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Now That Twitter Belongs To Elon, Here Is What He Will Do To The Platform In His Own Words

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Now that the dramatic, if pointless and expensive, interlude of Musk trying to sabotage his own (extremely overpriced) purchase of Twitter is finally over with Musk conceding to buy the social network at the original proposed price of $54.20.

So what’s next? Will Musk keep Twitter as is, or will he burn it down, fire all its employees,and rebuild it from the ground up? Conveniently, Musk’s Twitter-linked text messages, publicly released as part of the Twitter lawsuit legal disclosure, provide enough information for what Musk really wants in terms of a final product.

irst, as stated in the following exchange with Valor CEO Antonio Gracias, Musk believes in free speech. So much so that he finds Russia Today “quite entertaining” with “lots of bullshit but some good points too.”

Musk expressed similar sentiment in the following exchange with ex-wife Talulah Jane (TJ) Riley, who was dismayed at the Babylon Bee’s suspension and who proposed to “buy Twitter and make it radically free speech”… or “delete it.”

Musk then speaks to VC entrepreneur Jon Lonsdale, where they discuss Musk’s desire to make Twitter an open source algo because it’s important to “reign in big tech” and “our public square needs to not have arbitrary sketch censorship.” Musk’s response: “what we have right now is hidden corruption!

As an aside, a few weeks later, after it emerged that Musk had purchased a sizable stake in Twitter, Jon Lonsdale made an interesting observation: “I bet you the board doesn’t even get full reporting or see any report of the censorship decisions and little cabals going on there but they should – the lefties on the board likely want plausible deniability!”

Things get more interesting in this exchange with Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, in which Jack echoed not only that Twitter must be an “open source protocol” but that it “can’t have an advertising model. Otherwise you have surface area that governments and advertisers will try to influence and control. If it has a centralized entity behind it, it will be attacked.” Jack’s conclusion: “this isn’t complicated work, it just has to be done right so it’s resilient to what has happened to twitter.” After a lengthy back and forth, Musk tells Jack that “it’s worth both trying to move Twitter in a better direction and doing something new that’s decentralized.”

A quick tangent, in which we learn that it wasn’t just Elon seeking to buy Twitter, so was the J.P. Morgan of crypto, Sam-Bankman Fried: look for SBF to have a prominent role in the company going forward.

And a second tangent: what is SBF’s net worth and how much money could he put into twitter: short answer to both: a lot.

Another interesting exchange, this time with Mathias Dopfner, CEO of German media conglomerate Axel Springer, which owns a bunch of tabloids such as Bild, in which he says that if Musk buys it, Alex Springer would be willing to run twitter.

An especially interesting exchange took place minutes after Musk revealed his Twitter stake with a person who, unlike everyone else in the disclosure, demanded to be unnamed. Due to the “sensitive” nature of his proposal “navigating how to let right-wingers back on Twitter… especially the boss himself”)we can only assume it is due to fear of being canceled by the radical left mob.

Another exchange after Musk announced he was seeking a board seat is with the abovementioned Matthias Dopfner, head of Germany’s Axel Springer, who does everything in his power to make his personal media outlets painstakingly, boringly, crushingly woke and politically correct, who we learn is really just another hypocrite and closet “anti-woke”, suggesting to Musk that he create a marketplace for algos, “e.g., if you’re a snowflake and don’t want content that offends you pick another algorithm.” If only Dofpner would do the same with his empire of snowflake-catering tabloids. Amusingly, Dopfner has some other “actionable” recos, such as “solve free speech.” Oh ok. Here is the rest of what the CEO of one of the world’s biggest tabloid empires (and recent acquiror of Politico) wants to do:

Status Quo: it is the de facto public town square, but It is a problem that it does not adhere to free speech principles. => so the core product is pretty good, but (i) it does not serve democracy, and (ii) the current business model is a dead end as reflected by flat share price.

Goal: Make Twitter the global backbone of free speech, an open market place of ideas that truly complies with the spirit of the first amendment and shift the business model to a combination of ad-supported and paid to support quality

Game Plan: 

1.) “Solve Free Speech” 

  • 1-a) Step 1″ Make it censorship-FREE by radically reducing Terms of Services (now hundreds of pages) to the following: Twitter users agree to:
    • (1) Use our service to send spam or scam users,
    • (2) Promote violence,
    • (3) Post illegal pornography.
  • 1-b) Step 2: Make Twitter censorship-RESISTANT
    • Ensure censorship resistance by implementing measures that warrant that Twitter can’t be censored long term, regardless of which government and management
    • How? Keep pushing projects at Twitter that have been working on developing a decentralized social network protocol (e.g., BlueSky). It’s not easy, but the back-end must run on decentralized infrastructure, APIs should become open (back to the roots! Twitter started and became big with open APIs).
    • Twitter would be one of many clients to post and consume content.
    • Then create a marketplace for algorithms, e.g., if you’re a snowflake and don’t want content that offends you pick another algorithm.

2.) “Solve Share Price” – Current state of the business:

  • Twitter’s ad revenues grow steadily and for the time being, are sufficient to fund operations.
  • MAUs are flat, no structural growth
  • Share price is flat, no confidence in the existing business model

But while a lot of these ideas were inbounds to Musk, where things get really “insightful” is when Elon chats with his brother Kimbal, about his vision. We will publish these without commentary because, well, it’s well beyond our pay grade to comment on Musk’s “vision” – some peculiar cross between a social media, blockchain, a direct messaging app which stores messages forever, and all of it using some token (why not dogecoin).

Here Jason Calacanis also chimes in with some ideas. His comments on De Sasntis are amusing.

It continues a few days later, where Calacanis reveals he may be the next Twitter CEO, and Musk is receptive:

And some more ideas from Calacanis:

Finally, some good news for the liberals out there:

While those were some of the key exchanges, there is much more in the full Musk text message discovery below:

This post was originally published at Zero Hedge

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Elon Musk Meets With Tim Cook, Says They Resolved ‘Misunderstanding’ About Twitter Being Purged From App Store

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Information liberation

STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Is Elon Musk using his powerful Twitter account to bully Big Tech tyrants into supporting Free Speech?

Earlier this month, Musk warned activist groups and advertisers that he may use his new bully pulpit to launch a “thermonuclear name & shame” if they work to try and destroy free speech in America. 

On Monday, Musk went hard against Apple CEO Tim Cook for threatening “to withhold Twitter from it’s App Store” and pulling most advertising from his site.

“Do they hate free speech in America?” Musk asked.

Musk met with Cook personally at Apple HQ on Wednesday and thanked him for taking him around. 

Musk said on Wednesday night they had a “good conversation.”

“Among other things, we resolved the misunderstanding about Twitter potentially being removed from the App Store,” Musk said. “Tim was clear that Apple never considered doing so.”

I suspect Musk said it was just a “misunderstanding” to allow Cook to save face. 

He was clear on Monday that Apple had threatened to remove Twitter from the App Store but wouldn’t give a reason why. 

The most likely reason was the fact he’s unbanning thousands of Twitter users who were purged for legally protected, truthful speech that groups like the Anti-Defamation League label “hate.”

In my mind, there’s no question Apple was threatening to ban Musk’s Twitter and I also have no doubt Google will threaten to ban him next. 

Nonetheless, using his bully pulpit he appears to have brought Cook to heel. 

This is no small threat. We all saw this past week how Balenciaga (who canceled Ye) got canceled themselves over their BDSM-themed photoshoot with children. Disney was also hit hard due to backlash on social media over their LGBT propaganda targeting children. 

Whereas Twitter under Jack Dorsey, Parag Agrawal and Yoel Roth was centered around canceling powerless white “Karens” for complaining about poor customer service in Third World America, Twitter under Musk is threatening to cancel some of the most powerful companies in the world for attacking and undermining Free Speech. 

This post was originally published at Information liberation

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“This Is Appalling”: Major Tax Filing Services Have Been Sending Financial Information To Facebook

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Zero Hedge

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Major tax filing services, including H&R Block, TaxAct and TaxSlayer, have been covertly sending Facebook sensitive financial information when Americans file their taxes online, according to The Markup.

The data includes names, email addresses, income, filing status, refund amounts and college scholarship information – which is sent to Facebook regardless of whether a person even has a Facebook account – or with other platforms owned by Meta. The company can then be used to fine tune advertising algorithms.

It is sent through widely used code called the Meta Pixel.

Of note, Intuit-owned TurboTax does use Meta Pixel, however the company did not send financial information – just usernames and the last time a device signed in. Beyond that, they have kept Pixel entirely off pages beyond sign in.

Each year, the Internal Revenue Service processes about 150 million individual returns filed electronically, and some of the most widely used e-filing services employ the pixel, The Markup found. 

When users sign up to file their taxes with the popular service TaxAct, for example, they’re asked to provide personal information to calculate their returns, including how much money they make and their investments. A pixel on TaxAct’s website then sent some of that data to Facebook, including users’ filing status, their adjusted gross income, and the amount of their refund, according to a review by The Markup. Income was rounded to the nearest thousand and refund to the nearest hundred. The pixel also sent the names of dependents in an obfuscated, but generally reversible, format. -The Markup

TaxAct, which services around three million “consumer and professional users,” also sends data to Google via the company’s analytics tool, however names are not included in the information.

Once a tax return was filled out on taxact.com, information including an individual’s adjusted gross income, federal refund amount, and number of dependents was sent to Meta via the Meta Pixel. Data in the screenshots is not real user data. Source: taxact.com and The Markup

“We take the privacy of our customers’ data very seriously,” said TaxAct spokeswoman Nicole Coburn. “TaxAct, at all times, endeavors to comply with all IRS regulations.”

H&R Block embedded a pixel on its site that included information on filers’ health savings account usage, dependents’ college tuition grants and expenses. The company similarly claimed in a very boilerplate statement that they “regularly evaluate[s] our practices as part of our ongoing commitment to privacy, and will review the information.”

While TaxSlayer – which says it completed 10 million federal and state returns last year – provided Facebook information on filers as part of the social media giant’s “advanced matching” system which attempts to link information from people browsing the web to Facebook accounts. The information sent includes phone numbers and the name of the user filling out the form, as well as the names of any dependents added to the return. Specific demographic information was also obscured, but Facebook was still able to link them to existing profiles.

Another tax filing service, Ramsey Solutions, told The Markup that the company “implemented the Meta Pixel to deliver a more personalized customer experience,” but that they “did NOT know and were never notified that personal tax information was being collected by Facebook from the Pixel.”

“As soon as we found out, we immediately informed TaxSlayer to deactivate the Pixel from Ramsey SmartTax.”

Harvard Law School lecturer and tax law specialist Mandi Matlock said the findings showed that taxpayers have been “providing some of the most sensitive information that they own, and it’s being exploited.”

This is appalling,” she added. “It truly is.”

Read more here…

This post was originally published at Zero Hedge

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    Democrat Intel Senator: “Trump Was Right” About TikTok

    “All of that data that your child is inputting and receiving is being stored somewhere in Beijing.”

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    Steve Watson

    Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

    The top ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee warned Sunday that TikTok is a national security threat and that President Trump was right to want to ban it in 2020.

    Committee Chairman Senator Mark Warner told Fox News Sunday “I think Donald Trump was right, I mean, TikTok is an enormous threat, it’s a threat on two levels.”

    “One, it is a massive collector of information, oftentimes of our children. They can visualize even down to your keystrokes. So If you’re a parent and you’ve got a kid on TikTok, I would be very, very concerned,” Warner explained.

    He added, “All of that data that your child is inputting and receiving is being stored somewhere in Beijing.”

    “The idea that we can somehow separate out TikTok from the fact the actual engineers writing the code in Beijing I think is a — The Justice Department’s trying to come up with a solution. I’m going to take a look at that solution, but they’ve got a huge mountain to climb,” the Senator further noted.

    “The second problem is that TikTok in a sense is a broadcasting network.” Warner continued, adding “And if the Chinese Communist Party and TikTok at the end of the day has to be reliant on the Communist Party, the Chinese law states that.”

    “If they suddenly want to dial up the fact that we’re going to decrease the content that criticizes Chinese leadership but increase the content that your kids may be seeing saying, hey, you know, Taiwan really is part of China, that is a distribution model that would make RT or Sputnik or some of the Russian propaganda models pale in comparison,” he further stated.

    Earlier in the broadcast, Republican Senator Tom Cotton warned that China is lying about claims that it stores Americans’ TikTok user data in the United States with backups in Singapore.

    “There have been reports indicating that that data is accessible in mainland China. That TikTok, a Chinese company, is subject to communist China’s laws and that TikTok is one of the most massive surveillance programs ever, especially on America’s young people,” Cotton stated.

    “It’s not just the contents you upload to TikTok but all the data on your phone and other apps, all your personal information, even facial imagery, even where your eyes are looking on your phone,” Cotton added.

    “That’s why I’ve encouraged every American, if they’re using TikTok, to delete it from their phone if they can, to get a new phone all together,” The Senator further warned.

    The Chinese-owned video app, which is notorious as perhaps the most censorious in existence, has previously allowed fake news about Trump resigning to go viral, has censored videos that make fun of Dr. Anthony Fauci, has removed videos that highlighted inconsistencies in Amber Heard’s testimony, and has also threatened to censor criticism of Joe Biden.

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