The Download: what Twitter’s collapse would mean, and crypto’s meltdown

The Download: what Twitter’s collapse would mean, and crypto’s meltdown thumbnail

Almost from the time the first tweet was posted in 2006, Twitter has played an important role in world events. It has been used to document everything, from the Arab Spring to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. It has also captured our public conversations over the years

Musk acknowledges that Twitter can be a public forum and this is what makes the possibility of its loss so significant. Twitter is an integral part of modern civilization. It is a place where people can document war crimes, discuss important issues, and break and present news.
Experts are concerned that if Musk liquidates the company, these rich seams and conversations could be lost forever. This would mean that it will no longer be a living historical document. And given his admission to employees in a November 10 call that Twitter could face bankruptcy, it’s a real and present risk. Read full story .

–Chris Stokel-Walker

Check out the rest of our Twitter coverage:

Here’s how a Twitter engineer says it will break in the coming weeks. According to an insider, the platform’s depleted ranks of employees won’t be able sustain it and that bugs will continue to grow. Read full story .

The case for quitting Twitter . Author Mikki Kendall made her mark on the platform. She doesn’t have to be on Twitter anymore to be heard. It arguably needs her more than it needs her, just like many other prominent people on the platform. Read more . Read the full story. Twitter could have lost more than a million users after Elon Musk took control. Estimates from Bot Sentinel suggest that more than 875,000 users deactivated their accounts between October 27 and November 1, while half a million more were suspended. Read the full story

The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 Believe it or not, crypto’s meltdown could have been even worse
Traditional financial institutions are still shielded from the worst of it. (The Atlantic $)
At least $1 billion is still missing following FTX’s collapse. (The Guardian)
AAX, another crypto exchange, has halted withdrawals. (Bloomberg $)
FTX’s collapse hasn’t come as a surprise to everyone. (Slate $)

2 Twitter’s new $8 verification is basically worthless
It’s incredibly easy to masquerade as someone you’re not. (WP $)
Twitter Blue has been paused while it tries to iron out its many problems. (The Information $)
Two weeks is a long time when Elon Musk’s your boss. (NYT $)
Why Black Twitter’s dark humor is among the platform’s funniest corners. (The Atlantic $)

3 It’s very hard to predicting how Gen Z will vote
Partly because they ignore pollsters’ attempts to reach them over the phone. (The Verge)

4 How North Korea became a dangerous cyber threat
The rest of the world worries that any retaliation will provoke a cyber war. (FT $)
The FBI came close to deploying the Pegasus spying tool last year. (NYT $)
How North Korea uses cutting-edge crypto money laundering to steal millions. (MIT Technology Review)

5 Mysterious ships passed near the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in September
The sightings, just days before its leaks were detected, fuels speculation the pipeline was deliberately sabotaged. (Wired $)
Here’s how the Nord Stream gas pipelines could be fixed. (MIT Technology Review)

6 Joe Biden and Xi Jinping are “looking forward to working together”
The pair have met for the first time since Biden became US President. (NYT $)
China’s chip suppliers are struggling amid US export controls. (FT $)

7 The FBI has seized one of the web’s largest pirated libraries
Its users won’t be able to access journals, academic texts and other textbooks for free anymore. (Motherboard)

8 The long, hard road towards growing more resilient crops
The ability to withstand more extreme weather will become ever more vital as the planet warms. (Knowable Magazine)
Seaweed can be turned into passable vegan bacon. (Fast Company $)
Solar panels that aren’t cumbersome and ugly are on their way. (WSJ $)
Heat is bad for plant health. Here are some ways gene editing can help. (MIT Technology Review)

9 AI’s latest job? Website content writer
But its customers don’t want you to know their posts aren’t by humans. (WSJ $)
Quick naps helps AI to remember what it’s learned. (Motherboard)
Art platform DeviantArt’s users hate its new generative AI. (Ars Technica)

10 Silicon Valley seems to be turning its back on booze
Not drinking is treated as a badge of honor. (The Information $)

Quote of the day

“Honestly, his iPhone may as well be a Borg implant.”

–Tyler McClure, a father of two from Tennessee, likens his 75-year old father’s obsession with his iPhone to a Star Trek mind-control implant in an interview with the Washington Post.

The big story

Capitalism is in crisis. We need to rethink our economic growth in order to save it.

October 2020

Even before the covid-19 pandemic and the resulting collapse of much of the world’s economy, it was clear that capitalism was in crisis. Unfettered markets had led to extreme inequality in income and wealth in the United States. Slow productivity growth in many wealthy countries had also hampered a generation’s financial prospects.

Then came the pandemic. Millions lost their jobs and wildfires erupted in some parts of the US. All the signs of a dysfunctional economy suddenly became full-blown disasters.

It is no surprise that many people in Europe and the US are questioning the belief in free markets and the ability of economic growth to solve their problems. While antipathy to growth is not new, its reemergence has taken on a more political edge. It now questions whether we really need to grow. Read the full story.

–David Rotman

We can still have nice things

A place for comfort, fun and distraction in these weird times. Have any other ideas? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me. )

Sleep is so precious, TikTok’s tips on how to grab more of it might be worth checking out.
Buying a goblin sounds a lot harder than it should be.
I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of these violent octopuses.
Trombone Champ is back, and it’s funnier than ever.
I’ve never had the pleasure of eating yams, but they sound delicious

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