Bitcoin Experts & Advocates Lobby Congress Over Tax Rules

Faced with new tax rules for cryptocurrencies, Ashton Kutcher, Elon Musk and Square chief executive Jack Dorsey were among those who brought the fight to Washington. They and others in the industry including lobbyists, executives and trade group officials reached out to Congress over a provision in the massive new infrastructure bill that would “expand and strengthen tax enforcement of crypto transactions.” Dorsey “brought the Twitter heat” over the issue, igniting a grass roots reaction among thousands of crypto enthusiasts. Continue reading Bitcoin Experts & Advocates Lobby Congress Over Tax Rules

Twitter Chooses Crypto Developer to Lead Its Bluesky Project

Twitter has selected startup founder and cryptocurrency developer Jay Graber to head up its open-source project Bluesky. Although Twitter funds Bluesky, it will operate independently of the social giant. Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey stated that Bluesky is his “biggest focus right now,” and Graber explained that she is “excited to take on this role and build the future of social media.” Dorsey established Bluesky to create protocol technology that would break down the boundaries between various social media services. Continue reading Twitter Chooses Crypto Developer to Lead Its Bluesky Project

Square Will Purchase Afterpay Credit Company for $29 Billion

Square announced it will acquire Australia-based financial tech company Afterpay in an all-stock deal worth about $29 billion, with Square chief executive Jack Dorsey stating that the two companies “have a shared purpose.” Afterpay appeals to a younger demographic that mistrusts traditional credit companies; its technology lets a consumer pay for goods in four interest-free installments and receive the goods immediately. Customers only pay a fee if they miss an automated payment, which also locks their account until the balance is repaid. Continue reading Square Will Purchase Afterpay Credit Company for $29 Billion

Twitter Revisits E-Commerce with New Shop Module Feature

Twitter recently launched its Shop Module pilot, a new feature that will let businesses add a shopping section to their profiles. The feature, introduced initially in the U.S., allows a dozen retailers — including GameStop Corp. and Arden Cove — to market up to five products at the top of their Twitter profiles. Users can swipe between products and purchase them in an in-app browser without having to leave Twitter. With Shop Module, Twitter has revived its e-commerce activity after abandoning the “Buy Now” button debuted in 2015. Continue reading Twitter Revisits E-Commerce with New Shop Module Feature

Congress Grills Big Tech Executives on Accountability Issues

Prior to a House hearing on social media’s role in extremism and disinformation, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg submitted written testimony on Section 230, suggesting that “platforms should be required to demonstrate that they have systems in place for identifying unlawful content and removing it.” Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act holds that platforms are not liable for content posted by their users. In a bipartisan effort, lawmakers are pushing for change. “Our nation is drowning in disinformation driven by social media,” suggested Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pennsylvania). “We will legislate to stop this.” Continue reading Congress Grills Big Tech Executives on Accountability Issues

Digital Collage Sells for a Record $69.3 Million at NFT Auction

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have been generating headlines, most recently when graphic designer and self-taught artist Mike Winkelmann (also known as Beeple) sold a digital image online at Christie’s auction house for $69.3 million. It was also the most expensive digital asset to ever sell with a “digital certificate of authenticity,” otherwise known as an NFT. The blockchain-based assets differ from cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin in that each NFT is a “singularly unique marker for the digital asset it tags.” Hence the uproar in the art world over Beeple’s record-breaking sale. Continue reading Digital Collage Sells for a Record $69.3 Million at NFT Auction

Square Acquires Majority Stake in Jay-Z’s Tidal Music Service

Digital payment firm Square is spending $297 million in cash and stock for a majority share of the subscription-based Tidal streaming music service. Tidal owner Jay-Z, born Shawn Carter, will join Square’s board. Now, musicians on Tidal will be able to use Square’s Cash App payment service to digitally store and transfer money. Square hardware lead Jesse Dorogusker, who will temporarily lead Tidal, said, “we’re interested in a 360-degree view of artists as small-business owners,” noting live performances, merchandise and collaborations. Continue reading Square Acquires Majority Stake in Jay-Z’s Tidal Music Service

Twitter Innovates to Lure New Users, Double Revenue by 2023

Since launching in 2006, popular social service Twitter has remained largely unchanged. The company is now planning a wide-ranging series of new products with the goal of attracting new users. They include ephemeral content, an audio chat service, a newsletter platform, moderation tools and, most recently, new options to pay for exclusive content from some users and to launch communities for specific interests. By 2023, the company hopes to double its user base from its 2019 level and its revenue from 2020 levels. Continue reading Twitter Innovates to Lure New Users, Double Revenue by 2023

Section 230 Faces Bipartisan Scrutiny and Potential Updates

At the very end of his presidency, Donald Trump tried to strike down Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which essentially provides online platforms with immunity from liability based on third-party content. He failed, but Congress has received 20 proposals to update or change the section. On February 5, three Democratic senators introduced a bill to make social media firms accountable for enabling cyberstalking, harassment and discrimination. More recently, Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and John Thune (R-South Dakota) plan to reintroduce the PACT Act, a proposal to jumpstart change. Continue reading Section 230 Faces Bipartisan Scrutiny and Potential Updates

Twitter Experiences Subscriber Growth and Plans Expansion

Since Twitter banned former president Trump, the company said daily users rose to 192 million from Q3’s 187 million, including one million in the U.S. In January, the social platform gained more daily users than the average month in the last four years. Twitter chief exec Jack Dorsey revealed that 80 percent of its user base is outside the U.S., adding that it is “not dependent upon just news and politics.” The company is looking to expand and continue development of a decentralized social network. With regard to banning Trump, chief finance officer Ned Segal said the decision was well received by advertisers. Continue reading Twitter Experiences Subscriber Growth and Plans Expansion

Internet Platforms Say They’re Ready to Discuss Section 230

Facing a bipartisan push from Congress to change Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a liability shield against lawsuits for Internet platforms, tech companies have said they are now ready to discuss it. For 20+ years, Internet platforms have adamantly defended Section 230 but, in recent weeks, both Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey have voiced support for “updating” and/or “expanding” the law. Democrats and Republicans have threatened to repeal Section 230. Continue reading Internet Platforms Say They’re Ready to Discuss Section 230

Investments in Bitcoin Increase During the COVID Pandemic

Cryptocurrency Bitcoin is on a roll, rising to a record high since the advent of the global coronavirus pandemic. In March it had skidded to below $4,000. This time, however, its growth is not being driven by the same speculative forces that led to its peak of $19,783 in 2017. Instead, American companies and other traditional investors are gravitating to Bitcoin as an alternative asset, similar to gold, that enables them to place part of their financial portfolio outside the influence of governments and the traditional financial systems. Continue reading Investments in Bitcoin Increase During the COVID Pandemic

Facebook, Twitter Chief Execs Support Section 230 Changes

At a Senate Judiciary Committee, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey reported that their companies made improvements in blocking misinformation during the 2020 presidential election, compared to their inability to stop Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Judiciary chair Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said both companies will face modifications to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects them from liability for user-posted content, and the two chief execs expressed cautious support for the idea. Continue reading Facebook, Twitter Chief Execs Support Section 230 Changes

Big Tech Executives Defend Their Services in Senate Hearing

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter chief exec Jack Dorsey and Alphabet/Google chief exec Sundar Pichai faced a combative Senate Commerce Committee this week. Republicans want to update Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act that shields Internet platforms from liability for user-generated content. They also claim the platforms censor conservative views. Democrats also want to look at Section 230 but are more focused on whether the platforms are guarding against disinformation as the presidential election looms. Continue reading Big Tech Executives Defend Their Services in Senate Hearing

FCC Aims to Limit Section 230 Protections for Social Media

Affirming the FCC’s authority over social media companies, chair Ajit Pai has launched an official effort to “clarify” how Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act applies to them. “Social media companies have a First Amendment right to free speech — but they do not have a First Amendment right to a special immunity denied to other media outlets, such as newspapers and broadcasters,” he said. President Trump has often called for social media companies to be stripped of Section 230 protections. Continue reading FCC Aims to Limit Section 230 Protections for Social Media