Posts tagged with "Business Insider"

Elon Musk’s Chinese doppelgänger, Yilong Ma, is suspended from nation’s versions of TikTok, Twitter

May 20, 2022

Elon Musk‘s viral Chinese doppelgänger, Yilong Ma, appears to have been suspended on the Chinese versions of TikTok and Twitter, reports Business Insider. 

At press time, Insider saw that Ma’s page on Douyin—China’s version of TikTok —had been purged of all content. At the same time, a content-restriction notification citing a violation of the platform’s policies was slapped on Ma’s page on Weibo, the country’s Twitter-like platform.

Representatives from Douyin’s parent company, Bytedance, and Weibo’s parent company, Sina, did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Business Insider.

In a response to press queries from Insider, Ma said he had not received an appropriate explanation from Weibo or Douyin on why his account was suspended. At press time, he had not responded to a follow-up request from Insider to verify via video call if he truly resembled Musk.

At press time, Ma’s page on the international version of TikTok, where he is known by the username “Elong Musk,” was still active. Ma has more than 239,000 followers on the platform, with about 3.9 million likes on his videos.

“All platform videos are ported, I only have TikTok. I love you,” said the profile description on Ma’s TikTok page. Ma first went viral on Douyin  in November 2020 for videos that appeared to show a striking resemblance to Musk. He later attracted the attention of Musk when the Tesla CEO quipped in response to a clip of Ma that he, too, may be “partly Chinese.”

Ma subsequently uploaded several videos on TikTok, including one in which he expressed his thoughts on Musk’s high-profile acquisition of Twitter. In this clip, he points excitedly at a printout of the Twitter icon, calling it “my bird!”

Ma’s latest video on TikTok is a photo compilation of him posing in front of a Tesla, captioned: “I want to take my brother for a ride in my Tesla! #elonmusk #tesla.”

Ma’s popularity later led to the Tesla CEO saying he would like to meet Ma in person. “I’d like to meet this guy (if he is real),” Musk tweeted. “Hard to tell with deepfakes these days.”

“I am here. I want very much to see you too! I love you, you are my hero,” Ma wrote in response to the billionaire in a post on Weibo.

Research contact: @BusinessInsider

Sandy Hook families agree to $73 million settlement with Remington Arms

February 17, 2022

The families of nine victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, have settled their lawsuit against Remington Arms—the manufacturer of the rifle that was used in the 2012 mass shooting—in an historic moment they said should put the gun industry and the banks and insurance companies that work with it on notice, reports Business Insider.

“Today is a day of accountability for an industry that has thus far enjoyed operating with immunity and impunity,” Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan was killed in the shooting, told reporters. “And for this I am grateful.”

The settlement was for $73 million, Josh Koskoff, an attorney for the families, said at a news conference on Tuesday, February 15. Four insurers for the gunmaker will cover the costs, Koskoff said.

It marks the first time a gunmaker has been held responsible for a mass shooting in the United States.

“The gun industry’s protection is not bulletproof,” Koskoff said at the news conference.

Koskoff said the biggest feature of the settlement is not even the cash amount, but rather the “hundreds of thousands of documents” the families received through the discovery process that presumably details Remington’s internal decisions about how to market and manufacture what became one of its best-selling products.

The families of victims of the shooting first filed suit against Remington Arms in 2014 over its marketing of the Bushmaster rifle that was used by Adam Lanza to kill 26 young children and educators at the school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Many of the families pointed out that legal experts said their case faced long odds. At issue is a 2005 federal law that offered gun makers and dealers sweeping immunity protections with narrow exceptions. Hockley called the settlement a “crack” in “the gun industry’s impenetrable armor.”

Remington took its legal fight over the situation all the way to the Supreme Court. In 2019, the high court declined to intervene after the Connecticut Supreme Court allowed the suit to proceed. Remington argued that it was protected by the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

The Connecticut court found that the federal law did “not permit advertisements that promote or encourage violent, criminal behavior,” NPR reported at the time.

Koskoff took reporters at the press conference through a lengthy review of Bushmaster’s marketing for the firearm Lanza later used in the massacre.

“They will tell you it’s made for hunting, but where’s the animal in all of this?” Koskoff said pointing to one ad. Another ad in the presentation depicted the firearm with a message to prospective buyers about their “man card.”

Research contact: @BusinessInsider

IKEA is serving 3D-printed vegan meatballs to job candidates during their interviews

Februayry  8, 2022

IKEA is offering aspiring employees the opportunity to interview for a job while sampling a serving of its vegan meatballs—not cooked, but printed by a machine, reports Business Insider.

The never-before-served 3D-printed meatballs are being offered as part of the home furnishing company’s recruitment campaign “Taste the Future,” which launched on Febraury1. The campaign aims to entice a diverse and extraordinary range of tech talent through a unique, tasty, and thought-provoking job interview for selected roles and people.

Indeed, the chain’s world-famous Swedish meatballs are an iconic part of the IKEA offer. Now IKEA is exploring new technologies to make them more sustainable. In line with their commitment to offer 50% plant-based main meals in IKEA restaurants by 2025, IKEA menus already include plant balls as alternatives to its traditional meatballs. The ambition is to make healthier and more sustainable eating easy, desirable and affordable.

According to the company’s website, the machines are designed to recreate the flavor, texture, and appearance of its original, iconic meatballs.

Ikea plans to recruit more than 150 tech workers this year. It plans to do so by offering hopefuls the opportunity to discuss their ideas while snacking on a plant-based version of the popular product.

“We’re looking for down-to-earth data scientists, future architects, cyber guardians, unboxed engineers, and common sense-makers. People who want to co-create a better everyday life at home for the many with thin wallets,” said Karen Rivoire, an IKEA employer brand leader.

While introducing printed snacks to interview processes seems to be a new concept, 3D-printed food is not uncommon. Food can be made quickly by packing ingredients into capsules and printing them according to pre-selected patterns.

Research contact: @BusinessInsider

Netflix is hiring Condé Nast and Time journalists, building a ‘fandom engine’ to market its shows

February  4, 2022

With stories like “The ‘Tinder Swindler’ Might Just Scare You Off Dating Apps” and “The Ultimate Ozark Travel Guide,” Tudum — pronounced like Netflix‘s signature opening sound—reads like many digital lifestyle magazines, with a breezy voice and easily digestible fare.

But the site, launched in beta mode in December following a fan event of the same name in the fall, isn’t an online news outlet: It’s a Netflix marketing platform focused on the streaming service’s own shows and movies —as above, an upcoming true-con documentary and the Jason Bateman drama Ozark, respectively —that has hired a wide and sparkly array of former entertainment journalists, reports Business Insider.

The reporter-turns-publicist or reporter-turns-copywriter pipeline in Hollywood (and other industries) is hardly new, but Netflix has drawn curiosity for luring reporters and editors from seemingly enviable posts at established lifestyle sites and glossy magazines.

The high-profile hires began in 2019 with longtime Vanity Fair editor Krista Smith, whose tenure as a Netflix consultant evolved last spring into a position as director of editorial and publishing. She runs Queue, the streamer’s magazine geared toward Hollywood’s inside-the-industry, awards-focused crowd.

Graydon Carter, the founder of digital magazine Air Mail and previously the 25-year editor of Vanity Fair, told Insider he had read Netflix’s most recent issue of Queue

It’s propaganda in magazine form,” Carter said of Queue. “The oil companies used to do this sort of thing in the ’70s and ’80s: ‘Oil is good.'”

Carter said: “I looked through the magazine and I thought it was reasonably well done but it felt thin and expensive.” He added that it was no surprise that Netflix poached talented editors like his onetime employee Smith.

Netflix’s editorial spree ramped up last summer with Michelle Lee, the six-year editor-in-chief of Condé Nast’s Allure who was named Netflix VP of editorial and publishing, reporting to Chief Marketing Officer Bozoma Saint John. Lee now oversees Tudum, Queue, and Netflix’s social channels, among them, Strong Black Lead and Geeked.

Then there’s former Refinery29 Executive Editor Connie Wang, former The Wrap deputy editor Lawrence Yeev, and former Entertainment Weekly editor-in-chief Henry Goldblatt, who — after a decade at Time Inc. properties EW and People — served as VP of awards at Showtime for the past year before joining Netflix as an executive editor in January.

Netflx is still in hiring mode: The company has listed jobs for a Tudum content researcher, and editorial and publishing managers for Netflix Film, Geeked, and Strong Black Lead.

The streamer’s marketing editorial strategy also now extends to the kids and family space: Netflix Jr. magazine launched on Tuesday, February 1, promising preschool-aged children a “physical magazine your kids can hold in their hands — full of games, stories, activities — everything you need to share in the fun of your child’s favorite Netflix characters.” Netflix, Jr., like Queue, is a print publication. (Tudum is solely online.)

With starting pay of $50 an hour and 40-hour-a-week schedules, the Tudum writers who spoke to Insider generally expressed satisfaction with the gig.

“It boils down to money,” said one writer. “Journalism is struggling, and a lot of us are tired, and they keep cutting staff jobs and budgets; and [we’re] doing more and more and more, and being held to metrics that keep changing. And [if Netflix says], ‘We’re going to pay you a more-than-livable wage and let you continue to write about the things that you write,’ honestly, why wouldn’t you want to do that?”

Research contact: @BusinessInsider

Fire? Flood? Tornado? An all-in-one survival kit is designed to protect a family of four for 72 hours

October 8, 2021

Last year, if there was one thing most of us thought about a lot more than normal, it was survival. The pandemic turned out to be a wake-up call—demonstrating that everything can go south in a matter of days, if not hours, reports Futurism.

As a result, panic buying and hoarding—and photos of empty store shelves—began to appear in the news. And now that things have calmed down (relatively speaking), more people than ever have learned that, when it comes to disaster preparedness, you can’t wait until a disaster strikes.

But, now a New York city-based private company called Judy Kits, founded in 2019 by CEO Simon Huck, is marketing a variety of survival kits and products, such as portable power stations and survival go-bags, depending on your needs and circumstances.

Judy works by providing four levels of kits in addition to content—The Starter ($60), The Mover ($150), The Mover Max ($180), and The Safe ($250)—which are filled with items one may need in an emergency, including First Aid, Warmth, Safety, Food, Water and Tools. Once a Judy kit is registered, a customer receives safety-tips and advice through text communication. Customers can also text real-time emergency questions to Judy for real-time guidance, Forbes reports.

If you want to be prepared for nearly any disaster, the company suggests that The Mover Max could be just what you need. The Mover Max is described on the Judy Kit website as “a versatile, all-in-one kit that is ready to support up to four people for 72 hours.”

The company has packed a whopping 53 survival essentials into a waterproof, easy-to-transport backpack—among them:

  • Tools and first aid: The first section of the backpack includes a variety of essential tools, such as a 3-in-1 radio, charger, and flashlight, duct tape, multitool, biohazard bag, pocket tissues, and hand sanitizers.
  • Food and water: The second section contains 7 food bars and 14 water bottles—each of them boasting a five-year shelf life.
  • Safety and warmth: The backpack also contains a poncho, dust masks, gloves, a couple of emergency whistles, and more.

All of the tools are orange, so that they can be easily located in difficult environments.

“We aim to create a safety movement that empowers people with the tools, resources, and community to be prepared for the unexpected,” Huck said.

Among expert reviewers contacted by Business Insider, Thomas Coyne, a former Helitack firefighter and the founder of Coyne Survival Schools, said, “Getting a starter kit is better than nothing, but I still recommend building your own.”

Personalized kits would include medications, paperwork, and other individual and family necessities. It’s also worth mentioning that he suggested having at least 30 days’ worth of supplies.

Research contact: @futurism

Philip Morris International CEO advocates to ban cigarettes, stop selling Marlboros in UK market

July 27, 2021

Jacek Olczak, the CEO of Philip Morris International—which makes and markets the top-selling brand of cigarettes, Marlboro, outside the United States—says his company will stop selling cigarettes in the United Kingdom within a decade.

Olczak told The Mail on Sunday that the move was part of the company’s goal to become smoke-free and to help end the use of traditional cigarettes, Business Insider reports.

Olczak also called on the UK government to outlaw cigarettes within a decade, comparing them to gas-powered cars, which are set to be barred from being sold in the country starting in 2030, according to The Telegraph.

“We can see the world without cigarettes,” he said. “And actually, the sooner it happens, the better it is for everyone. With the right regulation and information it can happen ten years from now in some countries. And you can solve the problem once and forever.”

Philip Morris International is separate from Philip Morris USA, which makes Marlboro cigarettes in the United States and is a division of the American tobacco corporation Altria. It split from Philip Morris USA in 2008 and recently announced plans to transform into a smoke-free company, as well as its intention to buy the British pharmaceutical company Vectura Group, which makes asthma inhalers.

Anti-smoking groups in the UK criticized that sale, accusing tobacco companies of trying to position themselves as anti-smoking while still selling tobacco products, according to The Guardian.

Smoking kills more than 8 million people a year, according to the World Health Organization.

Research contact: @BusinessInsider

Twitter acquires Scroll, an ad-free news reader

May 5, 2021

Twitter  has announced the acquisition of Scroll, an ad-free news product—and word is that the social media giant expects to pull the service into a new subscription offering being planned, Ad Age reports.

To date, the app, which launched in January 2020, has offered subscribers the opportunity to get ad-free access to hundreds of websites, for $5 per month.

Scroll works with a handful of publishers—among them, Vox Media, BuzzFeed News, Business Insider, The Atlantic, and USA Today—and offers stories from those publishers to paying customers. It does not block ads; rather, it works with its expanding group of publishers to take the ads down in exchange for a slice of the subscription fee.

Scroll keeps 30% of the subscription fee and distributes the other 70% to the participating sites, based on which articles users view.

Scroll will temporarily halt new subscribers while its 13-person team joins the social media company, Twitter said on May 4 in a blog post. Deal terms weren’t disclosed. Scroll, which has offices in New York City and Portland, is backed by investors including Union Square Ventures.

Twitter has spoken publicly about its interest in selling a subscription product, and is considering a number of options. The San Francisco-based company also recently acquired Revue, a newsletter startup, with plans to make money from subscriptions. Twitter envisions the two products working together, and says users may one day pay to read newsletters or stories from certain publishers directly on Twitter without any ads.

“For every other platform, journalism is dispensable,” wrote Scroll CEO Tony Haile in a blog post. “If journalism were to disappear tomorrow their business would carry on much as before. Twitter is the only large platform whose success is deeply intertwined with a sustainable journalism ecosystem.”

The social media company is looking for ways to expand business outside of digital advertising, which makes up the bulk of revenue. Advertising can be inconsistent and Twitter said last week that ad sales got off to a slow start in 2021 thanks in part to civil unrest in the United States and delayed public events, like Hollywood’s Academy Awards presentation. A subscription business would offer a more steady and predictable revenue stream. Scroll is Twitter’s sixth deal in the past six months.

Research contact: @adage

SEC charges Hollywood actor with operating $690M Ponzi scheme based on fake Netflix deals

April 8, 2021

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has obtained an asset freeze against Los Angeles-based actor Zachary Horwitz (also known by the stage name Zach Avery) in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme that raised over $690 million, Business Insider reports.

The U.S. regulator said in a Tuesday statement that Horwitz allegedly lied to investors that he and his company were buying film rights and reselling them to Netflix and HBO. In reality, his company had no business relationship with the entertainment giants and relied on fake emails to fool investors.

According to the SEC statement, Horowitz and his company, 1inMM Productions, promised investors returns in excess of 35%, and for years paid supposed returns on earlier investments using funds from new investments.

“We allege that Horwitz promised extremely high returns and made them seem plausible by invoking the names of two well-known entertainment companies and fabricating documents,” said Michele Wein Layne, director of the SEC’s Los Angeles Regional Office.

In addition, Business Insider reports, Horwitz misappropriated investor funds for his personal us,—using victims’ money to purchase a $6 million property in Beverlywood, California.

The US Justice Department separately issued a statement saying that the FBI arrested Horwitz on Tuesd, April 6. Horwitz was criminally charged with raising $227 million over the course of about five years that has yet to be repaid as part of a scheme in which he claimed he would acquire rights to films that Netflix and HBO would then distribute abroad, particularly in Latin America, the statement said.

Research contact: @BusinessInsider

You can use Yelp to report businesses that aren’t enforcing social distancing and mask use

January 13, 2021

Businesses that do not enforce social distancing or that do not require their employees to wear masks now can be reported in a new Yelp update that launched on Tuesday, January 12, Business Insider divulged this week.

Yelp users can specify what type of pandemic precautions a business is—or is not—taking by answering survey questions on the business’ page or through the edit button on a company’s COVID-19 updates section.

What’s more, businesses on Yelp will either receive a green check mark or orange question mark to indicate whether they are following COVID-19 guidelines.

Multiple customers must report a business within 28 days for it to appear on the company’s page.

Yelp said that every decision the company has made to date to prioritize COVID-19 information on its site has only increased consumer interest.

“This new update further highlights how businesses have adapted to keep their customers safe, and aims to instill confidence in consumers to continue supporting local businesses,” Yelp’s Head of Consumer Product, Akhil Ramesh, said in the announcement.

Businesses with multiple locations only will receive feedback based on each individual location—and will not be rated overall. Yelp also plans to send users notifications when a company updates its COVID-19 information.

The review aggregation site has actively updated coronavirus data on the app since the pandemic started. In June, Yelp launched its coronavirus safety section where companies were able to update their pages with their own COVID-19 information.

Research contact: @businessinsider

More than 170 top U.S. business leaders urge Congress to certify Biden’s Electoral College win

January 6, 2021

More than 170 American business leaders signed a letter on January 4 urging Congress to certify the result of the presidential election without delay, Business Insider reports.

Signatories included Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO David Solomon; Microsoft President Brad Smith;  BlackRock CEO Laurence Fink; Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla; James Zelter, a co-president of Apollo Global Management; and Lyft CEO Logan Green.

Congress is scheduled to certify the result on Wednesday, January 6—thereby confirming President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. President Donald Trump has so far refused to acknowledge that he lost the election.

The Partnership for New York City, a nonprofit organization and major business advocacy group, published the letter on Monday. “This presidential election has been decided and it is time for the country to move forward,” the letter said. “President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have won the Electoral College and the courts have rejected challenges to the electoral process.”

According to Business Insider, the leaders added that “attempts to thwart or delay this process run counter to the essential tenets of our democracy.”

Biden and Harris deserve respect and bipartisan support as America faces “the worst health and economic crises in modern history,” they said.

The letter said that Congress should certify the electoral vote and that “there should be no further delay in the orderly transfer of power.”

But at least 140 Republican House members are planning to vote against certification, two representatives told CNN last week.

Trump and other Republicans have tried to overturn the result of the election, pushing false claims of voter fraud.

Over the weekend, Trump pleaded with Georgia’s secretary of state in an hourlong phone call to “find” additional votes to overturn Biden’s victory in the state.

Biden won the 2020 presidential election with 306 electoral votes, flipping five states that voted for Trump in 2016.

Research contact: @businessinsider