Twitter has reportedly suspended several accounts with ties to Antifa following an evening of rioting the day of President Biden’s inauguration. One of the accounts is for a bookstore in Brooklyn, NY that is reportedly used as an Antifa training center.
Twitter also suspended a fake account connected to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s office after it posted a photomontage of former US President Donald Trump playing golf under the shadow of a warplane. Twitter later clarified that the account was suspending for “violating the company’s platform manipulation and spam policy, specifically the creation of fake accounts.” The image was retweeted by Khamenei’s main Persian-language Twitter account, although it appeared to have been deleted later.
Google might block their search engine in Australia if proposed legislation moves forward to make tech giants pay local news media for the content they share. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison quickly hit back, saying “we don’t respond to threats.” Google Australia Managing Director Mel Silva told a Senate inquiry into the bill that the new rules would be “unworkable” and force Google to stop making Google search available in Australia. “And that would be a bad outcome not only for us, but also for the Australian people, media diversity, and the small businesses who use our products every day.”
Google’s parent company Alphabet decided to scrap plans to get internet service to rural areas via weather balloons. The company, called “Loon,” was created nine years ago with the long-term goal of making internet access easier and less expensive for rural areas. The company planned to use self-navigating, tennis court-sized balloons to beam the internet into homes, but failed to find a way to get costs down low enough to “build a long-term, sustainable business.”
YouTube has reportedly removed a number of dislikes from President Biden’s inauguration video, and others, saying it’s part of a regular effort to combat “inorganic engagement.” YouTube has had a problem with “dislike mobs” in the past flocking to certain videos and channels and “weaponizing the dislike button” in order to hurt the monetization of creator’s content. As of this writing, the official White House YouTube channel shows the video with 9.6K likes and 44K dislikes.
Microsoft filed a patent in December to develop a chat-bot that might let you talk to your deceased loved ones again, among other things. The patent describes “systems and methods of creating a conversational [chatbot] of a specific person” using things like social media posts, electronic messages, and written letters to create a “personality” for the chatbot, and possibly use this data to render a 3D image of the person you’re chatting with.