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Threads: The New Time-Waster and Silicon: The New Currency
Friday, July 14th, 2023
1. TikTok's $100 Million Lobbying Only "Slows a Bit" of Momentum for Bill to Ban App
It turns out that TikTok's cute little $100 million lobbying campaign hasn't completely derailed a U.S. bill aimed at banning the Chinese-owned app. Senator Mark Warner, who co-sponsored the legislation, admitted that TikTok managed to put a little dent in their "almost too easy" path to approval. But fear not, for our lawmakers are willing to listen to TikTok's concerns about ordinary Americans being impacted and the potential expansion of government power. They promise to address these worries in a "fair way." The magnanimity of it all! Meanwhile, the bill, backed by the White House, would grant the Commerce Department the power to review and block dodgy transactions involving foreign technology that poses national security risks. We cannot express enough gratitude for our government working tirelessly to protect us from the dance moves and drinking videos of Chinese-controlled apps.
2. Meta's Threads App: (Not) Revolutionizing Social Media, One Lackluster Feature at a Time
Surely reshaping the very fabric of society, Instagram's Threads app has amassed 100 million users in only five days. Yes, you heard that right, apparently we were all fiending for an exact clone of a social media app we already had. This anything but groundbreaking text-based app has skyrocketed to fame, leaving everyone, or maybe just us, confused by its meteoric rise. Of course, now comes the real challenge: actually retaining users and proving Threads has longevity. Meta has promised to address some of the app's glaring deficiencies, like the lack of support for hashtags and the absence of a Following feed. Thank God!
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3. EU Succumbs to U.S. Data Temptation, Allows Tech Giants to Play with Europeans' Privacy
In a surprising turn of events, the European Union (EU) has given its blessing to a plan that allows U.S. companies to continue playing with Europeans' data from the comfort of American soil. This decision comes as a massive relief to tech giants like Meta Platforms and Alphabet's Google, who were concerned that they might actually have to respect European privacy laws for a change. Despite the EU's approval, privacy advocates are expected to throw a tantrum and challenge the deal, arguing that the U.S. needs to do more than just pretend to care about surveillance laws. While the agreement is touted as a win for both sides of the Atlantic, critics remain skeptical, wondering when EU lawmakers will finally wake up and realize that their privacy is just a bargaining chip in this high-stakes game. Or maybe they love Instagram a bit too much to interfere, huh?
4. Silverman and Authors Sue Tech Giants Over Content Hijacking
Comedian Sarah Silverman and authors Richard Kadrey and Christopher Golden have filed a lawsuit against Meta and OpenAI for the crimes of using their content without permission to train A.I. language models. Their class action lawsuit alleges that the Facebook parent company and the ChatGPT creators flagrantly used their copyrighted material. Silverman, Kadrey and Golden claim that leaked information about Meta's A.I. business shows that their work was employed without authorization. Meanwhile, the lawsuit against OpenAI argues that the summaries generated by ChatGPT suggest the bot was trained on their copyrighted content, even if those summaries occasionally get a few details wrong. Good luck to the plaintiffs who are seeking unspecified money damages and who knows, maybe we can all get in on this class action with our old Facebook statuses.
5. Foxconn's Sudden Departure: The Chipmaking Fairy Tale That Never Was, But Could Still Be?
Foxconn, the world's largest contract electronics maker, has withdrawn from a $19.5 billion chipmaking joint venture with Vedanta, dealing a massive blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's dreams of making India a chipmaking powerhouse. But Foxconn isn't giving up on India just yet... In a statement filled with all the hope and determination they could muster, Foxconn announced its plan to apply for incentives under India's semiconductor manufacturing policy. They believe in India's potential to establish a "robust semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem" and are actively seeking new partners. Meanwhile, the Indian government insists that this breakup has "no impact" on their grand plans. Sure, Foxconn's billion dollar departure didn't sting at all.