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Elon Musk’s New Biography Details ‘Feud’ With Bill Gates

A long-winded feud between billionaires Elon Musk and Bill Gates has been detailed in a new biography by Walter Isaacson titled “Elon Musk.”

twitter

Elon Musk Says X ‘May Fail’ 

Elon Musk said in a post on X, formally known as Twitter, that the social media may fail after a glitch caused pictures posted before December 2014 to be deleted.

“The sad truth is that there are no great ‘social networks’ right now. We may fail, as so many have predicted, but we will try our best to make there be at least one.”

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Over the weekend, a glitch on the platform caused all pictures and links on posts for pictures and videos to be removed if they were posted before December 2014. 

The posts made before December 2014 showed broken links instead of the pictures and videos that were previously there. 

Many users noticed the glitch almost immediately after. Technologist Tom Coates referred to the glitch as an “epic vandalism by Musk,” suggesting that it could’ve been a cost-saving exercise. 

One of the biggest tweets that suffered from the glitch was the famous Oscar selfie from 2014 posted by Ellen DeGeneres. The picture became the platform’s most retweeted photo, with more than 2 million shares on the social network. 

Some X users are speculating that the glitch was caused by an effort to save money on storage data, while others have said the 2016 changes where “enhanced URL enrichment” was implemented, could’ve attributed, as the change was meant to show previews for linked websites and attachments beyond the company’s previous 140 character limit, according to The Verge

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This particular malfunction also came after reports last week that suggested access from X to other social networks had been slowed down. The 5-second delay that users reported also appeared on links to news sites. 

Earlier this year, X users also experienced a daily limit on the amount of tweets they could see in a day while direct messages temporarily stopped working. The company has since apologized for this “glitch” and others that left users locked out of their accounts. 

Since Musk took over the platform, thousands of jobs have been cut, massively reducing the workforce since November. 

Musk’s initial plans for the platform were to cut down on costs, however, he reported a 50% drop in advertising revenue last month, as well as heavy debt. 

Currently, X faces annual interest payments of $1.5 billion due to the debt it took on when Musk acquired the platform for $44 billion.

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Police Halt Elon Musk’s Attempt to Remove Twitter Sign From HQ After Rebranding

Elon Musk’s efforts to rebrand Twitter as X are not going as smoothly as planned. While workers were trying to remove the company’s old name and famed bird logo from the front face of its headquarters, police intervened.

The local police department stopped the impromptu renovation Monday afternoon, citing the act as “unauthorized work.” The authorities say the social media company failed to notify the building’s owner and security about its intention to remove the sign from its San Francisco headquarters.

After the incident, a representative for the police department shared with The Associated Press in an email that no crime had been committed. The police were trying to ascertain if Twitter had a permit to close Market Street and block a lane of traffic.

“Officers assigned to Tenderloin Station responded to the area of 10th and Market streets regarding a report of a possible unpermitted street closure. Through their investigation, officers were able to determine that no crime was committed and this incident was not a police matter.”

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By the time the work had been interrupted, only the old Twitter logo and the letters “er” remained. On Sunday, Musk had tweeted, “And soon we shall bid adieu to the Twitter brand and gradually, all the birds.” Later that day, he shared on the platform that the bird logo would be replaced with the letter X.

X.com now points to https://twitter.com/. Interim X logo goes live later today.”

However, users like NYTimes Tech Reporter @Rmac18 tweeted, the hyperlink redirected many users to a GoDaddy landing page.

“Despite this, X dot com is still redirecting some people (including myself) to a GoDaddy site with ads for sectional sofas.”

The New York Times reported that Musk renamed conference rooms in the building, incorporating the letter X. Some titles seen in photos include “s3Xy,” “eXposure,” and “eXult.” The letter X was also projected into the cafeteria.

Musk has made a number of controversial changes to the site since he purchased the social media platform for $44 billion last year, the most recent being the name change to X. Many of these amendments to the platform, with its lax moderation policies, have driven advertisers off the website.

He has also been accused of not holding up his alleged “free-speech absolutist” philosophy. Aside from his supporters, users claim that the new paid Twitter Blue subscription directly puts a price on speech, amplifying his supporters while dampening the reach of his opponents or those who cannot afford it.

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Users with left-wing views and progressive activists are seeing their accounts suspended with no explanation. He was recently accused of removing the community-based fact-check under one of his tweets inciting vaccine hesitancy.

Earlier this month, Musk told CNN that the company was struggling with its finances, citing a 50% drop in advertising revenue and a negative cash flow.

In a tweet about the rebranding, Twitter’s new chief executive Linda Yaccarino praised taking the platform in a new direction.

“It’s an exceptionally rare thing – in life or in business – that you get a second chance to make another big impression. Twitter made one massive impression and changed the way we communicate. Now, X will go further, transforming the global town square.”

However, analysts say that this move could end up costing Twitter. Mike Proulx, research director and vice president at Forrester, said in a blog post that given the drop in revenue and negative cash flow, ditching the Twitter name will damage the platform further.

“This is far from a position of strength from which to attempt what is essentially an app relaunch — a move that will only alienate more users and more advertisers. While Musk’s vision is to turn “X” into an “everything app,” this takes time, money, and people — three things that the company no longer has. Disenfranchised Twitter users will increasingly turn to Threads while Musk’s company continues to lose money. Simply put, X’s runway is coming to an end.”

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Threads Reaches 100 Million Sign-Ups As Twitter’s Traffic Falls

In just five days, 100 million users have signed up for Twitter’s rival app, Threads. Meanwhile, Twitter’s user traffic has dropped as the platform continues to battle outages and controversies over its lax moderation policies.

The new platform’s rapid expansion has already outpaced that of ChatGPT, OpenAI’s viral chatbot, which had reached 10 million users in 40 days.

Due to Europe’s intricate regulatory systems, the app has not yet been released there. If it does launch there, it can potentially pose a serious threat to Twitter, which has 238 million daily active users.

Threads’s success can largely be traced to its integration with Meta’s Instagram service. New users can sign up using their already established Instagram handle.

In a post on the platform, Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, shared his excitement for the speed of the app’s growth.

“Threads reached 100 million sign-ups over the weekend. That’s mostly organic demand and we haven’t even turned on many promotions yet. Can’t believe it’s only been 5 days!”

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Similarweb, a data company specializing in web analytics, found that in the first two full days Threads was generally available, web traffic to Twitter was down 5 percent compared to the previous week. According to the company, Twitter has seen an 11% drop in website traffic compared to the same period in 2022.

A letter from Elon Musk’s longtime attorney Alex Spiro to Meta alleging “unlawful misappropriation” of trade secrets shows that Musk, Twitter’s owner, is already concerned about Threads.

The letter accuses Threads of hiring former Twitter employees to build a “copycat” platform using confidential information. In a tweet, Elon Musk acknowledged the letter, stating, “Competition is fine, cheating is not.”

Instagram head Adam Mosseri said in a Threads post that Meta’s purpose is not to replace Twitter but rather “to create a public square for communities on Instagram that never really embraced Twitter.”

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“The goal isn’t to replace Twitter. The goal is to create a public square for communities on Instagram that never really embraced Twitter and for communities on Twitter (and other platforms) that are interested in a less angry place for conversations, but not all of Twitter. Politics and hard news are inevitably going to show up on Threads – they have on Instagram as well to some extent – but we’re not going to do anything to encourage those verticals.”

Messages posted on Threads will have a 500-character limit. Like on Twitter, users can reply to, repost and quote other user posts. The app has a similar aesthetic to Instagram and also allows users to share posts from Threads directly to their Instagram stories.

Accounts can be public or private, and verification on Instagram carries over to Threads. Mark Zuckerberg also called the app a “public space” in a Threads post after its launch.

“The vision for Threads is to create an option and friendly public space for conversation. We hope to take what Instagram does best and create a new experience around text, ideas, and discussing what’s on your mind.”

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NPR Quits Twitter After Being Labeled ‘State-Affiliated Media’

NPR will no longer post on its 52 Twitter accounts after Musk categorized the private news organization as “U.S. state-affiliated media.” The move equated NPR, which receives less than 1% of its funding from the government, with Russia’s RT and China’s Xinhua propaganda outlets.

NPR, which stands for “National Public Radio,” issued a statement on Wednesday saying the mislabeling damages the media organization’s credibility with readers.

“NPR’s organizational accounts will no longer be active on Twitter because the platform is taking actions that undermine our credibility by falsely implying that we are not editorially independent. We are not putting our journalism on platforms that have demonstrated an interest in undermining our credibility and the public’s understanding of our editorial independence.”

In a letter to staff on Wednesday, NPR CEO John Lansing commented on the risks posed by Twitter’s decision.

“Actions by Twitter or other social media companies to tarnish the independence of any public media institution are exceptionally harmful and set a dangerous precedent.”

After being questioned by NPR tech reporter Bobby Allyn on how NPR functioned, Musk, who acquired Twitter for $44 billion last fall, admitted that he may have gotten it wrong. The Twitter account for NPR was then recategorized as “government-funded media.”

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The news organization asserted that this new label was still misleading since NPR is a private, nonprofit company with editorial independence. Less than 1% of its $300 million annual budget comes from the federally funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Musk also applied the “government-funded media” label to the BBC Twitter account. Later, in an interview with the broadcaster, he shared that he may change the label to “publicly funded” media.

Right-wing and conservative commentators have long claimed that NPR and its affiliates’ content is biased toward the left and more progressive ideologies. Meanwhile, Musk has also been accused of allowing the proliferation of far-right extremists on Twitter.

Musk, who describes himself as a free-speech absolutist, removed the New York Times’ blue check mark earlier this month after the paper refused to pay for one.

Formerly, the badges indicated that Twitter had confirmed the identity of a news outlet, government agency or public figure. They are now available for a subscription fee once a month.

“We aren’t planning to pay the monthly fee for check mark status for our institutional Twitter accounts,” the New York Times said in a statement. “We also will not reimburse reporters for Twitter Blue for personal accounts, except in rare instances where this status would be essential for reporting purposes.”

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In his new interview with the BBC, Musk said he hoped to make information on Twitter as accurate as possible but acknowledged that media companies are often critical of him.

“I’ve been under constant attack. It’s not like I have a stone-cold heart or anything. If you’re under constant criticism or attack and that gets fed to you, including through Twitter – it’s rough, you know.”

BBC also asked Musk if he was concerned about the spread of misinformation due to longstanding media organizations, such as the New York Times, being stripped of their verification badges.

“I must confess to some delight in removing the verification badge from the New York Times,” Musk said. “Anyway, they’re still alive and well so they’re doing well.”

NPR is the first major news organization to stop using the platform. In an email to NPR employees, Lansing stated that it was ultimately up to them to decide if they would like to keep using Twitter on their personal accounts.

“It would be a disservice to the serious work you all do here to continue to share it on a platform that is associating the federal charter for public media with an abandoning of editorial independence or standards.”

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Elon Musk Implements Multiple Changes To Twitter

April 1st marked the official deadline for verified Twitter users to pay for Twitter Blue in order to keep their blue check mark verification with their account. 

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Many celebrities and news organizations have vowed to not pay for Twitter Blue to maintain their verification. While many legacy verification accounts still have their check marks, the system has begun removing them from accounts without a subscription to the paid service. 

LeBron James, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The White House are just a handful of verified accounts that have made public statements about their refusal to pay for the service; The New York Times has since lost its checkmark. 

No one working for Twitter had planned for a mass deletion of verifications, so removing the legacy verifications may take a while, as employees need to remove each one manually. 

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In Twitter’s new “For You” section, the platform has updated the way it ranks content within the section. Developers have begun identifying certain accounts as Democrat or Republican as a means of teaching whether algorithm changes were affecting one group disproportionately over another. 

Musk’s own Twitter account has its own special type of coding that many users have reported making it so his tweets are more widely viewed by users on the platform. 

Apart from these changes, many users have also noticed that Twitter is making content with certain words harder to see, such as “trans” or “transgender,” with users reporting that when tweets containing those words are sent to a user via direct message, the message won’t preview the tweet in the new messages section. 

This type of “shadow banning” for certain words are causing users to speak out against the changes, stating they’ve been put in place to limit just how much free speech users are actually allowed to have on the platform. 

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Elon Musk Buying Small Texas Town For Employees To Live And Work From

Elon Musk has been quietly purchasing properties in a small Texas neighborhood within the past few years with the ultimate goal of building his own village where his employees can live and work from.

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Elon Musk Among Witnesses Expected to Take the Stand This Week in Tesla Tweet Trial

Elon Musk is among the expected witnesses to appear this week in the ongoing federal trial accusing him of deceptively driving up the price of Tesla stock by tweeting about taking the company private, which never happened.

The August 2018 tweet in question stated that Musk had “secured” funding to take Tesla private at $420 per share. The company’s stock was slumping at the time due to production problems.

Tesla shareholders filed a class-action lawsuit suing Musk for billions of dollars in damages for money investors say they lost after the tweet inflated share price. The trial, taking place in San Francisco, is expected to last for three weeks. 

Investor Glen Littleton from Kansas City, Missouri, is seeking damages on behalf of shareholders who traded the company’s stock in the days after Musk’s tweet. 

Littleton had purchased Tesla investments with hopes that the automaker’s stock would eventually be worth far more than $420. Upon seeing Musk’s tweet, he felt compelled to sell his Tesla stock options since he knew the completed deal would have rendered them worthless. 

He stated he sold off most of his Tesla positions to try and limit his losses, but even after doing so, the value of his Tesla portfolio plunged by 75%.

“The damage was done. I was in a state of shock.”

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The case’s outcome may depend on whether Musk knowingly raised Tesla’s stock price by tweeting that he had secured money for a $72 billion takeover of the business. The stock plummeted in value when it became apparent that he lacked the funding to complete the deal a week later. 

On Wednesday, Nicholas Porritt, lead attorney for the investors, told the trial’s jury of nine that “millions of dollars were lost when his lies were exposed.” 

“Why are we here? We are here because Elon Musk, chairman and chief executive of Tesla, lied. His lies caused regular people like Glen Littleton to lose millions and millions of dollars.” 

Porritt also pointed out that not only did Musk’s tweet cause investors to lose money, but it also affected pension funds and other organizations that owned Tesla stock.

The trial’s presiding judge, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen, has already ruled that Musk’s tweet was false and reckless. 

Porritt took advantage of the judge’s verdict and told the jury they should presume Musk’s tweet was false, which the judge permitted.

“When the CEO of a public company like Tesla lies about his company and hurts investors, it’s critical that he is held accountable for that harm that he causes.”

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In his opening statements, Musk’s attorney Alex Spiro insisted that Musk was “serious” about the buyout when he tweeted about securing funding.

“You will come to learn very soon that this was not fraud, not even close.”

Spiro argued that the rise in Tesla’s stock price after the tweet was due to investors’ faith in Musk’s capabilities and reputation as a visionary.

“Mr. Musk tries to do things that have never been done before. Everyone knows that.”

According to Spiro, Musk and representatives from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia had already discussed taking Tesla private.

“He didn’t plan to tweet this. It was a split-second decision.”

Spiro said Musk used the “wrong words” in a rush to be transparent about the potential deal with the Saudi fund.

Musk is on the witness list for both sides of the case. Porritt told The Associated Press that Musk is expected to take the stand when the trial resumes on Friday, if time permits, or on Monday.

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Tesla Vehicles Are Becoming Cheaper, What This Means For The Company 

Tesla has recently cut their prices on some of their top-selling models, including the Model Y SUV and Model 3, by up to 20% across the US and Europe. The changes were revealed on Tesla’s website last Thursday. 

While the vehicles are still relatively expensive, the drop is significant when compared to its previous premium pricing. Many are speculating that these decreases are a sign of Tesla backing away from the months they spend gradually raising the prices of the electric vehicles. 

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Tesla has also experienced the impact of the economy in recent months, missing market estimates for sales last year, shifting its market capitalization from $1 trillion to less than $400 billion, according to reports from Business Insider.

Company owner Elon Musk has recently bought and taken over the popular social media platform Twitter, where he’s made it clear that rising interest rates in general have been taking a toll on the electric vehicle company. 

“Fed needs to cut interest rates immediately, they are massively maplifting the probability of a severe recession,” Musk tweeted in November. 

Interest rate increases have had a major impact on the costs of financing Tesla vehicles, making it even more difficult for consumers to become a Tesla owner. 

Dan Ives, senior equity research analyst at Wedbush Securities, said “it’s no secret that demand for Tesla is starting to see some cracks as a global slowdown of the economy that started in 2022 continues into 2023.”

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“A softening demand for the global EV market is a bigger driver of price cuts than interest rate hikes. When it comes to demand, backlog orders have come down significantly for Tesla, making price cuts is a good way to increase the immediate- and medium-term sales pipeline,” said Simon Moores, CEO of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, a price reporting agency for the EV supply chain, to Insider. 

Traditional automakers have also entered the electric vehicle market, providing cheaper alternatives to Tesla, which has dominated the EV market since its launch. 

According to data from an Experian report, from January to September 2022, Tesla accounted for 65.4% of new electric vehicle registrations in the US. This percentage marks a significant decrease from the two previous years: 68.2% in 2021 and 79.4% in 2020. 

The cuts to Tesla pricing will likely welcome more consumers to purchase the vehicles. Ives stated that he estimated the price cuts could definitely increase demand by around 12-15% globally in 2023. 

“This is a clear shot across the bow at European automakers and US stalwarts (GM and Ford) that Tesla is not going to play nice in the sandbox with an EV price war now underway,” he said.

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Twitter CEO Elon Musk Makes Drastic Cuts Within Company: Fires Janitorial Staff 

According to a recent report from The New York Times, Twitter CEO tech billionaire Elon Musk has been making drastic cuts within the company ever since he purchased the platform for $44 billion. 

One of the most recent and seemingly random cuts from the company involved firing the entire janitorial staff, as well as forcing employees to bring their own toilet paper to work every day. 

“Early on Christmas Eve, members of the billionaire’s staff flew to Sacramento — the site of one Twitter’s three main computing storage facilities — to disconnect servers that had kept the social network running smoothly,” the NYT reported

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“Some employees were worried that losing those servers could cause problems, but saving money was the priority, according to two people who were familiar with the move but not authorized to talk about it.”

“The data center shutdown was one of many drastic steps Mr. Musk has undertaken to stabilize Twitter’s finances,” said the report. 

“Over the past few weeks, Twitter had stopped paying millions of dollars in rent and services, and Mr. Musk had told his subordinates to renegotiate those agreements or simply end them. 

The company has stopped paying rent at its Seattle office, leading it to face eviction, two people familiar with the matter said. Janitorial and security services have been cut, and in some cases employees have resorted to bringing their own toilet paper to the office.”

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Musk has also made numerous changes to the platform itself within the time he’s been active CEO, many of which have received backlash from users. 

He’s banned several journalists from covering news regarding himself, including reporters who pointed out his hypocrisy in some of the policy decision making. Specifically his choice to ban a user from tracking the movements of his private jet and an account that covers issues at Musk’s company Tesla, which are public reports. 

All of the “bans” have been partially reversed, however, due to the intense backlash from users. 

Reports are also stating that Musk is in the process of looking for a new CEO to run Twitter for him. He stated he would step down from the position once he finds someone “foolish enough” to take on the role.