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Tuesday’s top tech news: Twitter rebuilds

Since Elon Musk took control of Twitter, the overriding theme has been job cuts. Thousands were fired directly, while others were let go after declining to sign up for Musk’s “extremely hardcore” Twitter 2.0. Now it seems the social media company is changing its tune, and staffing back up to replace at least some of the employees it’s shed.

New hires include George Hotz, a notable hacker who jailbroke the iPhone and PlayStation 3, and who has a pretty interesting history with Tesla and its advanced driver assistance technology. He’s just an intern mind, and it sounds like he’s only committing to 12 weeks, so far.

Also, I was off work yesterday, which meant that I didn’t get to write the news that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s third wave of DLC tracks has a release date. From the trailer it doesn’t look like these are a huge step up graphically from the last two releases (which is a shame), although I spotted at least one underwater section in the trailer, which suggests a little more variety this time around.

Stay tuned, as we continue to update this list with the most important news of today: Tuesday, November 22st, 2022.

For now, here’s a silly tweet:

  • Mitchell Clark

    Nov 22, 2022

    Mitchell Clark

    Job cuts are coming to a Silicon Valley original.

    HP, one of the world’s largest PC vendors, according to data from Gartner, announced in an earnings report that it’ll lay off 4,000 to 6,000 employees by the end of 2025. According to numbers cited by CNBC, that’s between seven and 11 percent of its workforce.

    This is just the latest in a series of large tech layoffs, not to mention that the PC market has also had an especially rough year following a pandemic boom.

  • Mitchell Clark

    Nov 22, 2022

    Mitchell Clark

    Twitter’s rebranding Super Follows.

    The feature that lets you charge followers to access extra content is now called “Subscriptions,” the same name as a similar feature on Twitch.

    It’s not the first feature to get a rebrand since Elon Musk took over the company — Birdwatch was turned into Community Notes, which former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey called “the most boring Facebook name ever.” I wonder what he thinks of Subscriptions.

  • Allison Johnson

    Nov 22, 2022

    Allison Johnson

    Vivo’s X90 Pro Plus is the first phone with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset

    Vivo X90 Pro in red and black options with rear camera bump shown.
    The X stands for extreme, indeed.
    Image: Vivo

    Vivo announced a trio of new flagship phones today, and sitting at the top is the X90 Pro Plus, complete with the brand-new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset announced just last week. The 8 Gen 2 is expected to appear in plenty of Android flagships over the next year, including Samsung’s S23 series, but the X90 Pro Plus has the honor of being the very first to market. It also includes some serious camera hardware, putting it up there with the most ambitious smartphone cameras to date. Unfortunately for us, it’s only launching in the Chinese market for now.

    Vivo doesn’t outright name the X90 Pro Plus’ chipset as the 8 Gen 2, likely because of its partnership with MediaTek, but looking at the specs, you can connect the dots. The other two models in the series — the X90 and X90 Pro — use a MediaTek Dimensity 9200 system (similarly, the previous-gen X80 Pro used a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and the X80 used a Dimensity chipset). All three models feature a 6.78-inch, 120Hz OLED panel, ship with Android 13, and come with up to 12GB of RAM. Serious stuff.

    Read Article >
  • Adi Robertson

    Nov 22, 2022

    Adi Robertson

    Facebook’s top-performing page is no longer a rule-breaking meme site.

    Meta just released its quarterly transparency report, including some detail on Facebook’s top-performing content. While it’s relatively dry reading, I was interested in one note from a condensed version given to reporters:

    This quarter’s top content did not contain any policy violating content, and we’re cautiously optimistic of the progress we’ve made as we work to improve the quality of content within Facebook.

    The note is an implicit callback to earlier this year, when reporter Ben Collins noted that Facebook’s most widely viewed page — probably a meme site called That Ain’t Right — had been deleted for violating its community standards. Meta seems to have been interested enough in the criticism to call out the fact that it’s been fixed... and now the top-performing pages are still meme-oriented, but they’re rule-abiding groups like LadBible.

  • Justine Calma

    Nov 22, 2022

    Justine Calma

    California’s last operating nuclear plant just got a $1.1 billion lifeline

    Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant sits on cliffs next to the ocean.
    Aerial view of Diablo Canyon, the only operational nuclear plant left in California.
    Photo by George Rose / Getty Images

    The Department of Energy extended a $1.1 billion lifeline to California’s embattled Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. Diablo Canyon has become a major flashpoint over what kinds of energy are considered “clean” and what risks policymakers are willing to take to reach their climate goals.

    The $1.1 billion in funding, announced yesterday, comes from a $6 billion Civil Nuclear Credit program made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Congress passed last year. Diablo Canyon is the first power plant to be awarded credits from the program, which aims to extend the lives of reactors in danger of closing down.

    Read Article >
  • Nov 22, 2022

    Georgina Torbet

    NASA’s Orion spacecraft makes close flyby of the Moon and heads on to orbit

    A white spacecraft with NASA’s logo in red is on the left with the disc of the moon in the center.
    NASA’s Orion capsule snaps a selfie, with the far side of the Moon in the background.
    Image: NASA

    NASA’s Orion spacecraft has made it past the Moon as part of the uncrewed Artemis I mission, firing its engines to pass within 81 miles of the lunar surface, and is operating with high accuracy. 

    The spacecraft performed an outbound powered flyby burn yesterday, Monday, November 21st, completing its closest flyby. The engines “all worked perfectly,” said Judd Frieling, a flight director at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, in a press conference. With three trajectory correction burns performed, the spacecraft has now fired all three of its thruster types: its large orbital maneuvering system engine, small reaction control system thrusters, and medium-sized auxiliary engines.

    Read Article >
  • Alex Heath

    Nov 22, 2022

    Alex Heath

    Twitter will let you send crypto to accounts alongside “normal” money, Elon Musk says.

    “We will also make it easy to do crypto,” Musk told employees during an internal Q&A yesterday, a recording of which I obtained. “You should be able to easily send money to anyone in Twitter with one click,” he said. “The payments side of things will probably be more valuable than all the rest of Twitter combined.”

  • Emma Roth

    Nov 22, 2022

    Emma Roth

    Spotify’s expanding its audiobooks to more countries.

    After coming to the US in September, Spotify’s audiobook service has finally arrived in other English-speaking countries, including the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.

    There are over 300,000 audiobook titles available — but you can’t purchase them from Spotify’s iOS app due to Apple’s App Store restrictions.

  • Jess Weatherbed

    Nov 22, 2022

    Jess Weatherbed

    Watch as around $66,000 worth of drones plummet from the sky during a light show.

    Around 50 of the 500 drones used in the “City of Light” Christmas performance in Perth, Australia malfunctioned and plunged into the river below.

    According to Australian news outlet WAtoday, each drone cost about $1,300. “I am trying not to think about it, but it was an expensive show for us,” Joshua Van Ross, the managing director of the show told WAtoday.

  • Nov 22, 2022

    Casey Newton and Zoë Schiffer

    The only constant at Elon Musk’s Twitter is chaos

    Fagiani / The Verge

    After another manic weekend at Twitter, questions continue to mount about Elon Musk’s business strategy, his approach to content moderation, and whether his remaining team can keep the servers up and running during a period of increased demand.

    Let’s talk about what we’ve learned over the past few days.

    Read Article >
  • James Vincent

    Nov 22, 2022

    James Vincent

    UK watchdog investigates iOS-Android browser duopoly.

    It’s only an investigation for now, but the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has shown it’s got teeth with the recent ruling against Meta that’s forcing it to sell Giphy. Now, the CMA is worried about Google and Apple’s control of mobile browsers and Apple’s restrictions on cloud gaming on iOS. One to watch.

  • Andrew J. Hawkins

    Nov 22, 2022

    Andrew J. Hawkins

    Lyft is recycling its e-bike and scooter batteries with Redwood Materials

    Citibike bike sharing station, Manhattan, New York City
    Photo by: Lindsey Nicholson / UCG / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

    Lyft is partnering with Redwood Materials, a battery recycling company founded by a former Tesla executive, to ensure its fleet of shared e-bikes and scooters have a second life.

    It’s a noteworthy deal considering Lyft’s status as the largest electric bike-share operator in North America thanks to its bike-share business, including the extremely popular Citi Bike in New York City. The company claims that Citi Bike was the “25th most-ridden transit network in the United States.”

    Read Article >
  • Adi Robertson

    Nov 22, 2022

    Adi Robertson

    Instagram should have rejected police pressure to ban rap song, says Oversight Board

    Instagram logo over green, black, and cream background
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    The Meta Oversight Board says the company shouldn’t have accepted police demands to remove drill music — a rap genre some politicians and officials have blamed for gang violence — from its platform. The board says Instagram erred in banning a UK drill song after a request from London’s Metropolitan Police.

    Additionally, the board is pushing Meta to offer more transparency about its relationship with law enforcement in the future, as well as stronger consideration of a work’s artistic context. Meta must reverse the ban and respond to policy recommendations within 60 days.

    Read Article >
  • Jon Porter

    Nov 22, 2022

    Jon Porter

    Musk antagonist George Hotz hired to fix Twitter search — he’s got 12 weeks team
    Hotz demonstrating his former company’s advanced driver assistance technology.
    Photo by Michael Zelenko / The Verge

    George Hotz, the noted iPhone hacker who was reported to have once turned down a job at Tesla working on its driver-assistance technology, has embarked upon a 12-week “internship” at Twitter under Elon Musk’s leadership. Hotz said his priority at the social media company is to fix its search feature, as well as to remove the prompt that prevents you from browsing the service on the web without logging in.

    The internship came about after Hotz expressed support for Musk’s “extremely hardcore” ultimatum to Twitter’s employees, which demanded that they work “long hours at high intensity” or else depart the company. Hotz said that “this is the attitude that builds incredible things” and that he’d be willing to do an internship at the company. “Sure, let’s talk,” was Musk’s response.

    Read Article >
  • Alex Heath

    Nov 21, 2022

    Alex Heath

    Elon Musk says Twitter is done with layoffs and ready to hire again

    A photo illustration of Elon Musk making a thumbs-up gesture against a background of arrows pointing up.
    Illustration by Kristen Radtke / The Verge; Getty Images

    After purging nearly two-thirds of Twitter’s 7,500-person workforce in three weeks, Elon Musk is hiring again.

    During an all-hands meeting with Twitter employees today, Musk said that the company is done with layoffs and actively recruiting for roles in engineering and sales and that employees are encouraged to make referrals, according to two people who attended and a partial recording obtained by The Verge. His comments were made the same day that an unspecified wave of cuts hit Twitter’s sales department, which has lost almost all of its senior leadership since Musk took over.

    Read Article >
  • Andrew Webster

    Nov 21, 2022

    Andrew Webster

    Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s third wave of new tracks hits in December

    The next wave of downloadable tracks for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is almost here. Nintendo announced that Wave 3 of its “Booster Course Pass DLC” will be available on December 7th, bringing eight new tracks to the racer.

    The tracks are split into two cups, and each one is an updated version previously found in a past Mario Kart game. The Rock Cup includes Tour London Loop (Mario Kart Tour on mobile), Boo Lake (GBA), Rock Rock Mountain (3DS), and Maple Treeway (Wii). Meanwhile, the Moon Cup includes Tour Berlin Byways (Mario Kart Tour), Peach Gardens (DS), Merry Mountain (Mario Kart Tour), and the 3DS iteration of the iconic Rainbow Road.

    Read Article >