Techmeme
October 31, 2022, 2:40 PM

Top News

Alex Heath / The Verge:
Sources: Twitter could make Twitter Blue a $20/month subscription that verifies users; staff have until November 7 to build the feature or face being fired  —  Now that he owns Twitter, Elon Musk has given employees their first ultimatum: Meet his deadline to introduce paid verification on Twitter or pack up and leave.
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Casey Newton / Platformer:
Sources: Twitter is strongly considering taking away its verified users' badges if they don't subscribe to Twitter Blue  —  Under pressure to generate revenue quickly, Twitter's new CEO considers ending free verification  —  Twitter is strongly considering making its users pay to remain verified …
Washington Post:
Source: Elon Musk plans to lay off 25% of Twitter's 7,000+ staff in the coming days, focusing on sales, product, engineering, legal, and trust and safety  —  The first round of layoffs, led by his lawyer Alex Spiro, will target 25 percent of the workforce  —  SAN FRANCISCO …
Lauren Hirsch / New York Times:
Twitter faces ~$1B per year in interest expenses after Elon Musk's deal added ~$13B in debt, up from ~$50M in 2021 when operations generated ~$633M in cash flow  —  Mr. Musk faces financial challenges in owning Twitter.  The site frequently loses money and took on $13 billion in debt for the blockbuster deal.
Financial Times:
Sources detail the twists and turns in Elon Musk's $44B Twitter takeover, starting in late March 2022, falling apart in July, and closing late on October 27  —  Even as his $44bn buyout came down to the wire, Elon Musk kept Twitter guessing.  —  Normally, lawyers and advisers on each side …
Alex Heath / The Verge:
Alyssa Lukpat / Wall Street Journal:
The world's top 20 tech billionaires have lost $480B+ on paper in 2022; Mark Zuckerberg's wealth dropped by $87B+, and Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos lost $58B+ each  —  Moguls including Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos have collectively lost more on paper than the market values of most S&P 500 companies
Selina Cheng / Wall Street Journal:
Inside Foxconn's Zhengzhou iPhone plant as the company uses harsh lockdown measures to try to contain a weekslong COVID-19 outbreak in a crucial ordering period  —  As it adheres to Beijing's strict epidemic controls, Apple's biggest smartphone assembler scrambles to keep production lines moving
Natasha Singer / New York Times:
The FTC accuses homework help app Chegg of security lapses, such as ~40M users' personal info and passwords stolen in 2018; Chegg agrees to boost data security  —  Chegg, a homework help app, exposed the data of 40 million users, including details about some students' sexual orientation and religion …
Wall Street Journal:
Amanda Hoover / Wired:
Some Twitter users, concerned about Elon Musk's ownership, are moving to alternative platforms, including Mastodon, which has seen sign-ups surge, and Discord  —  Discord, Mastodon and other services are bustling as Twitter fans make backup plans for their online social lives.
The Intercept:
An investigation details the US DHS' ongoing plans to police misinformation on COVID-19, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and more; Meta built a portal to flag content  —  The Department of Homeland Security is quietly broadening its efforts to curb speech it considers dangerous, an investigation by The Intercept has found.

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Dan Milmo / The Guardian: