Category: Twitter

June 7, 2019 Off

Weighing Peloton’s opportunity and risks ahead of IPO

By Jill T Frey

Exercise tech company Peloton filed confidentially for IPO this week, and already the big question is whether their last private valuation at $4 billion might be too rich for the appetites of public market investors. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons leading up to the as-yet revealed market debut date.

Risk factors

The biggest thing to pay attention to when it comes time for Peloton to actually pull back the curtains and provide some more detailed info about its customers in its S-1. To date, all we really know is that Peloton has “more than 1 million users,” and that’s including both users of its hardware and subscribers to its software.

The mix is important – how many of these are actually generating recurring revenue (vs. one-time hardware sales) will be a key gauge. MRR is probably going to be more important to prospective investors … Read the rest

June 3, 2019 Off

Twitter bags deep learning talent behind London startup, Fabula AI

By Jill T Frey

Twitter has just announced it has picked up London-based Fabula AI. The deep learning startup has been developing technology to try to identify online disinformation by looking at patterns in how fake stuff vs genuine news spreads online — making it an obvious fit for the rumor-riled social network.

Social media giants remain under increasing political pressure to get a handle on online disinformation to ensure that manipulative messages don’t, for example, get a free pass to fiddle with democratic processes.

Twitter says the acquisition of Fabula will help it build out its internal machine learning capabilities — writing that the UK startup’s “world-class team of machine learning researchers” will feed an internal research group it’s building out, led by Sandeep Pandey, its head of ML/AI engineering.

This research group will focus … Read the rest

June 1, 2019 Off

Twitter takes down ‘a large number’ of Chinese-language accounts ahead of Tiananmen Square anniversary

By Jill T Frey

Twitter has suspended a large number of Chinese-language user accounts, including those belonging to critics of China’s government. It seems like a particularly ill-timed move, occurring just days before thirtieth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre on June 4.

“A large number of Chinese @Twitter accounts are being suspended today,” wrote Yaxue Cao, founder and editor of the U.S.-based publication China Change. “They ‘happen’ to be accounts critical of China, both inside and outside China.”

Cao then went on to highlight a number of the suspended accounts in a Twitter thread.

The Chinese government reportedly began cracking down late last year on people who post criticism on TwitterRead the rest

May 15, 2019 Off

White House refuses to endorse the ‘Christchurch Call’ to block extremist content online

By Jill T Frey

The United States will not join other nations in endorsing the “Christchurch Call” — a global statement that commits governments and private companies to actions that would curb the distribution of violent and extremist content online.

“While the United States is not currently in a position to join the endorsement, we continue to support the overall goals reflected in the Call. We will continue to engage governments, industry, and civil society to counter terrorist content on the Internet,” the statement from the White House reads.

The “Christchurch Call” is a non-binding statement drafted by foreign ministers from New Zealand and France meant to push internet platforms to take stronger measures against the distribution of violent and extremist content. The initiative originated as an attempt to respond to the March killings of 51 Muslim worshippers in Christchruch and the subsequent spread of the video recording of the massacre and … Read the rest

May 14, 2019 Off

After year-long lockout, Twitter is finally giving people their accounts back

By Jill T Frey

Twitter is finally allowing a number of locked users to regain control of their accounts once again. Around a  year after Europe’s new privacy laws (GDPR) rolled out, Twitter began booting users out of their accounts if it suspected the account’s owner was underage — that is, younger than 13. But the process also locked out many users who said they were now old enough to use Twitter’s service legally.

While Twitter’s rules had stated that users under 13 can’t create accounts or post tweets, many underage users did so anyway thanks to lax enforcement of the policy. The GDPR regulations, however, forced Twitter to address the issue.

But even if the Twitter users were old enough to use the service when the regulations went into effect in May 2018, Twitter still had to figure out a technical solution to delete all the content published to its platform when those … Read the rest

May 14, 2019 Off

Twitter’s new Developer Labs offers beta access to rebuilt APIs

By Jill T Frey

Twitter is finally modernizing its core APIs after seven years of stagnation, and it wants early feedback from developers. That’s why today it’s launching Twitter Developer Labs, which app makers can sign up for to experiment with pre-release beta APIs. First up will be re-engineered versions of GET /Tweets and GET /Users APIs. The first functional changes will come next, including real-time streaming access to the Twitter firehose with the expansion of tweet filtering plus impressions and engagement metrics that were previously only available in its expensive enterprise API tiers. Twitter will also be adding newer features like Polls to the API.

Giving developers longer lead-times and more of a voice when it comes to rebuilding its APIs could help Twitter get more app makers paying for its premium API ($339 to $2,899 per month for just one specific API) and enterprise API tiers (even more expensive). It might also … Read the rest

May 7, 2019 Off

Daily Crunch: Twitter tweaks Retweets

By Jill T Frey

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Twitter gives Retweets an upgrade

Twitter will now allow users to add a photo, video or GIF to a Retweet, instead of only text. The feature is live on iOS, Android and Twitter’s mobile website.

Though a seemingly minor upgrade, the addition could significantly increase the amount of media that’s shared on Twitter.

2. Microsoft launches Visual Studio Online, an online code editor

The emphasis here is on Visual Studio Online being a “companion.” It’s not meant to become a developer’s default environment but instead as a way to make a quick edit, review a pull request or join a Live Share session.

3. Google refreshes Android Auto with new features and a darker lookRead the rest

May 1, 2019 Off

Tesla sued in wrongful death lawsuit that alleges Autopilot caused crash

By Jill T Frey

The family of Walter Huang, an Apple engineer who died after his Tesla Model X with Autopilot engaged crashed into a highway median, is suing Tesla. The State of California Department of Transportation is also named in the lawsuit.

The wrongful death lawsuit, filed in California Superior Court, County of Santa Clara, alleges that errors by Tesla’s Autopilot driver assistance system caused the crash that killed Huang on March 23, 2018. Huang, who was 38, died when his 2017 Tesla Model X hit a highway barrier on Highway 101 in Mountain View, Calif.

The lawsuit alleges that Tesla’s Autopilot driver assistance system misread lane lines, failed to detect the concrete media, failed to brake and instead accelerated into the median.

A Tesla spokesperson declined to comment on the lawsuit.

“Mrs. Huang lost her husband, and two children lost their father because Tesla is beta testing its Autopilot software on live … Read the rest

April 30, 2019 Off

USV closes on $450M for new funds, adds two partners

By Jill T Frey

Union Square Ventures, a venture capital firm known for early bets in Twitter, Etsy and Tumblr, has $450 million in capital commitments to plow into the next generation of technology startups.

The capital, which comes in just above the $429 million USV filed to raise earlier this year, is divided across two new funds: $200 million for its 2019 Core Fund and $250 million for the 2019 Opportunity Fund. The two funds are larger than their predecessors, which both closed on $175 million in 2016.

USV is expanding its partnership to manage the new funds. The firm announced today the hiring of Gillian Munson as a partner. Munson was most recently the chief financial officer at XO Media, a business responsible for several brands, including wedding planning site The Knot. Additionally, USV has promoted Nick Grossman, the firm’s former general manager of special projects, to partner. Grossman focuses on cryptonetworks … Read the rest

April 29, 2019 Off

Twitter announces new content deals with Univision, The Wall Street Journal and others

By Jill T Frey

Twitter is unveiling a number of new content deals and renewals tonight at its NewFronts event for digital advertisers.

It’s only been two years since Twitter first joined the NewFronts. At the time, coverage suggested that executives saw the company’s video strategy as a crucial part of turning things around, but since then, the spotlight has moved on to other things (like rethinking the fundamental social dynamics of the service).

And yet the company is still making video deals, with 13 of them being unveiled tonight. That’s a lot of announcements, though considerably less than the 30 revealed at last year’s event. The company notes that it has already announced a number of partnerships this year, including one with the NBA.

“When you collaborate with the top publishers in the world, you can develop incredibly innovative ways to elevate premium content and bring new dimensions to … Read the rest