Protocol - Twitter wants us to forget the bots

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By Sarah Roach and Nat Rubio-Licht
June 22, 2022


Good morning! Twitter updated its SEC filing yesterday, and it seems that there’s now one big thing standing between Elon Musk and the acquisition.

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It's all about the bots

 

Twitter updated its 170-page SEC filing on Elon Musk’s takeover. And it all comes down to bots.

The company doesn’t think the spam bot issue will stand in the way of the deal, according to an SEC filing. That’s a bit different from what Musk said yesterday.

  • Musk is still worried about spam bots and fake accounts, calling the issue an “unresolved matter” at the Qatar Economic Forum.
  • But fake or spam accounts make up just 5% of its monetizable daily active users, Twitter disclosed some time ago.
  • Contrary to Musk, Twitter seems to think it’s handing over everything needed to make things right. “Twitter stands behind the accuracy of its public disclosures, including with respect to its estimates of false and spam accounts,” the filing reads.

There’s still some concern over those public records that Twitter says it’s disclosing. The filing also cites a complaint from earlier this month that asks for books and records on whether Twitter’s public information on daily active users is entirely accurate.

  • The filing didn’t say who filed the complaint. But if it’s about information on daily active users (which would lead us to bots), it’s hard to imagine it would be anyone other than Musk. I asked Twitter who filed it, but it hasn’t gotten back to me.
  • For what it’s worth, Twitter disputed the allegations.

Twitter made it clear that it’s giving Musk all the information he needs on false and spam accounts to get the deal over with. Now all shareholders have to do is say “yes.”

Sarah Roach (email | twitter)

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​Is anyone safe?

 

DocuSign CEO Dan Springer is stepping down, as yet another pandemic darling faces slow growth and missed earnings.

DocuSign is among the companies that soared in the pandemic, as the need for e-signatures shot up. But as with other companies that thrived in 2020 and 2021, business slowed in recent quarters.

  • Its recent earnings and outlook fell far short of investor expectations. Year-to-date, its shares tumbled more than 60%.
  • Peloton reported dismal losses in the most recent quarter, and its stock has fallen 72% this year. John Foley also stepped down in February shortly after the company halted bike production and cut 41% of its sales and marketing staff.
  • Peloton’s working on a turnaround plan. And given DocuSign’s recent losing streak, it might need one too.

If three is a trend, is two just a preview of what’s to come? Is nobody, not even the C-suite, safe from layoffs and restructuring?

  • “We're going to see major rotation of the C-suite within tech over the next year, especially as we go through this downturn,” Dan Ives, managing director of Equity Research at Wedbush Securities, told me. “Investors much more are going to be scrutinizing results.”

The pandemic shifted many tech companies that catered to remote living into hyper-growth mode, Ives said, but those that do well when times are good are often hit the hardest when they aren’t. Sometimes companies just can’t hack it. “Managing during bull markets is a lot different than bear markets,” Ives said.

— Nat Rubio-Licht (email | twitter)

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How to build an equitable and inclusive future

At the same time that the pandemic demonstrated all that is possible in an interconnected world, we saw in new and increasingly stark ways how certain communities continue to be marginalized and harmed by a persistent digital divide and how effectively that divide exacerbates our society’s other inequities.

Click here to read more from Trusted Future

People are talking

 

Joe Biden said he’s “proud” of the Apple store workers in Maryland who unionized:

  • “Workers have a right to determine under what conditions they're going to work or not work.”

Brian Shroder said the crypto winter will only make Binance.US stronger:

  • “Not only is everything fine for us, we're actually entering the crypto winter from a position of strength.”

Making moves

 

Uniswap Laps bought Genie, an NFT marketplace aggregator, for an undisclosed amount.

Doug Herrington is Amazon’s new retail head. Herrington’s been at the company for 17 years and most recently led its North American Consumer business.

Alicia Boler Davis, Amazon’s SVP of Fulfillment Operations, and David Bozeman, VP of Trucking Operations, are leaving, according to The New York Times. Boler Davis and Bozeman are two of Amazon’s most senior Black execs.

Better.com lost three senior executives: Jillian White, Megan Bellingham and John Moffatt. The departures follow several rounds of layoffs at the embattled startup.

Michel Combes is leaving SoftBank Group International. SBGI Managing partner Alex Clavel will become the new CEO of the overseas arm.

CEO Feras Antoon and COO David Tassillo left MindGeek, which owns Pornhub. They resigned just after The New Yorker reported that Pornhub hosted sexually explicit nonconsensual videos for years.

Joe Morrissey is a16z’s new general partner on the Growth team. He was most recently the CRO at Segment.

Anne O’Leary is leaving Vodafone for Meta, where she’ll lead business sales in Europe. Her main responsibility will be to market the metaverse.

Stephen Zhang is Virgin Orbit’s new VP of investor relations. Zhang previously held a similar role at Raytheon Technologies.

Sri Viswanath is a new general partner at Coatue. Viswanath is Atlassian’s CTO.

In other news

 

Shareholders want a report detailing Activision's abuse prevention efforts. It'll span three years and describe the number of disputes and the money spent to settle those claims.

Meta, Microsoft and other tech giants formed the Metaverse Standards Forum. Apple was not included on the members list.

Tether's launching a British pound-pegged stablecoin called GBPT. It'll be available on the Ethereum blockchain next month.

Amazon's "first fully autonomous mobile robot" is here. It goes by Proteus and will work to move big carts around warehouses.

TikTok's cracking down on undisclosed ads following complaints that it violated EU rules on branded content.

BlockFi secured a $250 million revolving credit line from FTX as the broader market melts down and other crypto lenders freeze withdrawals.

Uber’s carpooling service is back under a different name. It’s called UberX Share, and riders get a big discount for using it.

Copilot, GitHub's AI code suggestion tool, is now available for all coders. It costs $10 per month or $100 annually, and is free for students and organizers of certain open-source projects.

Microsoft is getting rid of its emotion-detecting AI tools. Microsoft also will restrict the use of the facial recognition tool as it adheres to a new “Responsible AI Standard.”

Your data point of the day: Between March and May, tech jobs in software engineering grew nearly 50%, while roles in sales engineering, data science and tech management dropped off, Datapeople told us.

Keep it real 

 

You know what’s still not cool among the kids? Facebook. You know what’s becoming less cool? Instagram. The two platforms’ shrinking popularity is giving rise to apps like Poparazzi and BeReal, which are more focused on helping users post authentically and connect with friends rather than grow ad revenue. Execs think that connection is what will make them stick around in the years to come.

SPONSORED CONTENT FROM TRUSTED FUTURE

 

How to build an equitable and inclusive future

There is so much more we need to do to make sure our future is more equitable and inclusive and maximizes America’s potential. It is not enough just to ensure everyone is connected. We also need to extend the full scope of digital opportunity to the people, the communities, and the institutions.

Click here to read more from Trusted Future

 

Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to sourcecode@protocol.com, or our tips line, tips@protocol.com. Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow.

 

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