8 Billion People, Android Accident, & Musky Twitter

November 18, 2022 by
8 Billion People, Android Accident, & Musky Twitter
Matthew Almendinger

The Lighthouse IT Podcast - November 18th, 2022

This week, Matt & Griff discuss a whole lot of Musk & Twitter news, a critical Android flaw, how WordPress hackers improved their SEO, the end of Google Hangouts, the birth of over 8 billion people, and much more.

Listen here!

News

RIP Google Hangouts

  • Earlier in the month, Google Hangouts was shut down.
  • With 5 billion downloads over 8 years, Google is finally moving on.
  • Though, Hangout's next of kin, Google Chat, should have all of your messages and contacts automatically imported by now, but as a simple chat app, it is a mere shadow of the original plan for Hangouts to be a major social media platform.

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Earth is now officially home to 8 billion people

  • The United Nations' best estimate was made on Tuesday.
  • And while that number continues to go up quickly, the growth rate is slowing down, meaning that eventually, it will begin to decrease.

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Musk I tell you more about Twitter?

The Great Verification Fiasco

  • Twitter began charging $8/month for the blue "verified" checkmark.
  • Kathy Griffin was suspended from Twitter for impersonating Elon Musk, leading Musk to implement a rule that parody accounts need to be marked as such. If only there was some way to verify them...

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  • Multiple users got suspended for deliberately impersonating reporters and high-profile athletes like LeBron James.
  • A fake Pepsi account twitted that "Coke is better" causing their stock to drop.

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  • A viral tweet from an account purporting to be Eli Lilly & Company caused the company's stock to fall after announcing "insulin is free now." As a result, Twitter disabled new Blue subscriptions on November 11, 2022.

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  • Twitter's solution for ruining verification is another check mark
  • Twitter is rolling out another type of check mark to help distinguish accounts that users actually need to know are real. Although you can pay $7.99 per month for a blue check mark with the new version of Twitter Blue, select accounts for governments, companies, or public figures will get a grey "Official" check mark.

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  • He also stated that he has considered just putting the whole platform behind a paywall.

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Remote work over, company needs subscriptions to survive downturn

  • Elon Musk said he is putting an end to Twitter's "work from home forever" policy in his first email to the staff of the social network that he now owns.
  • He also warned the company might not survive the downturn without significant subscription revenue.
  • Additional C-level executives have also resigned from Twitter.

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Thousands of Twitter employees and contractors have been fired or laid off

  • Twitter cuts a large number of contract workers without giving internal teams a heads up.

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  • Elon Musk bars Twitter employees from the company's offices in the run up to layoffs, unless staff are working on one of his 'critical' projects.

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  • Some of which he has asked to come back as letting them go was "a mistake."

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  • Some former employees felt this was the best opportunity to make public some of the unethical projects they worked on while at Twitter.
  • Like Steve Krenzel who was asked by his director who said, "We should know when users leave their house, their commute to work, and everywhere they go throughout the day. Anything less is useless. We get a lot more than that from other tech companies."

SpaceX just bought a big ad campaign on Twitter for Starlink

  • Elon Musk's aerospace business SpaceX just ordered one of the largest advertising packages available from Twitter, which Musk recently took over in a contentious, $44 billion deal.
  • The campaign is to promote the SpaceX satellite internet service, Starlink, in Australia and Spain.
  • The ad package, known as a "takeover" at Twitter, typically costs $250,000 or more for brands advertising on the social media platform.
  • In a companywide meeting last week, Musk told current Twitter employees that bankruptcy isn't out of the question, as the business faces an exodus of advertisers and a broader economic downturn.

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  • But of course, Twitter has told advertisers that user growth is at an all-time-high.

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As Twitter loses users, Mastodon grows to 650k+ users

  • The open-source social network Mastodon has been benefiting from the chaotic Twitter takeover by Elon Musk.
  • In addition to seeing a record number of downloads for the Mastodon mobile app this past weekend, the nonprofit company today announced a new milestone, it noted that 230,000 people have joined Mastodon in the last week alone.

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"Lock screen passwords are for chumps" - Android, probably

  • Imagine finding out a pretty intense flaw... accidentally.
  • David Schutz (who is a security researcher by trade), discovered that it was possible to bypass the lock screen (and fingerprint/PIN code requirements) just by tinkering with the SIM card.
  • The bypass requires the owner has logged in to the phone since the device was last rebooted - but that's highly possible as well as physical access to the device.
  • Google has released a patch for users on version 10-13 of Android.

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Chinese iPhones getting limit to "AirDrop Everyone" feature

  • iOS 16.1.1 for Chinese users will feature a very interesting update that limits AirDrop to 10 minutes when using the "Everyone" feature, after which it will do Contacts Only.
  • It's not for security though - it's believed that the restriction was pressured by the Chinese government because people were using the phones to transfer uncensored materials and political propaganda between users.

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Is the next SEO trick taking over Wordpress sites?

  • The malware campaign modifies hundreds of files in a compromised WordPress site to inject their own Q&A/link pages to boost SEO.
  • Over 15k sites have been affected.
  • Very likely a brute force attempt, and not the result of an exploit.

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