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threads

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.”

meta

Meta Announces They’re Prioritizing Advancing Artificial Intelligence As A Company 

Almost two years after Facebook rebranded as Meta and advertised giving the world a futuristic landscape through the metaverse, the company announced that now, their top investment priority is advancing artificial intelligence (AI). 

CEO Mark Zuckerberg sent out a letter to Meta staff on Tuesday, announcing plans to lay off 10,000 employees as a means of focusing on efficiency for the company; a move that was first announced last month in Meta’s quarterly earnings call. 

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Zuckerberg now says Meta will “focus mostly on cutting costs and streamlining projects. Building the metaverse remains central to defining the future of social connection, Zuckerberg wrote.

“Our single largest investment is in advancing AI and building it into every one of our products.” 

He added information on how AI tools can help “users of its apps express themselves and discover new content, but also new AI tools can be used to increase efficiencies internally by helping engineers write better code faster.”

The CEO described last year as a “humbling wake-up call as the world economy changed, competitive pressures grew, and our growth slowed considerably.”

AI in general has been taking over the tech world, and Meta is no different, in fact, the company has been involved in AI research and development since it was called Facebook. 

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“I do think it is a good thing to focus on AI,” Ali Mogharabi, a senior equity analyst at Morningstar, told CNN

“Meta’s investments in AI has benefits on both ends because it can improve efficiency for engineers creating products, and because incorporating AI features into Meta’s lineup of apps will potentially create more engagement time for users, which can then drive advertising revenue,” he explained.

“A lot of the investments in AI, and a lot of enhancements that come from those investments in AI, could actually be applicable to the entire metaverse project,” Mogharabi stated. 

Last year, Meta lost more than $13 billion from its “Reality Labs” unit, the business sector focused on developing and expanding the metaverse. This shift comes after multiple big investors expressed their concerns over the lack of growth that came from the sector. 

Angelo Zino, a senior equity analyst at CFRA Research, said “the second round of layoffs at Meta officially make us convinced that Mark Zuckerberg has completely switched gears, altering the narrative of the company to one focused on efficiencies rather than looking to grow the metaverse at any cost.”

virtualrealty

The Newest VR Headset To Be Released In October From Meta

On Thursday, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed the latest addition to his line of virtual reality headsets will be making their debut in October.

The new product from Meta is expected to be fully revealed at the Meta’s annual Connect event which usually takes place sometime within the month of October.

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The codenamed “Project Cambria” is set to contain features that will help users experience the feeling of social presence and have them feel more connected with other users.

Some of the features that will be included with the new VR headset will be more eye- and facial- tracking features. These new features will allow digital avatars to smile and frown within the virtual reality. 

“For me, this stuff is all about, like, helping people connect… I just started thinking about… what would be the ultimate expression of, basically, people using technology to feel present with each other, right? It’s not phones, it’s not computers.”

The new VR headset is supposed to contain a high-resolution color screen, internal sensor for the eye tracking and sophisticated augmented reality. 

The name of the VR headset has yet to be revealed but the cost of the headset is projected to cost around $800. This is a significant price jump up from the popular Quest 2 headset which costed $399 to $499 depending on the model. 

“In the previous version eye contact was all just AI simulated, we didn’t actually know when you were making eye contact because we weren’t tracking the eyes. Now for this version, and hopefully a lot of the different ones we build going forward, you’ll be able to have realistic facial expressions and more transmitted directly to your avatar,” said Zuckerberg. 

In a recent interview on Joe Rogan’s podcast, Rogan was allowed to be one of the first people who got to try out the new VR headset. He stated that he was impressed with all the features and how well his avatar was able to match his facial expression and eyes. 

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“It’s getting to the point where it’s mimicking human patterns in kind of a creepy way,” said Rogan. 

Over the last few years, Meta has been putting a lot of their effort and money into VR and augmented reality to keep expanding and evolving the world of computers and how people interact with them. 

According to Digital Trends, VR players usually identify themselves and have a strong connection to their alternates in virtual reality where real connections can be formed. 

With the increase of the technology, it could become a huge stepping stone in the world of virtual reality.

Billionaire Businessman, Orlando Bravo, Claims The Metaverse Will Be Big, And Should Be Invested In 

Puerto Rican billionaire businessman Orlando Bravo, co-founder and managing partner of the private equity firm Thoma Bravo, claimed this week that the metaverse will be the “big word of 2021, and is a big time investment.” 

“The metaverse is very investable, and it’s going to be very big.” 

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Much like the movie “Ready Player One,” the metaverse is a sci-fi concept where humans put on some sort of virtual reality gear that allows them to live, work, and play in a virtual world. The concept has been viewed as a utopian dream, and a dystopian nightmare, depending on your standpoint. 

Facebook’s co-founder Mark Zuckerberg announced his company’s plans for the metaverse last month. Zuckerberg also recently changed the name of Facebook to Meta, claiming the new company will have a major focus on the metaverse. 

“The metaverse is the next frontier just like social networking was when we got started.”

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The entire concept of the metaverse has been heavily debated online. One marketing campaign in Iceland even went as far as to mock the metaverse announcement video as a means of bringing in tourists. In the video, a Zuckerberg lookalike introduces viewers to “Icelandverse, a place of enhanced actual reality without the silly-looking headsets.” 

Beyond Facebook, tech giants like Microsoft, Roblox, and Nvidia are already trying to enhance their software so that it’s compatible with the metaverse, and can even be used to power it if needed. 

Thomas Bravo alone has more than $83 billion in assets under management and a portfolio that contains more than 40 software companies. Beyond his excitement for the metaverse, Bravo also discussed his passion for cryptocurrency and bitcoin. 

“How could you not love crypto? Crypto is just a great system. It’s frictionless. It’s decentralized. And young people want their own financial system. So it is here to stay,” Bravo said.

Facebook App

Facebook Employees ‘Outraged’ With Mark Zuckerberg For Keeping Trump’s Protest Posts Up

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been put under fire by his own employees this week after claiming that he wouldn’t be taking any enforcement action against a post made by the President of the United States following the murder of George Floyd.

Twitter

Twitter to Ban All Political Ads

As social media rapidly replaces traditional journalistic forms of disseminating information, regulators have been slow to catch up with the new form of communication, as the appropriate legal boundaries on free speech on social media platforms remain an open question. Recently, Facebook has drawn criticism for allowing demonstrably false political advertisements to run on its platform, and the company’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, defended the decision to do so by citing free speech concerns. In an apparent response to Zuckerberg’s decision, Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey announced that all political ads from around the world would be banned on Twitter, neatly avoiding the problem of politicians spreading disinformation through sponsored posts. Though Dorsey didn’t mention Zuckerberg or Facebook by name, it’s pretty clear that the company’s decision was made in the context of its rival’s position of allowing politicians to lie using advertisements, and it effectively functions as a commentary on Facebook’s policy.

Already, politicians have taken advantage of Facebook’s almost-nonexistent restrictions on paid political speech by running advertisements that contain falsehoods. The Trump campaign, for instance, ran an ad on Facebook falsely accusing rival Joe Biden of “[offering] Ukraine $1 billion to fire the prosecutor investigating a company affiliated with his son.” In response, the Biden campaign asked Facebook to remove the ad from its website, citing a lack of evidence supporting that claim, and Facebook declined to do so, reiterating its policy and defending it by arguing that removing political advertisements constitutes censorship. Elizabeth Warren, one of the leading Democrats in the race for the presidential nomination, ran an ad falsely suggesting Mark Zuckerberg endorsed Donald Trump in order to draw attention to Facebook’s political ad policy and point out how easily it can be abused. The Trump campaign has already spent millions of dollars on Facebook ads containing disinformation, including video ads that have been rejected by CNN and MSNBC for containing falsehoods, which nevertheless have been seen by millions of people.

“A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet. Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should not be compromised by money.” — Jack Dorsey

Recently, Mark Zuckerberg appeared before Congress with the intent of discussing his crypto-currency service, Libra, but instead found himself being grilled by lawmakers over Facebook’s stance on misinformation. One exchange which grabbed headlines recently involved freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who questioned Zuckerberg about the boundaries of the company’s restrictions on ads, and posed a hypothetical question: under Facebook’s policy, would she be allowed to run ads in Republican districts claiming that her Republican opponents had endorsed the Green New Deal? Zuckerberg replied that he didn’t know, but that she probably would be allowed to do so. Facebook doesn’t run ads for political campaigns through independent fact-checkers except in rare circumstances, so in all likelihood, Ocasio-Cortez would be permitted to run such an ad if she so chose.

Recently, Zuckerberg revealed that political ads make up only 0.5% of the company’s revenue, suggesting that banning all political ads on the site would have little impact on Facebook’s bottom line. Nonetheless, Facebook remains steadfast in its position, even after receiving significant controversy from the media, Congress, and the general public alike. Zuckerberg also recently drew criticism for having lunch with Republican politicians and conservative commentators, a decision that he defended by stressing the importance of getting along with people from different political stripes. In an apparent rebuke of Zuckerberg’s take on political speech, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey opposed the idea that allowing political ads to run indiscriminately is necessary to avoid censorship and ensure free speech, saying “A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet. Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should not be compromised by money.” This difference in opinion is at the core of the argument about free speech on social media platforms, and may very well one day manifest in the form of regulations about using advertising to spread misinformation on social media platforms, like the ones that already exist for other forms of media.