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I for one am shocked – shocked – that Musk might have misled people about the bot problem on Twitter. Well, not that shocked. Fresh from obfuscating who actually owns the bird site, Musk has claimed that roughly 90% of bots on the platform have been taken care of. Not so, according to data scientists, who note that spam and bot activity remains plentiful on the platform. Worse, possibly, if my own inbox is anything to go by.
You might remember that Musk tried to wriggle out of buying Twitter by claiming that it had misrepresented the level of bot activity on the platform. How the tables turn. It’s no wonder that advertising is still way down on there, and that publishers are de-prioritising it (even if many journos remain on the platform).
At the same time we’re getting a clearer idea of what everyone else’s Twitter alternatives are looking like. We’ve seen Bluesky and Mastodon arise as independent alternatives, now Meta is trying to muscle in as well. Personally my alternative is screaming into a hole for hours until someone turns up to batter me, which has all the functionality of Twitter with none of the ads.
No wait! Don’t go. Yes, this is technically an AI story, but it’s really more of a human story with ramifications for publishers. A book cover competition was won by AI-generated art – which was only uncovered when audiences dug deep into the sources it used. It proves two things – the first is that people will use AI at scale for nefarious purposes, and the second is that the vast majority of AI-generated content will be extremely boring and derivative.
More journalism job losses, this time at The Athletic. The NYT reports that the sports-focused news and analysis site – which it acquired back in 2022 – is set to shed 20 roles and reassign over 20 others. The argument seems to be that the site is rejigging its coverage to be league-specific rather than team-specific, but you have to wonder if that change is an acknowledgment that its original plans weren’t sustainable in the long term.
Quick update on the story about the accusations about Nick Cohen who, you may remember, was protected by sections of the press after news of harassment accusations levelled against him were reported. One of the journalists at the centre of the row has confirmed she received an apology, and it’s been reported that the Guardian is changing how it deals with complaints internally.
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