“It’s almost like [Chinese company Bytedance] recognize[s] that technology’s influencing kids’ development, and they make their domestic version a spinach TikTok, while they ship the opium version to the rest of the world,” says Tristan Harris.
AI-generated photos of Black goth girls created with Midjourney have captivated viewers across social media with both the alluring scenes they depict and their striking realness. In recent years, imaging software bolstered by machine learning have grown uncanny in their ability to produce detailed works based on simple text prompts. With enough coaxing, models like Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, and DALL-E 2 can generate pieces indistinguishable from what a human artist might create.
All it takes to get started is a concept. Text-to-image generators are trained on massive, detailed image datasets, giving them the contextual basis to create from scratch. Instruct any one of today’s popular AI image models to whip up an imaginary scene and, if all goes well, it’ll do just that. By referencing specific styles in the prompt, like a historical art movement or a particular format of photography, the models can be guided toward more refined results. They’re not perfect, though — as casual users hopping on the AI-image meme trend have found, they have a tendency to miss the mark, often hilariously.
That makes it all the more effective when the AI does get it right. Former MMA fighter and artist Fallon Fox’s AI-generated photos, which have gone viral since she posted them on Twitter and Facebook on Nov. 13, at first glance seem a look into the not-so-distant past. Black girls decked in leather and heavy eyeliner smolder in nearly two dozen snapshots from metal shows in the ‘90s. Except, these concerts never existed and neither did these girls. Midjourney conjured them up.
Fox told Screen Rant she was just trying to “show a representation of people like [herself],” a Black woman, in the metal scene through the AI experiment. She had no idea it would take off the way it did. “I put a lot of references to ‘90s-era Black goths in there,” Fox told Screen Rant regarding the AI art creation process. “I also put the scenery in there, which was of course a heavy metal concert, and I told it to use a specific type of film, which was ‘90s Polaroid. And a lot of other tweaks, too.”
It’s easy, at first, to miss the telltale signs of AI-made images in this photoset, though they eventually become glaring. Hands, in particular, have proven difficult for AI models to render, and many of the characters in the series suffer bizarre failings in this area (which Fox and social media users have been quick to point out): rubbery fingers that fuse with other objects, a multitude of tangled extra digits, out-of-place fingernails.
There are other telling details, too, like eyes that are just off and features that seem to be pasted haphazardly on. In one image, a bystander appears to have the entire lower half of his body on backward. Overwhelmingly, though, the people and places in the photos look real.
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.
Why teach in the classroom when you can do some teaching behind a paywall on the internet? Many teachers made the career change during the pandemic, including Louise Roberts.
The 40-year-old quit her job as a math teacher to become a full-time fitness and OnlyFans model. The move has been a beneficial one for Louise. She’s grown her Instagram following to more than 185,000 to go along with more than 254,000 on TikTok.
The large social media following has helped her to create a sizable OnlyFans following and increase her earnings to more than $560,000 since leaving teaching.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t some downsides to the new career path. Louise revealed in a recent interview that some of her former students have found her social media accounts and attempted to message her.
That’s caused her to have to be vigilant about who is following her and block any of her former students that she comes across.
“They find you on Instagram don’t they?” she said. “Like ‘oh my God, you used to teach me, you’re well fit’, and I’m like, ‘blocked.’”
That just comes with the territory for former teachers turned OnlyFans models. Like other former teachers, former students trying to sneak a peek isn’t going to cause her to close up shop.
“I’ve just had to try to accept the fact that there will be ex-students who will find me on there, they will try to screenshot something and send it to their mates,” she said.
“I could get really upset about it, and stop doing OnlyFans and close everything down, but then I’ve got to pay the bills and live my life.”
You can’t blame her for that. The math here makes too much sense. She’s found her true calling and that’s as a high level content creator, not a teacher.
A flight attendant and social media influencer with more than 3.5 million followers had her account briefly closed down by TikTok after hundreds of flight attendants bombarded the platform with complaints about the content she was posting.
Cierra Huffman, who goes by the name Cierra Mistt on social media, was last known to be working for Republic Airways, a regional carrier that operates services on behalf of American Airlines and Delta Air Lines.
In recent weeks, Cierra has had her content featured across the tabloid press where she shared supposed but highly dubious ‘travel hacks‘ like booking a flight on Tuesday to get the cheapest deal and choosing a seat at the very back of the aircraft in the hope of getting upgraded to First Class.
The seemingly harmless content, however, has attracted the ire of a growing number of flight attendants across the industry who have accused Cierra of “spreading false information” and giving the flight attendant profession a bad name.
Controversially, Cierra has posted videos with tips on how passengers can join the ‘mile high club‘ without flight attendants noticing and one post went viral when she said that she would hang out with passengers after a flight if they were “hot”.
“Yes, flight attendants and pilots during our layovers we don’t only hang out with each other, we actually hang out a lot of times with our passengers,” Cierra said in the video.
“Whether it be a really hot guy or girl, or just a fun group of people, if you invite us to go hang out with you guys chances are we’re totally down.”
Cierra added: “In fact, I have a tonne of spicy stories that I could tell you about the passenger interactions I’ve personally had… but, I can’t do it on here.”
It has also been reported that Cierra has insinuated that flight attendants and pilots have sex mid-flight but what may have got her banned from TikTok was an allegation that she was using content from other influencers without their permission.
She has even stoked controversy over why some flight attendants won’t help passengers stow their baggage and raised questions about the safety of drinking tea and coffee onboard an airplane.
Cierra started her flight attendant career with Republic Airways in September 2021 and quickly started posting flight attendant content. In a recent response video, Cierra implored her detractors to “get a life”.
“The only thing that these comments are showing me is how bored you are, how jealous you are, how insecure you are. Get a life. I will continue to say whatever I want”.
However, Cierra no longer works for Republic, although she insists she is still working in the industry and say she respects her new employer’s social media policy.
“While it wasn’t ever a secret that I don’t work for my first airline anymore, I’m still very much, 100000% an active flight attendant,” Cierra said earlier this month.
“long story short: I’m still a flight attendant which is why I still post flight attendant content… I’m just not dumb enough to post in my company’s uniform/be affiliated specifically so that I can still post about my life and other jobs w/o having to worry about corporate approval or repercussions,” she continued.
Although some flight attendants have taken a serious disliking to Cierra’s content, many others have defended her right to post content of her choosing and have asked their colleagues to back down.
Ireland’s data privacy regulator has agreed to levy a record fine of 405 million euros ($402 million) against social network Instagram following an investigation into its handling of children’s data, a spokesperson for the watchdog said.
Instagram plans to appeal against the fine, a spokesperson for its parent company, Meta, said in an emailed statement.
The investigation, which started in 2020, focused on child users between the ages of 13 and 17 who were allowed to operate business accounts, which facilitated the publication of the user’s phone number and/or email address.
“We adopted our final decision last Friday and it does contain a fine of 405 million euro,” said the spokesperson for Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner, the lead regulator of Instagram and Facebook’s (FB) parent company.
Instagram updated its settings over a year ago and has since released new features to keep teens safe and their information private, the Meta spokesperson said.
The DPC regulates Facebook, Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOGL) and other technology giants due to the location of their EU headquarters in Ireland. It has opened over a dozen investigations into Meta companies, including Facebook and WhatsApp.
WhatsApp was last year fined a record 225 million euros for failing to conform with EU data rules in 2018.
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.
Some photographers on TikTok are trying an unconventional technique for unusual results: taking a rock to the front of their lenses, scratching the glass, and destroying them in the process.
Photographer Illumitati posted a video of her using a rock to mortally wound her Canon 50mm f/1.8 in response to a viral video made by Andres Videography where he appeared to do the same to his lens.
However, Andres didn’t actually scratch his lens; eagle-eyed viewers will notice that he was actually scratching a lens filter placed on his Sony 85mm.
But in Illumitati’s case, she actually takes a rock to the front element of her 50mm. Speaking to PetaPixel she explains what happened.
“I saw another person do it with a filter, and my intrusive thoughts told me to try it on the lens for real,” she says.
“This came up on my ‘for your page’ and as a photographer, I’d never cringed harder in my life,” Illumitati says in her TikTok video.
“But then I was so curious to see what a photo from that camera would look like I actually destroyed one of my lenses,” she continues. “Then I set it down and got ready to take a couple of portraits and to my surprise, it actually gave it this glow. I don’t recommend doing this to your lenses but hey, it’s kind of cool.”
When asked by PetaPixel, the portrait and fashion photographer seemed to have no regrets over the video.
“I really did scratch it, and the photos were actually not bad at all. The lens is really not great in the first place so I don’t think I’d use it,” she says.