And There It Is: Paid Twitter
Twitter will begin "testing" a new system called "Not A Bot," which will require users to verify their phone number and pay an annual subscription fee in order to be able to really use the app.
This test is starting in New Zealand and the Philippines, and the stated purpose of the test, according to Musk, is to further combat bots on the platform. The annual subscription fee is currently just $1, with the idea being that its more of a personal verification.
Famously, bad actors and bot farms have no access to $1, or stolen credit cards and throwaway numbers.
Without giving Twitter your phone number and credit card information, you will not be able to post, only read. Regardless of the obvious goal here of charging people for everything that used to be free on the platform due to Musk's inability to actually understand how his own product works, this is a huge step away from the notion of having any kind of privacy and anonymity on the platform. Some may view this as a positive thing, others may not.
I would like to remind you that there was a time on the internet where you didn't have to constantly prove your identity and use your real name everywhere by default. And somehow, the world did not implode. It was simply harder to sell ads and track you.
(Just in case they try to change the help article I linked, here is a report as well by Engadget)
Jim Ain't It (yet)
US Republican representative Jim Jordan made an attempt at becoming the Speaker of the House yesterday, forcing a vote to happen without having assurance that it would work out in his favor.
Jordan is a far-right figure in the House, and is known for being loud as fuck during committee meetings. He's one of the more popular figures among the MAGA crowd, and is one of the people in congress who does the most "being outrageous so I get viral clips out of it" stuff.
Because of this, he's not particularly loved within his own party. And despite working to try and sway votes to his favor, even with the help of Fox News personalities like Sean Hannity for whatever reason, 20 GOP representatives voted for someone else other than Jordan. He could only afford to lose 3 of those votes.
This is not quite over, and the house will continue to try and vote for a Speaker. It is unclear if Jordan will be able to gather up enough votes at this point, given the intensity of the position he is gunning for and the reluctance of his own party in handing that much power to the furthest-right contingent who has essentially orchestrated the ousting of the previous speaker and the election of their own leader. This is a pretty small group calling these shots, comparatively, precisely because they know they can tank any vote they want unless they get their way. They also know they don't have much to lose, because the LORE behind them, at least for their base, is that they're the true fighters for freedom, so anything that fucks with the establishment is a win in their book.
Lol Nice Job CIA
A security researcher found a problem with the CIA's Twitter profile which has a link on their profile to a Telegram channel for potential informants to contact the CIA. However, Twitter shortens long links, truncating them to fit in the profile view. For example, if you put a link to a very good website like StuffKeepsHappening.online, it may get shortened to "StuffKeepsHap…"
Well, that happened to the CIA's link, shortening the link from
t.me/securelycont. A security researched noticed this and set up their own channel at the link that was being displayed on the CIA's page, essentially hijacking the link and appearing official.
Clicking on the link directly on the profile would still work and take you to the correct place. But if you copied the link down and pasted it? Boom: fake secure informant channel for the CIA.
Just kudos all around.
More Lives Ruined, Nobody Knows By Who
A hospital in Gaza packed with people who were already suffering from the assault on the Strip has been mercilessly bombed, killing more than 500 people and elevating the level of disaster and humanitarian crisis into horrifying new territory.
Israel claims that the source of the attack was a misfired rocket from militants in Gaza. Palestinian authorities say the attack came from Israel, to which Israel claims they would never bomb a hospital.
International leadership is also split. The US has yet to firmly land on a side to blame, but is clearly leaning towards supporting Israel's claims, despite "needing a few things clarified." The country of Jordan has cancelled a planned meeting with Biden after the blast, citing that it would do nothing to stop the current war. Biden will still be visiting Israel to show his support for the state.
The U.N. issued a statement via the World Health Organization essentially just saying "stop killing citizens, and also stop issuing impossible evacuation orders."
Russia says the U.S. is to blame, as do some United States politicians (from both major parties) who have criticized Biden for not prioritizing peace in the region.
Essentially, nobody has a firm picture yet of what actually happened, and both first parties in the conflict blame each other.
Meanwhile, Israel continues to ramp up their attacks on Gaza in response to the Hamas attack on Israel. The people of Gaza have been forced to follow essentially impossible orders to evacuate hundreds of thousands of people to places that are still actively being attacked, while having limited access to food, water, medicine and communications.
The situation is still ongoing and escalating. Biden has signaled that his goal is to push for a reduction in civilian harm, but that doesn't really mean much.
On This day…
On this day in 1867, the United States formally took ownership of Alaska after purchasing it from Russia for a mere $7.2 Million, which is about $151 Million in today's dollars. This is observed as Alaska Day by the state.
Alaskan Natives have pushed back on the state, noting that Alaska was never Russia's to sell to begin with, so the US should never have been able to purchase it. A push to replace Alaska Day with "Reconciliation Day" has been gaining steam over the years.
Here's the Weather
- YouTube is rolling out a bunch of updates; including some UI changes as well as additional measures to prevent users from blocking ads
- Reddit is winding down their crypto-based Community Points system because lol remember crypto?
- SpaceX is in talks with Israel to deploy Starlink in the area during the ongoing conflict
- Apple has rolled out a "Apple Pencil USB-C" into their mix, which makes a lot of sense because now there's an Apple Pencil 1, Apple Pencil 2, and Apple Pencil USB-C
- LinkedIn has announced they will be laying off around 700 employees, teeing up a joke that is far too easy so I won't
- Bandcamp has also had half of their employees laid off as the sale of Bandcamp from Epic to Songtradr has completed. The Bandcamp union has gone back to Epic with a less-than-stellar mood, seeking new negotiations
- There is a new hottest pepper in the world, titled "Pepper X," which is three times hotter than a Carolina Reaper. It has reportedly been a thing for a while now, but the producer of the peppers just kinda sat on it for like a decade