Elon Musk offers to buy Twitter and take it private

ElaineA

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What did Spirit Airlines do to deserve their place on that list? I am not familiar with them. Kind of surprising (and worrying) to see an airline on a list like that...
Think even lower budget Ryan Air, only worse. Much, much lower budget. I can envision the Spirit Airlines board room rooting hard for speedy GPT and AI advances so they won't have to employ people to do *anything* anymore, including fly the plane.
 

BenPanced

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The one time I flew Spirit sorta went like this:

1) They tout how cheap their flights are but they nickle-and-dime you worse than any of the Big Kids without even taking into account the usual luggage check fees. Seating is first come, first served, unless you pay extra for a seating assignment. If you want one of the wider "first class seats", good luck because there are only 8 of those on the entire flight. Refreshments are free for the frequent flyer members; otherwise, you could purchase a package deal that includes two cans of pop or one alcoholic drink and a microscopic bag containing two pretzel crumbs and three grains of salt. By the time you get on the plane, your cheap flight has been increased by $75 - $100.

2) Once the flight took off, a flight attendant decided to be Everybody's Best Buddy and asked me what song I wanted to perform for karaoke (which there wasn't, but anyway). I politely said I wasn't interested because I was reading at the time. She turned to a coworker and, within earshot, made a snotty comment about "the guy thinks I'm serious".

2.5) Side story: I think it was on this flight where I saw an attendant thisclose ][ to calling the air marshalls because the aisle had been blocked to allow the pilot and their crew to board. One guy wanted to use the restroom at the front (it was closer to his seat) but the attendant warned him three times to use the one at the back of the plane Or Else.

3) After we'd landed, there were three other Spirit flights that had arrived, as well. Luggage was to be delivered to carousels 5, 6, 7, and 8. It all arrived at 8. In landing order. People waiting at carousels 5, 6, and 7 came down to 8 as luggage just piled up since nobody had collected anything. It got so bad, the chute clogged; one suitcase got pressed between another and the edge of the chute, effectively getting bent in half at the corners. (After this trip, I bought a hardside suitcase for just such an emergency.)

4) On the flight back, I swear they turned off the AC at their boarding gates. It was at least 10 degrees warmer than the rest of the airport.
 

Introversion

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One of the most important tools for trust and safety efforts is the “block” feature, allowing a user to entirely block someone else from following them. Yes, on Twitter you can get around this by going into incognito mode, but overall, the feature is a very useful tool for those being harassed to limit access to their abusers. Indeed, one of the biggest criticisms early on of the (still in invite-only beta) Bluesky social media app was that it opened its doors to thousands of users before they had implemented a “block” feature (that has since been added). Lots of people argued that launching social media today without the “block” feature is malpractice.

Elon Musk, however, seems to be going in the other direction.

On Wednesday, in reply to someone on Twitter complaining about being blocked, Elon said that “blocking public posts makes no sense” and saying that “it needs to be deprecated in favor of a stronger form of mute.”

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Of course, there’s also the simple fact that the block feature is costly in terms of Twitter compute power:

[IMG alt="Tweet from William LeGate: Elon Musk has said large block lists have been a resource drain for Twitter, because they – for some reason – significantly increase their server costs.

Elon has asked that you don’t block people in an effort to save Twitter expenses. If you block lots of ppl, it costs Musk $$$"]https://i0.wp.com/lex-p.s3.us-west-...ackMultipart20230608-6-dludna.png?ssl=1[/IMG]
So, even though he was, himself, an aggressive blocker for a while, more recently he’s urged people to stop using the block feature, and removed everyone from his own block list a few months back. Of course, it appears that even he went back on that promise, because there are reports of him blocking new people since his grand unblocking.

Separately, there’s the fact that there was the infamous “BlockTheBlue” campaign that sought to get Twitter users to block anyone who was subscribed to Twitter Blue, which has really pissed off Musk. Perhaps to the point that this is also a reason he wants to get rid of the block button?

Either way, this is yet another example of a situation where there’s a lot of actual expertise out there, but Musk ignores it all based on (1) his own gut instincts, (2) the requests of the terribly disingenuous people he follows, and (3) a desire to decrease Twitter server costs.
 

Alessandra Kelley

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I saw that. Removing the "Block" feature could actually get me to leave Twitter.

I follow a lot of Jewish people on Twitter, who are constantly harassed online. Trans people too, and other members of the LGBTQ+ community, and women politicians and women gamers and exvangelicals. A lot of people I care about.

All of these people get a ton of garbage trolls and attacks of the worst sort in their replies that I don't want to give views to.

AND I do not want the trolls to see my posts and target me. Or my friends. Or my children and family.

If I can't Block accounts, if I have to SEE all that abuse and pollution any time I look at a thread, if transphobes and antisemites and Nazis and evangelicals and stalkers can see my posts at will, I'm out of there.

If Elon didn't want people to "Block" so many accounts, he should not have invited so many awful people onto the site he bought.
 

ElaineA

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I saw that. Removing the "Block" feature could actually get me to leave Twitter.
Same. I had never had to encounter the vile trolls before they all bought blue checks and rose to the top of the replies. It makes the experience of engagement (by looking at replies to see if someone has already said something I'm thinking) entirely unpleasant. I block and block, but it's never enough.

And don't get me started on the T-shirt-selling bot-brigade. They aren't vile, but holy cow, is how they fill certain posts' replies annoying AF.

I'm weaned enough from the site (both by my own reduction in use, and the fact that so many people I liked following and engaging with aren't using it) that I won't feel the FOMO nearly as much at this point.
 

Introversion

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In what might be another blow to the stability of Twitter's trust and safety efforts, the company has allegedly stopped paying for Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services (AWS), which host tools that support the platform's safety measures, Platformer reported this weekend.

According to Platformer, Twitter relies on Google Cloud to host services "related to fighting spam, removing child sexual abuse material, and protecting accounts, among other things." That contract is up for renewal at the end of this month after being negotiated and signed prior to Elon Musk's takeover. Since "at least" March, Twitter has been pushing to renegotiate the contract ahead of renewal—unsurprisingly seeking to lower costs, Platformer reported.

But now it's unclear if the companies will find agreeable new terms on time or if Musk already intends to cancel the contract. Platformer reported that Twitter is rushing to transition services off the Google Cloud Platform and seemingly plans to drop the contract amid failed negotiations.

Should the companies remain at odds, Twitter could end up canceling licensing to display tweets in Google search results.

Twitter has also stopped paying Amazon, Platformer reported, leading to threats from Amazon to stop paying for Twitter advertising.

AWS told Ars it has no comment on Platformer's report. Twitter and Google did not immediately respond to Ars' request for comment.
More 69D chess from EM.
 

Roxxsmom

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Social Darwinism is a hella drug. At this point I'm half expecting the MAGA cult to revert back to the Divine Right of Kings.
I suspect some folks are already there. I vaguely remember someone in these forums (some years back) who was incredibly religious and openly anti-democratic, and they professed that Kings were chosen by their god, so even bad ones were part of The Plan. The Plan being a kingdom on Earth of their god, where all laws, social norms, and policies were based on their interpretation of scriptures, of course.

It's pretty clear that democracy is, at best, a tool to would-be theocrats. If it can't give them what they want, they'll drop it faster than my HS boyfriend dropped my purse (when I unthinkingly handed it to him to hold when I needed my hands free for a moment). They seem to want to return to the middle ages and economic feudalism, so what could be better than (non constitutional) monarchy?

How long before Muskmelon takes away the option to mute as well?

You mean he hasn't already? I haven't been on Twitter for a long time, and last time I checked, my account seemed to no longer exist, so I don't even know what it's like on there, except for what other people say.
 

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I'm still blocking accounts on twitter, and with more glee than ever since learning it's a burden on the CEO.

And I still find it useful and worth my time, but it's a strategic tool for me more than a social tool. I love being able to search on any topic and find current conversations. eg "climate fiction" and find new contacts and conversations.
 

Alessandra Kelley

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I'm still blocking accounts on twitter, and with more glee than ever since learning it's a burden on the CEO.

And I still find it useful and worth my time, but it's a strategic tool for me more than a social tool. I love being able to search on any topic and find current conversations. eg "climate fiction" and find new contacts and conversations.
Midday today it was giving timely warnings of a tornado outbreak in Alabama and Georgia.

It still is hosting lifesaving emergency weather alerts.
 

ElaineA

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The sickening thing is this makes me feel (a little) bad for the landlord (dog help me). There will likely be a mess to clean and repair, and eviction takes legal action, which they will have to pay a lawyer for. They're already out months of rent.

It's such a Trumpy/Elon thing to do, but I'm tired of rich people shunting off their debts onto everyone else and yelling neener neener.

Even if the landlord gets a court order for payment of back rent and legal fees, who's going to track down Musk for payment? What's the court going to do, garnish his wages??
 

Introversion

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Music publishers sue Twitter

Twitter was sued yesterday by music publishers who are seeking about $250 million in damages for alleged copyright violations. Members of the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA) trade group say that Twitter does little to stop copyright infringement and doesn't pay for music rights like other social media companies do.

"Twitter knows perfectly well that neither it nor users of the Twitter platform have secured licenses for the rampant use of music being made on its platform as complained of herein," said the complaint filed against X Corp. (aka Twitter) in US District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. "Nonetheless, in connection with its highly interactive platform, Twitter consistently and knowingly hosts and streams infringing copies of musical compositions... Twitter also routinely continues to provide specific known repeat infringers with use of the Twitter platform, which they use for more infringement."

Unlike Twitter, social media firms "TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat have entered into agreements with Publishers and other rights holders that compensate creators of musical compositions for use of their works on those platforms," the lawsuit said. The plaintiffs asked for up to $150,000 in statutory damages for each infringed work and provided a list of about 1,700 infringed works. That adds up to about $250 million, but the court exhibit said the list of songs is a "non-exhaustive, illustrative list of works infringed by Twitter." This list "will be amended as the case proceeds," the lawsuit said.

The 17 plaintiffs include Sony Music Publishing, various subsidiaries of Universal Music Publishing Group, the Warner Chappell subsidiaries of the Warner Music Group, BMG Rights Management, and independent publishing companies. Allegedly infringed works include songs by Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Harry Styles, the Rolling Stones, Rush, 50 Cent, John Denver, Justin Timberlake, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, and many others.
Another take on it, from TechDirt:


To be honest, I’m somewhat amazed that more copyright lawsuits haven’t been filed against Twitter yet. There have been multiple reports of how the company’s DMCA takedown response systems have been broken/ignored since Musk took over. Without looking for it, I’ve seen full length high def movies show up in my Twitter feed (including movies still in theaters).

Still, it’s a bit surprising that the first such lawsuit is not from a Hollywood studio, but rather a big giant list of music publishers. And I’m pretty sure that Twitter has a strong case, if Elon bothers to hire competent copyright attorneys.

The backstory here is that music publishers (who are different than the record labels, even if some are connected to labels) have been demanding that Twitter license content for years. And, for years, Twitter correctly pointed out that it abides by the DMCA, and takes down copyright-infringing works when it receives a proper takedown notice. This is exactly what the law allows them to do, and it’s not as if Twitter is where people go to listen to music (and what music does get posted is generally hosted elsewhere and posted in a promotional manner). So, really, the idea that Twitter had to get a license from the publishers was always a stretch.

Still, almost immediately after Elon announced his bid for Twitter, the music publishers started agitating for him to license compositions. But, this is Elon Musk we’re talking about. The man won’t even pay his rent, or his cloud computing bills. Did anyone actually think he would pay for publisher licenses he doesn’t even need? So, it was little surprise when there were reports earlier this year that the talks had “stalled.”

And now there’s a lawsuit. But it doesn’t seem like a particularly strong one:

This is a civil action seeking damages and injunctive relief for Twitter’s willful copyright infringement. Twitter fuels its business with countless infringing copies of musical compositions, violating Publishers’ and others’ exclusive rights under copyright law. While numerous Twitter competitors recognize the need for proper licenses and agreements for the use of musical compositions on their platforms, Twitter does not, and instead breeds massive copyright infringement that harms music creators.
 

Friendly Frog

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'Funny' how we got to a place in society where if you're poor and can't pay your bill you're judged, piled upon, fined, evicted, jailed, ruined, potentially ending up dead in a gutter or all of the above, but when you're an [expletive] billionnaire and you can't be arsed to pay your bills you're a grrreat business entity and visionary.

And the rotten thing is Muskboy there isn't even the only one or the first in the last category!

When can we start treating billionnaires and companies that won't pay what they're owed as the failed and untrustworthy business partners they are? Or can we at least tax them proportionally? If only because it will annoy them?
 

Introversion

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'Funny' how we got to a place in society where if you're poor and can't pay your bill you're judged, piled upon, fined, evicted, jailed, ruined, potentially ending up dead in a gutter or all of the above, but when you're an [expletive] billionnaire and you can't be arsed to pay your bills you're a grrreat business entity and visionary.
Perhaps we should eat[*] one billionaire, just one, to encourage the others to behave.

* : I don’t really want to eat them, but I figure cats would. “Fancy Feast”, indeed.
 

Friendly Frog

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Heck, I can't get my cat to eat his dry kibble half the time! (Too dull, he knows there's more fancy stuff in a tin in the cupboard.) I'd need so much creamy snacks to make your avarage billionnaire even remotely tasty to them. And then we haven't talked about the poor nutrition in them.

No, I'm good with just taxing them like the rest of us proletarians. Besides, you can only eat them once, but you can tax them again and again! We can start with taxing just the one too, to encourage the others to behave...
 

Roxxsmom

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'Funny' how we got to a place in society where if you're poor and can't pay your bill you're judged, piled upon, fined, evicted, jailed, ruined, potentially ending up dead in a gutter or all of the above, but when you're an [expletive] billionnaire and you can't be arsed to pay your bills you're a grrreat business entity and visionary.

And the rotten thing is Muskboy there isn't even the only one or the first in the last category!

When can we start treating billionnaires and companies that won't pay what they're owed as the failed and untrustworthy business partners they are? Or can we at least tax them proportionally? If only because it will annoy them?
Sadly, I think we've been there for a while.

Double standards, but the damndest thing about double standards is that the folks most harmed by them are often their most enthusiastic perpetrators.
 

Roxxsmom

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Perhaps we should eat[*] one billionaire, just one, to encourage the others to behave.

* : I don’t really want to eat them, but I figure cats would. “Fancy Feast”, indeed.
It's maybe going to be down to the dogs* to do this. They're generally far less picky. And after all, it's the rich who love to say it's a "dog eat dog world."

*Seriously, I wouldn't feed him to my dogs. He'd probably make them sick, and they love nothing better than to find cat poop in planter beds when we are out on walks.
 

Introversion

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It's maybe going to be down to the dogs* to do this. They're generally far less picky.
Have you met our cats? Their favorite foods are random bits of fluff on the floor, plastic bags, and string.