• chevron_right

    X sues Calif. to avoid revealing how it makes “controversial” content decisions / ArsTechnica · Friday, 8 September - 21:45

X sues Calif. to avoid revealing how it makes “controversial” content decisions

Enlarge (credit: Bloomberg / Contributor | Bloomberg )

Today, Elon Musk's X Corp. sued to block California's content moderation law, AB 587. In its complaint, filed a US district court in California, X Corp. is seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction stopping California Attorney General Robert Bonta from enforcing the law.

AB 587 passed in September 2022, requiring social media platforms to submit a "terms of service report" semi-annually to California's attorney general, providing "a detailed description of content moderation practices used" and "information about whether, and if so how, the social media company defines and moderates" hate speech or racism, extremism or radicalization, disinformation or misinformation, harassment, and foreign political interference. Under the law, social media platforms must also provide information and statistics on any content moderation actions taken in those categories.

In X's complaint, the company accused California of trying to dictate X's terms of service and compel "controversial disclosures about how X Corp. moderates content on its platform."

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • chevron_right

    X “unfit” for banking because of complicity in Saudi spying, lawyers argue / ArsTechnica · Friday, 8 September - 18:34 · 1 minute

X “unfit” for banking because of complicity in Saudi spying, lawyers argue

Enlarge (credit: Manuel Augusto Moreno | Moment )

Just two weeks after Elon Musk took over Twitter in fall 2022, he told employees that his big plan to save the social media platform from bankruptcy was to turn it into a bank . Since then, he has rebranded the platform as X, and banking regulators in eight US states have approved his applications for money-transmitting licenses.

Now, as X continues filing for money-transmitting licenses— in pursuit of turning X into an "everything app," a one-stop destination where users bank, shop, communicate, and basically spend all their time online—US banking regulators are being urged to reconsider approving X's applications to provide financial services, The Guardian reported . And Ars confirmed that states that already granted licenses are being pressured to revoke them.

In an open letter reviewed by Ars, lawyers at Walden Macht & Haran LLP—who are representing a Saudi family suing Twitter/X —warned both “attorneys general and banking commissioners across 50 states” that Musk's company should be considered "unfit" to hold banking licenses. They alleged that X is unfit for banking due to its alleged treatment of users’ personal data and "intentional complicity" in human rights violations. These grievances, The Guardian reported, also call into question whether X "can be trusted to abide by federal and state laws protecting consumer data and records."

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • chevron_right

    SpaceX broke its record for number of launches in a year / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 7 September - 21:24

A Falcon 9 rocket lifts off August 31 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Enlarge / A Falcon 9 rocket lifts off August 31 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. (credit: SpaceX )

It probably seems like SpaceX is launching almost every day, and that's not far from the case. It also might seem like SpaceX is regularly breaking one of its records, whether it's in the number of launches, turnaround time, or reusing Falcon 9 boosters. It's also true.

SpaceX blew past one of those records over Labor Day weekend when the company launched a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This mission was SpaceX's 62nd launch of the year using its Falcon 9 or Falcon Heavy rocket, or 63rd if you count the test flight of the Starship mega-rocket in April.

SpaceX has launched 83 Falcon 9 or Falcon Heavy missions over the past 12 months.

Read 18 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • chevron_right

    Musk calling shots on X content explains advertiser exodus, former exec says / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 7 September - 19:40

Musk calling shots on X content explains advertiser exodus, former exec says

Enlarge (credit: Chesnot / Contributor | Getty Images Europe )

Recently, Elon Musk has made it clear that he blames advocates speaking out about hate speech for plummeting ad revenue on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. But today, Reuters published an exclusive interview with a former Twitter ad exec, AJ Brown, who seemed to push back on Musk's narrative.

The platform's former head of brand safety and ad quality suggested that X advertisers aren't just pulling back as a knee-jerk reaction to critics' claims that the platform has become increasingly toxic under Musk. Brown told Reuters that X shifting its content moderation policy to "limiting reach" of offensive content—rather than removing the content—"made it challenging to convince brands" that Musk's social media platform "was safe for ads."

"Helping people wrap their minds around the concept that violating a policy would no longer result in the removal of whatever was violating the policy, was a difficult message to communicate to people," Brown told Reuters.

Read 26 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • chevron_right

    Musk shut off Starlink to prevent Ukraine attack on Russian ships, report says / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 7 September - 17:22

A Starlink satellite dish sits on the ground in Ukraine.

Enlarge / Starlink satellite dish seen on September 25, 2022, in Izyum, Kharkiv region, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (credit: Getty Images | Yasuyoshi Chiba)

Elon Musk ordered SpaceX engineers to temporarily disable Starlink in order to thwart a Ukrainian submarine drone attack on the Russian naval fleet last year, according to a report based on a new biography of Musk. The book provides more details on a previously reported incident.

A CNN exclusive report today said, "Elon Musk secretly ordered his engineers to turn off his company's Starlink satellite communications network near the Crimean coast last year to disrupt a Ukrainian sneak attack on the Russian naval fleet, according to an excerpt adapted from Walter Isaacson's new biography of the eccentric billionaire titled 'Elon Musk.'"

"As Ukrainian submarine drones strapped with explosives approached the Russian fleet, they 'lost connectivity and washed ashore harmlessly,' Isaacson writes," the CNN report said. Ukrainian officials reportedly begged Musk to turn satellite service in the area back on.

Read 20 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • chevron_right

    Musk stiffed Twitter vendors and dared them to sue—dozens did just that / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 7 September - 13:00

Collage of US paper money and dice with the logos of Twitter and X.

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

When Elon Musk bought Twitter in October 2022, a fairly ordinary tech company was transformed into a most unusual private corporation. Many strange things have happened at the Musk-owned social network, but this article will focus on just one puzzling aspect of Musk's leadership: His apparent refusal to pay bills.

Over two dozen lawsuits alleged that Twitter—which rebranded itself as "X" in late July—refused to pay money owed to vendors who started providing services to the company before Musk bought it. In fact, suing X seems to be the most effective method of collecting on unpaid invoices. This article will provide a summary of each lawsuit and an update on each case's status.

X agreed to settle some of the allegations, allowing some vendors to recoup at least part of what they were owed. Settlement talks are proceeding in other cases, and at least one went to arbitration. But X has taken a hard stance in fighting some unpaid-bill lawsuits, and several could head to jury trials.

Read 96 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • chevron_right

    As X bleeds cash, Musk threatens Anti-Defamation League with defamation lawsuit / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 5 September - 17:25

As X bleeds cash, Musk threatens Anti-Defamation League with defamation lawsuit

Enlarge (credit: Anadolu Agency / Contributor | Anadolu Agency )

Last month, X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, sued a group of hate speech researchers in the United Kingdom, claiming that they had instigated advertiser boycotts that allegedly lost the platform "tens of millions" of dollars. Now, X owner Elon Musk has threatened to sue another group advocating against hate speech, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which Musk claimed did even more damage—allegedly causing X to lose billions in ad revenue.

Musk spent the long weekend posting on X about his concerns with the ADL. He claimed that the ADL "has been trying to kill this platform by falsely accusing it and me of being anti-Semitic," saying that "based on what we’ve heard from advertisers, the ADL seems to be responsible for most" of X's revenue loss.

"Our US advertising revenue is still down 60 percent, primarily due to pressure on advertisers by @ADL (that’s what advertisers tell us), so they almost succeeded in killing X/Twitter!" Musk posted on X.

Read 19 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • chevron_right

    Twitter held in contempt, fined $350K over Trump data delay / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 9 August - 21:17

Twitter held in contempt, fined $350K over Trump data delay

Enlarge (credit: NurPhoto / Contributor | NurPhoto )

Today, an unsealed court document revealed that, earlier this year, a federal judge held Twitter (now called X) in contempt of court. The judge imposed $350,000 in sanctions.

Sanctions were applied after the social media platform delayed compliance with a federal search warrant that required Twitter to hand over Donald Trump's Twitter data without telling the former president about the warrant for 180 days.

At first, Twitter resisted producing Trump's data and argued that the government's nondisclosure order violated the First Amendment and the Stored Communications Act. However, US circuit judge Florence Pan wrote that the court was largely unpersuaded by Twitter's arguments, mostly because the government's interest in Trump's data as part of its ongoing January 6 investigation was "unquestionably compelling."

Read 21 remaining paragraphs | Comments