Satellites, Deepfake interviews, FCC v. TikTok, & Musk v. Twitter

July 15, 2022 by
Satellites, Deepfake interviews, FCC v. TikTok, & Musk v. Twitter
Matthew Almendinger

The Lighthouse IT Podcast - July 15th, 2022

This week, Matt & Griff discuss two different satellite stories, deepfake interviews, the FCC's TikTok concerns, Pinterest Facebook and Twitter's new plans, Amazon's big investments, new Musk Twitter news, and more.

Listen here!

News

Starlink Goes Mobile!

  • The FCC has approved SpaceX to allow their Starlink Satellite-based Internet provider to be used while on the go.
  • This means high-speed internet will become more available to ships, aircraft, or even an RV on the open road.

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Could your next interviewee be fake?

  • The FBI is warning that cyberattackers are using deepfake AI to interview for remote-only positions with access to sensitive information (i.e. database personnel, developers, etcetera).
  • Tip: Scruitinze performance issues. Hesitations with audio and video could just be deepfake software.

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Are you ready for your Volvo Phone?

  • Okay, so we probably won't see that indepth of cross-brand promotion, but if you remember longtime phone maker, Meizu, you'll be happy to know that they are still around and they've garnered attention from a very interesting suitor. Can you guess who?
  • Nope you're wrong. Chinese Automaker, Geely, has decided it wants to be in the smartphone business and has snatched up majority ownership in the phone maker.
  • Geely, better known by us for its Western brands Volvo and Lotus has big plans for mobile - but they aren't sharing yet.

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First Images from the James Webb Space Telescope

  • Check them out. They are sweet.

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Heated seats as a Subscription?!

  • BMW reversed its decision to force people to pay for something that used to be free... but they almost made people pay a month subscription to have heated seats work in their cars.

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Pinterest's new CEO has one goal: to build the internet's shopping mall

  • Ben Silbermann is stepping down as Pinterest's CEO.
  • Bill Ready, who is well versed in the ecommerce space, is replacing him.
  • Pinterest has long seemed like a missed opportunity to investors. It's a platform with hundreds of millions of users that isn't growing that fast or making much money, even though most of those users spend their time searching for and pinning stuff they'd like to buy.
  • It has become a hugely powerful discovery and curation engine for shoppers everywhere.
  • "In the next phase of our journey, we will help people engage more deeply with all the inspiring products and services they find on our platform so they can build their best lives," he wrote in a LinkedIn post announcing his move. "As someone who has spent most of my career in commerce and payments, it's so clear to me that Pinterest has the opportunity to build something unique— something special."
  • The rest of the internet is also catching up to Pinterest, as platforms like Snap, YouTube and even Twitter are embracing the shopping-ification of everything. Pinterest had an opportunity to be a major player in digital commerce and maybe still does. But the new CEO is going to have to move quickly.

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FCC commissioner wants Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores

  • Brendan Carr, one of the FCC's commissioners, shared Tuesday via Twitter a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai that pointed to reports and other developments that made TikTok non-compliant with the two companies' app store policies.
  • Alphabet, Apple and TikTok did not immediately respond to CNBC requests for comment.
  • Carr's letter, dated June 24 on FCC letterhead, said if Apple and Alphabet do not remove TikTok from their app stores, they should provide statements to him by July 8.

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Chinese Police Exposed 1 Billion People's Data in Unprecedented Leak

  • In one of the most expansive and impactful breaches of personal data of all time, attackers grabbed data of almost 1 billion Chinese citizens from a Shanghai police database and attempted to extort the department for about $200,000.
  • The trove of data contains names, phone numbers, government ID numbers, and police reports.
  • Researchers found that the database itself was secure, but that a management dashboard was publicly accessible from the open internet, allowing anyone with basic technical skills to grab the information without needing a password.

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New Facebook Groups changes seem inspired directly by Discord

  • Meta is testing a new left-aligned sidebar and channels list for Groups, and the changes are giving me some serious Discord vibes. Purple accent with rounded edges and all.
  • you'll be able to pin groups so that they show up first on the list
  • Channels in Groups can be text chats, audio rooms, or feed rooms where people can post and comment in a way that's similar to what you're used to seeing on your own feed.
  • You can get a look at all three of those channels in this gallery of screenshots from Meta, which just so happens to feature a hypothetical group dedicated to video games.
  • The test arrives as Meta begins its shift to make Facebook feel more like TikTok.
    • The goal of that change is to have your feed recommend more content from accounts you don't follow
  • The changes will be available publicly in the coming months

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Soon You'll Be Able to Pay for Gas With Carplay

  • Possibly later this year, a new feature will let users pay for gas directly inside the company's infotainment platform.
  • While this was announced earlier in June, no one really gave it any attention until energy company HF Sinclair (which operates over 1,600 gas stations) announced plans to implement the feature at its gas stations in the U.S.
  • Users will be able to buy gas via an app in CarPlay. However, there will be some initial setup, as you'll need to download the app and enter your payment info first. Once everything is set up, you'll be able to select a specific pump from your navigation screen and refuel without needing to pull out your wallet.
  • Apple's push to support digitally buying gas comes amidst larger efforts to integrate more third-party services as the company looks to expand the role of its automotive platform.

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Amazon is spending $465mil on season 1 of The Ring of Power

  • The company spent $250 million on the rights alone
  • Peter Jackson's whole Lord of the Rings trilogy cost $281 million to make.
  • Game of Thrones was spending around $100 million per season
  • The $465 million number came out when New Zealand, where the show is shooting, revealed that it would be rebating the production around 25% of its costs, or $116 million.

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Instagram Insurance...?

  • If you're a digital creator whose social media accounts literally pay your bills, what would you do if your account got hacked?
  • The company Notch looks to help by insuring creators against Instagram hacks.
  • Starting at $8 a month, creators can sign up for Notch's Instagram account insurance, which means that if they get hacked and lose access to their account, the startup will pay them a stipend and help them regain control of their page.

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Don't you just wish you could collaborate on a Tweet?

  • Well then, I guess you'll like Twitter's new feature, CoTweets
  • The CoTweets feature allows two accounts to co-author a tweet and both be tagged in a single tweet.
  • These co-authored Tweets post simultaneously to both authors' profiles and their followers' timelines. You'll recognize a CoTweet when you see two authors' profile pictures and usernames in the header.

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And of course, we have to talk about Musk v Twitter: He has bailed on his bid to buy Twitter

  • He claims that Twitter committed multiple breaches of the merger agreement. IE, They cannot verify Twitter's figures on spam accounts (fewer than 5 percent of monetizable daily active users are spam or fake)
  • Twitter gave Musk access to its data "firehose", but it doesn't seem like that'll help prove anything
  • Twitter is confident in the contract is on their side stating that there are "no clear grounds for Mr. Musk to try to break the deal"
  • Musk could be on the hook for a $1 billion breakup fee or more than that if Twitter beats him in court.
  • Funny enough, Twitter has hired an elite law firm to handle its forthcoming lawsuit against Elon Musk, which could be filed any day now.
  • There is still a chance, though, that the contract alone will force Musk to close the deal.
    • The merger deal says that if Twitter meets its obligations under the agreement, it "shall be entitled to specific performance or other equitable remedy" to "cause the Equity Investor [Musk] to fund the Equity Financing, or to enforce the Equity Investor's obligation to fund the Equity Financing directly, and to consummate the Closing."

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