rolled out to prevent spy trackers and improve integration with the rest of Proton’s products.

Regarding the Calendar, users can expect to find a to-do list for task management and easier sharing to help alert colleagues of availability. 

The user experience seems to have been a high priority this time around, too, with improvements set to come to homescreen widgets, in-app weather information, local holidays, and contacts’ birthdays.

The company hasn’t specified when these updates will become available, but has instead shared them as a work in progress. Expect rollouts to begin in 2023.

Sympathy, and Job Offers, for Twitter’s Misinformation Experts

NYT Technology - Mon, 11/28/2022 - 10:45
Seeing false and toxic information as a potentially expensive liability, companies in and outside the tech industry are angling to hire people who can keep it in check.

BlockFi Files for Bankruptcy as FTX Fallout Spreads

NYT Technology - Mon, 11/28/2022 - 09:23
BlockFi was financially entangled with FTX, and its stability was thrust into uncertainty after FTX collapsed.

Meta Fined $275 Million for Breaking E.U. Data Privacy Law

NYT Technology - Mon, 11/28/2022 - 08:29
The penalty, imposed by Irish data regulators, brings European fines against Facebook’s parent company to more than $900 million since last year.

The Excitement Around E-Sports Is Growing. But Where Are the Profits?

NYT Technology - Sat, 11/26/2022 - 13:43
Traditional sports owners who invested in competitive video gaming say the money isn’t flowing in as quickly as they had expected.

Windows 11 gaming bug has been cured – but not for everyone

Techradar - Sat, 11/26/2022 - 04:23

Windows 11’s latest version has suffered at the hands of a bug that messes quite badly with gaming performance for some users, leading to the 22H2 update being blocked on those PCs to prevent the problem manifesting – but the good news is that upgrade block has now been partially lifted.

In case you missed this one, the Windows 11 22H2 bug in question caused “lower than expected performance” with some games (and indeed other software), including stuttering frame rates (a seriously off-putting phenomenon). This was due to GPU debugging features errantly being used on the affected PCs.

As Neowin noticed, Microsoft has not actually fixed this issue – yet – but has added a fresh note to its release health dashboard which states the following: “The safeguard hold with the safeguard ID of 41990091 has been updated to only safeguard Windows devices which have one of the small subset of games and apps which are still affected by this issue.”

What this means is that a lot of Windows 11 users who had previously been blocked with the mentioned safeguard hold are now clear to download the 22H2 update – only people who run one of a small number of games and apps that are vulnerable to the bug are now being stopped from upgrading.

Analysis: The unlucky ones will just have to wait patiently – but for how long?

Hopefully that means the majority of PC gamers who were being held back from upgrading due to this flaw are now able to go ahead and grab the Windows 11 22H2 update. However, you may not see the upgrade straightaway, and as Microsoft observes, it can take up to 48 hours before the block is lifted and 22H2 is actually offered up.

That said, as Microsoft posted this on its health dashboard a few days ago, the upgrade should now be available to everyone who is freshly eligible to pick it up. If you still haven’t been offered the 22H2 update, it’s worth rebooting your PC and checking for updates – but if that doesn’t do the trick, then you’re likely one of the unlucky people who are still affected by the bug.

In that case, about all you can do is wait patiently for Microsoft to get its act together and implement a full solution to this problem. As to how long that’ll take, well, your guess is as good as ours.

To give you something of an idea, thornier bugs can take some unpicking, and we recently witnessed a rather unpleasant Windows 11 printer bug – one that stripped critical features from some devices, like being able to print in color for example – take two months to be resolved. Hopefully this gaming glitch won’t prove to be as complex an issue to remedy, but who knows.

Not being able to upgrade to the most recent version of Windows 11 is a frustrating experience, seeing as you may miss out on feature additions, or perhaps more worryingly, work on the security front to fix vulnerabilities – and the latter could conceivably leave your PC open to being exploited.

That’s why we generally advise folks to upgrade fairly swiftly, although on the other hand, it’s sometimes best to be a little cautious on the very day an update comes out, as early adopters can run into show-stopping bugs or problems introduced by the upgrade. In other words, it can be prudent to hold off for a short while, but don’t hang about for too long – just enough time to monitor the news headlines and online forums to see if any nasty sounding glitches have emerged with any given update.

Live blog: Twitter chaos - An Elon Musk smartphone? Sure, why not?

Techradar - Fri, 11/25/2022 - 18:27

An illustration of Elon Musk drawn by thongyhod looking perplexed at falling Twitter logos

(Image credit: Shutterstock / thongyhod / Twitter)

Hard to believe it hasn't been quite a full month since Elon Musk finally purchased Twitter on October 28 for $44 billion. It's been a wild and unpredictable ride ever since.

Since the moment Musk waltzed into Twitter HQ with a bathroom sink (we cannot make this up), it's been fast-paced decisions, layoffs, firings, resignations, reinstatements, big-picture decisions, and sudden reversals.

If you think that's a lot, strap in because the Tweeter-in-Chief shows no signs of slowing down the pace of change or the number of tweets he will post over the course of one day.

It's hard, putting it lightly, to keep up with it all, so we've fired up this live blog to keep you updated with what's happening with Twitter and Elon Musk, putting it all in context for Twitter users around the world.

Perhaps the most controversial thing to come from Musk's Twitter takeover has been the changes to how accounts are verified. 

Previously, if the verified account of a media outlet (such as TechRadar) or other organization published something, you would at least know that it came from an official source. The Blue Check also enabled Twitter users to tell the difference between the many celebrities on Twitter and users who were imitating them.

However, Musk implemented a change that would allow anyone to get verified for $8 a month.

Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bullshit. Power to the people! Blue for $8/month.November 1, 2022

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This led to some people worrying that users could pretend to be official accounts and get easily verified, making it hard for people to tell which accounts were real – and which weren't. And that's exactly what happened.

Despite the concerns and complaints, Musk was initially dismissive.

To all complainers, please continue complaining, but it will cost $8November 2, 2022

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By posting memes about people's complaints, it left many people feeling that he wasn't exactly taking the issue seriously.

pic.twitter.com/BYOBGBHOUANovember 2, 2022

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However, as people predicted, verified accounts started popping up on Twitter, and while many of them were obviously parodies, because they had the 'Blue Tick', it became difficult to tell, especially with the more subtle accounts.

Unsurprisingly, the individuals and companies that were being parodied weren't too happy about this. 

A brand new parody Twitter account that paid for verification and chose the display name of ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted Josh McDaniels was fired. The credible-looking tweet received nearly 10,000 engagements. Twitter suspended the account after two hours. https://t.co/diegQfkpA1November 9, 2022

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Worryingly for Twitter, many brands started to announce that they would no longer advertise on the platform.

Musk himself fell victim to this, with countless fake accounts popping up claiming to be him - and with a Blue Tick to prove it. This seemed to be the final straw, as Musk then backtracked on some of the more lax elements of the new verification process.

Going forward, accounts engaged in parody must include “parody” in their name, not just in bioNovember 11, 2022

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Here's an example of how hard some of these fake accounts are to spot:

First account is the verified official one. Second is a $8 fake thanks to the Musk subscription. Easy to tell when you look at the follower count, very, very hard to tell when shared into your feed. Impossible actually without clicking through. HT @meemalee for spotting. pic.twitter.com/uKumOYRTeINovember 10, 2022

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So, almost inevitably, it seems the Blue Tick verification process has been canned.

The chaos continues. Twitter pulls the plug on Twitter Blue, subscriptions and paid-for verification blue checkmark no longer available.November 11, 2022

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As the tweet above states, the chaos continues - hence why we've started this live blog. What is going on?

Elon Musk at 2022 Met Gala

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Let's recap:

On October 30, Elon Musk, CEO and Founder of Space X, CEO of Tesla, finally took charge of Twitter after a long-winded buyout of the platform.

In under a month, we've seen the verification process become irrelevant and confusing due to the subscription service, Twitter Blue being able to grant any user a blue tick, and there's also been a huge firing of staff.

On November 11, Twitter Blue was removed entirely, and there's been silence from Musk since.

This was my first Tweet. I wonder what will be my last. https://t.co/pfruo5mqtUNovember 11, 2022

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Here's our US Editor-in-Chief Lance Ulanoff showing his very first tweet back in 2007.

As it includes a bagel, it's already a great tweet in my book. The next question for me is, could his final tweet include a bagel to round it off?

Worrying about Twitter

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Let's be clear - there's not going to be a replacement for Twitter. Nothing really can be, but there are potential alternatives.

With this in mind, we've got three for you to consider.

The top image shows what an Actually Verified account looks like, while the bottom shows you what a Paid for Verification account looks like

(Image credit: Wseagar / Eight-Dollars)

An interesting read by Hamish Hector here - there's a Chrome extension where it will tell you if a user has been verified with a blue tick, or if they've gained one by signing up to Twitter Blue when it was live.

Hit all-time high of active users todayNovember 11, 2022

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So where do we stand so far?

Musk has yet to react to any development to Twitter today, which is surprising. The above is, at the time of posting this, his latest tweet.

However, we've noticed a small change with the ticks, where it's also blue when you're in dark mode on the site.

being on Twitter right now is like playing the violin on the titanic except we are also making fun of the iceberg and the iceberg is getting genuinely madNovember 6, 2022

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Our (fantastic) Computing writer Muskaan Saxena sent me this tweet, and it's a great analogy for how users are feeling on Twitter.

A mad iceberg in the shape of the Twitter bird is quite the image.

First account is the verified official one. Second is a $8 fake thanks to the Musk subscription. Easy to tell when you look at the follower count, very, very hard to tell when shared into your feed. Impossible actually without clicking through. HT @meemalee for spotting. pic.twitter.com/uKumOYRTeINovember 10, 2022

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Another one that was sent to me from Muskaan, this tweet shows how broken the verification system under Twitter Blue was. One is the genuine Apple TV Plus account, another is a fake one.

Hopefully we'll see a reversal of this, as it's already confusing to tell which one is real or fake for many users.

NEW: Twitter has suspended the launch of Twitter Blue and is actively trying to stop people from subscribing "to help address impersonation issues," per an internal note. 1/November 11, 2022

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Zoë Schiffer, writer at Platformer, tweeted the above that a message was posted in the Twitter Slack, that confirmed the end of Twitter Blue and paid blue ticks in order to stop the impersonations, but any existing subscriptions to the service will carry on as usual.

Lance Ulanoff materializes

(Image credit: Future)

Our US Editor-In-Chief Lance Ulanoff sent us this which reads as though he's saying farewell to Twitter:

"I’ve met some of the coolest people on Twitter. I’ve interacted with my idols and icons and made true friends. Twitter has always worked the way my brain works - in bite-sized pieces. Honestly not sure how I’ll maintain certain friendships and connections or where I’ll post random thoughts that make me happy without it. Please, Microsoft, buy Twitter."

Mastodon apps on iOS and Android

(Image credit: TechRadar)

If you've heard of Mastodon this week, you're not alone. Luckily, I've been trying it out lately and it's a great alternative. There are a couple of apps you can use right now on iOS and Android if you've already signed up to Mastodon as well.

Just to add to the chaos, Musk has now tweeted this from the Twitter HQ. While we don't ever suggest reading too much into tweets, especially from someone as mercurial as Musk, it does perhaps give us a glimpse into the current mindset of the remaining Twitter employees...

Twitter HQ is great (this is a real pic) pic.twitter.com/qjfOQCr533November 11, 2022

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By tweeting and highlighting this, it seems that Musk is aware, though what he thinks of it is a mystery, as always.

People forget that pull-to-refresh was invented by Loren Brichter, and first deployed in his Tweetie app, which Twitter acquired long ago. Twitter owns a patent for it, but it's now so commonly used that it's impossible to imagine mobile UI without it. https://t.co/rqy5VUrnq1November 17, 2020

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I was thinking back to when I first used Twitter on my iPhone, and it was indeed Tweetie, which was bought by the company, and then turned into the app you use today.

The pull-to-refresh gesture is now a standard on many apps, such as Apple's Safari and Mail apps.

Needs some tweaks, but overall proceeding wellNovember 11, 2022

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Here's a reply from Musk an hour ago, where he's enthusiastic of how Twitter Blue is going so far.

Which makes us wonder - has he gotten the memo?

What's a journalist?

Lance Ulanoff hopping in here:

For Chief Twit Elon Musk, so much of the Blue Check verification mess boils down to Citizen Journalism. 

Musk wants everyone on Twitter to deliver the news (nothing has stopped them up to now). However, the unlevel playing field of Blue Check haves and have-nots has created, as Musk sees it, an imbalance. With the meaning and value of Blue checks reduced to the price of an expensive cup of coffee (one per month), it means anyone can be verified and, if they report news on Twitter, have the same visibility.

Musk Tweeted Friday afternoon, "As Twitter pursues the goal of elevating citizen journalism, media elite will try everything to stop that from happening."

In Musk's eyes, professional journalists are the "media elite" and we're blocking his everyone is a journalist dream.

As this tech reporter told Musk on Twitter, though, the issue is not citizen journalists, it's that the entire Blue Check system is no longer tied to identity, quality, or any semblance of truth. Without that, no one, including his citizen journalists, can be trusted.

As Twitter pursues the goal of elevating citizen journalism, media elite will try everything to stop that from happeningNovember 11, 2022

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Unchecking

Despite the controversy surrounding the new Blue Check process and the ability to become a Twitter Blue member suddenly disappearing from the platform, many people have already opted to pay $8 for their own Blue Check.

If, however, you're not satisfied, you can, according to Twitter user @Dash, get a quick refund on your $8 subscription charge through Apple.

This isn't surprising since it's easy to unsubscribe to almost any service you've paid for through Apple's App Store.

What @Dash claims, though, is that after your refund, you still get to keep the "tick" (Blue Check) for 30 days. That may or may not be so, though. While it might take some time for Apple to process the cancellation and hand it off to Twitter, it seems unlikely that the Blue Check would hang around for long.

If there's anyone out there who did have Blue Check buyer's remorse, canceled, and still has the tick, let us know.

So, fun fact! You can claim a refund for Twitter Blue through Apple, receive all of your money back in one day and then keep the tick for 30 days.Very cool, I'm sure that no potential bad actors will exploit this!!! pic.twitter.com/JGg6S4gnpLNovember 10, 2022

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This system is a joke

Over at The Washington Post, tech journalist Geoffrey Fowler, with the permission of a sitting Senator and a comedian, created two fake "verified" Blue Check Twitter accounts in minutes.

Massachusetts Senator Edward J. Markey and comedian Blaire Erskine both agree to let Fowler create the fake accounts in their names.

As Fowler writes:

"Twitter has said accounts that impersonate people are not allowed and face suspension when they’re discovered. It booted comedian Kathy Griffin after she changed her Twitter screen name to Elon Musk. But there’s very little about Twitter’s new paid service that stops you from verifying a fake account. As of the time I published this column, its systems hadn’t detected these were not authentic accounts and they remained online."

What does this prove? That there is no verification in this "verification." Elon Musk has created a broken system (one since hidden) and that has already been gamed by others to more devastating effect. 

Someone created a fake Ely Lilly And Co "verified" Twitter account and then tweeted that insulin was now free. While it may have been coincidental. the real drug company's stock did take a dive.

Yeah, it's not great when @geoffreyfowler can set up a fake Twitter account for a U.S. Senator in minutes. (Geoff had permission from Sen. Markey.) https://t.co/YMBA9cEsUI pic.twitter.com/PE7bS6BJSqNovember 11, 2022

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Elon Musk and Twitter

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Twitter Blues

While Twitter Blue signups are currently on pause, we might finally have some insight into how well (or not) the new program is proceeding.

According to a report in Mashable, which got some Twitter Blue signup numbers from app-tracking firm Sensor Tower, Twitter Blue signups generated $488,000, which is, at $8 a pop, 61,000 subscribers. 

Let's just say that's not quite a blue wave. It's not terrible, but Twitter has hundreds of millions of daily active users and only a fraction of them are legacy verified. We should have seen millions of people signing up for Twitter Blue, right?

If 91% of Twitter's revenue is generated from ads (roughly $5 billion in 2021), Twitter Blue has an incredibly long way to go before it can support 50% of Twitter's overall revenue.

As of this moment, though, there is no Twitter Blue signup, and there probably won't be until Musk and Twitter can figure out how to get people to sign up without causing significant verification and identity issues.

As the former Head of News for Twitter in India/SEAsia can say with some authority that has never been the case. And it is not even Twitter’s USP. Twitter serves as the heartbeat of the news cycle & gives news orgs valuable access to public conversations around these cycles. https://t.co/ivDy86Nk8XNovember 13, 2022

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Elon Musk tweeted his thoughts about Twitter engagement late last night, and it's been a debatable post to say the least.

A subtweet from Raheel Khursheed caught our eye, as he explains how the social platform barely made a footprint when it came to linking to other sites.

SpaceX just bought a big ad campaign on Twitter for Starlink - my latest for @cnbc https://t.co/UqQpLgmwAL It's a "takeover," media planners. Those things usually cost in the ballpark of $250k per day.November 14, 2022

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As every day passes there seems to be something that causes an eyebrow to be raised. Elon Musk's other company, SpaceX, has seemingly bought an ad campaign to run on Twitter for the foreseeable.

As Lora Kolodny tweets above, these usually cost in the region of $250,000 a day, but it wouldn't be a far cry to suspect that SpaceX has received a bit of a discount compared to other companies' ad takeovers in the past.

Scoop: Twitter went into a stricter-than-ever-before change freeze starting a few hours ago. Not only are deploys not allowed, but Git is now readonly by default (!)The mandate is coming from the infra team, "until further notice." Here's why this is an odd one:November 14, 2022

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If you've been experiencing some issues when using Twitter as some on the TechRadar team have, you're not alone.

It also looks as though you'll be suffering with these issues for a bit longer, as a 'change freeze' has been put into effect. This essentially means that any changes to the code of Twitter, from how it works to any features in development, have been paused.

This is a lie. I ran this program up until a week ago when I resigned because I didn’t want to work for @elonmusk For breakfast & lunch we spent $20-$25 a day per person. This enabled employees to work thru lunchtime & mtgs. Attendance was anything from 20-50% in the offices. https://t.co/0OjbeComkaNovember 13, 2022

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Ex-Twitter employees are subtweeting Musk with corrections to his tweets, but this time, Musk replied to Tracy Hawkins here, arguing that this tweet is allegedly false.

Expect to see more of these tweets in the near future - we're in a period where employees are feeling unsure about the company's roadmap, and their own future at Twitter.

And we will finally stop adding what device a tweet was written on (waste of screen space & compute) below every tweet. Literally no one even knows why we did that …November 14, 2022

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After a mildly-quiet Friday, Musk has been replying to a bunch of users today, with confirmation that the 'Sent from iPhone' message is going away.

If you're unaware, as you'd send a tweet from an iPhone or an Android device, the tweet would state this. It's resulted in some embarrassing moments for brands, where it would send a tweet advertising an Android device, but it would be sent from an iPhone.

So this removal could be to do with advertisements yet again, not just because Musk and his team isn't sure why that feature has been around for years.

I *think* it might now be turned back on.Still, not exactly a glorious few hours for Twitter…November 14, 2022

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We've started to spot some tweets of two-factor authentication not working. If you've put an email or a mobile number in to help verify your account when you sign in, it looks like it's not working correctly.

The code needed to help you sign in isn't being sent, but it looks as though it works for email for some, and not a phone number.

In any case, it's concerning that a feature to help secure your account is starting to show bugs and refuse to work for some users.

If you're worried, it may be best to check that email verification is switched on for your account as soon as you can.

i spent 2 hours curating a twitter blue screenshot storyline for my parents so here u go, for your own offline friends that want to have fun:DAY 1 – ARRIVAL pic.twitter.com/aQbbSPG9JBNovember 15, 2022

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Thanks to Twitter user @Christapeterso, a timeline of Elon Musk owning Twitter up until the present day is here for all to see, and it's only when you read through this thread, that you realize so much has happened in such a short space of time.

Elon Musk at 2022 Met Gala

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Bad news, not-necessarily bad news

It probably comes as no surprise to most of you who've been tracking the Elon Musk Twitter saga for some time that Musk isn't much of a listener.

According to a new Casey Newton Platformer newsletter, Musk was warned in a lengthy memo before the November 9 rollout of the paid verification plan that there would be trouble.

The document, which Platform obtained, reads more like a historical document than a "what if." It spells out how the plan would lead to the "Impersonation of world leaders, advertisers, brand partners, election officials, and other high-profile individuals."

That is exactly what happened before Musk hit the brakes and now appears to have no follow-up plan for Twitter Blue and paid Blue Check verifications. 

They also warned how the new plan would drive away current verified users. Some have left because they're no longer protected from impersonation.

However, we have some good news. According to Newton, Twitter currently has no easy way of removing verified checks from those who choose not to pay. In other words, if you have a verified account right now (the one you got before the payment system was implemented), you might have it for a while longer, especially because Musk laid off many of the people who might help program such a change.

Included among the Twitter departed is Sachee MacCaw, a Twitter Software engineer who ruthlessly trolled Musk on Twitter, especially after he criticized how the system works on Android until he fired her. --Lance Ulanoff

Elon Musk

(Image credit: Getty Images / Taylor Hill )

According to the Washington Post, Musk has sent another email to all Twitter employees, asking them to commit to a 'Twitter 2.0' with a 'hardcore' work ethic.

The message also said that those who did not sign the pledge by 5PM Eastern time Thursday, or 10PM UK time, were told that they would receive three months of severance pay.

It's yet another demand from its staff after a turbulent five weeks, and there's still a chance that this could be reversed by the time we head into Christmas.

Elon Musk invited fake Twitter employees “Rahul Ligma” and “Daniel Johnson” to the company’s HQ and pretends that he rehired them. pic.twitter.com/gC97GvvmQ3November 15, 2022

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In a strange move by Musk, this was posted where two actors, previously making out that they had been fired last month, were pictured to be with them, showing that they had been 'rehired'.

Where's the funny here?

Punting relaunch of Blue Verified to November 29th to make sure that it is rock solidNovember 15, 2022

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If you missed out on Twitter Blue and its verification 'feature', Musk confirmed earlier that it's coming back on Tuesday, November 29, around the time when Black Friday weekend is winding down.

Elon Musk

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

Free speech = Agree with Musk speech

Elon Musk is a "champion" of free speech and often tweets about how he wants Twitter to be a virtual public square where people can openly express their views.

However, Musk has shown little patience for comedy and, it seems almost zero tolerance for Twitter employees who disagree with him on the platform and even inside Twitter, where Twitter has its own company chat board.

According to a new report in The New York Times, Musk fired a Twitter developer, Eric Frohnhoefer, who disagreed with him on Twitter about Android app performance. Musk also, the report claims, asked his team to scan the team chat board for "insubordinate staff" and then fired them, some of whom were commiserating about Frohnhoefer's firing.

Instead of denying the report, Musk sarcastically tweeted, "I would like to apologize for firing these geniuses. Their immense talent will no doubt be of great use elsewhere."

We're pretty sure no one would believe any of this if it weren't all happening before our eyes and on one of the most popular social media platforms on the planet.

-Lance Ulanoff

Is that light at the end of the tunnel or will the tunnel collapse before we get there? https://t.co/CEIL9mcE1ENovember 16, 2022

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An interesting aside to Musk's appearance at a trial earlier today, where he's discussing a $56 billion pay package involving Tesla.

Musk has revealed that once the 'restructuring' is complete at Twitter, he'll be handing it off to a new CEO.

As our Managing Editor for Entertainment, Matt Bolton quipped earlier: "He’s going to salt the earth, then ask why the next person didn’t grow anything."

Morning folks, we’re back with the latest Twitter news, and boy have quite a few things happened.

Following the mass layoffs that occurred at Twitter two weeks ago – when Elon Musk fired an estimated half of the platform’s workforce – he issued a demand to those that remained on Wednesday (November 16): commit to the new “extremely hardcore” work culture or leave.

Scoop: Elon Musk just sent an email to all staff outlining "Twitter 2.0", writing it will"need to be extremely hardcore". Long hours, high intensity. People need to click "yes" to confirm being part of this by 5pm ET tomorrow, else they get 3 months severance. More details:November 16, 2022

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Twitter staff were asked to confirm they’re committed to working longer hours and accept that “only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade” by 5pm ET on November 17 (10pm GMT, November 17  / 8am AEST, November 18), or get three months severance and leave the company. 

Well, it turns out many people at Twitter weren't enthusiastic about the prospect of working even harder than they are now on Musk’s “Twitter 2.0”. Reportedly hundreds of staff have been posting farewell messages on Twitter’s internal Slack channels after the 5pm ET deadline passed.

According to anonymous sources who spoke to The Verge this new batch of resignations means that several “critical” teams at Twitter have lost all or nearly all of their members. This apparently includes Twitter’s traffic and frontend teams that ensure engineering requests are sent to the correct backend services, as well as the entirety of Twitter’s core system libraries team – with one employee admitting about the latter that “you cannot run Twitter without [them].”

But based on his Twitter timeline, Elon Musk is apparently pretty relaxed about the whole situation. In a tweet following this new employee exodus, he said that “The best people are staying, so I’m not super worried.”

He later followed up with several memes, including one showing Twitter posing in front of its own grave.

pic.twitter.com/rbwbsLA1ZGNovember 18, 2022

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Memes aside, however, Elon Musk isn’t as seemingly blasé about the situation in private. There are reports that Twitter has once again suspended staff’s badge access and that its offices are temporarily closed. Twitter’s staff have been told that offices will reopen on Monday, November 21, though they haven’t been told why access is currently restricted.

NEW: Twitter just alerted employees that effective immediately, all office buildings are temporarily closed and badge access is suspended. No details given as to why.November 17, 2022

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The current theory is that Elon Musk and senior staff at Twitter are worried that employees who have not committed to Twitter 2.0 will sabotage the platform on their way out. On top of that, it sounds like they’re also trying to work out who is leaving (and needs their office access revoked) and who is staying. 

According to a Twitter post made at 9:42pm ET on November 17 (02:43am GMT / 12:43pm AEST on November 18) by Zoë Schiffer – the managing editor of Platformer – because only the names of people who said “Yes” to Twitter 2.0 have been collected it’s not immediately clear who has actually left.

We imagine Elon Musk and his cronies will also be trying to convince staff leaving critical teams to stay – especially the teams that would then have zero members without them. If discussions are ongoing this would likely add even more confusion to the situation as Musk wouldn’t want to revoke access for Twitter staff who end up staying with the company. 

Elon Musk

(Image credit: Getty Images / Carina Johansen)

Reversals and big decisions

Like virtually every other bit of strategy Twitter owner Elon Musk has introduced to the beleaguered social media platform, they all - even the biggest ones - play out on Twitter.

After booting comedian Kathy Griffin and other parody and humor accounts, Musk said he was reinstating Griffin, Jorden Peterson, and the satirical online newspaper, The Babylon Bee.

Musk also made it clear that he is considering bringing Former President Donald Trump back, though the "decision has not yet been made.

Perhaps the even bigger news is the unveiling of a new Twitter policy, which Musk initially teased with a tweet that said "Freedom Fridays..."

The new policy quickly followed in another tweet.

"New Twitter policy is freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach.
Negative/hate tweets will be max deboosted & demonetized, so no ads or other revenue to Twitter. You won’t find the tweet unless you specifically seek it out, which is no different from rest of Internet."

Part of this appears to be allowing "hate" speech on the platform but hiding it. That still means people could see it (though maybe only if they conduct a Twitter or Google search). While this move will surely concern some and freak out advertisers, Musk's plan is to not monetize any of these tweets.

A larger question remains. How will Musk and his team identify "Negative/hate tweets"? Those details weren't included. Nor did Musk explain how and when a tweet might be so incendiary that it would be, say, too hateful and be removed from the platform, or get its author banned.

The flurry of tweets came shortly after reports that Musk had reversed his decision to lock Twitter's doors on Friday and, apparently, ordered some people back to work.
-Lance Ulanoff

New Twitter policy is freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach.Negative/hate tweets will be max deboosted & demonetized, so no ads or other revenue to Twitter. You won’t find the tweet unless you specifically seek it out, which is no different from rest of Internet.November 18, 2022

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Elon Musk

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Welcome back?

Over the weekend, Twitter owner Elon Musk ran a poll of his followers asking if he should reinstate former President Donald Trump whose account was suspended following the Jan 6th riots.

A day later, Musk reinstate the account with all of its tweets intact. Thus far, Trump has said he's not coming back. He does have his own platform, Truth Social, after all.

While Trump took a wait-and-see approach, rapper Kayne West officially rejoined the platform on Sunday. His account was suspended after anti-Semitic tweets, and reinstated shortly before Musk took over, but this was the first time he'd tweeted. Naturally, Musk welcomed him back to the platform.

At the same time that Musk was inviting back Ye and the former president (and posting memes about whether or not Trump would return), he was busy promoting The World Cup, promising better coverage of the Qatar-based, global football event than anywhere else.

From the look of things, Musk is all but living at Twitter HQ as he assesses the impact of his own changes and pulls in engineers (those that remain) for all-nighters. Musk shared images on Saturday from a late-night code review with his engineers. While we were fascinated by the whiteboard, some took note of the complete lack of female representation, at least in the photos.

Looks like we're in for another interesting week in Twitterville.

hispanic teen girl checking social media holding smartphone at home.

(Image credit: Shutterstock - Ground Picture)

I've been trying out Hive today after a bunch of friends and my wife decided to join it over the past 24 hours.

After using the app, it struck me how Mastodon needs to quickly find its footing as an alternative to Twitter, fast.

Elon Musk

(Image credit: pantid123 / Shutterstock.com)

Pressing a Blue pause button

Amidst of flurry of tweets covering topics as wide-ranging as saving the world (yes, he responded to one of our tweets), hall monitors and other social platforms, fanaticism, admitting he gets little sleep, and whether his tweeting counts as work, Twitter head Elon Musk made some news.

Musk has decided to pause his much-criticized Blue Verified system until "there is high confidence of stopping impersonation." He's also looking to give organizations and people different colored checks.

This is big news because Musk is finally addressing the biggest problem with the pay-for Blue Check system he introduced this month. All it asked was that you pay $8 a month for a Blue Verification check. Previously, the check was given out for free, but not before Twitter verified the identity of the person, organization, or company it was verifying.

As soon as Musk launched his own plan, Twitter was flooded with blue-checked accounts impersonating other individuals. It was a disaster.

Musk previously said he would relaunch the Blue Verified program on November 29, but that clearly wasn't enough time to come up with a viable verification system. Plus, Twitter might be a little low on the requisite engineers after Musk laid off half the staff and then hundreds more walked out after Musk insisted on a more aggressive work culture.

Could this be the moment where Musk stops listening to his echo chamber and starts addressing some of Twitter's structural and fundamental issues? 

We'll see.

-Lance Ulanoff

Holding off relaunch of Blue Verified until there is high confidence of stopping impersonation. Will probably use different color check for organizations than individuals.November 22, 2022

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Elon Musk Twitter

(Image credit: Future)

The Poll says, 'Ugh'

Twitter chief Elon Musk's newest way of making decisions is via a poll. He did it with Former President Donald Trump's account, asking if he should reinstate the banned President on Twitter (Musk eventually did) and now Musk has a new question for his 118M followers.

On Wednesday afternoon, just hours before Thanksgiving in the US, Musk served up this turkey of a poll:

"Should Twitter offer a general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam?"

Okay, the caveat of lawbreakers and spammers being excluded helps, some. But making these decisions was, we thought, supposed to be the job of the Content Moderation Council. "What's that?" you ask. It's a council that Musk promised but has yet to form. It should be an independent body that decides what Tweets and accounts get removed. We'd assume it might also weigh in here.

The problem with mass reinstatement is that it could bring back tens of thousands of accounts. After the January 6th riots, Twitter suspended 70,000 accounts. Yes, some were spammers, but not all. The number of bad actors that could flood back onto the platform is hard to assess, but it could be very high and the impact on the platform could be very bad.

This amnesty will not encourage better behavior, but it will make Twitter's Monthly Active Users (MAUs) look better. On the other hand, advertisers, which may still be fleeing the beleaguered platform, might leave if Musk follows the votes. As of this writing, 73% of Musk's followers like the idea. Musk's latest poll closes tomorrow around noon ET.

The fun never ends, unless, of course, Twitter collapses.

Should Twitter offer a general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam?November 23, 2022

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Sorry for the delay, we’re tentatively launching Verified on Friday next week. Gold check for companies, grey check for government, blue for individuals (celebrity or not) and all verified accounts will be manually authenticated before check activates. Painful, but necessary.November 25, 2022

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Looks like verification is coming back in a big (and useful) way on December 2. In a reply to another tweet, Musk confirmed that there will be different-colored checkmarks for verified ticks, so you'll be able to tell which account is a government, a celebrity, or a company.

While this is a useful addition, this is something that should have appeared weeks ago when users were subscribing to Twitter Blue just for the blue tick.

Elon Musk on phone

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Calling Elon

Twitter has long been one of Apple's App Store's top free apps. It's even been among its recommended selections but there's a small (maybe growing) chance that Twitter could get booted from the App Store and maybe even Android-friendly Google Play. Why? Some of the content and account moderation changes Musk is making or proposing might cause the app to run afoul of Apple and Google's app store policies.

That could prove disastrous for Twitter and would leave Musk without a platform for the app that he, willingly or not, owns. Maybe.

Turns out Musk has thought at least a little bit about this and when pressed on Twitter - where all major company decisions occur - Musk had a ready answer for what he'd do if they got kicked out.

Okay, maybe it wasn't exactly a plan. Someone asked if he would build a phone if Apple and Google booted Twitter and Musk answered, "certainly hope it does not come to that, but, yes, if there is no other choice, I will make an alternative phone."

Will Twitter get booted? Would Musk really build a phone? It's not that hard to build a phone (the hardware) but Musk is in no position to build a new platform. Most likely he'd have to go with an Android variant and then, like Huawei build his own off-brand app store.

I'm sure that will all go well.

I certainly hope it does not come to that, but, yes, if there is no other choice, I will make an alternative phoneNovember 25, 2022

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American Inno's startup gift guide: 20 unique gifts you can buy from startups across the U.S.

Memphis Business Journal - Thu, 11/24/2022 - 23:13
Want to support a startup while working on your holiday shopping? American Inno's gift guide features 20 unique gifts from startups.

Venmo update helps you spread the holiday cheer via new charity section

Techradar - Wed, 11/23/2022 - 23:00

In the spirit of the holiday season, Venmo is updating its mobile app to make it easier to donate to local charities.

By first tapping the search bar on the Venmo app, you will see a new selection titled “Make a Donation”. There, you will be met with a wide variety of trending, local charities. Specific categories are also present, including, but not limited to, animals, the environment, homelessness, and veterans. You can choose to pay with either your in-app balance, link bank account, or whatever credit card you have on file, according to the announcement.

You do have to pay a small transaction fee of 1.9 percent plus an extra $0.10, but there’s no setup. You can start donating right away.

All of the charities in Venmo’s new section have been approved by parent-company Paypal, but we still recommend doing some homework and making sure you’re donating to a good place. Some charities, like the Salvation Army, sport a verification blue checkmark. This means the charity provided all the necessary paperwork to Paypal, proving it’s legitimate. From what we could tell, most charities have yet to be verified.

The update is currently available for download on both iOS and Android. And within the coming weeks, Venmo will be adding a feature to share donations made with your friends as a way to encourage them to do the same. 

More changes

In addition to the new charities section, Venmo is redesigning its peer-to-peer payment screen with some quality-of-life changes that make sending (or better yet, receiving) money easier to do. 

Now, you will see the profile picture of the person you’re sending money to instead of just the name, and the dollar amount will sport a bigger font for easier viewing. Sending and requesting money will be made easier with a new Plus button next to a recipient’s profile picture. By tapping the button, you can add more people for one big transaction instead of doing it one by one.

The Send Money redesign is rolling out today alongside the charities section, however other reports state this particular change may not reach all users at once. It'll arrive in a later wave, at which point, you'll have to update the app a second time.

And with Black Friday almost here, Venmo’s redesign couldn’t have come at a better time. TechRadar has a massive list of Black Friday deals that you should check out. It ranges from laptops to gaming consoles and even mattresses.

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