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twitter

Elon Musk Plans Widescale Layoffs Across Twitter

Shortly after assuming control of Twitter, Elon Musk ordered managers to draft a list of employees to be laid off, according to four people who declined to be identified out of fear of retaliation. The company currently employs around 7,500 people.

Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion and took the company private on Thursday once the deal was completed. He informed investors that he planned to trim its workforce significantly, open the platform to more advertising, and implement lenient content moderation policies.

The layoffs will likely occur before Nov. 1. Employees designated for termination would have received stock grants as part of their compensation on that date. Typically, grants constitute a substantial portion of employee pay. If Musk terminates workers before that date, he may avoid paying out the awards, although the current merger deal requires him to pay the employees in cash in place of stock for “any equity that would have vested within three months from their last day at the company.”

Ross Gerber, CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management, reported that Jared Birchall, head of Musk’s family office, informed him that layoffs were imminent. His company contributed less than $1 million to help finance Musk’s takeover of Twitter.

“I was told to expect somewhere around 50 percent of people will be laid off.”

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Musk arrived at the company’s San Francisco headquarters on Wednesday and assumed control on Thursday, immediately firing several Twitter executives. Chief executive officer Parag Agarwal, chief financial officer Ned Segal, former general counsel Sean Edgett, and former policy and legal executive Vijaya Gadde were among those let go.

It is improbable that Musk will pay the complete severance package of $20 million to $60 million planned for the executives. Musk fired the executives “for cause,” which could render the severance agreement invalid.

He also informed advertisers of his intention to transform Twitter into the “most respected advertising platform in the world.” Musk initially indicated that he wanted the platform to be a haven for “free speech.” However, he has revealed that he intends to organize a council to determine content moderation procedures and has yet to decide which previously banned high-profile accounts, such as former President Donald Trump’s account, will be reinstated. 

He reassured advertisers with a tweet addressed to them that “Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!”

“The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence. There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far-right wing and far left-wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society.”

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The Verge reports that Musk is also considering charging users $20 per month to maintain their blue check mark and verified account status. Musk told some employees that they needed to prepare to implement the new feature by Nov. 7 or they would be fired from their position at Twitter. One employee said Musk utilizes “textbook dictator tactics: sowing fear and confusion.”

Twitter users are concerned that the lack of content moderation could lead to an increase in misinformation and hate speech. On Sunday, Musk himself tweeted a link to a website circulating a baseless conspiracy theory about the Oct. 28 attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi. He has since deleted the tweet. Many prominent users, such as New York Times columnist Charles Blow and actress Jameela Jamil, have stated that they will abandon the platform now that Musk owns it.

NBA star LeBron James tweeted about a report by the Network Contagion Research Institute, which showed that racial slurs on the platform increased by nearly 500 percent in the 12 hours after Musk’s Twitter acquisition was finalized.

“I don’t know Elon Musk and, tbh, I could care less who owns Twitter. But I will say that if this is true, I hope he and his people take this very seriously because this is scary. “

google

Texas Sues Google Over Facial Data Collection

The state of Texas is suing Google for illegally collecting Texans’ facial and voice recognition information without their consent, according to a statement issued by the state attorney general’s office on Thursday.

For over a decade, a Texas consumer protection law has barred companies from collecting data on Texans’ faces, voices or other biometric identifiers without receiving prior informed consent. Ken Paxton, the state’s attorney general, said Google violated this law by recording identifiers such as “a retina or iris scan, fingerprint, voiceprint, or record of hand or face geometry.

“In blatant defiance of that law, Google has, since at least 2015, collected biometric data from innumerable Texans and used their faces and their voices to serve Google’s commercial ends. Indeed, all across the state, everyday Texans have become unwitting cash cows being milked by Google for profits.”

The law imposes a $25,000 fine for every violation. According to reports, millions of users in Texas had their information stored. The complaint explicitly references the Google Photos app, Google’s Nest camera, and Google Assistant as means of collection.

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A spokesman for Google, José Castañeda, accused Paxton of “mischaracterizing” products in “another breathless lawsuit.”

“For example, Google Photos helps you organize pictures of people by grouping similar faces, so you can easily find old photos. Of course, this is only visible to you, and you can easily turn off this feature if you choose and we do not use photos or videos in Google Photos for advertising purposes. The same is true for Voice Match and Face Match on Nest Hub Max, which are off-by-default features that give users the option to let Google Assistant recognize their voice or face to show their information. We will set the record straight in court.”

This lawsuit is the latest in a string of major cases brought against the company. Earlier this month, Arizona settled a privacy suit against Google for $85 million. Indiana, Washington and the District of Columbia also sued Google in January over privacy invasions related to location tracking.

In a much larger antitrust case, 36 states filed a lawsuit against Google in July over its control of the Android app store.

Paxton has gone after large technology corporations in the past for their privacy and monopolizing practices. In 2020, his office joined nine other states in filing an antitrust lawsuit against Google, which accused it of “working with Facebook Inc. in an unlawful manner that violated antitrust law to boost its already-dominant online advertising business.”

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After the Jan. 6 insurrection, Paxton demanded Twitter, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google to be transparent about their content moderation procedures. This year, he also opened an investigation into Twitter over its reported percentage of fake accounts, saying that the company may be disingenuous about its numbers to inflate its value and raise its revenue.

In February, Paxton sued Meta for facial recognition software it provided users to help tag photos. The lawsuit is ongoing. However, Instagram is now required to ask for permission to analyze Texans’ facial features to properly use facial filters.

“Google’s indiscriminate collection of the personal information of Texans, including very sensitive information like biometric identifiers, will not be tolerated. I will continue to fight Big Tech to ensure the privacy and security of all Texans.”

In 2009, Texas revealed its privacy law, which covered biometric identifiers. Other states were implementing similar laws around the country during this same time. Texas was unique in that in the case of violations, the state of Texas would have to sue on behalf of the consumers.

uber

Labor Department Proposes Rule To Grant Gig Workers Employee Status

On Tuesday, the Labor Department revealed a new proposal that would make it harder for companies to classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees. This rule would impact the on-demand economy, which includes companies like Uber and Lyft.

Workers granted employee status qualify for benefits and protections like paid leave, minimum wage and overtime pay. Employers would also have to contribute to a portion of worker Social Security taxes and unemployment insurance.

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh spoke about the significance of the proposed rule in a prepared statement.

“While independent contractors have an important role in our economy, we have seen in many cases that employers misclassify their employees as independent contractors, particularly among our nation’s most vulnerable workers. Misclassification deprives workers of their federal labor protections, including their right to be paid their full, legally earned wages. The Department of Labor remains committed to addressing the issue of misclassification.”

Labor Unions have long urged the Biden administration to scrutinize industries that rely on contractors, including app-based ride services, food delivery services or freelance task platforms like Handy, which connects customers with house cleaners and other home-improvement specialists.

Fair labor advocates stress that gig economy workers face more barriers to unionizing and cannot take advantage of essential benefits afforded to workers classified as employees.

The Labor Department said this misclassification is rampant in several industries, including home care, janitorial services, delivery, trucking and construction services. The misclassification also makes it difficult for businesses to compete with those that misclassify workers as contractors by promoting wage theft.

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The proposed rule is a test that determines whether a worker who is economically dependent on a company should have contractor or employee status. It takes into account factors such as the level of control workers have over how they do their jobs or how many new opportunities they have to increase their earnings by offering new services. Workers who have limited control over either are deemed employees. The rule also requires employers to consider if an employee’s work is an integral part of their business.

It is important to note that the rule is interpretive and does not have the legal force of a congressionally approved regulation. It also only applies to laws the Department of Labor enforces, such as the federal minimum wage. State agencies and other federal agencies like the IRS would still be able to use their own criteria for employment status.

However, employers and regulators will likely consider the proposed rule as guidance for deciding on how to classify workers. Judges will also likely look to the test as a guide.

Patricia Campos-Medina, executive director of the Worker Institute at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, considers this new move from the Biden administration a big step.

“This is a long-awaited determination that will empower essential workers to assert their basic wage and hour, health and safety and compensation rights. All workers are entitled to these rights, but employers easily avoid them by making arbitrary decisions on independent contractor rules.”

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The Biden administration’s rule would replace the Trump administration’s guidance on worker classification. The previous administration’s guidance made it easier for companies to misclassify workers as contractors. The new proposal will likely face opposition from businesses and organizations that supported the previous rule.

According to The Hill, Uber and Lyft stocks fell around 14% after the announcement. The new proposal could also increase labor costs for gig-based companies by about 30%.

CR Wooters, head of federal affairs at Uber, claimed this does not imply an inevitable negative outcome for the company.

“Today’s proposed rule takes a measured approach, essentially returning us to the Obama era, during which our industry grew exponentially.”

dollar

Surging US Dollar Wreaks Havoc on Global Economy

The U.S. dollar is the strongest it has been in the last 20 years. The rising value of a dollar has worldwide ramifications, with international currencies plummeting in comparative value and foreign central banks hiking up interest rates to protect price stability.

The dollar continues to strengthen as the U.S. Federal Reserve continues its aggressive monetary policy, raising interest rates to bring down inflation in the U.S. economy. The Dollar Index, which measures the U.S. dollar against an average of six major global currencies, including the euro, Swiss franc, Japanese yen, Canadian dollar, British pound and Swedish krona, has risen 15% in 2022.

A stronger dollar can purchase more foreign currency. The British pound plummeted to a record low on Sept. 26, reaching $1.03 against the dollar in a near historic dollar-to-pound parity. Historically, the pound has always been valued higher than a dollar, usually upward of $1.20 against the dollar.

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The effects of a strengthening dollar reverberate throughout the global financial system since the dollar is the currency used in most international transactions. Recent shocks to the global economy, such as the war in Ukraine, supply chain disruptions and the pandemic, push up the dollar’s value even higher since companies and other countries stow their reserves in dollars during economic volatility.

The dollar is traditionally seen as a symbol of “stability and security” in terms of crisis. Moreover, despite ongoing inflation, the U.S. economy is still more stable than other nations’ economies. Consumer spending is still strong, and unemployment is still low.

George Saravelos, Deutsche Bank’s head of foreign exchange research, noted the building tension in the global economy.

“The dollar is experiencing its largest valuation overshoot since the 1980s. Amid extreme volatility, a global chorus of discomfort is slowly building.”

American tourists and U.S. consumers benefit from a stronger dollar since goods and services produced in other countries and sold in the U.S. become less expensive to purchase. A stronger dollar also helps U.S. companies import goods at lower prices. Tourists traveling abroad can also buy goods at lower prices since the dollar has stronger buying power.

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However, American businesses that export goods struggle under a strengthening dollar since goods made in the U.S. become more costly and less attractive to buyers in other countries. Multinational businesses that operate in other countries also make less profit when they convert revenue in foreign currency to U.S. dollars.

Smaller emerging economies worldwide especially struggle with the rising cost of the dollar since international companies borrow and trade money in dollars. The world’s commodities, like oil, industrial metals, wheat and soybeans, are priced in dollars and increasingly more expensive to import. Petrol now costs more in several countries worldwide. Countries with debt denominated in dollars will also see higher interest payments, no matter the initial exchange rate.

As reported by the NYTimes, Mr.Obstfeld, a U.C. Berkeley economist, spoke on the far-reaching impact of the Fed’s monetary policy.

“Central banks have purely domestic mandates, but financial and trade globalization have made economies more interdependent than they have ever been and so closer cooperation is needed. I don’t think central banks can have the luxury of not thinking about what’s happening abroad.”

At the same time, the consequences may be even worse for the global economy if the Fed does not bring down historical inflation rates in the U.S.

Central banks around the world are trying to raise the value of their currencies by increasing interest rates, similar to what the Fed is doing in the U.S. The U.K. increased its rate by 2%, and analysts predict they may raise it to as high as 6%. The European central bank has increased its interest rate by 1.25 percentage points. These rising rates may push many countries into a recession if raised too high by decreasing borrowing and spending and reducing economic activity.

tiktok

US and TikTok Draft Deal To Resolve National Security Concerns

The Biden Administration and social media platform TikTok are drafting a deal to resolve concerns over the company’s data policies and its threat to U.S. national security. TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance.

The resolution would allow ByteDance to keep ownership of the company but would make changes to its “data security and governance,” according to The New York Times. The two parties are still negotiating the terms of the deal, which aims to protect American data from the Chinese government.

The Justice Department is steering the negotiations with TikTok. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, who was also a national security official in President Obama’s administration, believes that the current agreement terms are not rigorous enough to adequately protect national security. The Treasury Department is also involved in the negotiations and is skeptical that the deal will sufficiently protect American data. The Treasury Department plays a significant role in approving agreements that have the potential to incite national security vulnerabilities.

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The hesitancy from the government may drag out the final resolution for months. TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew insists that the company is not interested in sharing U.S. data with the Chinese government and considers itself a “separate US-based entity subject to U.S. laws.” Chew asserts that TikTok has “not provided U.S. user data to the CCP, nor would we if asked.”

“Employees outside the U.S., including China-based employees, can have access to TikTok U.S. user data subject to a series of robust cybersecurity controls and authorization approval protocols overseen by our US-based security team.”

However, ByteDance still owns TikTok, and some ByteDance employees can still access TikTok user data. With midterms set for November, politicians turned their attention back to the security issue.

According to the deal, TikTok would store its American data on U.S. servers, likely run by the tech company Oracle, instead of its servers in Singapore and Virginia. Oracle would monitor TikTok algorithms for foreign government interference in user content recommendations. The worry is that the Chinese government will be able to use those recommendations to influence American users and politics. TikTok would also have to create a board of security experts to report to the U.S. government to oversee its actions.

Jake Williams, a former National Security Agency hacker, spoke about how Chinese government access to U.S. data creates a power imbalance between the two countries.

“Let’s assume for a second that U.S. intelligence has access to WeChat. They would have to fight hard for that access, and it would constantly be at risk of discovery and neutralization. China, on the other hand, doesn’t have to fight for access to TikTok; they have it by statutory authority.”

Williams continues, “the potential for Chinese data collection across the platform is a larger concern, especially when combined with other data already acquired by Chinese state actors.”

TikTok announced last week that it would ban political fundraising on its platform to prevent politicians from using it to grow their campaigns.

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In 2020, former President Donald Trump tried to force the sale of TikTok over similar national security concerns. TikTok initially agreed to sell a part of TikTok to Oracle, but the deal never came to fruition. The Biden Administration is taking a more nuanced approach to regulating the company’s access to American data.

Kian Vesteinsson, a research analyst for the nonprofit Freedom House, which advocates for political freedom, said that “there are definitely signs that Chinese influence efforts are likely to grow, linked to the Chinese government’s strategy more broadly of digital authoritarianism.”

“But it’s important for us to acknowledge that the U.S. government has its own shadowy national security surveillance authorities. And in recent years, U.S. government agencies have monitored social media accounts of people coordinating protests in the U.S. and done things like searched electronic devices throughout the country and at the border. These sorts of tactics undermine the idea that this is only a foreign threat.”

dow

Dow Tumbles More Than 1200 Points After Inflation Data

US stocks plummeted Tuesday after the latest Consumer Price Index report showed inflation rates are still at a 40-year high. The Dow fell more than 1200 points on its worst day since June 2020.

The report revealed that monthly consumer prices rose more than expected in August. History shows that low unemployment and rising inflation often precede a recession. High inflation rates erode consumer purchasing power. They also decrease companies’ profits due to rising material costs, causing stocks to fall and economic activity to slow down.

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Matt Peron, director of research at Janus Henderson Investors, agreed with most analysts that the Federal Reserve will likely increase the federal funds rate higher to cool off the market.

 “The CPI report was an unequivocal negative for equity markets. The hotter than expected report means we will get continued pressure from Fed policy via rate hikes.”

The Fed responds to rising inflation by increasing the federal funds rate. In the wake of the pandemic, the rate sat at near zero in an attempt to stimulate the economy. The Fed then hiked rates from a range of 0.25% to 0.50% in March 2022 to a range of 2.25% to 2.5% in July 2022. The rate of increase in borrowing costs was the fastest since the 1980s.

When the Fed raises the federal funds rate, the cost of credit throughout the economy increases and loans become more expensive for businesses and consumers, since interest payments are higher. At the same time, people with savings in banks earn more interest on their deposits. Together, this drops the amount of money in circulation, bringing down the inflation rate. However, if the Fed increases the federal funds rate too high, it may also trigger a recession by slowing economic activity too much.

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The Fed is expected to keep hiking the federal funds rate until a sustained drop in consumer price inflation. Investors hoped that the Fed would keep its interest rate increases at a slower speed, with analysts predicting a federal funds rate of 3.4% at the end of the year. Brian Jacobsen, a senior investment strategist at Allspring Global Investments, told Reuters his concerns.

“The big risk is that next week, the Fed tries to convince the markets that they’re not going to just try to go for 4% with the Fed funds rate, but that they could push it to something closer to four and a half percent.”

All three major US stock indexes — S&P 500, the Dow, and Nasdaq had their most significant one-day percentage drops in over two years. The CBOE volatility index, which measures the market’s expectations for volatility over the next 30 days, rose to 25.74 points.

The next Federal Reserve meeting is scheduled for Sept. 20.

 

twitter

Judge Rules Elon Musk Can Use Whistleblower Claims in Twitter Lawsuit

Twitter paid $7 million to former security chief Peiter Zatko before he filed a whistleblower complaint against the company. A judge has ruled that Zatko’s allegations can be part of Elon Musk’s defense in his legal battle with Twitter.

Zatko alleges the social media giant covered up known security issues and used weak safeguarding measures to protect its users’ sensitive data.

The settlement between Zatko and Twitter occurred before Zatko filed his whistleblower complaint in July and concerned Zatko’s lost compensation after being fired from the company in January. It contained a nondisclosure agreement restricting him from speaking poorly about the company or releasing information about his time as cybersecurity head at Twitter.

The settlement contained a clause that allows him to speak at congressional hearings and governmental whistleblower complaints, as many NDAs do.

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On Tuesday, Zatko will testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee about his knowledge of the security flaws in Twitter’s infrastructure. Zatko claims that he “uncovered extreme, egregious deficiencies by Twitter in every area of his mandate.”

Employees had access to integral company software, which led to the “commandeering of accounts” held by high-profile figures. Several heads of state, government officials and well-known celebrities have long used the website to communicate with the public.

Since July, Musk has been trying to back out of his deal to buy the company for $44 billion. Twitter has begun a legal battle against him, citing Musk’s bad faith in breaching his contract with the company. In a 62-page legal document, Twitter documented Musk’s behavior throughout the ordeal with colorful language and photos of his many tweets regarding the acquisition.

“Having mounted a public spectacle to put Twitter in play and having proposed and then signed a seller-friendly merger agreement, Musk apparently believes that he—unlike every other party subject to Delaware contract law—is free to change his mind, trash the company, disrupt its operations, destroy stockholder value and walk away.”

Musk’s lawyers plan to use the information Zatko divulged about Twitter’s security vulnerabilities as a central part of their case. Twitter’s shareholders will also cast votes on Musk’s takeover of the company Tuesday.

Musk’s defense to back out of the acquisition is that the company did not disclose the number of bots its userbase contains, tweeting, “Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users.”

The timeline of Musk’s tech deal with Twitter is erratic and turbulent. The lawsuit document cites many of Musk’s posted memes and tweets, which Twitter’s legal team will use to show how Musk treated the process as an “elaborate joke.” At one point, he responded to a Twitter thread by Twitter’s CEO Parag Agarwal, which explains Twitter’s handling of spam accounts, with a “poop emoji.”

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On April 4, Musk was revealed to be Twitter’s largest shareholder at 9% of the company’s shares.

On April 5, CEO Parag Agarwal announced that Musk would join Twitter’s board of directors with the agreement that Musk could not acquire more than 15% of shares before 2024. Musk had been purchasing shares since January.

On April 10, Agarwal revealed that Musk would no longer be joining the board.

On April 14, Musk offered to buy the remaining Twitter shares for $41.4 billion. In response to this, Twitter adopted a “poison-pill strategy,” which allows other shareholders to buy more shares at a discounted rate if a person or entity purchases more than a certain percentage of common stock without the board’s approval. It is used to prevent a company takeover by a hostile buyer.

On April 25, Twitter agreed to sell itself to Musk for $44 billion.

On May 13, Musk tweeted that the deal was temporarily on hold, citing his concerns about spam accounts. Shares of the company immediately plummeted.

On July 8, Musk tried to terminate the acquisition agreement.

On July 12, Twitter sued Musk for failing to meet contractual obligations.

Zatko’s complaint supports Musk’s allegations about the percentage of bots the website’s user base contains.

“There are many millions of active accounts that are not considered “mDAU,” either because they are spam bots or because Twitter does not believe it can monetize them. These millions of non-mDAU accounts are part of the median user’s experience on the platform. And for this vast set of non-mDAU active accounts, Musk is correct: Twitter executives have little or no personal incentive to accurately “detect” or measure the prevalence of spam bots.”

Twitter believes that Musk started to back out of the deal when Tesla stocks began to decline due to stock market trends. Most of Musk’s wealth is not liquid, and he was planning to finance most of the deal with Twitter using Tesla stock.

twitter

The Long Awaited “Edit” Button Is Finally On Twitter

Twitter announced that they would finally be adding an edit button for those who may have typed something a little fast and accidentally tweeted without reading what they wrote. 

The catch is…the feature comes at an additional cost. 

The new edit function for tweeting has been tested internally within the company and now will be available soon for users who decide to pay for “Twitter Blue,” which is the company’s new subscription service.

According to Wired, users who pay the $5 a month subscription fee will be able to edit their tweets. However, all Twitter users will be able to see if an account has edited their tweets and that they have changed them in their post-publication. 

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When users are finding an edited tweet, it will have a label, icon and a timestamp that shows when the tweet was modified from the original version. Users will also be able to tap the label of the tweet and see the edit history and past versions of the original tweet.

This new news is a complete change for Twitter as around 15 months prior they were telling users “you don’t need an edit button, you just need to forgive yourself.” 

Twitter’s trial period of the new feature will tightly control how exactly users will edit their tweets. 

Those who decide to subscribe to Twitter Blue and gain the new function will have a total of 30 minutes to fix their tweets. 

“Think of it as a short period of time to do things like fix typos, add missed tags, and more,” the company said in a blog post about the new function.

One question that new users of the function are wondering is if 30 minutes is too giving to correct errors within the post.

An employee of Twitter who has knowledge of the new function mentioned that tweets can go viral in half that time to Wired. 

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“If it spotted the unedited tweet within that time, would likely place it behind a notice saying it was disinformation but that doing so may limit the ability for someone to subsequently edit the post,” the employee added. 

The company decided to start off the new function to a small group (those who subscribe to Twitter Blue) to see the response from the public. If the response is positive, there might be a chance that everyone could have access to the new function.

Additionally, if the new subscription service becomes successful and there is a high enough demand for it, Twitter might also be able to generate more revenue. The subscription service also features ad-free articles, custom app icons, themes, bookmark folders and even more.

electric car

Honda and LG Team Up To Build An EV Battery Plant In The United States

In a recent press release, Honda Motor and LG Energy Solution revealed that they are planning to invest $4.4 billion in order to build a new battery production plant for electric vehicles. 

The partners haven’t officially announced where the new production plant will be located, but they are hoping to start construction by early 2023 and prepare for mass production by the end of 2025. 

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“Honda and LG Energy Solution said they picked the US because local production and a “timely supply of batteries” would best position them to succeed in the growing North American electric vehicle market,” according to CNN.

There are ideas that the plant is likely to be built near Marysville, Ohio or Greenburg, Indiana where Honda has huge manufacturing factories located.

The plant is set to produce electric batteries that will be exclusively used for Honda vehicles that are assembled within North America.

“Our joint venture with Honda, which has significant brand reputation, is yet another milestone in our mid- to long-term strategy of promoting electrification in the fast-growing North American market”

Honda’s joint venture with LG is actually part of a larger trend of automakers following Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Hyundai-Kia, Stellantis and VinFast having announced plans for US battery plants. 

With a new US law to start producing more electric cars to cut back on gas, this gives the car manufacturers even more incentive to build the battery plants all across North America.

The new law also includes a tax credit for up to $7,500 that could be used to cover the cost of purchasing an electric car. But in order to receive that credit, the vehicle has to have a battery that was built within North America with 40% of the metals mined or recycled there. 

“Honda is working toward our target to realize carbon neutrality for all products and corporate activities the company is involved in by 2050,” said Honda Chief Executive Toshihiro Mibe.

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Currently, Honda doesn’t have an electric car in their catalog. They are planning on launching an SUV, titled “The Prologue”, in 2024.

By 2030, Japan-based Honda is hoping to have at least 30 electric vehicle models globally and sell exclusively in North America by 2040. 

“Aligned with our longstanding commitment to build products close to the customer, Honda is committed to the local procurement of EV batteries which is a critical component of EVs,” said Mibe. 

The demand for electric vehicles is expected to continuously grow not only in the US but also in other nations due to climate change, pollution and the price of gas continuing to rise.

UK

One Third Of Households In The United Kingdom Facing Poverty Due To Rising Energy Costs 

According to campaigners from the United Kingdom, nearly one third of households in the nation will face poverty by the winter due to increasing energy costs and paying bills that are expected to rise in price even further with the new year. 

According to estimates from the End Fuel Poverty Coalition (EFPC), about 10.5 million households will be in “fuel poverty” for the first three months of 2023. In other words, based on their incomes after they’re done paying their energy bills their household income will fall below the poverty line. 

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The definition of poverty in the UK is any household with an income of less than 60% of the UK median, which stands at £31,000 ($37,500), according to official statistics.

Cornwall Insight is the research firm that provided the data leading to the prediction that one third of households will be impoverished in the winter. The average energy bill is expected to hit £3,582 ($4,335) a year from October, and £4,266 ($5,163) from January; about £355 ($430) a month.

The forecast for 2023 represents a 116% increase in energy bills from their current levels. Fuel prices have been surging worldwide, and in the UK prices are projected to continue to rise by 83% in January. 

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Cornwall Insight, however, also is expecting energy bills will start decreasing in the second half of 2023. The average household bill in the UK has risen by 54% this year due to inflation rates regarding fuel and energy consumption.

The UK government announced a bill in May which introduced a  £15 billion ($18 billion) package of support — including a “£400 ($484) payment to 29 million households from October — to ease the burden of energy bills.”

But Simon Francis, coordinator for the EFPC, said “the latest price estimates meant the current level of government support amounted to a drop in the ocean.”

Craig Lowrey, a principal consultant at Cornwall Insight, said in a Tuesday press release that “if £400 was not enough to make a dent in the impact of [the company’s] previous forecast, it most certainly is not enough now.”

Liz Truss, the UK’s foreign minister and as prime minister, has proposed “cutting taxes to help people struggling with their bills, rather than direct help.”