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What happened to Twitter?
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February 21, 2024

Tech Brew


It’s Wednesday. What the heck happened to Twitter? Morning Brew’s Cassandra Cassidy talked to someone who oughta know: Kurt Wagner, a Bloomberg reporter who covered the social media platform for about a decade. Wagner’s new book, Battle for the Bird, was released yesterday.

In today’s edition:

Cassandra Cassidy, Billy Hurley, Eoin Higgins, Annie Saunders


Avian necropsy?

Elon Musk carrying a sink as he enters the Twitter headquarters Twitter account of Elon Musk/AFP via Getty Images

In his new book, Battle for the Bird, which comes out today, Kurt Wagner tells the story of the platform that he’s been covering for a decade. As a social media reporter, currently at Bloomberg, Wagner has covered Twitter from its days with a 140-character limit to its ban of a US president. But in order to understand the story of Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter and his overhaul of the platform into X, he argues, you first have to understand the story of its founder, Jack Dorsey. In the years before Musk even put his sink foot in the door, Twitter struggled as a company despite its level of power and influence.

Morning Brew talked to Wagner about the conditions, friendships, and eccentric billionaires that led to the transformation of what was once the world’s most influential social media platform.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Why did you write this book?

I was going to write a Twitter book before Elon ever showed up.

I covered Twitter for about 10 years, and I just felt like there was a lot of interesting stuff that had happened at the company. I also thought the former CEO, Jack Dorsey, was a really interesting guy. I was actually out pitching this other Twitter book to publishers the very week that Elon showed up as the largest shareholder at the company. I remember having these conversations with the publishers at the time, and they were asking, “Where does Elon fit into this?” And I was kind of like, ‘…he doesn’t. This is a book about Twitter and he literally just showed up.’ I thought maybe I’d add a chapter about him joining the board at the end or something like that. Obviously, as the summer wore on, everything changed, and the book changed with it.

I was fortunate. How often does the richest person in the world show up and buy the subject of your book while you’re writing it?

Keep reading here.—CC



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Take care

Text bubble that says "how can I help?" Francis Scialabba

There are so many AI frameworks and laws in the works—from NIST, from the White House, from the EU—one would almost need some kind of all-powerful chatbot to decipher them.

In December, during IT Brew’s live event, “A Delicate Balance: Tech Innovation and Privacy,” an attendee had the following question for guest Elise Houlik, chief privacy officer at the fintech platform Intuit:

“Since privacy and data protection laws are still evolving and maturing around generative AI, what are the best practices which you recommend to ensure your products are compliant and customers trust your products/platforms?”

IT Brew posed the question to Houlik and, separately, to other data privacy pros.

Keep reading here.—BH



Employment line

A person walking through a digital art landscape Gremlin/Getty Images

Don’t call it a comeback; tech’s been here for years, rocking its peers.

Tech job postings increased for the second straight month and active postings registered the highest month over month increase in a year, according to CompTIA.

The IT certification firm’s analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers for January found that tech industry employment went up by 17,833 jobs from December.

Number time. That increase was driven primarily by the technology services and software development subsector, which added 14,500 jobs. Cloud infrastructure and tech (mainly semiconductor) manufacturing came in at a distant second and third, with 2,100 and 1,400 jobs, respectively. On the other end, telecommunications listings dropped by about 3,400 positions.

There are currently more than 392,000 active tech job postings; almost 178,000 were added in January. That’s 33,727 more than in December 2023. CompTIA said that was the largest month over month increase in the last 12 months—even as total tech listings dropped by around 117,000.

Keep reading on IT Brew.—EH




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Stat: $32.4 billion. That’s how much money venture capitalists invested in space and defense startups last year, Bloomberg reported, citing PitchBook data, up from just $7.7 billion in 2017.

Quote: “Creation is conversation…It is the opposite of being alone. This irreducible quality is exclusive to human beings, who are neither solely brains nor solely bodies. Whether or not some C-suite full of ignorant salesmen thinks so, there is no library of stolen masterpieces large enough to extract that quality in some saleable form. It can be hidden, and censored, and insulted, but it cannot be automated.”—journalist Maria Bustillos, in an essay titled “Iago Is Everywhere” in Flaming Hydra

Read: When the eyes in the sky start looking right at you (the New York Times)

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