Techmeme
December 7, 2023, 8:55 PM

Top News

Kyle Wiggers / TechCrunch:
Users say Google's Gemini Pro is loath to comment on potentially controversial news topics, fails to get basic facts right, and struggles with some coding tasks  —  This week, Google took the wraps off of Gemini, its new flagship generative AI model meant to power a range of products …
Parmy Olson / Bloomberg:
Google's Gemini video demo of its multimodal capabilities wasn't carried out in real time or in voice; the model was shown still images and given text prompts  —  The tech giant's latest AI model is only marginally better than the one from OpenAI that's been out for eight months.
Wall Street Journal:
The US and UK governments jointly accuse Russia's FSB of orchestrating a wide-ranging, global hacking campaign since 2015 to interfere in British elections  —  The cyberattacks also allegedly took aim at U.S. energy networks and American spies  —  LONDON—The U.S. and U.K. governments …
Wall Street Journal:
Sources: Montenegro Justice Minister Andrej Milovic has privately said he plans to extradite Do Kwon to the US rather than South Korea to face criminal charges  —  Alexander Osipovich and Marko Vešović  —  Montenegro's top justice official has privately said he plans …
Wall Street Journal:
Microsoft says Russia-aligned propagandists duped at least seven Western celebrities via Cameo into recording videos used to attack Ukraine's President Zelensky  —  Microsoft found that celebrities were tricked into making videos used to attack Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
Maxwell Zeff / Gizmodo:
X rolls out xAI's snarky, anti-woke chatbot Grok to X Premium+ users; X CEO Linda Yaccarino describes Grok as “the ultimate ride or die”  —  Select users with X Premium Plus received access to the AI starting Thursday.  —  Elon Musk's snarky, anti-woke chatbot, Grok …
Jay Peters / The Verge:
Sony removing Discovery content due to licensing “arrangements” and unexpectedly banning PSN accounts are timely reminders that users don't own digital content  —  In less than a week, Sony has given us two timely reminders of the tenuousness of digital “ownership” — and both reminders involve things on PlayStation.
Wall Street Journal:
Jay Peters / The Verge:
Meta rolls out tags on Threads, offering support for multiple words and spaces, and no # symbol; posts can only have one tag and the tag view is the search view  —  Tags — basically hashtags with a twist — are now rolling out globally on Threads, Instagram head Adam Mosseri announced on Thursday.
Ben Weiss / Fortune:
Block opens preorders for its self-custodial Bitcoin hardware wallet Bitkey in 95+ countries, coming to the US in early 2024 for $150, after a beta in June 2023  —  Block, the payments company led by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, announced on Thursday that Bitkey, a physical device …
Jay Peters / The Verge:
Meta rolls out end-to-end encryption to Messenger by default for one-on-one chats and calls, fulfilling a yearslong promise; E2EE for group chats remains opt-in  —  Meta is now rolling out end-to-end encryption for one-on-one chats and calls on Messenger and Facebook, finally fulfilling …
Todd Spangler / Variety:
Spotify says CFO Paul Vogel plans to leave on March 31, 2024, and launches a search for a successor; Daniel Ek wants a CFO “with a different mix of experiences”  —  Spotify said chief financial officer Paul Vogel will leave the company next year and that it has launched a search to find a replacement.
Carly Page / TechCrunch:
Researchers detail AutoSpill, a flaw in Android that can expose users' saved credentials from 1Password, LastPass, Keeper, and other popular password managers  —  A number of popular mobile password managers are inadvertently spilling user credentials due to a vulnerability in the autofill functionality of Android apps.
Duncan Riley / SiliconANGLE:
Microsoft announces a major security leadership reshuffle as part of its Secure Future Initiative, replacing Bret Arsenault with Igor Tsyganskiy as Global CISO  —  Microsoft Corp. has announced a significant shakeup of its security team, with its long-time leader being put into a new role …
Emily Nicolle / Bloomberg:
Robinhood launches a commission-free crypto trading app, supporting 25+ cryptocurrencies, in the EU, a week after the company launched stock trading in the UK  —  - More than 25 tokens available to trade for free at launch  — Launch comes as Bitcoin's price recovers to 19-month high
Financial Times:
A profile of Chinese whistleblower Tang Mingfang, who is still paying the price for calling out injustices at a Foxconn factory making Amazon devices in 2019  —  Four years after Tang Mingfang called out the injustices he witnessed at a Foxconn factory in China, nothing has changed — except for him
Erin Griffith / New York Times:
PitchBook estimates that at least ~3,200 private venture-backed US startups, which had raised a combined $27.2B in VC funding, have gone out of business in 2023  —  After staving off collapse by cutting costs, many young tech companies are out of options, fueling a cash bonfire.

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