May 6, 2022
Good morning! Elon Musk is taking Twitter private to take it public, which surely bodes well for a company that isn't great at making money. Over on Facebook, pages spreading climate lies about “energy independence” are thriving. Everything’s fine! I’m Owen Thomas, and I almost wrote this edition of Source Code as a poem.
Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover started with him declaring that he wanted to save it from Wall Street to preserve the internet’s free speech, or at least his right to be extremely annoying, which amounts to the same thing in his mind. But he’s been telling bankers he actually plans to take Twitter public again in as little as three years, and he’s now lined up $7 billion in financing from other investors who probably don’t share his interest in Twitter as a place to post dogecoin memes.
Is Musk really saving Twitter from Wall Street? Actually he seems to be making it increasingly vulnerable: The new Twitter will be laden with debt.
And another new question: Who will lead Twitter? It’s looking like Musk, or a close ally. If his record at Tesla and SpaceX is any indication, that will mean a very hands-on boss who dives deep into operations.
So Musk is taking Twitter private to take it public, and buying out profit-minded investors with the help of profit-minded investors. And he’s going to deprioritize content moderation until he figures out that’s bad for business, like Twitter did a decade ago. The point of a merry-go-round isn’t to go anywhere. Just enjoy the ride!— Owen Thomas (email | twitter | dog’s Instagram)
Climate denial is all but dead, but analysis shared exclusively with Protocol shows that there’s a new form of misinformation in town — and social media fact-checkers are largely letting it slip through the cracks.
“Energy independence” is the new climate denial. If you’ve listened to Fox News or looked at the Daily Wire’s Facebook page, you’ve come across the idea that the U.S. is woefully dependent on foreign oil and gas. Let me be blunt: This is not true. The U.S. is a net exporter of liquid natural gas and oil (though the latter may shift this year). Yet it hasn’t stopped misinformation from spreading on Facebook.
Failure to tag energy misinformation is a major moderation miss. And it’s putting the climate at risk to boot.
Clearly social media platforms still have a lot of work to do when it comes to moderating misinformation about the role dead dinosaurs play in climate change.
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Union organizer Chris Smalls doesn’t think Amazon should get government contracts:
DocuSign's Iesha Berry said chief diversity officers can't hold the sole responsibility of changing company culture:
On Desk laid off a quarter of its staff, TechCrunch reported. Operations and investing employees were mostly affected.
Brian Murphy is Sigma's new chief revenue officer. Murphy previously worked at Okta as a sales SVP.
Jessica Martinez is Blizzard's first VP, head of culture. Martinez comes from Disney and is one of a few hires Blizzard planned to make to improve company culture.
Monica Khan and Derek Reynolds joined Spotter as head of creator community and VP of legal and business affairs, respectively. Khan’s from Meta, and Reynolds is from YouTube.
Michael Terrell will lead a new climate team at Google focused on reaching net zero emissions by 2030. Terrell’s new title is senior director for climate.
Linda Crowe is TigerGraph’s new VP of marketing. She most recently held the same role at Brightcove.
Meta deliberately took down pages for Australian hospitals and other services last year as a way to push back on a new social media law in the country, a whistleblower is alleging.
Fortnite is back on iOS through Microsoft's cloud gaming service. It's a big move for Epic, which has been fighting with Apple and Google over their app stores for a while now.
Reversing Roe v. Wade would affect nearly every tech company. Protocol created a map of the companies that are headquartered in states most impacted by a Supreme Court ruling.
Peloton is looking for a minority investor that could take a stake of between 15% and 20%, sources told The Wall Street Journal. It’s yet another sign the company is trying to steady itself.
People are more scared of the metaverse than they are excited, according to a recent survey. But most people don’t have any thoughts at all about it.Mobile gaming will bring in a lot of money this year. The industry is expected to make over $100 billion in revenue, and it’s set to overtake China in gaming revenues.
We noted in yesterday’s edition of Source Code that the Vatican was getting into NFTs. The Pope was apparently interested in the metaverse, too, but those plans are up in the air.
The Vatican apparently offered Vice an interview about its Web3 foray, then never followed through, so Vice wrote about what led to the rescinded offer. The story involves a group called Humanity 2.0 and a former Brooklyn Nets owner, and it’s worth reading all the way through. And no, we still don’t know what the Vatican wants to do in the metaverse.
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