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Elon Musk says Twitter, now X, is moving to monthly subscription fees and has 550 million users – CNBC

  • Tesla, SpaceX and X Corp. leader Elon Musk and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke in a livestream about artificial intelligence, antisemitism and Musk’s plans for X, formerly Twitter.
  • Musk said X is “moving to having a small, monthly payment for use of the X system” and said the social network now has 550 million monthly users.
  • Musk also defended himself against criticism that he and his social network spread hate speech and antisemitism after he threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League and made disparaging remarks about George Soros.
SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrives for a U.S. Senate bipartisan forum on artificial intelligence at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 13, 2023.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

Elon Musk discussed his plans for Twitter, now called X, on Monday during a livestreamed conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Among other things, Musk said the social network is “moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the X system” in order to combat “vast armies of bots.”

Musk did not say how much a new plan would cost users of the social network, or what other features would or would not be included with payment at the lowest tier.

During the livestream, Musk also divulged some new metrics from X, saying it now has 550 million “monthly users,” who generate 100 million to 200 million posts per day.

Musk did not disclose how many of the company’s monthly users are authentic, versus bots. He also did not make an apples-to-apples comparison with metrics previously used by Twitter. In May 2022, before Musk’s takeover, Twitter reported that it had “average monetizable daily active usage” of 229 million.

The discussion with Netanyahu was meant to focus on theoretical risks of artificial intelligence technology, and how AI should potentially be regulated. However, Musk also used it to dispute the perception that his social network tolerates hate speech and antisemitism.

The meeting followed widespread criticism of Musk by civil rights groups over his amplification of bigotry on his social network, including antisemitic accounts, content and conspiracies.

In recent weeks, Musk has threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish-led organization, alleging that they tried to “kill” his social network. Musk has blamed the ADL, rather than his own business decisions, for a 60% drop in revenue at X and said he had “no choice” but to file a defamation lawsuit against the group.

Musk and X Corp. have not yet filed any known lawsuit against the ADL, and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Before meeting with Netanyahu, Musk also accused George Soros’ foundation of wanting to “destroy” Western civilization. The Hungarian-American Jewish philanthropist is the founder of Open Society Foundations, which donates to a variety of civil society groups, and he is the subject of several antisemitic conspiracy theories.

On his social media platform, Musk has repeatedly disparaged transgender people, federal regulators, politicians, journalists, whistleblowers, critics of his companies, and short sellers. Despite that history, Musk told Netanyahu on Monday, “I’m sort of against attacking any group, you know. Doesn’t matter who it is.” Referring to his goal of humanity becoming “a spacefaring civilization,” he said, “We can’t do that if there’s a lot of infighting and, you know, hatred and negativity.”

After acquiring Twitter for around $44 billion in late October, Musk implemented massive staff cuts and sweeping changes to the platform. He continues to run the company as its largest shareholder, chief technical officer and executive chairman, and also is the CEO of automaker Tesla and aerospace company SpaceX.

Among other changes, he gave “amnesty” to previously suspended accounts — a move that online safety and hate speech experts strongly criticized. Under his management, the platform restored the account of former President Donald Trump, who was previously banned by Twitter for encouraging the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection. Musk’s Twitter also restored the personal accounts of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and neo-Nazi website founder Andrew Anglin. 

Musk also eliminated Twitter’s “blue check” system of verification, which helped users to identify authentic accounts belonging to public figures including celebrities, elected officials, scientists, authors, leaders in business and education, working journalists and others.

Under the social network’s current system, users who pay a fee can show a blue subscriber badge next to their names. Those who pay see their posts prioritized in other users’ feeds. Those who don’t pay are relegated to lower levels of amplification for their posts or may see lower engagement on the platform. On Monday, Musk repeated his belief that turning users into paid subscribers would make it cumbersome and unaffordable to deploy bots on the platform.

X is trying to obtain licenses to become a money transmitter across the U.S. currently. According to public records, it has already obtained permission to do so in 8 states.

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Gwanda imposes US$20 littering fine – NewsDay

In a notice to residents, Gwanda town clerk Priscilla Nkala advised residents and stakeholders of the new penalties.

GWANDA Municipality has imposed a US$20 fine on residents who dispose of litter at undesignated points.

In a notice to residents, Gwanda town clerk Priscilla Nkala advised residents and stakeholders of the new penalties.

“The Municipality of Gwanda strives to guarantee every citizen the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health and wellbeing. Residents and stakeholders are hereby advised that any person found littering will be liable to a fine of not less than US$20. Please be advised that refuse collection in the residential areas is conducted once a week and four times a week in the central business district or commercial areas,” the notice read.

The local authority last year launched a blitz to force vendors to abide by its by-laws and to ensure that those trading in edibles acquire medical certificates.

Vendors, especially those dealing in edibles in the country’s various towns and cities, have been blamed for the increase in littering of streets, general environmental pollution and spread of diseases such as cholera.

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Zec late payment riles vehicle owners – NewsDay

Zec chief elections officer Utloile Silaigwana told NewsDay that they were working on settling the debts.

PRIVATE vehicle owners have accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) of failing to pay them after hiring their vehicles in the recent election.

The vehicles were hired through the government’s Central Mechanical and Equipment Department (CMED) at a rate of US$152 per day.

One of the vehicle owners who refused to be named said they are disgruntled over the late payment.

“Our vehicles were hired by Zec to carry voting material including ballot papers to distribute in all polling stations. Zec is not appreciating the work we did. The commission promised to pay us once the voting exercise was complete, but to date no payment has been made. We were told to ask CMED and it claims that it has not yet been paid,” said the vehicle owner.

CMED general manager Stephen Mavhura said they were still compiling information on the number of cars used during the exercise.

“We are still raising bills which have to go to Zec so that we are paid. There is reconciliation that is to be done and we reached an agreement. There is a bit of work that has to be done before payment is done, paperwork starts from the district and provincial offices then we bring it to the head office before payments are done,” he said.

Zec chief elections officer Utloile Silaigwana told NewsDay that they were working on settling the debts.

“Treasury has allocated adequate funds to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for the payment of goods and services that facilitated conduct of the 23 August 2023 harmonised elections and the commission hopes to settle all its debts in this regard soon,” said Silaigwana.

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New pathway of diatom-mediated calcification and its impact on the biological pump – EurekAlert

New pathway of diatom-mediated calcification

image: It was discovered that the photosynthesis of S. costatum can induce substantial aragonite precipitation from artificial/natural seawater under significantly lower supersaturation levels required for the precipitation of inorganic CaCO3.
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Credit: ©Science China Press

This study is led by associate professor Yiwen Pan (Institute of Ocean College, Zhejiang University). The team found that the photosynthesis of Skeletonema costatum (S. costatum), a common diatom species, can induce substantial aragonite precipitation from artificial/natural seawater under significantly lower supersaturation levels required for the precipitation of inorganic CaCO3.

Researchers have discovered that during the growth process of S. costatum, there is a significant decrease in total alkalinity (TA) and [Ca2+] in the bulk medium. The precipitated white particles were confirmed to be aragonite crystals through X-ray diffraction. Scanning electron microscope images revealed that the diatom cells were enveloped by spherical crystals with diameters ranging from 40 to 70 μm, forming aggregates of S. costatum and aragonite. Further investigations found that this extracellular calcification process is primarily driven by the combined effect of elevated extracellular CO32- concentration and the adsorption and aggregation of Ca2+ during photosynthesis. This enables S. costatum to induce substantial aragonite precipitation at significantly lower supersaturation levels than those required for inorganic CaCO3 precipitation. The team also observed TA deviation from the conservative mixing during S. costatum blooms in the East China Sea. This further supports the possibility of a new diatom-mediated calcification pathway occurring in the ocean.

This breakthrough finding has profound implications for our understanding of oceanic carbon cycling. Diatoms are the most important primary producers and organic carbon transporters in the ocean. The newly discovered diatom-mediated extracellular calcification pathway may establish a novel connection between the particle inorganic carbon pump and the organic carbon pump. On one hand, the release of CO2 during the extracellular calcification process is considered as “counter carbonate pump.” However, in the diatom-mediated extracellular calcification process, due to the maintenance of high pH in the water, the released CO2 may be more readily absorbed by algae, rather than being released into the atmosphere. On the other hand, the calcification, through the formation of aggregates of diatoms and aragonite, enhances the efficiency of organic carbon sinking and increases the transport capacity of the biological carbon pump.

This study not only changes our understanding of carbon cycling in marine ecosystems but also provides new perspectives for the ocean carbon cycle research.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

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