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IRL’s ex-CEO says he’s ‘shocked’ about the company’s fake users

IRL’s ex-CEO says he’s ‘shocked’ about the company’s fake users

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After raising $200 million to build the next Facebook, IRL’s ousted CEO reacts to the company shutting down and most of its users being fake, saying he “believed in our metrics.”

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IRL’s company logo.
IRL’s company logo.
Photo illustration by William Joel/The Verge

I have a packed issue this week, starting with the implosion of a once-hot social media startup called IRL. It raised $200 million at over a $1 billion valuation, and now its board is dissolving the company after finding that most of its users were fake. The SEC is investigating. It’s a whole mess. I have ex-CEO Abraham Shafi’s first public comments on the situation since he was ousted by the board. 

Also in this issue: a convo with the earliest investor in MosaicML, the AI startup that just sold to Databricks for more than $1 billion; some notes on Google’s AR strategy; a scoop about Meta getting into the app distribution game; drug use in Silicon Valley; a Musk-versus-Zuckerberg cage match update; and more…

But first: Thanks to Roblox CEO David Baszucki for taking the time to chat with me for the latest episode of Decoder. You can listen to our full conversation, read the transcript, or watch a shorter version on YouTube.

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