We might not have to wait for their cage match to watch Mark Zuckerberg knock out Elon Musk.
Meta’s Twitter rival, a microblogging app called Threads, appeared on the App Store over the holiday weekend, and it’s expected to be released tomorrow. For Zuck, the timing couldn’t be better: Disgruntled Twitter users have been scrambling to find alternatives after Twitter owner Elon Musk unleashed a series of unpopular new updates in the past week, including temporarily limiting how many posts can be viewed in a day.
Big picture: Many would-be Twitter rivals have popped up in the past few years to poach users from the Bird App’s nest, but Threads, coming from what is already one of largest social media companies on Earth, presents Twitter’s biggest threat yet.
- On competing platforms like Bluesky or Mastodon, a Twitter user with a large following would have to start from scratch.
- With Threads, an Instagram influencer can easily post to the following they’ve already built. That’s a pretty compelling pitch.
It’s all part of the Zuck playbook
Meta has become notorious for watching social media competitors roll out popular features and then hitting crtl+c and ctrl+v into its own platform. And it’s been a successful strategy.
- Stories, a Snapchat clone, now accounts for more than 25% of Instagram’s global ad revenue, per Insider Intelligence.
- And Reels, the TikTok impersonator Facebook launched in 2020, appears to be helping keep people on Instagram—even if they’re just old TikToks. Plays of Reels doubled in six months thanks to Meta’s AI-discovery engine, Zuck said in February.
Threads is not guaranteed to succeed—Twitter’s shown a Rasputin-like ability to survive multiple assassination attempts. And it’s still unclear how Instagram users accustomed to a visual app will respond to a text-based product.
But while Zuck is only a white belt in jujitsu, he’s a sensei in social media. All he needs to do is convert 18% of Instagram users to Threads, and he’ll create a new app the same size as Twitter.
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Court limits government–social media conversations. In a major First Amendment case, a federal judge in Louisiana blocked certain agencies in the Biden administration—including the FBI and the Dept. of Health and Human Services—from talking to social media companies about content containing “protected free speech.” The government has begun to work more closely with social media companies on things like rooting out Covid misinformation and election interference, but two Republican attorneys general called it government censorship—and the judge appears to agree.
Vietnam will not be participating in Barbieheimer. The Southeast Asian country banned the showing of Barbie because one of the film’s scenes shows a map that Vietnam contests. The map shows a section of the South China Sea that China claims as its own, but Vietnam and most other countries say those claims have no basis in international law. People in China hailed the move on social media, with one user writing that while they initially had no interest in seeing Barbie, “Now I must see it.”
China escalates its trade war. Beijing restricted exports of two minerals—gallium and germanium—that the US considers critical to national and economic security because of their use in semiconductors, EVs, and other high-tech products. Companies that require these two materials are scrambling to secure supplies because when it comes to gallium and germanium production…China is the only game in town. The export curbs, seen as retaliation for the US’ moves to cut off China from important tech, were announced just days before Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen heads to China.
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Less than a week after the Supreme Court blocked colleges from considering race in the admissions process, a legal advocacy group fired back like a rival neighbor’s firework display.
In a complaint filed with the Department of Education, Lawyers for Civil Rights alleges that Harvard’s legacy admissions process, by which students of alums or donors are given preferential consideration, violates federal civil rights law by favoring white applicants over applicants of color. The following stats were revealed in documents pertaining to the Supreme Court case:
- Seventy percent of Harvard’s donor-related and legacy applicants are white.
- The acceptance rate for legacy applicants to Harvard was 34% from 2009–2015, compared to 6% for non-legacy applicants.
Legacy supporters say nurturing the generational pipeline encourages donations, which can go toward scholarships and financial aid, and bolsters community among alums. But critics, including Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, argue that allowing legacy preferences without affirmative action tips the balance of admissions overwhelmingly against racial minorities.
Not all elite schools use legacy admissions. Highly selective private schools like MIT, Johns Hopkins, and Amherst College don’t care if your dad went there. But many other schools consider alum connections in the admissions process, including the University of North Carolina, whose affirmative action program was also challenged in last week’s SCOTUS case.
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Stat: Joey Chestnut inhaled 62 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes to win the 2023 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest yesterday—not his personal best of 76, but still impressive considering a two-hour weather delay in Coney Island threw him off his routine. Chestnut has won every July Fourth hot dog eating contest except one since 2007, cementing his status among the best athletes of his generation. In the women’s division, Miki Sudo downed 39.5 dogs for her ninth victory.
Quote: “Y’all need to shut this ride down.”
Jeremy Wagner saw something, and he said something. That something he saw was a big crack in a support beam of the Fury 325 roller coaster at Carowinds amusement park in Charlotte, North Carolina. A video Wagner took on Friday showed riders on Fury 325 rounding a turn near the cracked beam, which moved in a way that would make you nauseous even if you weren’t on the ride. Fury 325, which Carowinds bills as one of North America’s fastest and tallest coasters, has been shut down (thanks to Wagner’s hawkeyes) while inspectors look into what caused the damage.
Read: Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, two former rivals on the tennis court, discuss their friendship while simultaneously undergoing cancer treatment. (Washington Post)
- Ten people were killed by gun violence in three US cities over the weekend.
- White powder discovered in the West Wing that caused the White House to be briefly evacuated Sunday evening turned out to be cocaine, per the AP.
- The UK is the world’s only major economy where inflation is still rising, per the OECD.
- The FAA approved a flying car for testing for the first time ever.
- Christmas Tree Shops will liquidate all of its locations.
Relish, mayo, and mustard, oh my! Here’s a gallery of condiment packages.
Thought-provoking conversation: Trevor Noah goes surprisingly deep discussing AI. (YouTube)
Stop brainstorming: An argument for why brainstorming may stifle creativity.
A world from a piece of paper: This might be the best math lecture we’ve ever watched (and we’ve watched, like, two). Bookmark for when you’ve got an hour of free time.
Learning your locks: Hair growth challenges have you at your wit’s end? The pros at Nutrafol can get you answers—and results. Take their hair wellness quiz to learn how.
Today, NYC will start enforcing a law that requires artificial intelligence hiring tools to be audited for bias. Learn more about the public perception of AI in HR.
Interested in becoming a better boss? Check out our New Manager Bootcamp.
The healthcare industry is moving fast—keep tabs on the state of the industry at Healthcare Brew’s event.