June 24, 2023, 10:50 AM

Top News

Mark Matousek / The Information:
Social media startup IRL is shutting down after an investigation by its board concluded that 95% of its claimed 20M MAUs were “automated or from bots”  —  Last year, the CEO of messaging app IRL repeatedly said it had 20 million monthly active users, who chatted about shared interests and planned real-world events together.
Alex Heath / The Verge:
Sources: Meta is planning to release its Twitter competitor in mid-July and is pitching big-name celebrities to join a platform that will be “sanely” run  —  Mark Zuckerberg is the overwhelming favorite to beat Elon Musk in a cage match.  Will it actually happen?
Tom Warren / The Verge:
At the FTC v. Microsoft hearing, Phil Spencer says Microsoft bought ZeniMax for $7.5B to stop Starfield and other Bethesda games becoming PlayStation exclusives  —  Microsoft's Xbox chief has revealed one of the key reasons behind the acquisition of Bethesda parent company ZeniMax: potential Starfield PlayStation exclusivity.
Rani Molla / Vox:
Research: 81% of tech companies with under 5K employees allow remote work or have only remote options, while just 26% with 25K+ employees are fully flexible  —  How small tech companies are using remote work to compete with the big guys.  —  It used to be that Big Tech companies like Google …
Manish Singh / TechCrunch:
Andy Jassy says Amazon plans to invest another $15B in India by 2030, mostly for AWS expansion; in May, AWS announced plans to invest $12.7B in the country  —  Amazon plans to more than double its investment in India in the next seven years, the e-commerce group said, joining a roster …
The Economic Times:
Nico Grant / New York Times:
NetBlocks: at least five Russian telcos block Google News and several other ISPs are reducing access, as Russia's feud with a mercenary leader intensifies  —  At least five telecommunications companies have blocked the service, which aggregates news from various sources, according to an analysis from NetBlocks, an internet observatory.
How military-grade AI, developed by US defense contractors for intelligence, has been repurposed to combat labor organizing, find internal leakers, and more  —  Spycraft developed by defense contractors are now being sold to employers to identify labor organizing.  Regulators must step up to protect workers' privacy.
More: PoliticoTwitter: @1roboter, @willie_agnew, @codepo8, and @backchnnl
Benj Edwards / Ars Technica:
Midjourney adds a “zoom out” feature that builds out a larger scene around images generated within Midjourney, simulating zooming out with a camera lens  —  Midjourney v5.2 features camera-like zoom control over framing, more realism.  —  On Thursday, Midjourney unveiled version 5.2 …
Zack Whittaker / TechCrunch:
A US federal court sentences UK citizen Joseph James O'Connor to five years in prison for his role in the July 2020 Twitter hack affecting high-profile accounts  —  Prosecutors called for the British hacker to serve at least seven years  —  Three years after one of the most visible hacks …

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