The ability to post longer videos on Twitter has been on a fair number of wish lists, and the company has good news and bad news on that front.
TikTok also seems to be feeling left out by all the Twitter controversy, so decided to create some of its own …
Longer videos on Twitter
Until now, Twitter users have been limited to posting videos of up to 10 minutes, with a maximum file size of 512MB.
The good news is that these limits are being increased, to 60 minutes and 2GB. The bad news, as spotted by TechCrunch is that the higher limits only apply to paid Twitter Blue subscribers – whose replies to tweets will now also be “slightly” prioritized.
Videos remain limited to 1080p for all users.
Cheap poll bots
Twitter owner Elon Musk recently announced that all major policy decisions would be made according to the results of Twitter polls. He then indicated that future polls might be limited to Twitter Blue subscribers, though has not implemented this as yet.
As if this weren’t already a dumb enough idea, nonprofit digital rights group Accountable Tech has now pointed out that such polls are both cheap and simple to manipulate. The organization found that anyone can buy tens of thousands of votes from bots for less than $100.
In December, Accountable Tech set up a dummy account called @VoxPopuliVoxBot and ran several polls to analyze the scale of manipulation that was possible on the Twitter feature. On its most popular poll, the research found that up to 26,261 votes could be cast by bots for a mere $57, with the votes being delivered within 24 hours. The study used readily available for-hire manipulation services originating in Russia, India and Turkey to conduct the experiment.
Given the number of votes in Musk’s polls to date, that means that someone could determine the outcome by spending somewhere in the range of $2,600 to $3,600 – pretty trivial sums to set major Twitter policy.
Twitter users are current waiting to see whether Musk will keep his promise to abide by a poll telling him to resign as CEO.
@ElonJet back, with 24-hour delay
One key test of Musk’s commitment to absolute free speech on Twitter had been the @ElonJet account, which live-tweeted the take-off and landing locations of Musk’s private jet. Prior to buying Twitter, Musk tried to bribe account owner Jack Sweeney to delete it, but said after the purchase that he would not ban it. He later banned it.
Musk’s stated reason for the U-turn was that it was a threat to his safety, though that didn’t seem to stop him live-tweeting his own location.
Sweeney has now created a new account, @ElonJetNextDay, which posts the same information, but with a 24-hour delay, which ought to satisfy Musk’s assassination concerns. The first flight shown was from Austin, Texas, to Oakland, California.
1,497 mile (1,301 NM) flight from AUS to OAK
Flight Fuel Info:
~ 1,682 gallons (6,369 liters).
~ 11,276 lbs (5,115 kg) of jet fuel used.
~ $10,684 cost of fuel.
~ 18 tons of CO2 emissions.
TikTok caught spying on journalists
Not to be left out of social media controversies, TikTok owner ByteDance confirmed a report that it tracked the location of multiple journalists writing about the company. Forbes reports:
An internal investigation by ByteDance, the parent company of video-sharing platform TikTok, found that employees tracked multiple journalists covering the company, improperly gaining access to their IP addresses and user data in an attempt to identify whether they had been in the same locales as ByteDance employees.
According to materials reviewed by Forbes, ByteDance tracked multiple Forbes journalists as part of this covert surveillance campaign, which was designed to unearth the source of leaks inside the company following a drumbeat of stories exposing the company’s ongoing links to China. As a result of the investigation into the surveillance tactics, ByteDance fired Chris Lepitak, its chief internal auditor who led the team responsible for them. The China-based executive Song Ye, who Lepitak reported to and who reports directly to ByteDance CEO Rubo Liang, resigned.
TikTok bans by states and universities
Growing privacy concerns about the Chinese app is leading to TikTok bans by a number of US states and universities.
CNET reports that two states have so far banned the app from government devices and Wi-Fi networks, with others considering similar action.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin issued an executive order Friday banning TikTok and Chinese social media app WeChat from state-run devices and wireless networks. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp released a similar order Thursday banning TikTok from state government devices […]
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also took action against TikTok in early December calling for state agencies to ban their employees from downloading or using the app on devices such as phones, tablets and laptops.
Schools in Alabama, Georgia, and Oklahoma have also banned the app from university computers and Wi-Fi networks.