QuickVid Uses AI to Create Short Videos from Text Prompts

QuickVid is a new AI-driven text-to-video platform aiming for a mass market user base. The tool draws on various generative AI systems to automatically create short-form videos for YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and other platforms. Created by former Meta Platforms programmer Daniel Habib “in a matter of weeks,” QuickVid is quite rudimentary, though Habib says he plans to continue fine tuning and adding features. Unlike Google and Meta have done with their nascent text-to-video systems, QuickVid has bypassed the formalities of research papers and industry previews and jumped directly to a public-facing website. Continue reading QuickVid Uses AI to Create Short Videos from Text Prompts

Ad Market and Musk Credited for Twitter’s Missed Earnings

Twitter’s second quarter revenue of $1.18 billion underperformed 2021 by only one percent but fell short of estimates by more than 10 percent, disappointing Wall Street, which projected revenue of $1.32 billion for the period. Advertising crept up two percent, to $1.08 billion, but overall Twitter had a quarterly net loss of $270 million, largely attributed to recessionary headwinds and uncertainty about Elon Musk’s proposed takeover. In its earnings report, Twitter said its lawsuit against Musk has been granted an expedited trial for October 2022. Continue reading Ad Market and Musk Credited for Twitter’s Missed Earnings

Elon Musk Notifies Twitter of Plan to Cancel Acquisition Deal

Elon Musk is attempting to terminate his $44 billion deal to acquire social giant Twitter. Musk’s attorneys claimed in a regulatory filing that Twitter was in “material breach of multiple provisions” of the purchase agreement and “appears to have made false and misleading representations.” According to Twitter board chairman Bret Taylor, “The Twitter board is committed to closing the transaction on the price and terms agreed upon with Mr. Musk and plans to pursue legal action to enforce the merger agreement.” The deal includes a $1 billion “breakup fee” and the company can hold the billionaire to his original agreement by taking him to court. Continue reading Elon Musk Notifies Twitter of Plan to Cancel Acquisition Deal

Stock Volatility at Twitter and Tesla Roil Musk’s Buyout Plans

Twitter’s tumbling stock price has spectators second-guessing Elon Musk’s motives in demanding more information for the acquisition deal to proceed. The billionaire’s “best and final” offer of $54.20 per share is now looking like a rich deal for Twitter, which has been hovering at about $38 per share. The Twitter board is understandably intent on keeping the $44 billion offer and $1 billion breakup fee in place, even as Musk tweeted ““this deal cannot move forward” until he sees proof of the company’s claim that spam and bots account for less than 5 percent of users. Continue reading Stock Volatility at Twitter and Tesla Roil Musk’s Buyout Plans

Social Media Rapid Response Tested in the Wake of Violence

In the wake of criticism for its response time with regard to takedowns of videos of the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, Meta Platforms has released metrics that show it removed 21.7 million pieces of violent or incitement content from Facebook in Q1 2022, nearly doubling the number from the previous quarter. The Buffalo gunman used a helmet-mounted camera to live-stream his killing spree to Twitch, owned by Amazon, and recordings circulated on platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Google’s YouTube. Platforms were challenged by the speed of downloads and reposts even after the footage was removed. Continue reading Social Media Rapid Response Tested in the Wake of Violence

Twitter Accepts Musk’s $44 Billion Offer to Acquire Company

Twitter’s board has accepted billionaire Elon Musk’s offer to purchase the social media company for $44 billion, a financial value that reflects his April 14th offer of $54.20 per share. “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” said Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, who earlier revealed a desire to make Twitter a private company. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans.” Continue reading Twitter Accepts Musk’s $44 Billion Offer to Acquire Company

Facebook Gaming Inundated by Spam, Strange Infomercials

Facebook Gaming has been invaded by spammers and infomercials, according to recent reports that found Ukrainian war footage and video clips featuring individuals hawking foot callus removal kits and diet pill purveyors posted on what was supposed to be Meta Platforms’ answer to Amazon’s Twitch. Some of the videos masquerading as “live” featured up to 11 hours of looped recordings. In late 2021, Facebook Gaming listed seven such spurious accounts in the Top 10, sometimes attracting as many as 50,000 simultaneous viewers, according to data analytics firm Stream Hatchet. Continue reading Facebook Gaming Inundated by Spam, Strange Infomercials

Twitter Asks Developers to ID ‘Good Bots’ Using New Badge

Twitter is testing a new feature that allows bots to self-identify with a label on their account profiles. Although the feature will allow users to differentiate automated accounts that perform legitimate services — such as retweeting news, providing customer service, PSAs or community alerts — it will not flag the problematic “bad bots” that spread misinformation and spam. Last year, Twitter requested developers specify if an account was a bot, who was powering it and its intended use. The new automated accounts to designate “good bots” will be issued to more than 500 accounts for testing and feedback before they are made available to all developers. Continue reading Twitter Asks Developers to ID ‘Good Bots’ Using New Badge

Twitter to Study Misinformation by Letting Users Flag Tweets

Twitter is testing a new feature in a few markets that will allow users to flag posts that contain misinformation, similar to how they can already report spam or abuse. The company — which doesn’t have a strong fact-checking unit — plans to use the feature to study misinformation on the platform rather than review the user-identified tweets for legitimacy or respond to the reporting user with updates. Currently, Twitter only fact-checks tweets on elections, COVID-19 and other “select categories.” Continue reading Twitter to Study Misinformation by Letting Users Flag Tweets

Pinterest to Foster Influencer Content with New Creator Fund

Although image-sharing service Pinterest has been less reliant upon influencer culture than Instagram and other social media platforms, that began to change when it introduced Story Pins and creator profiles. These features were intended to make it easier for high-profile users to build a following and showcase their projects. Now, Pinterest is unveiling a $500,000 Creator Fund to pay a small group of influencers to create content for the platform. With this initiative, it joins TikTok and Snapchat in paying creators. Continue reading Pinterest to Foster Influencer Content with New Creator Fund

Twitter Debuts Reply Feature to Prevent Chronic Harassment

After testing earlier this year, Twitter has introduced settings that allow users to control who can reply to tweets. Twitter is responding to widespread pressure to combat chronic hate speech, misogyny and harassment. Twitter director of product management Suzanne Xie wrote that, “we’ve seen people use these settings to have conversations that weren’t really possible before,” adding that, “starting today, everyone will be able to use these settings so unwanted replies don’t get in the way of meaningful conversations.” Continue reading Twitter Debuts Reply Feature to Prevent Chronic Harassment

OpenAI Tests Commercial Version of Its AI Language System

Artificial intelligence research institute OpenAI, after collecting trillions of words, debuted its first commercial product, the API. Its goal is to create the “most flexible general-purpose AI language system” in existence. Currently, the API’s skills include translating between languages, writing news stories, and answering everyday questions. The API is engaged in limited testing and, said chief executive Sam Altman, will be released broadly for use in a range of tasks, such as customer support, education and games. Continue reading OpenAI Tests Commercial Version of Its AI Language System

Apple Alters App Guidelines, Okays Opt-In Push Notifications

Apple has revised its App Store review guidelines used to curate iOS/iPadOS, tvOS, watchOS, and macOS App Stores, most notably, now allowing developers to serve ads via push notifications. In past guidelines, Apple specifically said that push notifications should not be used for “advertising, promotions or direct marketing purposes.” The revised guidelines also expand the definition of a spam app and state that legal entities of services in “highly regulated fields” should submit the app rather than individual developers. Continue reading Apple Alters App Guidelines, Okays Opt-In Push Notifications

Facebook’s Anti-Spam Tool Takes Down 6.6B Fake Accounts

Facebook debuted a powerful tool against spammers that uses Deep Entity Classification (DEC), a machine-learning technology. The company’s data science manager Bochra Gharbaoui reported the tool has already taken down 6.6 billion fake accounts last year and blocked millions of attempts to create new ones. DEC analyzes “deep features” of each individual profile, which refers to its behavioral patterns rather than its direct characteristics and includes the profile’s properties and groups/pages the user has contacted. Continue reading Facebook’s Anti-Spam Tool Takes Down 6.6B Fake Accounts

Free Video-Sharing App Byte Aims to Compete with TikTok

Byte, a video-sharing app created by Dom Hofmann, debuted Friday and hit No. 1 for free iOS apps in Apple’s U.S. App Store. Byte, which targets rival ByteDance’s TikTok, is a reboot of the former Vine video-sharing service Hofmann co-founded in 2012 and sold to Twitter that year. Twitter couldn’t find a way to make Vine profitable and shuttered it in 2016. In its short life, Vine became a “cultural touchpoint” as users took on the creative challenge of the six-second format. Byte is also the top free iOS app in Canada. Continue reading Free Video-Sharing App Byte Aims to Compete with TikTok