Silicon Valley Tech News Roundup – July 30th
Threads users down by half since the launch – 7/28
In a company town hall held on Thursday and heard by Reuters, Mark Zuckerberg shared with the employees that the Threads app lost more than half of its users since the launch.
Zuckerberg said: “If you have more than 100 million people sign up, ideally it would be awesome if all of them or even half of them stuck around. We’re not there yet.” Furthermore, he also shared that the development is “normal.” The company expects user retention to grow as it adds new features to the Threads app.
Chris Cox (Chief Product Officer) said the company is adding more “retention-driving hooks,” which include “making sure people who are on the Instagram app can see important Threads.”
This week the company also published its earnings and revenue report for the second quarter, and it performed better than analysts expected. The revenue increased 11% compared to the previous year, and the company made a $7.79 billion profit. It is the first time the company made a double-digit profit since the end of 2021. Meta’s shares grew 8% on Thursday.
Twitter officially replaces the bird logo with X – 7/29
On Friday, Twitter rolled out the latest phase of its rebrand by officially replacing the blue bird logo with the new one – X. Elon Musk is going ahead with his plans to turn Twitter into an “everything app.”
The company also installed a large X logo at the top of Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco. According to the Department of Building Inspection, they launched an investigation since the company installed the sign without the required approval. When city officials tried to inspect the sign, they were denied access to the roof. The company employees said it is “a temporary lighted sign for an event.”
Meanwhile, Twitter officially started rolling out its ad-revenue sharing program for creators. To be eligible, users need to fulfill the following criteria: they have to be subscribed to X Blue or be a verified organization, have at least 500 followers, and have “at least 15M impressions on your cumulative posts within the last 3 months.”
The support document for the ad-revenue sharing program does not stipulate how the company determines the value of payouts.
Tesla created a secret “Diversion team” to minimize complaints about range performance – 7/27
According to a report published by Reuters, Tesla created a secret “Diversion team” in Las Vegas in the summer of last year to minimize the complaints about the range performance. The goal was to cancel as many range-related service appointments as possible.
The sources for the report claim Tesla’s service centers were flooded with customers’ complaints because the cars’ performance did not live up to the advertised estimates and the projections on the in-dash range meters. The managers wanted to ease the pressure on the service centers. Likewise, they told the employees they were saving the company $1000 for each canceled appointment.
The sources for the story claim the vehicles did not need repair. Tesla created unrealistic expectations by exaggerating its vehicles’ capabilities. According to a source familiar with the matter, the practice started years ago when the company started tinkering with the range-estimate software. The software showed the drivers a more favorable projection of how far the car could drive on a full battery. When the battery depleted below 50%, it showed a more accurate projection. In order to prevent drivers from getting stranded, Tesla created a “safety buffer” of about 15 miles of additional range when the dash showed an empty battery.
Tesla did not respond to requests for comment on the story.
The authorities request jail for Sam Bankman-Fried over witness tampering – 7/28
In a court filing on Friday, federal prosecutors asked the court to revoke bail for Sam Bankman-Fried. They claim Bankman-Fried repeatedly tampered with witnesses and violated the terms of his release.
The filing states: “What the defendant may not do, and what he has now done repeatedly, is seek to corruptly influence witnesses and interfere with a fair trial through attempted public harassment and shaming.”
The filling comes after Sam Bankman-Fried leaked the private diary of his ex-girlfriend to a New York Times reporter. Caroline Ellison used to work as an executive at Bankman-Fried’s hedge fund. She is cooperating with the authorities and pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges. The prosecutors claim Bankman-Fried leaked the diary in order to intimidate Ellison. Under the conditions of his bail, Bankman-Fried has limited Internet access and cannot use smartphones.
If the judge revokes Bankman-Fried’s bail, he will return to jail prior to his October trial.