Twitter Doesn’t Want Copypasta Or Duplicate Content



Twitter has decided to crack down on “copypasta” and tweets that include duplicate content. I’m not surprised by this at all, considering that other social media sites, including Instagram, are making a push towards original content.

On May 10, 2022, Twitter tweeted: “We’ve been continuously working to combat spammy & duplicative content on Twitter at scale and our new Copypasta and Duplicate Content policy clarifies what constitutes a violation along with what happens when it is violated”.

As you may have expected, that tweet linked to a Twitter Help Center article titled: “Copypasta and duplicate content policy”. Here are some key points from it:

“Copypasta” (a reference to copy-and-paste functionality to duplicate content) is an Internet slang term that refers to an attempt by multiple individuals to duplicate content from an original source and share it widely across social platforms or forums.

On Twitter, copypasta or duplicative content can be a block of text, image, or a combination of content that has been copied and pasted or duplicated by any means across the platform.

Why is Twitter cracking down on copypasta? Part of the post explains: While copypasta or duplicate content is a tactic for propagating a message, and is used for a wide range of purposes, it can be repetitive, spammy, and disruptive to people’s experience on Twitter. Duplicative content can also be used to artificially amplify content, suppress information or manipulate Twitter’s Trends, Top Search results and conversations across the platform.

To me, it sounds like Twitter is trying to make the platform more authentic, and copypasta is pretty much the opposite of that goal. I know I’ve seen tweets in a “What’s Happening” topic that were word for word identical to several other tweets.

Twitter provided examples of behavior that will limit the visibility of your tweets:

  • Identical or near-identical content Tweeted by an individual account or many accounts, even if the users involved only use one account;
  • Duplicate or copy-pasted Tweets that may disrupt the experience of others, including mentioning users or using hashtags with the same Tweet content in concert with other accounts.

Twitter also provided examples where they won’t limit visibility:

  • Retweeting existing content using the Retweet feature; and
  • Copy-pasting, or Tweeting existing content, combined with your own unique content, commentary, or reaction, or explicitly quoting the copied content.

Examples of a severe violation of the copypasta policy include:

  • Using automation or scripting to post duplicative content;
  • Operating one account or multiple accounts where the majority of the content promotes duplicative content resulting in spammy, inauthentic engagement; and
  • Repeated participation in copypasta and duplicate Tweet efforts to promote content that is in violation of other Twitter Rules.

Overall, I think most Twitter users have no interest in turning their accounts into copypasta and/or duplicative spam. It should be incredibly easy to avoid violating the copypasta policy, especially for people who tweet their own content – or quote-tweet to highlight the content they enjoy that came from other people’s accounts. Personally, I find copypasta tweets to be incredibly boring.


Apple Ends Production Of The iPod Touch



Apple announced in a newsroom post titled: “The music lives on”, that the iPod touch will be available while supplies last. This is the end of the run for iPod touch.

“Since its introduction over 20 years ago, iPod has captivated users all over the world who love the ability to take their music with them on the go. Today, the experience of taking one’s music library out into the world has been integrated across Apple’s product line – from iPhone and Apple Watch to iPad and Mac – along with access to more than 90 million songs and over 30,000 playlists available via Apple Music.”

There is a lot of hype in Apple’s newsroom post about all the wonderful things Apple has made – that can be used to listen to music – since the release of the original iPod touch on October 23, 2001. If you’re feeling especially nostalgic about this announcement, there’s a chance you can still buy an iPod touch through apple.com, Apple Store locations, and Apple Authorized Resellers while supplies last.

To me, this news is just the next in the long line of once prominent music playing devices that were very popular for a time – only to be replaced by the next, newest, version.

The original Sony Walkman was a portable cassette player. When it stopped production, Sony had built about 200 million cassette-based Wallkmans. The device was popular in the 1980s. The Walkman was replaced by the Discman which was launched in 1984. This device was able to play CDs and was about as portable as the Walkman. I doubt anyone, other than people who are fascinated will the 1980s, will miss these devices.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the first iPod, which was released in 2001, helped Apple co-founder Steve Jobs remake the company, extending its reach from computers to other personal devices and vastly expanding Apple’s reach in the music industry.

According to The Wall Street Journal, for some consumers, the iPod – which came in various color iterations and models, – was their first introduction to Apple. The iPod helped users usher in a new era for music in which songs could be downloaded for 99 cents – separated from albums by artists – and loaded onto a device about the size of a deck of cards.

The Wall Street Journal wrote that now, as smartphones have grown more sophisticated and music is largely streamed rather than accessed through paid downloads, iPod sales have diminished. Apple hasn’t separated iPod sales for years, but unit sales fell about 24% in fiscal 2014 compared with the previous fiscal year.

As such, the iPod, which replaced the Discman, is in the process of being replaced itself. Those who want to bring their music along with them can easily stream music through their iPhone, or iPad, from whatever streaming services they have access to.


Episode 1600!



Episode 1600 is finally in the can with your host fighting a massive head cold. Super excited to take you down memory lane. Give out a prize and also give away some money for the next show. This has been a long haul to get here and now on to 1700. I do want to thank GoDaddy for their long-term sponsorship of the show and of course the ongoing support of the GNC Insiders.

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Intuit To Pay $141M Settlement Over “Free” Turbo Tax Ads



The New York Attorney General, Letitia James, announced a record multistate agreement with the owner of TurboTax, Intuit Inc. (Intuit), for deceiving millions of low-income Americans into paying for tax services that should have been free.

The press release continues: As a result of Attorney General James’ agreement, Intuit will pay $141 million in restitution to millions of consumers across the nation who were unfairly charged. In addition, Intuit must suspend TurboTax’s “free free free” ad campaign that lured customers with promises of free tax preparation services, only to deceive them into paying.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have signed on to the agreement. New York will receive more than $5.4 million for the 176,000 New Yorkers who were tricked into paying to file their federal tax return.

According to New York Attorney General Letitia James, “Intuit cheated millions of low-income Americans out of free tax filing services they were entitled to. For years, Intuit misled the most vulnerable among us to make a profit. Today, every state in the nation is holding Intuit accountable for scamming millions of taxpayers, and we’re putting millions of dollars back into the pockets of impacted Americans. This agreement should serve as a reminder to companies large and small that engaging in these deceptive marketing ploys is illegal. New Yorkers can count on my office to protect their wallets from white-collar scammers”.

According to ArsTechnica, Intuit “used confusingly similar names for both its IRS Free File product and its commercial “freemium product”, ran search ads “to direct consumers who were looking IRS Free File service to the TurboTax ‘freemium’ product instead,” and “purposefully blocked its IRS Free File landing page from search engine results during the 2019 tax filing season”, the settlement announcement said.

The Associated Press reported that until last year, Intuit offered two free versions of TurboTax. One was through its participation in the Internal Revenue Service’s Free File Program, geared toward taxpayers earning roughly $34,000 and members of the military. Intuit withdrew from the program in July 2021, saying in a blog post that the company could provide more benefits without the program’s limitations.

Considering all of this, it appears that Intuit was hoping to provide more “benefits” to the company itself. They got greedy, and appear to have intentionally hidden the IRS Free File away from people – who were tricked into believing Intuit’s version was also free. And now, Intuit is paying for it.

The press release from the New York Attorney General’s Office states: Under the agreement, Intuit will provide restitution to nearly 4.4 million consumers who started using TurboTax’s Free Edition for tax years 2016 through 2018 and were told they had to pay to file even though they were eligible to file for free using the IRS Free File program offered through TurboTax.

Consumers are expected to receive a direct payment of approximately $30 for each year that they were deceived into paying for filing services. Impacted consumers will receive notices and a check by mail.


Play Fortnite For Free With Xbox Cloud Gaming



Catherine Gluckstein, Vice President and Head of Product, Xbox Cloud Gaming posted a blog titled: “Play Fortnite on iOS, iPadOs, Android Phones and Tablets, and Windows PC with Xbox Cloud Gaming for Free”. To me, this sounds like a great way to make Fortnite accessible to players who have disabilities by allowing them to play Fortnite on the platform of their choice.

“As part of our mission to bring the joy and community of gaming to players wherever they are and to make gaming more accessible to people around the world, I’m excited to announce that we’ve partnered with Epic Games to make Fortnite available on supported browser-enabled devices for free with Xbox Cloud Gaming (beta) in 26 countries”, Catherine Gluckstein wrote.

If you love Fortnite you only need two things to play in cloud-supported markets:

  • A Microsoft account
  • An iOS, iPadOS, Android phone or tablet, or Windows PC with internet access.

With no installation or memberships required, all you need to do is go to Xbox.com/play on your web browser and sign-in with your Microsoft Account to party-up with friends or earn your next Victory Royale in Fortnite. Players have the option of playing Fortnite with native touch controls or a supported controller, and it is easy to jump into Fortnite with Xbox Cloud Gaming.

This is the first free-to-play title that has been added to the cloud gaming catalog. Microsoft looks forward to bringing more free-to-play games people love in the future. This means there will be more games in the cloud gaming catalog – and we just have to wait and see which ones get added.

CNET reported that Microsoft struck a deal with Epic Games to offer Epic’s hit title Fortnite for free through Xbox Cloud Gaming. The move will effectively let people play Fortnite in a way similar to how they stream videos from companies like Netflix, regardless of how beefy their gaming device is.

CNET posted a statement from Microsoft. “This is just the beginning for us — we’re going to learn, implement feedback, and in time look to bring even more free-to-play titles to players through the cloud”. According to CNET, Microsoft’s Xbox team said it believes streaming will be a key way for people to play but has also tempered expectations for how quickly it will catch on.

For me, there is a lot to like about Microsoft’s decisions. First, it offers accessibility in gaming, where people with disabilities can play Fortnite (and, eventually, other games) on the system of their choice. Some will prefer Windows PC, while others may feel more physically comfortable to play on a phone or tablet. And secondly, the free-to-play games make it much easier for people on a tight budget to play Fortnite with their friends.


Judge Dismisses Trump Lawsuit Seeking To Lift Twitter Ban



A judge dismissed a lawsuit by former President Donald Trump seeking to lift his ban from Twitter, CNBC reported. Twitter banned Trump on January 8, 2021, citing the risk of the incitement of further violence on the heels of the Capitol riot by a mob of supporters of the then-president two days earlier, CNBC reported.

Trump, the American Conservative Union, and five individuals had sued Twitter and its co-founder Jack Dorsey last year on behalf of themselves and a class of other Twitter users who had been booted from the app.

Judge Donato’s ruling comes nearly two weeks after Trump told CNBC he had no interest in returning to Twitter even if his ban were to be lifted by Elon Musk, the Tesla chief whose $44 billion offer to buy Twitter has been accepted by the company’s board.

CNBC also reported that before the ban, Trump was an avid Twitter user, tweeting an average of more than 30 posts per day toward the end of his presidency. At the time of the ban, Trump had nearly 90 million followers on Twitter. His suit alleged that Twitter violated the plaintiff’s First Amendment rights to free speech, arguing that the bans were due to pressure on the company by Democratic members of Congress.

The Verge reported that Judge James Donato wrote that “Plaintiffs are not starting from a position of strength” in the first paragraph of his analysis.

The Verge also reported that Judge Donato determined that Twitter was not operating as a state actor when it banned Trump – a claim Trump made by noting that some lawmakers had called on Twitter to remove him from the platform.

“Legislators are perfectly free to express opinions without being deemed the official voice of the State,” the ruling says, dismissing a “grab bag” of allegations quoting various Democratic elected officials calling for a ban. Even strident congressional commentary, it concludes, “fits within the normal boundaries of a congressional investigation, as opposed to threats of punitive state action.”

Trump and his fellow plaintiffs also had a Section 230 claim – which failed. Politico reported that Judge Donato’s 17-page decision also rejected arguments from Trump attorneys that a controversial 1996 law known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act led to the then-president’s de-platforming in January of last year.

Politico reported that the Section 230 law allows internet sites to police message boards and other user postings without incurring potential liability as a publisher of the content. According to Politico, Judge Denato wrote, “The government cannot plausibly be said to have compelled Twitter’s action through Section 230, which in any event imposed no affirmative obligations on Twitter to act in any particular way.”

Trump’s lawsuits against Facebook and YouTube remain pending. Perhaps the lawyers representing Trump and his fellow plaintiffs will have learned that the Section 230 claim is not going to be compelling to a judge. I’m wondering why the Twitter lawsuit even got this far, considering that Trump has stated that he doesn’t want to go back on Twitter.

Just to clarify, if the government throws you in jail for speech that it disagrees with – that’s a violation of your Freedom of Speech. If a social media site suspends you from the platform because you broke its rules regarding hate speech, inciting violence, etc. – that’s not a violation of your Freedom of Speech. Social Media websites are not part of any state of federal branch of government.


WhatsApp Announced New Features



WhatsApp announced that they are excited to share that emoji reactions are now available on the latest version of the app. Reactions are fun, fast, and they reduce overload in groups too. WhatsApp will continue improving them by adding an even broader range of expressions in the future.

In addition, you can now send files within WhatsApp up to 2GB in size at a time, protected by end-to-end encryption. This is an increase from the previous limit of 100MB and we think it will be helpful for collaboration among small businesses and school groups. We recommend using WiFi for larger files and we’ll display a counter while uploading or downloading to let you know how long your transfer will take.

WhatsApp is also giving users the option to add more people to a chat, which was one of their top requests from users. WhatsApp is slowly rolling out the ability to add up to 512 people to a group. Building private, safe, and secure communities takes work and WhatsApp thinks this series of improvements will help people and groups to stay close to one another.

To me, it sounds like WhatsApp is trying to compete with Twitter’s recently announced a feature called Twitter Circle. It lets Twitter users add up to 150 close friends – who will be the only ones that can see the tweets you put into your Circle. WhatsApp allows 512 people in their chats, which might be appealing for those who want to be able to add more than the 150 that Twitter allows.

9to5Mac reported that WhatsApp users in Brazil will have to wait a few months more for the new features. According to 9to5Mac, WhatsApp stated: “Based solely on our long-term strategy for Brazil, this last functionality will only be implemented after being tested in other markets”.

That “last functionality” appears to be the ability to add up to 512 people to a group. 9to5Mac stated: As a matter of fact, with presidential elections coming in October, this is part of the Brazilian Superior Court’s attempt to prevent the spread of fake news and misinformation through groups – as it occurs in other apps, such as Telegram.

Mashable reported that last month WhatsApp announced Communities, which are another way to expand group chats by knitting Groups together into a Community – just like Slack.

I have never used WhatsApp, but I can see where it would be appealing to be able to use emoji Reactions on it. The ability to send files up to 2GB in size at a time could be useful for artists who want to show their latest painting, drawing or photo to specific friends. WhatsApp says those files would be protected by end-to-end encryption, which might make people feel more secure about sharing those kinds of files.

On May 3, WhatsApp tweeted: “Pro-tip: Now you can put 32 of your favorite people in ONE voice call. Sharing good news with your whole family means hearing all the joy and laughter in one easy call.” I can see where this feature would be useful, but it’s not for me.