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Elon Musk’s $44 Billion Deal to Buy Twitter Gets Board Endorsement

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According to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, the board of directors of Twitter unanimously recommended that shareholders approve the $44 billion sale of the firm to Elon Musk. The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX agreed to buy Twitter back in April.

In a letter to investors included in the SEC filing, the board said it “determined that the merger agreement is advisable and the merger and the other transactions contemplated by the merger agreement are fair to, advisable and in the best interests of Twitter and its stockholders.”

The letter was silent on the date of the vote, but Bloomberg said it would occur in late July or early August. Musk continued to indicate his intention to move forward with the acquisition in a meeting with Twitter staff last week, where he reportedly claimed he wants 1 billion users, despite the company’s share price being significantly lower than the $54.20 per share that he initially offered.

Since the group had previously authorized the acquisition, the board’s proposal was not unexpected; yet, it is the latest development in a process that has seen its fair share of detours, turns, and uncertainty. Musk had previously threatened to pull out of the agreement if Twitter couldn’t show that fewer than 5% of its user accounts were automated. He later accused Twitter of “actively delaying and blocking” his request for information on bots, but the firm apparently decided to deliver the data.

In an interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday at the Qatar Economic Forum, Musk stated that the bot issue and shareholder approval are two of the three issues that must be overcome before the deal can be finalized. According to Musk, the third question is whether the deal’s debt component would go through.

A reduced price isn’t “out of the question,” according to Musk, who has also hinted that he might be open to renegotiating the conditions of the agreement. Twitter has said, however, that it will not renegotiate the current agreement.

In April, Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey endorsed the transaction, calling Musk the “single solution” he believes in.

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Instagram Testing New Tool for Age Verification

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According to parent company Meta, Instagram is developing a new feature to stop minors from impersonating adults. Instagram will request identification if a user whose account indicates they are under 18 tries to manually change their date of birth on the platform.

A valid ID or driver’s license, “social vouching,” in which three adult users are asked to verify the age, or a video selfie are the three methods that people can demonstrate their age.

With social vouching, the three adult users must answer to the request within three days and cannot be vouching at the same time for anybody else. Instagram sends a video selfie to Yoti, a business whose technology can determine someone’s age based on their facial traits. Instagram explains how to take the video and claims that the selfies are erased once the verification process is over.

Younger users who have already informed Instagram that they are adults will not be caught by its new tool. Although Meta’s blog post does not specifically mention it, the new tool will be used to verify that users of the app are at least 13 years old in order to join up. 

Over the past year, Instagram has been the subject of inquiries questioning the app’s influence on teenagers. Attorneys general from a number of jurisdictions, including Massachusetts, Florida, and California, started scrutinizing Meta, claiming the firm was aware that Instagram could be harmful to children’s physical and emotional health. Additionally, The Wall Street Journal ran a series based in part on hacked papers, one of which claimed that Facebook was aware of Instagram’s “toxic” effects on teen girls’ body image and mental health.

Meta disputed the claims made by the states and added that the Journal had incorrectly described the leaked documents. The business said that some internal studies had revealed that using Instagram had improved some youngsters’ perceptions of their bodies.

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Alexa Could One Day Speak in Your Dead Loved One’s Voice

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One day, Amazon Alexa might be able to speak to you in the voices of departed loved ones. At Amazon’s re:MARS conference on Wednesday, the new voice assistant feature was noted as a method to “make memories last.”

Alexa would be able to mimic a person’s voice when speaking after less than a minute of listening to that person’s speech. According to Sky News, a child in a video of the feature asked Alexa to read them a story, and she agreed before changing her voice.

It’s unclear how far along the feature is in development or when Alexa voice assistants might start receiving it. We might not see this functionality any time soon because the re:MARS (for machine learning, automation, robots, and space) event highlights what Amazon is doing in ambient computing, including developments in Alexa.

The capacity to replicate a voice pattern precisely raises security concerns as well, but we’ll reserve judgment until we know how well Alexa can imitate a voice after only hearing it briefly. We’ll also watch how the function is accepted; even though it appears to require consent from users, there are ethical concerns over the rights of the deceased’s voice and how long they should be preserved.

An Amazon spokeswoman said the voice-imitating tool isn’t specifically designed for family members who have passed away. It is based on recent developments in text-to-speech technology, which are detailed in an Amazon white paper from this year. The team applied a voice filter to produce high-quality voice with much less data than was required when hours-long voice recordings in a professional studio were used to create the voice files.

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Twitter Tests Long-Form Notes That Let People Go Beyond the Character Limit

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Twitter said on Wednesday that it is testing Notes, a tool similar to a blog post that lets users publish longer pieces of writing on the social network.

By eliminating the need to use the Twitter thread and divide their views across numerous tweets, the functionality makes it simpler for people to publish long-form work. The content of notes can also contain images, videos, tweets, or GIFs.

“As the platform for writers, it’s clear that Twitter is essential — from the proximity to an engaged audience, to the conversation around a writer’s work, to the community of readers (and, often, cheerleaders) that Twitter provides, to the critical role it plays in the livelihoods and careers of writers, on and off Twitter,” Twitter’s editorial director, Rembert Browne, said in a Note on the platform.

Both on and off Twitter, users can read Notes, and you can see all of a person’s Notes on the new tab on their profile. According to Twitter, the Notes test is being conducted by a small number of writers in the US, Canada, UK, and Ghana. When Notes might be made more readily available is not yet known by the company.

A long-requested feature from anyone who has ever made a typo in a tweet, an edit button was finally being tested by Twitter in April. The website has now launched Twitter Blue, a paid subscription service that enables users to edit tweets, submit longer videos, and read news without advertisements.

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is in the middle of a proposed $44 billion acquisition of the platform. Musk has said he wants to quash bots on the platform and get 1 billion users on Twitter.

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