Posts tagged with "Twitter"

Apple ends production of its iconic iPod

May 12, 2022

RIP to the iconic iPod. Apple announced  on Tuesday, May 10, that it’s discontinuing the iPod Touch—the last iPod model produced by the company—marking an end to the gadget that helped shape the music listening experience for 20 years, reports NBC News.

“Music has always been part of our core at Apple, and bringing it to hundreds of millions of users in the way iPod did impacted more than just the music industry; it also redefined how music is discovered, listened to, and shared,” Greg Joswiak, Apple’s SVP of Worldwide Marketing, said in a statement.

The company first introduced the iPod in 2001—boasting about the device’s “1,000 CD-quality songs” capacity. It launched the iPod Touch, which looked like an iPhone, in 2007.

Apple introduced the most recent iPod Touch model in 2019. With an Internet connection, the latest iPod Touch can send iMessages and make FaceTime calls. Apple said the iPod Touch will still be available for purchase online and at Apple Store locations “while supplies last.”

Many on Twitter mourned the product, which one person noted was the first gadget he ever owned.

“You changed the game,” one user wrote.

“Thank you for making Music and consumer electronics fun!” said another Twitter user, who linked to images of the iPod over time. One image included the iPod ads that featured dark silhouettes, holding iPods in their hands, dancing to upbeat music with bright backgrounds.

“Thank you for 20 years of service,” wrote one Twitter user. “We still miss that click wheel and the tactile buttons.”

Research contact: @NBCNews

Pinterest will remove content deemed climate-change misinformation

April 7, 2022

The social media platform, Pinterest, is rolling out new guidelines prohibiting posts that it says contains misinformation about climate change, as it continues to grapple with curbing the spread of false and misleading information, reports The Wall Street Journal. 

The social-media platform, where users post anything, from photos and links to recipes and home-decor ideas, said on Wednesday, April 6, that, going forward, it will remove content from users or advertisers that it deems as misinformation about the existence or impact of climate change.

Specifically, Pinterest is aiming to eliminate content that it says misrepresents scientific data; and false or misleading findings about public-safety emergencies, including natural disasters.

“For years, we’ve been working on our misinformation policy and defining what type of harmful content does not have a place on Pinterest,” said Sarah Bromma, Pinterest’s head of Policy. “Harmful misinformation does not. It is not additive to a positive inspiring experience on the platform.”

Pinterest said it worked with the climate-change experts to develop the policy based on common misinformation themes they’ve seen across media platforms. It will use automated systems and moderators to take action on content that violates the new guidelines, Bromma said. Pinterest will allow users to flag content that will get reviewed as well, she said.

Pinterest, founded in 2010, first focused on photos when it launched. More recently, the company has been pivoting to a focus on video, commerce, and creators. Last year, it was the subject of takeover rumors. PayPal had been in talks to buy the company but ultimately backed off of a potential $40-billion-plus takeover after its shareholders balked.

The policy change at Pinterest follows a report earlier this week by climate experts tapped by the United Nations that found that countries must make major, rapid shifts away from fossil fuels and to renewable energy to meet the goals in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

An earlier report found that greenhouse-gas emissions due to human activity may have irreversibly changed the climate in some ways.

Pinterest joins other tech companies that have taken steps to limit the spread of false information on climate change.

Alphabet’s Google said last October that it would no longer allow digital ads bought on its platform to appear next to online content that denies climate change—a ban that will also apply to YouTubeTwitter launched a program last November that created hubs users can find under various tabs on its messaging platform.

Meta PlatformsFacebook also added new guidelines in November that use fact-checking organizations to determine if climate-change content is false. If it is false, Facebook reduces its distribution so fewer people see it and applies warning labels to the posts.

Research contact: @WSJ

Sotheby’s suddenly canceled a $30 million NFT auction. Was it a ‘rug pull’ or were there no bidders?

February 28, 2022

Sotheby’s big NFT auction went from $30 million to zero in the blink of an eye on Wednesday night, February 23, reports Fortune magazine.

What exactly are NFTs? An NFT, which stands for non-fungible token, is a unique unit of data employing technology that allows digital content—from videos to songs to images—to become logged and authenticated on cryptocurrency blockchains, primarily Ethereum, Artnews says. Once content is logged onto the blockchain, every transaction from transfers to sales is recorded on-chain, creating an easily accessible ledger of provenance and price history. The main impact of NFTs is making it easy to own and sell digital content.

The auction house had planned the sale of a collection of 104 non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for up to an estimated $30 million at its New York City location on Wednesday evening. But 25 minutes after the auction was scheduled to begin, the consignor backed out of the sale, tweeting that he decided to “hodl,” or hold, on to the digital asset instead.

The anonymous collector who goes by 0x650d on Twitter then posted an aging 2015 Drake meme.

In the crypto world, Fortune notes, rug pulls or rugging are when a developer abandons a project after taking an investor’s funds.

The last-minute withdrawal of the collection of blockchain-based pixelated collectibles, otherwise known as CryptoPunks, shocked the Sotheby’s sale room according to a report by The New York Times, and deepened the valley between highbrow art institutions and the cyberpunk culture surrounding blockchain.

Sotheby’s spokesman Derek Parsons said in a statement on Wednesday night that “the lot was withdrawn prior to the sale following discussions with the consignor.” Other specialists told The New York Times that auction withdrawals typically happen when there are legal concerns or a fear that the reserve price won’t be met.

People in the NFT community are hurt and worried about credibility damage.

Others argue that Sotheby’s wasn’t rugged at all, but instead the collector 0x650d couldn’t clear the minimum reserve so he pulled out to save face.

Farokh.eth tweeted afterward, “It was embarrassing. For all of us in the space.”

On Reddit, user RdudeDdude posted, “It’s annoying to see how ‘successful’ these scammers seem to be. Regardless of whether they will get caught, it’s bad publicity.”

User XnoonefromnowhereX quickly retorted, “No one scammed here that I can see. Just a loss of face for Sotheby’s and this guy reinforcing some negative stereotypes about crypto culture.”

Others think this is a time of bubbles imploding. Still others made references to the approaching doomsday and whether or not any of this matters at all.

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Providence Journal: In addition to Trump, GOP House candidate sought help from Russia in 2016

February 23, 2022

H. Russell Taub, the onetime Republican congressional candidate who was imprisoned for defrauding political donors three years ago, illegally sought help from Russian intelligence in his failed bid to unseat U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island) in 2016, the Federal Election Commission has found, reports The Providence Journal.

A few months before the November 2016 general election, Taub sent a direct message to a Twitter account known to be used by the GRU, Russia’s main intelligence agency, according to a recently released FEC filing.

In the message to Guccifer 2.0, Taub asked for a list of Republican donors, saying, “I could use your help to defeat Cicilline.” Taub provided an email address and later received a dossier that included opposition research reports, polling data and other information about his incumbent Democratic opponent in the 1st Congressional District race. 

Taub, 33, violated federal campaign law “by knowingly soliciting, accepting or receiving a prohibited in-kind foreign national contribution in the form of opposition research related to the candidate’s opponent,” the FEC concluded.

Taub admitted wrongdoing as part of a settlement agreement with the FEC, but he was excused from paying a $31,000 fine due to “financial hardship” and the restitution he must pay for his previous conviction. If he’s found to have misrepresented his finances, the fine will be reinstated.

In 2019, after pleading guilty to wire fraud and campaign-finance violations, Taub was sentenced to three years in federal prison and ordered to repay $1.1 million that he took through unregistered political action committees. Taub admitted to raising $1.6 million in donations and using more than $1 million of the money on cigars, meals, clothes, airfare, strip clubs, and escorts, among other personal uses.

The investigation came after a Washington ethics watchdog filed a complaint against Taub with the FEC, alleging his Keeping America in Republican Control Political Action Committee was a “scam” violating campaign-finance reporting requirements.

The recent FEC filing mentions Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The investigation determined that “[the GRU] hacked the computers and email accounts of various organizations related to the 2016 U.S. election, including the [Democratic National Committee] and [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee], and disseminated stolen materials through fictitious online personas, including Guccifer 2.0,” the filing said.

The documents sent to Taub from Guccifer 2.0 were “apparently stolen from the GRU’s various election-related hacking targets,” the FEC said. 

Federal law prohibits any “foreign national” from directly or indirectly making a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value in connection with a federal, state, or local election. It also prohibits any person from knowingly soliciting, accepting or receiving any such contribution or donation from a foreign national.

According to prison records, Taub was released on January 13. A lawyer representing him in the FEC case, and Cicilline’s office, did not respond to requests for comment on the settlement.

Research contact: @projo

Adidas’ new ad: Why are we so outraged by breasts?

February 17, 2022

If you’ve been scrolling through social media, you might have seen something slightly unusual pop up on AdidasTwitter feed. The brand’s latest print ad shows a grid of various different types of breasts, reports Breaking News.

“We believe women’s breasts in all shapes and sizes deserve support and comfort,” says the caption. “Which is why our new sports bra range contains 43 styles, so everyone can find the right fit for them.”

It’s not only on social media: Adidas has also put billboards up for the whole world to see. It’s a bold move—particularly, in light of the fact that boobs remain relatively taboo in society.

Just think, Adidas wouldn’t have been able to post the ad on its Instagram page, where female-presenting nipples are banned (but, inexplicably, male nipples seem to be okay).

And the Twitter comments show just how controversial bare breasts still are for some people. One commenter claimed an image like this “can corrupt someone,” while someone else called it “unprofessional,” and another wrote: “I will never buy another product after this.”

The question is, why? It’s by no means an overtly sexual post. It just shows a variety of breasts and openly celebrates their differences.

While Adidas has received a lot of flack for its choice of imagery, there are also plenty of voices of approval. One tweet calls it “amazing,” saying: “It’s a good reminder that those beauty standards set those days are just trash and every body is perfectly imperfect!”

Sure, some people might say it’s a strange way to advertise sports bras–with not a bra in sight—but Adidas has certainly caught our attention and, hopefully, made some people reconsider how they think about boobs. Because what really is the fuss all about?

Research contact: @BreakingNews

Jill Biden decorates White House lawn for Valentine’s Day

February 15, 2022

First Lady Jill Biden is at it again with Valentine’s Day decorations. This year, she’s celebrating with life-size displays of faith, hope, and love—and some animal appreciation, as well, reports NBC’s Today show.

Overnight, large, hand-painted, wooden artwork in the shape of the Biden’s new puppy, Commander, and new cat, Willow, appeared on the North Lawn of the White House.

There is also a jumbo heart inscribed with 1 Corinthians 13:13: “Three things will last forever, faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”

NBC News White House correspondent Kelly O’Donnell shared photos of the display on Twitter.

But the love doesn’t stop there. There is also a Valentine’s Day display inside the East Wing of the White House. FLOTUS organized a display of 42 “heart-work” created by the second-grade classes of the Washington, DC 2021 Teacher of the Year, Mr. Alejandro Diasgranados, of Aiton Elementary School.

Twenty of those students were invited to visit the White House on Monday, February 14, and tour the State Floor.

“The First Lady is known for her sense of humor, love of surprises, and celebrating traditions, especially with her family, Valentine’s Day has always been one of her favorite holidays,” her office said in a statement to NBC News at the time.

“Sending messages of healing, unity, hope, and compassion, this is her Valentine to the country.”

Research contact: @TODAYshow

Layla the goldendoodle goes viral for her uncanny resemblance to Will Ferrell

February 10, 2022

Layla the goldendoodle has gone viral and, frankly, it’s for all the right reasons: The Houston doodle has taken Twitter by storm after her human, Twitter user @thomasthesquare, posted a photo of Layla in the car with the caption, “Someone said my dog looks like Will Ferrell and I can’t unsee it now,” reports Daily Paws.

se, Layla isn’t the first time Will Farrell has found a doppelganger. Back in 2014 someone pointed out the uncanny resemblance between the SNL alum and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, which culminated in a drum-off on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. And while that resulted in a nationally televised payoff, it’s not cuter than an adorable goldendoodle.

Thomasthesquare’s original tweet has been liked more than 264,100 times and earned 23,100 retweets, making Layla a star and prompting people to post photos of their own celebrity lookalike dogs and even casting a new Pixar film.

We don’t know about you, but we’re definitely here for Celebrity Dog Twitter. Keep ’em coming.

Research contact: @dailypaws

Controversy: Starbucks fires union leaders In Memphis

February 10, 2022

Starbucks has fired several workers in Memphis, Tennessee, who were part of the growing unionization effort that’s spreading quickly throughout the coffee chain, reports HuffPost.

The campaign, Starbucks Workers Unitedsaid on February 8 on Twitter that the company had canned “virtually the entire union leadership in Memphis”—calling it a case of retaliation for their union support. The group said the total number of firings came to seven, or about one-third of the workers at the store.

“The arc of Starbucks’ union-busting is long, but it bends toward losing,” the campaign wrote.

Reggie Borges, a Starbucks spokesperson, said the company did not fire workers for organizing, but for violating safety and security protocols. He said workers opened the locked store after close of business without permission and let nonemployees in.

Several workers recently gave MWC-TV, the NBC affiliate in Memphis, an in-store interview about the union campaign.

Richard Bensinger, a longtime organizer involved in the Starbucks campaign, said on Twitter that the workers were fired “for talking to local TV reporters in their store!”

Borges said he wanted to make it “unequivocally clear” that the company didn’t fire the workers for talking to the media. “To suggest that is to completely ignore the clear violations of known policies that these partners openly acknowledged they were aware of as part of this investigation,” he said in an email.

But Nikki Taylor, a shift supervisor at the store, said in a statement through the union that she was “fired by Starbucks today for ‘policies’ that I’ve never heard of before.” She called the firing a “clear attempt by Starbucks to retaliate.”

The Starbucks workers have been organizing with the union Workers United, which plans to file unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board over the firings. The union would argue that the workers were illegally targeted because of their union support.

In a statement, Starbucks Workers United called the firings the “most blatant act of union-busting yet.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

The New York Times buys red-hot digital game, Wordle

February 2, 2022

The New York Times has acquired Wordle, the explosively popular game that gives players six chances to guess a five-letter word daily, reports CNN.

The Times, which announced the purchase of the game on Monday, January 31, is adding the puzzle to its portfolio of word games—among them, The CrossWord, The Mini, and Spelling Bee. As of December 2021, The New York Times had over one million Games subscriptions.

According to the statement, “The Times remains focused on becoming the essential subscription for every English-speaking person seeking to understand and engage with the world. New York Times Games are a key part of that strategy …. Wordle will now play a part in that daily experience, giving millions more people around the world another reason to turn to The Times to meet their daily news and life needs.”

Josh Wardle, a Brooklyn-based software engineer formerly at Reddit, released the game in October 2021—and it quickly became a cultural phenomenon. Millions of people now play Wordle every day, according to the Times.

In his own statement released on Twitter Monday, Wardle wrote of the game’s success, “I’d be lying if I said this hasn’t been a little overwhelming. After all, I am just one person, and it is important to me that, as Wordle grows, it continues to provide a great experience to everyone.”

According to CNN, Wordle, purchased for a price the Times described as being “in the low seven figures,” will initially remain free to new and existing players. “We don’t have set plans for the game’s future,” Jordan Cohen, executive director at The Times, said in an email. “At this time, we’re focused on creating added value to our existing audience, while also introducing our existing games to an all new audience that has demonstrated their love for word games.”

Wardle is working with The Times to ensure that, once the game moves to the paper’s site, existing players’ wins and streaks are preserved, according to his statement.

Research contact: @CNN

Cheney, Kinzinger call out Trump over Pence comments

February 1, 2022

Representatives Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) called out former President Donald Trump after he suggested that former Vice President Mike Pence should have overturned the results of the 2020 presidential election, reports The Hill.

Cheney and Kinzinger—who are the only two Republicans serving on the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol—characterized the ex-president’s comments as un-American.

Cheney outlined a series of Trump’s recent statements in a tweet on Monday, January 31— including his admission that “he was attempting to overturn the election”— before writing, “He’d do it all again if given the chance.”

The Wyoming Republican, who is facing a Trump-backed primary challenger, also noted that Trump previously said he would consider pardoning individuals charged in connection to the January 6 riot if he runs for president again and wins another term in the White House.

Kinzinger on Sunday said Trump’s statement earlier that day was “an admission” and “massively un-American.” He then offered an ultimatum to GOP leaders, calling on them to “pick a side” between Trump or the Constitution.

“There is no middle on defending our nation anymore,” he added in a tweet.

Trump in a statement on Sunday pointed to a congressional effort to reform the Electoral College Act as proof that Pence “did have the right to change the outcome” of the 2020 presidential election.

The former president said Pence “unfortunately” did not “exercise that power,” adding “he could have overturned the Election!” 

Pence’s role in overseeing the certification of the Electoral College vote was, as it is for all vice presidents, largely ceremonial. He presided over a joint session of Congress on January 6 where he recognized GOP senators and House members who objected to the results to the voting count in specific states. That set up votes by the House and Senate to consider the objections.

Trump has long argued falsely that Pence had more power over the process and the mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6 did so thinking they could end the

The former president’s statement comes as the congressional effort to reform the Electoral College Act is picking up momentum, with some lawmakers seeing changes to the archaic law as a compromise between both parties on election reform; which Democrats have been pushing for on the federal level in the aftermath of the 2020 election.

The Electoral College Act was enacted in 1887 and outlines how the Electoral College results are counted. A bipartisan group of senators met last week to discuss changes to the statute.

Research contact: @thehill