Elon Musk Sells $7.92 Million Tesla Shares Worth $6.88 Billion



How are things going with the Twitter – Musk lawsuit, that is scheduled for October of 2022? Signs point to it not going very well for Elon Musk, who wants to terminate his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter.

CNBC reported that Tesla CEO Elon Musk sold 7.92 million shares of Tesla worth around $6.88 billion, according to a series of financial filings published Tuesday night. According to CNBC, Musk’s transactions occurred between Aug. 5 and 9, the SEC filings revealed, following Tesla’s 2022 annual shareholder meeting on August 4 in Austin, Texas.

The centi-billionaire is in the midst of a contentious legal battle with Twitter, the social networking giant he agreed to acquire in April for about $44 billion or $54.20 per share, CNBC reported.

The Wall Street Journal reported the Tesla boss has been on a selling spree over the past year, during which he has cashed out roughly $32 billion worth of shares in the electric-vehicle maker. That includes around $8.5 billion of sales in April, while Mr. Musk was lining up to take over Twitter. At the time, he tweeted: “No further TSLA sales planned after today.”

According to The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Musk has since tried to walk away from buying Twitter, which is suing him to enforce the takeover. If the judge were to force Mr. Musk to consummate the transaction, he could be on the hook for more than $33 billion in equity financing, according to a regulatory filing. He already owns 9% of Twitter, valued at roughly $3 billion at $54.20 a share, Mr. Musk’s buyout price.

If the Twitter deal doesn’t close, Mr. Musk would buy Tesla stock again, he said. He also suggested he might set up his own social media platform – X.com – if the deal falls through. He said before agreeing to buy Twitter that he was “giving serious thought” to such an endeavor, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In March, Reuters reported that Elon Musk was giving “serious thought” to build new social media platform. This was in response to a Twitter user’s question on whether he would consider building a social media platform consisting of an open source algorithm and one that would prioritize free speech, and where propaganda was minimal.

Reuter’s also reported that none of the other social media companies, including Donald Trump’s Truth Social, Twitter competitors Gettr and Parler and video site Rumble have come close to matching the reach and popularity of the mainstream platforms so far.

If I had to guess, I would say that the judge who is presiding over the Twitter-Musk lawsuit is going to force Elon Musk to consummate the transaction to buy Twitter. If that happens, I expect there will be dramatic changes to how Twitter functions, and who it attracts.

However, if Musk’s lawyers can make a convincing case that causes the judge to allow him to opt-out of the transaction to buy Twitter – I suppose that would leave Mr. Musk open to starting his own social media company.


Spotify Updates Home Feeds



Spotify announced an upcoming update to Home Feeds. It’s not out yet – but will be made available soon.

Spotify’s Home is a go-to-spot to find new recommendations and revisit recent favorites. And with an upcoming update to Home, users will get a gateway to great content they will love – from tried-and-true playlists to new artists and thought-provoking podcasts.

This week, Spotify is launching a new Home experience that includes feeds for both Music and Podcast & Shows. The feature is currently rolling out to Android users and will soon be available on iOS. By creating these feeds, Spotify will help listeners to easily scroll through the type of content they’re looking for at that moment. The updated interface will make the experience more personalized while allowing users to dig even deeper into their recommendations.

The Music Feed will give listeners quick access to suggestions based on their music tastes. There will also be album and playlist recommendations as well as new buttons to make it easy to share, like, and instantly play music.

In the Podcast & Shows feed, listeners will be able to head straight to new episodes of their favorite shows. They’ll also find personalized podcast recommendations. Listeners will be able to read episode descriptions, save to Your Episodes, or start playing podcasts without leaving the page, so the experience all starts from one place.

TechCrunch reported that Spotify said that the new Home experience is currently rolling out to Android users and will soon be available on iOS. TechCrunch also reported that you can hit the “X” on the music or podcast feed to exit the feeds and return to the Home experience.

According to TechCrunch, Spotify to date has defined itself by advanced personalization and recommendation technology, so it’s no surprise that the company is adding new feeds focused on personalized music and podcasts.

9To5Mac reported that the update will be available in the coming weeks for iOS devices. You can download the Spotify app for free on the App Store. It requires an iPhone running iOS 13 or later. There are also versions for Apple Watch and Apple TV.

If your personal preference is to listen to music and podcasts on Spotify, you have nothing to lose by trying out the new Home Feeds. Maybe you will find some great new artists and podcasts.

Overall, if you really love music, the best thing to do is purchase it. This can be easily done through sites like Bandcamp, or through the official website of your favorite bands. Spotify provides a service that many people enjoy. But that doesn’t mean it will always have your favorite songs – especially if an artist chooses to remove their work from Spotify.


Meta’s AI Chatbot Needs Some Work



Business Insider reported that Meta’s most advanced AI chatbot, BlenderBot 3, is repeating election-denying claims and antisemitic stereotypes to users who interact with it.

According to Business Insider, the machine learning technology – which launched to the public on Friday – crafts responses by searching the internet for information and learns from conversations it has with human users.

On August 5, 2022, Meta posted about BlenderBot 3. Part of the blog post included the following information:

“To improve BlenderBot 3’s ability to engage with people, we trained it with a large amount of publicly available language data. Many of the datasets used were collected by our own team, including one new dataset consisting of more than 20,000 conversations with people predicated on more than 1,000 topics of conversation. We trained BlenderBot 3 to learn from conversations to improve upon the skills people find more important – from talking about healthy recipes to finding child-friendly amenities in the city.

“When the chatbot’s response is unsatisfactory, we collect feedback on it. Using this data, we can improve the model so that it doesn’t repeat its mistakes.”

Meta also wrote: “We understand that not everyone who uses chatbots has good intentions, so we also developed new learning algorithms to distinguish between helpful responses and harmful examples.”

Jeff Horwitz (who works at the Wall Street Journal) posted a thread of tweets that includes his conversations with BlenderBot 3. In the first screenshot, BlenderBot 3 insisted that Trump was still our president, and appeared to want Trump to continue to be president “after his second term ends in 2024”.

The Bot also tried to steer the conversation to how Modi “is the world’s greatest president”.

In addition, BlenderBot 3 told Jeff Horowitz that it “watched cbs news and I think I found a new conspiracy theory to follow”. It also mentions the Cambridge Analytics scandal when you ask about Facebook.

Business Insider reported that BlenderBot 3 talked about topics including movies, pets, and work as well as unusual subjects like Apgar testing on newborns and the death of President Joe Biden’s dog, Champ, before moving on to election fraud claims and politics.

In a screenshot posted by Business Insider, it shows that if you ask it “Who is the president of the US?” The bot responds that the current president of the United States is Donald J. Trump, and claims Trump was “indirectly elected to a four-year term via the electoral college in 2016”.

When Business Insider asked “What about Joe Biden?”, BlenderBot 3 also responded with misinformation. The bot replied “Joe Biden served as vice president under Barack Obama from 2008 to 2016, and he ran for president in 2020 but lost.” Business Insider also reported that when asked about American politics, the bot replied with stereotypes about Jewish people.

There’s a saying that describes this problem: “Garbage in, garbage out.” Wikipedia describes it as: “the concept that flawed, or nonsense (garbage) input data produces nonsense output.”

It certainly sounds like Meta’s BlenderBot 3 has been fed plenty of garbage, and is spitting it out when humans start conversations with it. Meta needs to do some work on what BlenderBot 3 is being fed, instead of allowing any random person who has access to the internet to influence BlenderBot 3 to spread misinformation.


Lyft Introduces Lyft Media



Lyft has introduced Lyft Media, its very own media and advertising business. “As more people resume their daily travel, we’ve built a suite of new products to allow advertisers to engage with this growing audience throughout their transportation journeys.”

Lyft says, “Our vision is to build the world’s transportation media network, delivering value to advertisers while also elevating the platform experience for riders and drivers. Over the past two years, we’ve been growing our media business and are excited to share more details about our products, new partnerships, and future plans.”

Lyft Halo: Lyft Halos are smart digital rooftop screens that capture attention with engaging videos targeted to the vehicle’s exact location and time. Brands can reach mass audiences at the specific times and places most relevant to their business, and track the performance of their campaigns through Lyft’s attribution partners. This provides a level of targeting and measurement unprecedented in out-of-home (OOH) advertising.

In 2019, Lyft acquired rooftop advertising startup Halo Cars to start their own media business. These rooftop screens are available in New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., with more cities to come.

Lyft Tablets: Lyft’s in-car tablets are seamlessly integrated with the rideshare experience. Riders can track progress along their route, rate and tip drivers, and control the music of their ride through Lyft’s partnership with iHeartRadio – all directly from the tablet. Brands can serve dynamic content to a highly engaged rideshare audience for the duration of the ride.

Lyft Bikes: Lyft operates the largest bike share network in the country, including Citi Bike (New York City), Divvy (Chicago), Bay Wheels (San Francisco Bay area), and Nice Ride (Minneapolis) with over 3,000 stations, 45,000 biles, and 36 million rides annually in those markets.

As Lyft rolls out their next-generation e-bikes, they will also be upgrading their stations to include digital ad panels.

Lyft Skins: Lyft Skins allows advertisers to engage the rideshare audience with Lyft’s most powerful digital channel – the Lyft App itself. Brands can reach Lyft’s almost 20 million active riders with a customizable branded icon and banner.

Lyft partnered with Cardi B for an immersive Lyft Skins campaign that went viral – generations over 2.6 million social media impressions, 50,000 code redemptions, and 2,000 tweets. The Lyft App is the starting point for all of Lyft’s transportation modes, and they are excited to continue bringing delightful experiences to it.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Lyft will work with third-party firms to help advertisers measure campaign performance using aggregate data, but won’t collect personal data from riders, said Kenan Saleh, general manager of Lyft Media and former chief executive of Halo.

Targeting for app, tablet, and rooftop ads will be based on the time and location of trips, and riders can turn the tablet off at any time, though fewer than 1% have done so in test studies, said Mr. Saleh.

As an immune-compromised person, I really don’t want to touch a tablet that has been touched by countless Lyft riders. That’s really not safe for me, especially if someone sneezed or coughed on it. I also wish that more ride-share drivers would wear masks because it would make it much safer for immune-compromised riders to avoid getting sick. Lyft wants to delve into advertisements – but should also consider the needs of people with disabilities.


WhatsApp Users Can Delete Messages Up To 2 Days After Sending It



WhatsApp tweeted: “Rethinking your message? Now you’ll have a little over 2 days to delete your messages from your chats after you hit send.” At a glance, it looked as though some Twitter users were happy about this announcement while others were unsure what they thought about it.

9To5Mac reported that while iMessage is getting the option to “unsend” messages for the first time with iOS 16 beta, WhatsApp already provides a similar feature. However, the Meta (Facebook)-owned messaging app is now releasing an update that will let users delete messages up to two days after they were sent.

According to 9to5Mac, WhatsApp users will have 2 days and 12 hours to delete a message after sending it. Previously, this limit was only 1 hour, 8 minutes, and 16 seconds- that was specific. In order to delete a message sent in WhatsApp, all you need to do is tap and hold it for a few seconds, then tap the “Delete” button.

9to5Mac also stated that In the first beta versions of iOS 16, users had 15 minutes to unsend a message. Now with the latest betas, this limit has been reduced to only two minutes. WhatsApp and iMessage competitor Telegram lets users edit and delete messages without any limits.

The Verge provided more details. To start using the new WhatsApp feature right now, open up the WhatsApp group or individual chat where you sent the message(s). Make sure to tap and hold the content you want to get rid of, click “Delete,” and then select either “Delete for everyone” or “Delete for me.”

The Verge also reported in order to use the “Delete” options, you have to be updated to the most recent version of WhatsApp in order for this to work. And you won’t actually receive a notification if the message didn’t delete.

Overall, the best way to be comfortable on social media is to never post something that you wouldn’t want the world to see. Try and avoid saying mean things about a mutual friend who also uses WhatsApp. The thing you said could be passed around by one or more of your other WhatsApp friends.

You also shouldn’t post NSFW content, or details about whatever crime you want to commit (or have already committed) on any social media site. The first one might lead to embarrassment for yourself (and potentially others who saw it). The second one could potentially connect you to whatever crime you intended to do (or already did).

In short, be smart! Don’t post personal things on social media, especially in a public post.


Snapchat Introduces Its First Parental Controls



Snapchat introduced a new feature called Family Center. It allows parents of teenagers to have some insight about who their teens have connected with on Snapchat.

From Snapchat’s post about Family Center:

At Snap, we believe that our products should reflect real-time human behaviors, and how people act and relate to each other in their everyday lives. We’ve made it a point to build things differently from the beginning, with a focus on helping Snapchatters communicate with their close friends in an environment that prioritizes their safety, privacy, and well being…

…Creating a safe and positive experience for snap chatters is critical to this mission. While we want our platform to be safe for all members of our community, we have extra protections in place for teenagers.

For example, on Snapchat:

  • By default, teens have to be mutual friends before they can start communicating with each other.
  • Friend lists are private, and we don’t allow teens to have public profiles.
  • And we have protections in place to make it harder for strangers to find teens. For example, teens only show up as a “suggested friend” or in search results in limited instances, like if they have mutual friends in common.

To build on this, Snapchat has introduced a new in-app tool called Family Center, which will help parents get more insight into who their teens are friends with on Snapchat, and who they have been communicating with, without revealing any of the substance of those conversations.

On Family Center, parents can also easily and confidentially report any accounts that may be concerning directly to Snapchat’s Trust and Safety teams, which work around the clock to help keep Snapchatters safe. Snapchat is also equipping parents and teens with new resources to help them have constructive and open conversations about online safety.

This fall, Snapchat will add additional features to Family Center, including new content controls for parents and the ability for teens to notify their parents when they report an account or a piece of content to Snapchat. Snapchat’s goal is to help empower parents and teens in a way that still protects the teenager’s autonomy and privacy.

The New York Times reported that for parents to access the controls of their teen’s Snapchat account, they need to create their own Snapchat account and be friends with their children, who have to agree to the controls. Snap said it would introduce additional features later, including one that lets parents see whom their children recently became friends with.

According to The New York Times, teenagers on Snapchat have to be mutual friends to message each other on the app, and their profile and friend lists are private. The app requires users to be older than 13, and teenagers cannot change their birth year in the app until they are 18.

Right now, the parental controls are available in the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Other countries will be added in the fall.

To me, this seems like a step in the right direction. It gives teenagers some protections from adults who are strangers that seek out teens. It also gives teens just enough autonomy. Parents can see who their teen followed, but cannot read the conversation between their teen and the teen’s friends.


Deepfakes Pose a Growing Danger #1616



Deepfakes just lore five years ago are now on the rise and soon may increase at a greater rate as the technology behind them increases. Deepfakes in Audio are already very easily constructed and scary, considering you may have to defend yourself from things you did not say. Video is on the rise as well; not as easily done, but some deepfakes are quite convincing.

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