Elon Musk responds to companies that pulled ads from X: ‘Go fuck yourself’

Elon Musk, facing the fact that an already financially-precarious X could be poised to lose another $75 million in ad revenue following his boosting of an antisemitic conspiracy theory, has a new message for advertisers pulling back from the platform: “Go fuck yourself.”

Musk repeated the sentiment multiple times during an appearance at The New York Times’ DealBook event. “Don’t advertise,” Musk said. “If somebody is going to try and blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money? Go fuck yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is.”

“Hey Bob,” Musk added, in an apparent reference to Disney CEO Bob Iger, who appeared at the same event earlier in the day and spoke about the company’s decision to pull ads following Musk’s tweet earlier this month. Iger said that Disney’s association with X was “not necessarily a positive one for us,” according to Variety.

While Musk again denied being antisemitic, he did express some regret for engaging with the tweet that’s resulted in another exodus of advertisers from X. “I should have not replied to that particular person… I essentially handed a loaded gun to those who hate me,” Musk said about the post, per Variety.

X didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. X CEO Linda Yaccarino had a front-row seat to the remarks, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which reports the former ad exec sat “stone-faced” during Musk’s tirade.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/elon-musk-responds-companies-pulled-233913536.html?src=rss

Apple, Disney among brands reportedly pulling ads from X amid growing antisemitic content backlash

More major advertisers are pulling their ads from X amid a growing backlash to antisemitic content on the platform. Apple, Disney and Lionsgate are all reportedly suspending ads from the platform days after X owner Elon Musk appeared to publicly endorse an antisemitic conspiracy theory, according to Axios and The New York Times. Warner Brothers Discovery also paused its ads, according to Deadline, as did Paramount Global per CNBC.

The companies join IBM, which confirmed Thursday it was suspending its ads while it investigated a report that found ads for its Watson division appearing next to pro-Nazi content. The report, published by watchdog group Media Matters, also found ads for Apple, Oracle and other tech companies alongside similar content.

An executive at X previously told Engadget that the posts identified by Media Matters were no longer monetizable and that “the X system is not intentionally placing a brand actively next to this type of content, nor is a brand actively trying to support this content with placement.” X CEO Linda Yaccarino also said that “X has also been extremely clear about our efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination.”

Many of X’s advertisers have long been concerned about the state of hate speech on the platform, but the departures of Apple, Disney, Lionsgate and IBM are a new blow to the company’s already struggling ad business. And it appears that a recent tweet from Musk, in which voiced agreement with an account promoting an antisemitic conspiracy theory, has prompted more advertisers pull back from the platform, at least temporarily.

Axios reported that Apple opted to “pause” all advertising on the platform, though it’s not clear whether the decision was driven by Musk’s tweet, Media Matters’ report or both. The company didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, but this wouldn’t be the first time the company has raised concerns about the direction of the platform under Musk’s leadership, and its role as a major advertiser. Apple CEO Tim Cook said in September the company was “constantly” questioning whether it should continue advertising on X. Apple also briefly paused ads on X (then Twitter) last year, amid a "misunderstanding" between the two CEOs.

The latest advertiser exodus comes one year after civil rights groups called for an advertiser boycott following Musk’s takeover of Twitter amid concerns about rising hate speech and relaxed content moderation policies under Musk. Though some major Twitter advertisers returned to the platform, the company’s ad business never rebounded. Musk said over the summer that the company’s ad revenue was down more than 50 percent.

Update, November 17 2023, 6:55PM ET: This story has been updated to note that Disney and Lionsgate have joined Apple in pausing advertising on X.

Update, November 17 2023, 7:15PM ET: This story has been updated to reflect reports that Warner Brothers Discovery has also pulled its ads. 

Update, November 17 2023, 7:45PM ET: This story has been updated with CNBC's report that Paramount Global has also pulled ads from X. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/apple-reportedly-pulls-ads-from-x-amid-a-growing-backlash-to-antisemitic-content-on-the-platform-205849759.html?src=rss

X’s job search tool is now live on the web

The LinkedIn-like job search tool that X has been experimenting with is now live. A beta version of the feature launched in August to verified users, but the web version of the tool is now open to everyone on X, with iOS and Android availability expected “soon,” according to the company.

The job search feature appears to already be populated with open positions at numerous tech companies, including those run by Elon Musk. There are currently roles listed for SpaceX, Tesla and Neuralink, as well as X and Musk’s newest venture, x.ai.

While Musk previously promised “we will make sure that the X competitor to LinkedIn is cool,” it appears to be very basic for now. Users can browse job listings and descriptions, but are directed to third-party sites to complete an application, even for roles at X. Elsewhere, the company has been testing “job cards” so that individual postings are more easily shareable throughout the platform.

But there have been signs the company has more ambitious plans for career-oriented features on its “everything app.” The company recently updated its privacy policy to note that it may collect data related to users’ employment history for “job applications and recommendations.” This may hint at some kind of recruiting feature for X or other, more advanced job finding features down the line.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/xs-job-search-tool-is-now-live-on-the-web-010200007.html?src=rss

IBM suspends advertising on X after its ads were placed next to pro-Nazi content

IBM is pulling back from X after its ads were placed alongside pro-Nazi content on the platform. The company says it has suspended all ads from the network after nonprofit watchdog group Media Matters reported that it found ads for IBM and several other tech giants next to pro-Nazi memes and other posts promoting Hitler.

“IBM has zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination and we have immediately suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation,” the company said in a statement. Comcast, whose ads were also highlighted by Media Matters, told the Financial Times it was looking into the situation.

An executive at X told Engadget that the posts identified by Media Matters will “no longer be monetizable” and will appear with “sensitive media” labels that require users to click through a warning in order to view the content. They added that “while we understand it's not an ideal placement for any ad,” the post had only racked up “about 8,000 impressions.”

It’s not clear how many campaigns are affected by IBM’s decision to suspend ads. But another high profile company pulling back from the platform, even temporarily, is another blow to the company’s already battered advertising business.

In a post on X, CEO Linda Yaccarino said that “discrimination by everyone should STOP across the board,” though she didn’t reference IBM or Media Matters’ report directly. “X has also been extremely clear about our efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination,” she wrote. “There's no place for it anywhere in the world — it's ugly and wrong.”

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/ibm-suspends-advertising-on-x-after-its-ads-were-placed-next-to-pro-nazi-content-234332820.html?src=rss

You can now delete your Threads profile without nuking your Instagram account

Meta is continuing to (slowly) untangle some aspects of Threads from Instagram. Threads users are now able to delete their accounts on the app without also deleting their Instagram, the app's top exec, Adam Mosseri, said in an update.

Users can remove their profile from the Threads app via Settings -> Account -> Delete or deactivate profile

The change has been a long-requested feature among Threads users, many of whom were frustrated by the inability to purge their Threads profile without also nuking their Instagram account. The update comes shortly after Meta introduced another settings change that allows Threads users to opt out of having their posts promoted in Instagram and Facebook’s main feeds.

Despite the changes, Instagram and Threads are still tied very closely together. An Instagram account is required to join Threads, and the app’s only messaging feature relies on Instagram’s inbox. Threads also draws on users’ Instagram presence for recommendations and other features.

While Meta is unlikely to completely separate the two services, there’s reason to hope that Threads may eventually become more independent. Meta has said it intends to make Threads compatible with ActivityPub, the open-source protocol that powers Mastodon and other services in the fediverse. The company hasn’t shared much about how this will work, but the integration should provide social media users with new ways to interact with Threads content even if they prefer to steer clear of Instagram.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/you-can-now-delete-your-threads-profile-without-nuking-your-instagram-account-232844974.html?src=rss

Another former Facebook employee will testify at Congress about safety issues at Instagram

Another former Facebook employee is going public with allegations that the company failed to act on its own research showing that young Instagram users were having harmful experiences on the platform. Arturo Bejar, a former Facebook employee and consultant for Instagram, is scheduled to testify at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, November, 7.

Bejar, who detailed his efforts to raise the alarm internally about Instagram safety issues to The Wall Street Journal, was a Facebook employee between 2009 and 2015 and returned to the company in 2019 to advise Instagram’s well-being team. He told The Journal that internal research showed that more than 20 percent of users younger than 16 “felt worse about themselves after viewing others’ posts” and that 13 percent “experienced unwanted sexual advances in the past seven days.”

Bejar’s disclosures come two years after another former Facebook employee, Frances Huagen, came forward with internal research about Instagram’s harmful effects on teen mental health, along with other disclosures about controversial decisions within the company. Soon after, Instagram paused work on a dedicated app for kids, and dozens of states opened an investigation into the company.

Last week, 41 state attorneys general sued Meta for “harmful and psychologically manipulative product features” that harmed the mental health of its youngest users. According to The Wall Street Journal, Bejar consulted with state officials on their case. Now, he’s set to publicly air his experiences in front of Congress,

“From Arturo’s disclosures, we now know that Mark Zuckerberg, Adam Mosseri, and other Meta executives were personally warned that millions of teens face bullying, eating disorder material, illicit drugs, and sexual exploitation, often within minutes of opening the app,” Senators Marsha Blackburn and Richard Blumenthal, both of whom sit on the judiciary committee, said in a statement. “Rather than address these deadly harms, Facebook continued to hide this information from the public and Congressional oversight, ignored recommendations to protect teens, rolled back safety tools, and dismantled teams responsible for kids’ safety.”

Meta didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The company told The Wall Street Journal it disagreed with Bejar’s claims that well-being research wasn’t addressed, and said the company had introduced several safety updates as a result of the work of Bejar and his team.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/another-former-facebook-employee-will-testify-at-congress-about-safety-issues-at-instagram-185339860.html?src=rss

TikTok says it’s removed millions of fake accounts since start of Israel-Hamas war

TikTok is pushing back on critics who claim the video app is falling short in its content moderation duties amid the Israel-Hamas war. In a statement, the company offered new details about the number of accounts and videos it has taken down since the October 7th attacks by Hamas.

According to TikTok, it removed more than 925,000 videos “in the conflict region” and millions more “pieces of content” from around the world. The company also said it’s experienced “spikes in fake engagement” in recent weeks. “Since Oct. 7, we've removed more than 24 million fake accounts globally and more than half a million bot comments on content under hashtags related to the conflict.”

The new details come as TikTok has faced increasing scrutiny over how its app is recommending content related to the ongoing conflict. According to NBC News, some lawmakers have recently stepped up their calls for the app to be banned amid allegations that TikTok’s algorithm is disproportionately promoting pro-Palestinian content. In its update, TikTok said that such claims were based on “unsound analysis” of its data. 

“Unfortunately, some misinformed commentators have mischaracterized our work to prevent the spread of hate speech and misinformation surrounding the crisis in Israel and Gaza, especially as it relates to antisemitism,” the company said. “Over the last few days, there has been unsound analysis of TikTok hashtag data around the conflict, causing some commentators to falsely insinuate TikTok is pushing pro-Palestine content over pro-Israel content to U.S. users.” The company added that, in the United States, the hashtag #standwithisrael had been viewed 46 million times since October 7, while #standwithpalestine had been viewed 29 million times.

TikTok isn’t the only platform to face increasing scrutiny over its moderation policies as tensions surrounding the conflict spill over onto social media platforms. Meta has faced accusations that it “shadowbanned” Instagram accounts that posted about conditions within Gaza, which it attributed to a “bug.” X, formerly known as Twitter, is dealing with a European Union investigation into its handling of misinformation related to the conflict.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/tiktok-says-its-removed-millions-of-fake-accounts-since-start-of-israel-hamas-war-231851792.html?src=rss

Meta will stop forcing your Threads posts onto Facebook and it can’t come soon enough

It looks like Meta may be pumping the brakes on one of its more aggressive, and unpopular, growth-hacking tactics for Threads. The company appears to be working on a new privacy setting so Threads users can opt-out of having their posts cross-posted to Facebook and Instagram feeds.

The unreleased feature was spotted by reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi, who often uncovers early versions of social media features before they officially launch. Paluzzi shared screenshots of a new “suggesting posts on other apps” toggle in Threads’ privacy settings.

The feature comes barely a week after the company acknowledged that it was promoting users’ Threads posts in Facebook feeds in an effort to boost Threads. While Meta has used similar tactics to promote its other apps in the past, the move has been widely unpopular among Threads users, many of whom are not active on Facebook and see the promotions as an intrusive overreach. Meta said last week it was “listening to feedback” in response to user complaints about not being able to opt out.

Notably, it appears as if Meta still intends to automatically enable cross-posting as a default setting. “If your profile is public, your posts may be suggested on other apps so people can discover and follow you,” the opt-out screen states.

The back and forth over the feature comes as Meta has steadily ramped up its efforts to boost Threads growth. The Twitter clone has been growing again in recent weeks, and currently has about 100 million monthly users. Mark Zuckerberg recently said he sees a path for the app to become Meta’s next billion-user service. But in order to reach that many people, the company will need to lean hard on its other apps to attract new sign-ups.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/meta-will-stop-forcing-your-threads-posts-onto-facebook-and-it-cant-come-soon-enough-174835068.html?src=rss

LinkedIn’s latest premium perk is an AI job coach

LinkedIn is adding a new, AI-powered perk for its premium subscribers: a built-in job coach that uses AI and LinkedIn data to help job seekers find, research and apply for roles. The new feature arrives as the company announced its user base has grown to 1 billion members as it looks to ramp up its investment in AI-driven features.

The Microsoft-owned company has increasingly been experimenting with AI features for its paying members. Earlier this year, it introduced the ability to use generative AI to write better profile descriptions and messages to hiring managers. But the latest AI perks aim to provide an even more personalized experience.

For now, the most prominent feature for job seekers will be AI-generated insights alongside each job posting. The tool can help summarize lengthy job descriptions and weigh in on whether the role is a good fit for a user based on the contents of their LinkedIn profile. For example, it can highlight specific work experiences users’ may want to emphasize in their application and provide tips on how to improve their LinkedIn profile to look more attractive to hiring managers.

LinkedIn's new AI job coach.

Because LinkedIn is able to draw on its vast trove of career data, the tips it’s able to provide are much more personalized than what you’d likely get if you were to ask other generative AI services for tips, says LinkedIn product manager Rohan Rajiv. “This is made possible by generative AI, but also the datasets that bring all of this together,” Rajiv tells Engadget. “It's your profile, your connections, and all of this that essentially can help you move your job search forward.”

For now, it’s still early days for the feature which is launching in beta to a limited set of LinkedIn Premium subscribers. But the company has signaled it intends to make AI a central part of its service going forward. “Today marks the beginning of a new journey, one where the power of AI is your ally in every career question and decision,” LinkedIn’s Chief Product Officer, Tomer Cohen, wrote in a blog post.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/linkedins-latest-premium-perk-is-an-ai-job-coach-120044855.html?src=rss

A software company called Threads says Meta tried to buy its domain and kicked it off Facebook

A UK-based software company called Threads Software Limited is threatening legal action against Meta over its use of the name Threads. The company, which says it’s owned the “Threads” trademark since 2012, makes an “intelligent message hub” that uses AI to help businesses keep track of phone calls, emails and other messages.

Threads Software Limited claims that Meta lawyers made four separate attempts, beginning in April 2023, to buy the software company’s threads.app domain, and eventually shut down its Facebook account. “Every offer was declined,” the company said in a statement. “It was made clear to Meta’s Instagram that the domain was not for sale. In July 2023, Meta’s Instagram announced its ‘threads’ social media platform and removed Threads Software Limited from its Facebook platform.”

The software company said that it’s giving Meta 30 days to “stop using the Threads name” and that it will “seek an injunction from the UK courts” if the social media company declines to do so. In a statement, Threads Software’s CEO John Yardley said it was “not an easy decision” to take on Meta, but that the “business now faces a serious threat from one of the largest technology companies in the world.”

Meta didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. It’s not clear how much money Meta may have offered for threads.app, but Yardley’s statements offer a rare look at the kind of backroom negotiations that can happen in order to secure a sought-after domain or username.

It’s also worth noting that the software maker wasn’t the only company using the Threads name at the time Meta launched its Twitter competitor. Fashion retailer American Threads controlled the @Threads handle on Instagram at the time of the service’s launch. The company jokingly responded to commenters at the time, and posted on the new Threads service about people mixing up the clothing brand with the Meta-owned service. Meta used @threadsapp on Instagram and threadsapp.net on Threads, at the time of the service’s launch.

A retailer called American Threads owned the Threads handle on Instagram when Threads first launched in July.
Screenshot by Karissa Bell via Instagram

A month later, the retailer’s Instagram account changed handles to @americanthreads (and americanthreads.net on Threads) without explanation, while Meta took control of the @Threads handle. Representatives for the clothing brand didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but the circumstances are strikingly similar to how Meta quietly gained control of the @Meta handle on Instagram more than a year ago. That username was also controlled by a separate entity — an independent motorcycle publication called META — but the account was later subsumed by the social network without explanation.

Representatives of Meta, the magazine, never commented directly on how their account changed hands, but wrote about their dismay in learning of Facebook's name change. “With the flip of a switch our identity was suddenly watered down, and we watched our name circle the drain and wash away with something we had no control over,” the magazine’s cofounder wrote in a blog post that’s since been deleted. The magazine now uses the name Vahna.

For now, it appears Threads Software Limited is hoping for a different outcome. “Over the last 10 years, we have made a large investment in the Threads name and we did not want to potentially have to write-off this investment simply because Meta happened to like the name we had already coined for a messaging service,” it wrote in a blog post. “For us to change the service name simply to avoid confusion with Meta’s product could well set back the service enough for us to lose that technological lead.”

If you have been offered money in exchange for your domain name or handle from Meta or another social media company, reach out to me at karissa.bell [at] engadget.com or on Signal at +1.628.231.0063.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/a-software-company-called-threads-says-meta-tried-to-buy-its-domain-and-kicked-it-off-facebook-221928864.html?src=rss