Twitter Suspends Journalists Who Wrote About Owner Elon Musk
Twitter suspended the accounts of journalists who cover the social media platform and its new owner Elon Musk.
Twitter suspended the accounts of journalists who cover the social media platform and its new owner Elon Musk.
Twitter Inc., after laying off roughly half the company on Friday following Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition, is now reaching out to dozens of employees who lost their jobs and asking them to return.
Some of those who are being asked to return were laid off by mistake, according to two people familiar with the moves. Others were let go before management realized that their work and experience may be necessary to build the new features Musk envisions, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private information.
Twitter cut close to 3,700 people this week via email as a way to trim costs following Musk’s acquisition, which closed in late October. Many employees learned they lost their job after their access to company-wide systems, like email and Slack, were suddenly suspended. The requests for employees to return demonstrate how rushed and chaotic the process was.
A Twitter spokesperson did not reply to a request for comment. Twitter’s plan to hire back workers was previously reported by Platformer.
“Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, unfortunately there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day,” Musk tweeted on Friday.
Twitter has close to 3,700 employees remaining, according to people familiar with the matter. Musk is pushing those who remain at the company to move quickly in shipping new features, and in some cases, employees have even slept at the office to meet new deadlines.
Over the weekend, Twitter rolled out a new Twitter Blue subscription plan, offering a verification check mark for any user who pays $8 a month. The company also said it will soon be launching other features, including half the ads, the ability to post longer videos and get priority ranking in replies, mentions and searches.
The New York Times on Sunday reported Twitter will delay changes to the check marks until after Tuesday’s midterm elections, after users and employees raised concerns that the plan could be misused to sow discord.
RadioShack, a bankrupt electronics retailer recast as a cryptocurrency platform, is getting unexpected attention online after its Twitter account took an abruptly explicit tone.
The former tech retail giant’s still active Twitter account began trending on Friday after it shifted from tweeting about cryptocurrencies to roasting other users on the social media platform. The reasons for the verified account’s apparent turn aren’t clear, but its profanity-laced tweets amused other users on the social media platform.
“[W]ho else high [as f**k] [right now],” the account tweeted Thursday morning.
Twitter user @ChrisWooleyAC tweeted a picture of an old remote control car at RadioShack, asking, “what’s y’all’s return policy? I got a remote control car for Christmas back in 03 that stopped working. I need a refund.”
“Got a receipt?” RadioShack tweeted in response. “Head over to our Antartica[sic] location for a *potential* refund.”
After tech mogul Elon Musk tweeted about a SpaceX Falcon 9 landing, the account tweeted, “congrats on the landing of your new giant metal c**k elon.”
“Any last words before we close the coffin?” Twitter user @Mare_Loch tweeted in response. “Radio Shack: Yes, a tweet. Please engrave it on our headstone.”
The RadioShack account replied, “we’ve prepared something special for you,” and included a photo of marquee lettering used to spell “d**krash” featuring the company’s trademark circle “R” logo.
RadioShack, once a household name in the 1990s, filed for bankruptcy in 2015, ending its then-ubiquitous retail presence. However, investors Alex Mehr and Tai Lopez purchased the company earlier this year and relaunched it as a cryptocurrency swap, keeping much of its retro branding, reports Fortune magazine.
The company’s website even appears to sell household electronics and has a store locator showing locations across the country.
As the brand’s Twitter account took on a new tenor, users took a swipe at RadioShack becoming a cryptocurrency platform. Other Twitter users seemed to enjoy interacting with a once-bankrupt brand.
Twitter user @snoopdoug44 tweeted, “Congrats on your bankruptcy!”
“Bankruptcy my a** dawg,” RadioShack said in a reply with a map of the U.S. covered in the company’s logo.
“F**k you! Lots of love, The Shack,” the crypto swap wrote in another tweet.
Twitter user @coffeebreak_YT responded, “the store I used to buy double AA batteries at is trying to start internet beef while running a crypto scam. 2022 is WILD [for real].”
RadioShack fired back.
“[H]i now that we finally got your attention, wanna dm us? we’ve got some double AA batteries for your vibrator you p**sy,” RadioShack said in a response.
In this clip, Boosie reacted to Elon Musk buying Twitter and said he hopes that the tech billionaire will acquire Instagram as well. Boosie and Vlad talked about how much money Musk really has to have in order to buy a publicly traded company outright. Later, Boosie talked about his friendship with the Saudi prince and Vlad warned him about indulging his vices while over there.
The Federal Trade Commission levied a $150 million fine on Twitter, alleging that the social network let advertisers use private data to target specific users — without informing users of the practice.
According to the agency, Twitter violated a 2011 FTC order that “explicitly prohibited” the company from misrepresenting its privacy and security practices. In addition to the $150 million fine, Twitter is banned from “profiting from its deceptively collected data,” the FTC said.
In August 2020, Twitter disclosed that it expected to face an FTC fine of $150 million to $250 million related to the allegations.
In a blog post, Twitter chief privacy officer Damien Kieran wrote, “Keeping data secure and respecting privacy is something we take extremely seriously, and we have cooperated with the FTC every step of the way. In reaching this settlement, we have paid a $150M USD penalty, and we have aligned with the agency on operational updates and program enhancements to ensure that people’s personal data remains secure and their privacy protected.”
In a statement about the FTC’s fine against Twitter, FTC Chair Lina Khan said, “Twitter obtained data from users on the pretext of harnessing it for security purposes but then ended up also using the data to target users with ads. This practice affected more than 140 million Twitter users, while boosting Twitter’s primary source of revenue.”
According to a complaint filed by the Department of Justice on behalf of the FTC, Twitter in 2013 began asking users to provide either a phone number or email address to enable two-factor authentication, an enhanced form of security (beyond just a password).
From 2014 to 2019, more than 140 million Twitter users provided their phone numbers or email addresses after the company asked for the info, according to the complaint. Twitter, however, “failed to mention that it also would be used for targeted advertising,” allowing marketers to target specific ads to users by matching the information with data they already possessed or obtained from third-party data brokers, the FTC alleged.
The Tesla chief is one of Twitter’s most avid — and critical — users. As its new owner, he could shake up the company.
An alleged scammer has gone missing in Turkey with 350 million Dogecoin valued at nearly $119.14 million, as per local media reports.
What Happened: Turgut V. organized one-on-one meetings and promoted “Dogecoin mining” at luxurious venues in order to lure investors and build relationships with them, reported Interesting Engineering, citing Turkey’s TV100.
Post the meetings, Turgut V. gathered the investors on a Telegram channel and got them to transfer DOGE to the allegedly fraudulent scheme.
An investor told TV100 that they were promised 100% returns in 40 days.
At press time, DOGE traded 0.71% higher at $0.29 over 24 hours.
Why It Matters: Reportedly 1,500 people made transfers to Turgut V.’s operations in the course of three months on the promise of regular dividends before they were abruptly shut down.
Istanbul’s Küçükçekmece Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation into the incident and banned Turgut V. from leaving Turkey.
As per TV 100, 11 other suspects are also under investigation, which includes the romantic partner of Turgut V.
Dogecoin, often discussed by Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk, has captured the imaginations of many retail investors, a fact not unnoticed by scam artists.
This is the unemployment rate during the COVID-19 pandemic. And this is Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ net worth during that same time span. From March to June 2020, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos saw his wealth rise by an estimated $48 billion. The founder of the video-conferencing platform Zoom grew his nest egg by over $2.5 billion, and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s net worth increased by $15.7 billion.
These kinds of examples might lead you to think that when billionaires profit during a crisis, it’s just a matter of right place, right time. Well, that’s not false, but it’s not entirely true either. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson saw his wealth increase by $5 billion, while Elon Musk saw an increase of $17.2 billion. When you add up the numbers, billionaires in the United States have increased their total net worth $637 billion during the COVID-19 pandemic so far.
At the same time, more than 40 million Americans filed for unemployment. With tens of millions of Americans out of a paycheck and the stock market plummeting by 37% in March, how is it that the rich have continued getting richer?
This isn’t the first time billionaires have seen gains while a large portion of Americans were feeling losses. When the housing bubble burst in 2007, home prices fell 21% and roughly 3.1 million homes were foreclosed on in the United States. The stock market plummeted by over 50%. And by the end of 2009, 8.8 million Americans had lost their jobs. And the effects lingered. From 2009 to 2012, the incomes of the bottom 99% grew by only 0.4%, but the income of the top 1% grew by a staggering 31.4% in the same time span. And it all ties back to two things.
First, the government disproportionately gave more aid to banks and corporations. In 2008, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act was signed into law, creating a $700 billion program to purchase devalued assets from banks. This was called the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Later, President Obama would direct $75 billion in funds from TARP to help reduce interest payments for homeowners. That means homeowners received around 10% of the direct relief that banks and corporations did.
And this leads to reason No. 2. When the stock market bounced back, the unequal bailouts meant that the wealthy still had money on hand to invest and thus profit, while the middle and lower classes did not. In 2008, the Federal Reserve lowered short-term interest rates to near zero. They would remain that low for nearly a decade. This paved the way for a historic bull market on Wall Street that began in 2009 and lasted until March 2020, when the pandemic hit.
In that time, the S&P 500 gained 462%. That means that a $1,000 investment in the S&P 500 at the low point of the financial crisis could have returned roughly $4,620, while someone who could afford a $1 million investment could have pulled in over $4.6 million.
By 2009, the world’s high-net-worth individuals had grown their share of global wealth by 19% to $39 trillion, recouping nearly all of their losses in a single year. That quick recovery and larger share of the world’s wealth enabled them to continue to make money at an exponential rate. In fact, the top 1% captured 95% of the income gains made from 2009 to 2012. And by 2020, the combined wealth of the billionaire class in the United States had increased by over 80%.
Which brings us back to the moment when the coronavirus pandemic rocked the economy. In 2019, the Fed reported that four in 10 Americans didn’t have enough cash in their bank accounts to cover a $400 unexpected expense. And in the first few months of 2020, 40 million Americans found themselves unemployed due to COVID-19. Many small businesses had to close due to lockdowns and social distancing, while others were forced to try to operate with entirely remote staff.
The Small Business Administration made $349 billion available to small businesses with the Paycheck Protection Program. But like in 2008, $243 million of that was snapped up by large, publicly traded corporations, some of which were valued at over $100 million. Even hedge funds submitted claims to try to tap into what they saw as free money.
On March 16, 2020, just five days after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, the Dow suffered the worst single-day points drop in its history. But by June 4, seven of the world’s richest people had seen their fortunes increase by over 50%. Part of what made this possible was a stock-market rebound fueled both by the Paycheck Protection Program and actions by the Fed. Again, the Fed lowered short-term interest rates for banks to near 0%, and as before, they have promised to hold those rates low until the economy is on track.
This is a cycle that has happened time and time again. During the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, only 2.5% of the $195 million of relief funds went to Haitian companies. Much of the rest was awarded to DC-based construction companies. And when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, real-estate developer Joseph Canizaro said the clearing out caused by Katrina represented some “very big opportunities.” Canizaro was selected as part of a panel to develop the Bring New Orleans Back plan, part of which put a stop on reconstruction of low-income neighborhoods until the residents returned. Of course, residents couldn’t return to their destroyed homes, and many were foreclosed on, paving the way for others to buy those properties and develop them.
When the time did come to rebuild New Orleans, the engineering and construction company KBR received no-bid contracts from the federal government for tens of millions of dollars. KBR received $31 billion in contracts from the government between 2001 and 2010. Vice President Dick Cheney served as CEO of KBR’s parent company, Halliburton, for the five years leading up to his two terms in office.
Combined with their immense investing and purchasing power, billionaires have had government resources in addition to their own resources to profit from during economic upheavals. And wealth-friendly tax laws and loopholes then keep those billionaires at the top. Legal structures such as limited liability companies protect personal assets from being repossessed to pay the debts from business downturns. As it’s set up today, IRS rules allowed Amazon to pay $0 in taxes two years in a row. When its bill finally came due in 2019, it paid just $162 million, a measly 1.2% of the company’s income that year.
And it’s not just Amazon. Taxes paid by billionaires have decreased 79% since 1980. And those are just the legal avenues that the wealthy take to avoid paying taxes. In 2017, researchers estimated that about 10% of the world’s GDP was stashed in offshore tax havens. A study in 2012 found that as much as $32 trillion was being held offshore by the world’s wealthiest people.
So, after reviewing all this, what can be done to help level the playing field? A recent report by the Institute for Policy Studies lays out several action items. It suggests forming a pandemic profiteering oversight committee that would go beyond the oversight of federal stimulus money. It also supports the Corporate Transparency Act, which would create stronger regulations to prevent US billionaires from using shell corporations to hide their income. After the House passed the bill in 2019, it was introduced in the Senate but has not been brought to a vote.
Other suggestions include an emergency 10% millionaire income surtax, a stimulus package aimed at funding charities, instituting a wealth tax, and reducing the amount allowed by the gift and estate tax. Last, and perhaps most importantly, the report underscores the need to shut down the global hidden-wealth economy. The US alone is estimated to lose nearly $200 billion in tax revenues to offshore havens each year. That’s roughly three times the amount of all the money budgeted for the Department of Education in 2021.
Changes like the ideas above are global in scale and require political cooperation to become reality. If the relationship between wealth and income inequality are ever going to change, it’s going to require all of us.’
Source: Business Insider
These are a few reasons Shelby Church thinks you should not buy a Tesla, or why an electric vehicle might not be a good fit for you (yet).
When a company splits its stock, its total value doesn’t change; it just ends up with more stocks, each at a cheaper cost.
Here’s a food metaphor: If you ask the guy at the pizzeria to cut each slice in your large pie in half, you’ll still go home with the same amount of pizza. You just have more, smaller slices now.
Companies typically say they’re splitting their stocks to make them affordable to more people.
But, is that reality? It’s more of a way to grab headlines and bring in money, said certified financial planner Douglas Boneparth, founder and president of Bone Fide Wealth in New York.
“This was done as a marketing tool to get smaller investors to invest in the stock,” Boneparth said. “The actual mechanics of the company are the same.”
And therefore, so are your chances of making a profit on either Tesla or Apple, experts say.
“People ultimately want to know, ‘What does this mean for my bottom line?’” Boneparth said. “The answer is: nothing.”
If you own Apple in an index fund, for example, it’s as if you had a dollar that just turned into four quarters, Boneparth said.