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Mia Sato

Mia Sato

Platforms & Communities Reporter, The Verge

Mia Sato is a reporter at The Verge covering tech companies, platforms, and users. Since joining The Verge in 2021, she’s reported on the war in Ukraine and the spread of propaganda on TikTok; Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter; and how tech platforms and digital publishers are using artificial intelligence tools.

Sato has written about tech platforms and communities since 2019. Before joining Vox Media she was a reporter at MIT Technology Review, where she covered the intersection of technology and the coronavirus pandemic. Prior to that she served as the audience engagement editor at The Markup. As a freelance reporter, she’s written about the subversive Hmong radio shows hosted on conference call software, online knitting activism, and the teens running businesses in Instagram comment sections. Her work has appeared in outlets like The New Republic, The Appeal, and Chicago Magazine. She is based in Brooklyn.

Got a tip? Contact her at mia@theverge.com or email for her Signal number.

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Youtube
A New Orleans magician says he made the AI Biden robocall telling people not to vote.

Paul Carpenter told NBC News that he was paid $150 to produce a fake AI-generated voice message from Joe Biden — and that the political operative Steve Kramer hired him to do it. Kramer has worked with Democratic presidential candidate Dean Phillips’ campaign to gather signatures to get on the ballot. NBC didn’t find evidence that the Phillips campaign was involved in the robocalls.

The parties reportedly involved apparently were not very discreet. Kramer texted the magician, “Have AI voice project” in September. And then there’s this:

On Jan. 22, when NBC News first broke the news of the fake Biden robocall, Steve Kramer texted Carpenter a link to the story along with the message, “Shhhhhhh,” to which Carpenter replied, “Gtfooh,” an acronym used to express astonishment. 


Threads and X are looking slightly more alike.

Two changes spotted by app researchers show how the platforms are testing tweaks — X with carousel-style image galleries instead of grids, and Threads with buttons spaced apart.

Nima Owji shared the change on X and Alessandro Paluzzi pointed out the Threads update. Meta insisted that Threads isn’t an X clone — but at least in terms of look and feel, the two are getting closer and closer.


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The birth of a salesman

The Flip shopping app is a TikTok knockoff, filled with wannabe influencers making pennies per video view — myself included.

TikTok music features are expanding.

Users in more than 160 new countries will be able to add music they find on TikTok to their streaming platform of choice, TikTok announced today. The “add to music app” feature launched in the US in November, integrating platforms like Spotify and Apple Music with the video app.

Music discovery is huge on TikTok, but the relationship between labels and the tech company are tenuous: earlier this month UMG pulled its entire catalogue from TikTok, including Taylor Swift and Drake, due to disagreements on compensation.


TikTok’s “Add to music app” button is shown on the top left corner when users click into an audio track from a video.
Image: TikTok
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Who reviews the reviewers?

House Fresh, a blog focused on air quality, is just the kind of source you might want when you’re shopping for an air purifier — but it’s getting harder and harder to find them.

In a post titled, “How Google is killing independent sites like ours,” managing editor Gisele Navarro explains how bigger publishers like BuzzFeed, Better Homes & Gardens, and Rolling Stone outrank the independent site in Google Search:

These Digital Goliaths shouldn’t be able to use product recommendations as their personal piggy bank, simply flying through Google updates off the back of ‘the right signals,’ an old domain, or the echo of a reputable brand that is no longer.

As a team that has dedicated the last few years to testing and reviewing air purifiers, it’s disheartening to see our independent site be outranked by big-name publications that haven’t even bothered to check if a company is bankrupt before telling millions of readers to buy their products.


Eight million people streamed the Super Bowl on YouTube TV.

With more than 8 million concurrent live streams for the event, spokesperson Allison Toh says Super Bowl LVIII is now the most-watched event ever on YouTube TV — and more broadly was the “most-watched telecast in history.”

TV is shaping up to be a focus for YouTube. Earlier in February, YouTube CEO Neal Mohan announced that the platform’s subscription TV service had more than 8 million subscribers.


When a death is clickbait

AI-generated obituaries litter search results, turning the deaths of private individuals into clunky, repetitive content.