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Twitter On Lock Out After Mass Resignation Exodus; Operations At Risk

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Hundreds of Twitter’s remaining employees have reportedly resigned ahead of Elon Musk’s “extremely hardcore” cultural reset of the company. After Musk gave an ultimatum to his employees to either commit to the company’s new “hardcore” work environment or leave, many more workers declined to sign on than he expected, potentially putting Twitter’s operations at risk, according to Bloomberg sources, as well as internal Slack messages seen by The Verge and employee tweets.

Elon Musk Demands Commitment To “Extremely Hardcore” Work From Remaining Twitter Staff

On Thursday afternoon, so many employees decided to take severance that it created a cloud of confusion over which people should still have access to company property. According to a memo seen by Bloomberg and reports from Platformer’s Zoe Schiffer, Twitter closed its offices until Monday; urging employees to “please continue to comply with company policy by refraining from discussing confidential information on social media, with the press or elsewhere.”

According to Bloomberg, in the final hours before his deadline, Musk tried to convince people to stay. Key staff were brought into meetings as the Thursday evening deadline neared to hear pitches on the social network’s future, according to people familiar with the matter. Musk, who had earlier said he was strictly against remote work, also sent a follow-up email Thursday softening his tone.

“All that is required for approval is that your manager takes responsibility for ensuring that you are making an excellent contribution,” he wrote, adding that staffers should have in-person meetings with their colleagues not less than once per month.

Despite the ultimatum, no Twitter employees have been deactivated — even those who’ve publicly resigned, the Platformer also reported, adding that “Musk and his team only collected the list of “yes’s” — employees who said they want to be part of Twitter 2.0. They’re still trying to track who is out.”

Elon’s attempt to ease the terms of the ultimatum wasn’t enough, and Twitter’s internal communications channels filled with employees offering a salute emoji, which has become a symbol for departing the company. Former staff tweeted the salute publicly, too, along with their internal Slack messages.

Some employees who were departing speculated that so many were leaving, along with their knowledge of how the product works, that the social network may have trouble fixing problems or updating systems during its normal operations, according to people familiar with the matter. Indeed, starting around 4pm ET or around the time of the resignation wave, Down Detector has observed a surge in Twitter outages.

Source DownDetector

Adding to the complexity of Musk’s attempt to overhaul the company, there have been reports that the designers leading Musk’s Blue verified project have also quot, along with the lead web engineer. Furthermore, Many Twitter employees who maintained critical infrastructure have resigned.

As reported earlier, Musk on Wednesday had asked employees to formally state whether they were willing to keep working at the company – a commitment that would include “working long hours at high intensity.” Employees had until 5 p.m. Eastern time Thursday to fill out a Google form.

The form included just one possible response: “Yes.” Anyone who failed to accept the form by the deadline was told they would be out of the company with three months severance.

“I’m not pressing the button,” one departing employee posted in Slack according to The Verge. “My watch ends with Twitter 1.0. I do not wish to be part of Twitter 2.0.”

The ultimatum came less than two weeks after he laid off 50% of Twitter’s workforce, or roughly 3,700 employees. Many Twitter workers consulted lawyers this week to determine what to do. The form included almost no details about the severance packages, and it was not immediately clear whether employees would receive legal protections that would allow them to keep vesting stock awards or maintain insurance coverage.

Twitter had roughly 2,900 remaining employees before the deadline Thursday. Remaining and departing Twitter employees told The Verge that, given the scale of the resignations this week, they expect the platform to start breaking soon. One said that they’ve watched “legendary engineers” and others they look up to leave one by one.

“It feels like all the people who made this place incredible are leaving,” the Twitter staffer said. “It will be extremely hard for Twitter to recover from here, no matter how hardcore the people who remain try to be.”

Multiple “critical” engineering teams inside Twitter have now either completely or near-completely resigned, said another employee who requested anonymity to speak without Musk’s permission. For example, the team that maintains Twitter’s core system libraries that every engineer at the company uses is gone after Thursday. “You cannot run Twitter without this team,” the employee said.

Departing employees also tweeted their decisions to leave:

While those departing the company may think it’s a jobseeker’s market they may be surprised at how rapidly the Silicon Valley job market has turned against them.


Meanwhile, Twitter recruiters have already started reaching out to outside engineers to see if they want to join “Twitter 2.0 – an Elon company,” according to a message sent to one recruit that was seen by The Verge.

“I have worked here at Twitter for over 11 years,” one employee wrote in Twitter’s Slack as the salute emojis poured in Thursday. “Back in July, I was the 27th most tenured employee at the company. Now I’m the 15th.”

Meanwhile, Musk reportedly brought back leaders who had departed, either as part of his own layoffs or through resignation, to convince others to stay, A Bloomberg source said. One returning leader is Ella Irwin, who will manage employees in Trust and Safety.

Musk later sent a follow-up email on remote work, according to a screenshot viewed by Bloomberg. “Any manager who falsely claims that someone reporting to them is doing excellent work or that a given role is essential, whether remote or not, will be exited from the company.”

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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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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