Tech News Weekly Episode 230 Transcript

Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show. 

Jason Howell (00:00):
Coming up on Tech News Weekly. It's me, Jason Howell my co-host Mikah Sargent. We've got some great interviews for you. Imran Ahmed from the center for countering digital hate talks a little bit about targeted harassment. That's actually hiding inside of Instagram DMS, and what we can do about it Owen Thomas from protocol joins us for two stories. Actually, it's kind of a supersized first about the big news today that Elon Musk put in an offer to buy Twitter. And then also about the NFT of Dorsey's first tweet also happens to be Twitter's first tweet and the rapid decline in value of that NFT and what that means. And then finally, we round things off with Mikah's story of the week, CNN plus off to a Rocky's start, but why exactly all that more coming up next on tech news, weekly

... (00:48):
Podcasts you love from people you trust. This is TWiT.

Jason Howell (01:07):
This is Tech News Weekly episode 230 recorded Thursday, April 14th, 2022.

Mikah Sargent (01:13):
This episode of Tech News Weekly is brought to you by Zenentry. Security. Remote work is here to stay Zen entry security, zero trust private access solution is, is a modern cloud hosted alternative to a VPN and answer your security posture today. Tri entry trusted access with a 30 day free trial by visiting XRY

Jason Howell (01:33):
And by podium join more than 100,000 businesses that already use podium to streamline their customer interactions. Get started for free at, or sign up for a paid podium account and get a free credit card reader restrictions apply.

Mikah Sargent (01:49):
Hello and welcome to Tech News Weekly. The show where every week we talk to and about the people making and breaking the tech news. I am Mikah Sargent

Jason Howell (01:57):
And I'm Jason Howell. And I, I gotta admit my mind is like in a different place now, right before the show. I was, my, my brain was introduced to Maine Coon cats, which is a thing of these gigantic cats. So anyways, I'm gonna reel myself back. Yes, well, and get back into technology, but I am like blown away by this breed of cat

Mikah Sargent (02:18):
Something that everyone listening, check out,

Jason Howell (02:19):
Check it out. You listen

Mikah Sargent (02:21):
To the show. Yeah. So I think a lot of people are familiar with have seen, have maybe experienced online hate in public places, right? You've seen it in your, your comments perhaps or in replies on Twitter. But one place that folks might not be thinking about online hate is in the direct message area of the social media platforms. Well, the center for countering digital hate has been looking at these sort of off the grid, places, these places that the public doesn't necessarily see to track and understand not only abuse there but maybe how companies could be doing more to protect folks there. Joining us today from the center for countering digital hate is the CEO Imran Ahmed. Welcome to the show.

Imran Ahmed (03:17):
Thanks. So

Mikah Sargent (03:19):
Yeah, happy to have here. So I, I think before we get into this specific study, what I'd love to start out is by you explaining what the center for countering digital hate does as a whole. I think people need to hear about this center.

Imran Ahmed (03:34):
Well, we were set up six years ago in the wake of the well, the, the murder of my colleague, Joe Cox MP by a far right domestic terrorist in the UK during the referendum on ever since we've been looking at the ways in which bad actors have weaponized, what we've realized a bad platforms to create offline harm in our society and to act as a watchdog for the harms being created and suggest solutions for how we can make things better.

Mikah Sargent (04:04):
Excellent. Yeah. This this, this, the study that I came across, that I wanted to talk to you about centers around Instagram, which we have I think all of us have heard a lot about the impact that Instagram has on young folks in the, the power, so to speak of Instagram as a whole. And it is something that I think folks may not have been considering is the stuff that takes place in direct messages there. So I was hoping you could start by talking about the hidden hate research that you folks have done.

Imran Ahmed (04:39):
So Instagram's a really important platform. It's a way in which we establish our brands in which we, you know, communicate, we express ourselves, we, we maintain relationships, we transact commerce. And in that respect, it's been studied quite a lot, the amount of sort of open hatred that there is in that platform and the effects that has on people. But what we kept hearing, we were talking to people was you think it's bad in public, just wait till you see my direct messages. And we wanted to have a look at well. Is there a way at scale to look at the, the, the, the quantum of harms being created in direct messages? So how much hate is there? We worked with five very prominent women with millions of followers and analyzed 9,000 of their DMS over several months. And these women range from a, a magazine editor to the Hollywood celebrity, Amber be herd. And what we found is that about one in 15 of the messages they got were hateful, but the real problem came when we actually started reporting that hate the platform as though we were the women themselves. And we found that only in one in 10 instances was any action taken against people who were sending one word misogynist, hate graphic, sexual imagery, or death threats.

Mikah Sargent (05:57):
Wow. So was this, that in those instances where the action was taken was Instagram responding in direct? How, how did that look whenever the, the situation actually worked in that one in 10 instance.

Imran Ahmed (06:14):
So, I mean, Instagram promised in Fe route 2021, they said that they recognized that DMS were an important vector for abuse. And that abuse is really impactful because it means that women don't want to go onto the platform. They don't wanna log on. They don't wanna see what's in their DMS. They might be missing out on business opportunities. They might be missing out on lovely messages from their friends, because they don't want to have a look at what horrible people are saying on. And what, what we found is that only in what, in 10 instances did Instagram do what they said they would do, which is to ban people who are sending, I mean, death threats, explicit sexual imagery, which of course shouldn't be allowed. Like if you break the rules like that, that is a kind of red card offense.

Mikah Sargent (06:56):
And one of the, the notes that you made in, in the blog post regarding this study is the fact that in some instances, you're not even able to make a report on or, or ask for action to be taken, unless you view the message that the person sends. So you are required to expose yourself to whatever it might be in order to respond on the platform. Is this just in your opinion, and in looking at this, is this just sort of a basic failing of Instagram in understanding how this digital hate takes place?

Imran Ahmed (07:33):
I mean, if you allow people to end to send unsolicited audio and video messages, which can only be, you can only assess as to whether or not they're from someone horrible or a friend by playing it. Well, that is a system that's rife for abuse, especially because these can come as message requests. So not just from someone that, you know, but from anyone. And the, the problem with that system is haven't built in safety by designer. How, how safety would work in a system like that is that you would learn very quickly that they take enforcement action. And that the, this is really about creating norms of behavior, which are, which, which are in favor of women and not in favor of abusers at the moment, the norms that Instagram have established by virtue of the action they take, rather than their rule, their rules say, this stuff is banned, but the actions they take talk louder than the words of their rules and the actions are, you know, what, if you send this stuff, we'll turn a blind eye to it because frankly we've got better, the things to do count our money.

Imran Ahmed (08:41):
I think

Mikah Sargent (08:43):
Now I, you, you briefly touched on this, but I want to kind of get this directly. What do you say to the folks who say, well, there's a simple solution for this shut down your Twitter direct messages or your Instagram direct messages or your Facebook messages. Don't let people message you. When they say that to someone who is facing this abuse, what's your response to that?

Imran Ahmed (09:09):
Well, why should women have a second class experience to men, or why should gay people or black people? And the, the reaction to this report has been, I mean, this has been featured in media all over the world, the Washington post, New York times the hill covered it on day one. And, and you know, a lot of the journalists that I talked to said, you know, me too, like, I, I get this all the time and it shouldn't be acceptable. The at, if women want to use these platforms, they receive a wall of abuse because the, the, the truth is that what it means is that the voices that we've worked hardest over the last decade centuries to actually bring into public life, women, gay people, black people, brown people, people like myself, our voices are, are, are there, there is a tax being put on, on, on us being able to express our voices and that taxes having to experience abuse and being told, being gas lit by companies being told, it's your job to clean it up. And we won't be there. We we've put an alarm bell on the system. You can report things, but guess what? We haven't actually connected the alarm bell to an alarm in our headquarters, nor will we do anything about it when we see it.

Mikah Sargent (10:21):
Now, if someone hears about this report reads this report which we encourage everyone to go to counter to, to read it, what can they do to take action? What, what's a way for folks watching now or listening now to be able to say, you know what, no, I'm not okay with this. We need to make a difference here.

Imran Ahmed (10:42):
Well, there's there there's a petition to be signed on our on our website, which has been signed by 26, leading civil rights organizations, not just women's organizations, but also organizations that campaign on red and on other issues. But also look in a couple of weeks time, the guy that runs Instagram, Adam MAA, is being honored at the met gala for the, his contribution to, I don't know, pop popular culture. And in reality, what he's doing is rolling back women's involvement in popular culture, by making sure they have to face a world of abuse. How about when he is being honored? We all send him a quick tweet or a quick, I G D M to say, Adam, is there any chance you could read this report and do something about it or been,

Mikah Sargent (11:29):
Yeah, that that's that's great. Action to take. Briefly I was hoping you could mention some of the other research that the center for countering digital hate has done before we say goodbye.

Imran Ahmed (11:42):
Yeah. I mean, look, we we've looked at a number of different harms and I think we're most well known for our work on anti-vaxers. The disinformation doesn't, which president Biden cited last year when he said that 12 people are are 12 killers are spreading 65% of the disinformation that's being produced on social media, our work looking at antisemitism. And we've got an, an upcoming report on anti-Muslim hate. But also we've got, we've got other work, which has looked at other types of harms online. And if folks wanna have a look, if they want to get involved counter is our website. And at CCD hate is our Twitter and at counter hate is our Instagram.

Mikah Sargent (12:26):
Thank you so much for joining us today. Iran, of course, yes. Head to counter We'll have links there and you heard the different social media accounts that you can follow. Thank you for your time. And thank you for what you and the center for countering digital hate are doing. We appreciate that.

Imran Ahmed (12:44):
My pleasure.

Mikah Sargent (12:45):
All righty, folks, up next, there's a lot more Twitter to talk about. We'll get to that momentarily. But first this episode of Tech News Weekly is brought to you by Zen entry, security remote work. Look, it's here to stay when the pandemic started offices emptied, and all of a sudden everyone knew what a VPN was. The problem is that VPNs were designed many years ago for a much friendlier landscape. When the only threats you had to worry about were internet worms times have certainly changed threat actors. Now specifically target remote workforces with sophisticated phishing attacks and exploit vulnerabilities in R D P VPNs offer broad network level access, allowing EastWest propagation for authorized users and well unauthorize ones. Century security is a perfect solution for small to medium enterprises. It allows only authorized users to access applications in the cloud and data center without complex VPN clients without a whole lot of configuration and without any headaches, employees, contractors, and third parties, regardless of their location only get level access to specific apps and resources based on globally applied natural language policies defined by it admins.

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Jason Howell (14:51):
All right. Don't want today's show to feel too much like last week's show where we talked a lot about Twitter, but Hey, but the last, you know what, this is just the way the news is right now. And I had actually planned on talking about Twitter today. Initially that plan obviously has not changed, but the original story had to do with the NFT Jack Dorsey's original. I thought it was funny and interesting. And then this morning happened and now of course, we have to talk about Elon Musk again, I'm sorry, but it's kind of a big deal. So it's just our luck that the guest that I had lined up has written extensively about this over the last week or two Owen Thomas from protocol. One of my favorite guests on Twitter. It's really nice to have you on Tech News Weekly. Thank you on

Owen Thomas (15:31):
Jason. Thanks for having me.

Jason Howell (15:33):
Yeah, right on. Thank you for hopping on and giving us a little bit longer of an interview space. We're gonna start with Elon Musk, cause that's kind of like the big, big news today, and then we'll take a, a short break and then talk a little bit about the NFT and they'll let you go. But yeah, let's, let's talk a little bit about Elon Musk. If we have it already talked about him too much on this network day, I feel like the last couple of weeks at the top of every list of stories, you know, his story rundowns, but this morning, Elon announced on Twitter quote, I made an offer, you know, just kinda like putting that out there. So, so succinctly and as if nothing happened, what exactly is his offer? How good is it?

Owen Thomas (16:13):
Jason, I thought we had an agreement. We don't talk about Elon. We don't talk about

Jason Howell (16:18):
That should be the agreement, but I can't hold duck to that.

Owen Thomas (16:23):
You know, of course I think the number one part of this story is that Elon loves it. When you talk about Elon. Yes.

Jason Howell (16:30):

Owen Thomas (16:31):
And that's, that's why he's on Twitter. That's why he wants to buy Twitter. Yeah. It's, you know, it is it's a play for attention, but Hey, we're living in the attention economy. So you know, so why not? He is, you know, he's definitely not known for his patience, so he's kind of jumped ahead as he said to the, you know, to the end game here. Yeah. And straight up made a hostile offer. Now there's some debate over whether it's hostile. The, the definition really is that it's something made with the you know, without the permission or without coordination with the board of the target company, need the target being Twitter here. So I think, you know, it is, it is kind of textbook hostile. In that regard, there is a scenario where it becomes friendly. It doesn't seem from the tone of of must conversation that he has any interest in a friendly offer.

Owen Thomas (17:34):
The other thing that's kind of odd and different here is that normally with a hostile takeover, you have a corporation that, you know, wants to merge you know, with that, you know, with the target company and get, get some assets that, you know, that it thinks will make its business better and it's worth the paying and expense of a hostile takeover or you have a take private transaction, but those are typically done with management where management feels like, you know, shareholders don't get it and they can do a better job and deal without the pressures of wall street. By going private, this is like a, a mashup of those two Elon thinks he has better ideas for Twitter and he thinks it would be better off private. So it puts Twitter in a very odd position. There's very little precedent for this kind of approach.

Jason Howell (18:28):
So what those, so what about numbers here? What, what is he offering? How does that compare to where the stock price, you know, where the price was initially? Like, I mean, and I kind of know this, but, but you know, if you can tell, oh yeah, who's watching and listening and how appealing is that to this to shareholders? You know, even if they don't like Elon at a, at a certain point, the price is high enough, I'm sure that's gonna win some people over.

Owen Thomas (18:51):
Right. The, so the 52 week high for Twitter is around is I think a little over $70. Obviously tech stocks took a beating this year and it's way below that Musk is offering a little over $54. So that's not really a winning price. You know, if you look at the very recent stock history, I can see shareholders reasonably saying you know, Hey, like for a takeover, can't you give me a little bit more of a premium here and like, take me back to 70. Right. so if he's serious, he's kind of he of trying to low ball Twitter. I think Twitter's board has a pretty defensible position if they say that 54 is too low. I mean, you know, I think where Musk and the board probably agree is that, you know, like all of those parties think Twitter is undervalued. The question is, does, you know, does Musk have a better plan or does the really recently appointed CEO per Agrawal have a better plan? I mean, the board just named auger wall's CEO in November, he's barely had time to implement any changes he wants to make. So

Jason Howell (20:07):

Owen Thomas (20:08):
You know, there's, you know, there's, there's another defense of like, Hey, Hey, give us some time with the, you know, with the current management.

Jason Howell (20:15):
Yeah. I'm, I'm super curious. That's, that's one of the things that that I've been reflecting on today is agro wall's position in light of this. And it wasn't like he does didn't recognize, you know, it was just Sunday. In fact, when he made the comment like distractions ahead, you know, he had a statement and you know, keep, keep on, on pace here. We've got some distractions coming up. I'm not certain that Arawa knew or maybe he did you know, had had a good sense that Elon would go this route or quite so soon. But you had to imagine, you know, poor guy, so new to this position at the company and dealing with something that would make all, you know, tech CEOs crumble in the face of it, you know, one of the world's richest men basically saying, Hey, I just wanna buy your company. And I here's all the cash to do it puts him in a really awkward position.

Owen Thomas (21:08):
It, it, it certain does and, you know, keep him on aural was CTO of Twitter. Yeah. Yeah, so, you know, this is all like really new to him that said the chairman of Twitter. I, the board chair is Brett Brett Taylor, the co CEO of Salesforce who has been through lots of transactions just bought just bought slack for, I think north of 26 billion. So he is no stranger to kind of wall street, power plays and, and big numbers. He's much lower key than than Elon Musk, but but not a pushover and, you know, the, and it's a pretty strong board overall. Like there's, you know, there's, there's not a lot of fluff. I think Twitter has actually improved its corporate governance in that regard enormously from, you know, say you know, like looking back a decade ago. 

Jason Howell (22:07):

Owen Thomas (22:08):
Is that enough though, to, to, you know, to take on one of the, one of the world's wealthiest people, I forget the numbers, it feels like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk tradeoff who's yeah. Who's wealthiest from day to day.

Jason Howell (22:19):
Exactly. No matter what, in top two and compared to the entire world, that's, you know, that that's pretty powerful in and of itself. Mark you bit on Twitter seems to be you know, put out a tweet alluding to the fact that his, his assumption is that now the big CEOs at all the other big tech companies are, you know, looking into their, you know, contacting their antitrust lawyers to say, Hey, what about us? Why can't we buy Twitter? What, what kind of weight do you put? Why, why would they want to do that when faced with a must takeover of Twitter?

Owen Thomas (22:54):
Well, you know, if they want to run up their lawyer bills at a thousand dollars an hour, they certainly can. But I think those lawyers are going to pretty quickly say, are you kidding

Jason Howell (23:04):

Owen Thomas (23:06):
Are you insane? The mood in Washington right now, Lena con running, running the FTC. Yeah. I, I, I mean, there is no way that like meta buys Twitter now also, you know, mark Zuckerberg did once once called Twitter, a clown car that fell into a gold mine, and he tried to buy Twitter before early. Yeah. There's still, there's still bad blood between you know, markets for you to Melo park there. But like Google, you know, like Amazon, Microsoft, you know, which already owns LinkedIn, it's, it's really hard to see any kind of scenario where you know, DC, doesn't just explode at the very idea. And, you know, there's also the reality that like, Twitter is very popular with politicians and there is a laser beam focus on Twitter's moderation policies who wants all of that headache on top of what they're already dealing with. Yeah. You know, there there's the antitrust issues and then there's just like the politicization of Twitter period.

Jason Howell (24:14):
Yeah, no kidding. One question that I have before we, before we take a quick break and then we'll talk about the NFT stuff after, after the break, but what kind of an impact do you feel company would face if they pass on this offer? Like obviously things get really, really kind of crazy and cuckoo if Elon Musk buys it or maybe it doesn't, maybe, maybe everything's gonna be great, but that's where, where everybody's mind seems to be jumping right now is, oh, no. What happens if Twitter gets bought actually by Elon Musk, but if they pass on it, does that an impact on the company in your mind?

Owen Thomas (24:48):
I think I think there's certainly probably going to be as, you know, agro I'll put it distractions ahead. Yeah. There could very well be securities lawsuits, as I mentioned, those would have a really tough, you know, it would be tough to show that like $54 is, you know, really dramatically undervaluing Twitter compared to where it's traded very recently. Mm. But you know, but I think there will be pressure to perform, but there's always been pressure on Twitter to perform. Yeah. You know, Zuckerberg was not wrong entirely about the clown car and the goldmine. Like this is historically been a company that's lived up to all of its promise. People see a lot of potential in Twitter. And its story has always been about falling short of that. So it doesn't really change that dynamic. You know, I think if, you know, if Twitter disappoints Elon Musk here, well, you know, get in line, buddy, a lot of people have been disappointed by Twitter

Jason Howell (25:52):
Right on. All right. Well, don't go anywhere. We're gonna keep talking with you after this short break. And yeah, we'll talk a little bit about Dorsey's NFTs and kinda what's going on there. But first this of Tech News Weekly is brought to you by podium. If you own a business, you that there are not enough hours in the day to waste playing phone tag with your customers, especially trying to get in touch with them, trying to, you know convey your, communicate your, your business to them. It's it's not easy and you don't have the time for that. The list of customers that actually need to reach doesn't get any shorter, especially when your business is going really well. That's why local businesses everywhere are turning to podium. Podium actually makes every interaction as easy as sending a text. And I know for me, text is, I mean, I, you know, I'm, I'm getting texts on my phone.

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Jason Howell (27:33):
Or you can sign up for a paid podium account and you get a free credit card reader. When you do that, restrictions do apply that's And we thank podium for the, their support of Tech News Weekly. All right. So Owen, we've still got you here. Got you here for about eight ish or so minutes. Let's talk a little bit about NFTs, which was the initial reason that I reached out to you to tell everything got turned upside down, but this is still a really fascinating story to me because you know, just last year, Dorsey's first tweet on Twitter was sold as an NFT, kind of in the middle of that big wave of where everyone's like scratching their heads, like what is an NFT? And then there's the other crowd that's like, we already know, and we're willing to spend what, 2.9 million for this tweet and to not actually own it in any physical sense, but to own the NFT. That was just last year, who, first of all, who bought it back then and why did they do that?

Owen Thomas (28:32):
So it was a,

Owen Thomas (28:34):
A crypto entrepreneur named Cena ESA who, who paid $2.9 million, as you mentioned for this NFT of a tweet, an NFT is like a digital receipt. It's supposed to be proof of ownership. You can't like copy it or duplicate it. So it provides a little kind of scarcity in a world of digital abundance. But people still have trouble wrapping their head heads around, like, does an NFT really signify anything? You know, the NFTs that you're probably more familiar with are like board API club, where like you get an ape and like that ape is kind of recognizably yours and different enough from all the other apes that you can kind of say like, yes, this is the thing I own,

Jason Howell (29:18):
I own the one with a Mohawk or whatever. Yeah,

Owen Thomas (29:20):
Exactly. It's, I mean, it's a point or two, a JPEG, but it's, you know, honestly is really about like everyone agreeing that yeah. You know, that you own this thing and, you know, being, being able to get that buy-in. So what does an NFT of a treat mean? I don't know, but ESA paid 2.9 million for it. The, you know, the punchline is that he is now trying to sell it and the highest bid, I think it's, it's gone up a little, the bids were around $280. They went up to like 800. But you know, I think the, the auction is closing or closed. And the the best offer he got was actually $10,000. The irony is like the, the the interest around, you know, the reporting around the fact that he hadn't got it on the offers have actually drawn some bidders in. So now Jack Dorsey's tweet is worth $10,000. I mean, is it worth 2.9 million million, 280 $10,000 zero, eh, it's worth whatever you get someone to pay for it.

Jason Howell (30:29):
Right. Exactly. At the end of the day. Yeah. Yeah. But value is what someone is willing to pay for it. And a year ago someone was with that person was willing to pay 2.9 million for it now not. So, yeah, I just, I just opened it up and checked it out. And what was, is somewhere around, you know, slightly higher than nine thousand nine thousand nine hundred fifty eight dollars and 18 cents. So yeah, dramatic decrease to say the least 

Owen Thomas (30:56):
Now Dorsey Dorsey had amazing timing because, you know, like NFTs really kind of hit the mainstream around August, 2021. He sold this in March. So, you know, it was early by the way. He is such a Bitcoin fanatic NFTs are typically sold for ether which is the second biggest cryptocurrency. He is such a Bitcoin fanatic that he immediately converted the ether proceeds to Bitcoin. And then he gave them to a charity that helps helps people in Africa give directly. So, you know, he's, you know, he's kind of got clean hands. You can't really profiting when he gave it all the way to charity. Right. but he did seem to have good timing

Jason Howell (31:39):
Boy, but I mean, in, in in hindsight, yeah. Great timing and, and great great ambition to take that money that was created that literally didn't exist prior. It was just a tweet and now suddenly it was worth, you know, this 2.9 million price tag and funnel that into something that does some good, I, the flip side, God, I can't help, but just think that the person that spent 2.9 million I'm mean, especially in light of today, right? Like that's, that's a sucker, right. It's kinda like cool. Well, he got that million and passed it on to charity. That's great. But he got that million, that 2.9 million from you when it could be had, and now it cannot. What do you like, does this signify something about the declining perception of value around NFTs in J general? I mean, are we seeing this in other high value or once high value NFTs happening there too?

Owen Thomas (32:32):
You know, it, it, it really depends. I think, you know, for example, board apes have mostly seem to retain their value. There's a lot of Hollywood hype, there's a movie trilogy now being produced with Coinbase backing it up. So it depends on, it depends on the NFT, but overall transaction prices have been falling and wallet activity, which is something we've been tracking. That's the number of people who have an NFT in their wallet who have bought or sold an NFT that ha took a dip and has been on the rise again. So it may be kind of, you know, into like a new, you know, a new, more moderate hype cycle. I don't think they're going away, but I think this is really a good test case for like what kind of thing makes sense to turn into an NFT. Yeah. A tweet which controls, which Elon Musk could, you know could buy the company and he could delete the tweet if he wanted to,

Jason Howell (33:36):
Or make a private or yeah. Any number of things. Yeah.

Owen Thomas (33:39):
That does that doesn't feel like a really like solid value, you know, kind of to, to center an NFT around. I think that's probably why a lot of people have questions. So like the NFT of a tweet. Mm. Probably not a great idea. Nfts of digital art, like art has always been very abstract in terms of the value we place on it and why people like one piece of art versus another. So that is probably a little more solid as solid as the art market in general is. So, so I think we'll find out which NFTs are really worth something.

Jason Howell (34:18):
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. If, if NFT is, is, is here for the long haul, what are the assets that actually make sense? You know, and, and that's, you know, it's, it's an emerging kind of developing technology slash financial instrument, whatever you want to call it at this point. So those are all questions to be answered. For $10,000, do you find value Dorseys are original tweet?

Owen Thomas (34:44):
I think I would pay $2 and 80 cents. Okay,

Mikah Sargent (34:48):
Nice. Nice. It

Jason Howell (34:49):
Started there.

Owen Thomas (34:52):
No, I think, you know, I think there is kind of like novelty value around that tweet. I agree, but, but, you know,

Mikah Sargent (35:03):
I think print it out and get it framed and hanging on my wall and I don't even have to pay anybody for doing that.

Owen Thomas (35:11):
Exactly. That's, that's precise of the problem is that, you know, there is not kind of like provable scarcity around it. And so when you try to like put artificial scarcity and that's all an NF is it's a mechanism yep. For introducing artificial scarcity it, it falls flat and I think that's what's happened here.

Jason Howell (35:29):
Yeah. Agreed. I have a feeling that that found foundation is crumbling to a certain degree. At least for certain types of NFTs will be interesting to see how this ripple effect happens. Along the way. Owen Thomas really appreciate you taking a little bit of a supersized portion of time this morning to chat with us about these topics. And Owen of course writes for So you can find all of his work there if people wanna follow you online, where can they find you?

Owen Thomas (35:58):
I am at Owen Thomas on Twitter, and I have not turned any of my tweets into an NFT

Jason Howell (36:03):
Yet, yet, yet. Exactly. Right on. Thank you so much, Owen. It was a pleasure.

Owen Thomas (36:08):

Jason Howell (36:08):
Jason. All right. Thanks again to Owen Thomas for joining us today. All right, coming up, we're gonna talk a little bit about Mikah's story of the week has to do with CNN plus us.

Mikah Sargent (36:18):
All right. So my story of the week this week is it's, this is an opportunity to have kind of a bigger conversation because this is about CNN plus, which is CNN's own take on having kind of a streaming service all its own. CNN plus is I think it's yeah, it's 5 99 a month or 60 bucks annually, 59 99. And this was the idea that, that CNN could offer a streaming news service that folks would subscribe to directly. And so they brought in some different people including Chris wall, us from Fox news and Casey hunt from NBC news to offer this kind of premium news streaming service, because everybody loves to have the news stream.

Jason Howell (37:07):
Everybody's gotta have one

Mikah Sargent (37:08):
Into their ears and their eyes. Right. Everybody's

Jason Howell (37:10):
Gotta have one.

Mikah Sargent (37:11):
Yes. And everybody has to have a plus to a plus.

Jason Howell (37:14):
Nobody do too. Yes, can't really however,

Mikah Sargent (37:16):
What's fascinating about the according to CNBC who spoke to people familiar with the matter in the two weeks since it has launched there are fewer than 10,000 people subscribed to CNN plus or I should say who are using it so daily active users. Yeah. Daily active users is fewer than 10,000.

Jason Howell (37:40):
That's not a lot at

Mikah Sargent (37:41):
All mind coming for,

Jason Howell (37:43):
For a brand like CNN Disney

Mikah Sargent (37:44):
Plus had so many subscribers within moments of it launching and actually before that, because people were able to subscribe ahead of time. It's, let's see ESPN plus, which is a more fair comparison because I of being entertainment it's specifically sports and sports news, 21.3 million subscribers peacock has that's NBC's own thing has 24.5 million monthly active users. And let's see, what was the other one? I think they talked about Disney plus as well. All of these other streaming media services seem to be doing pretty well, but nobody's really interested in as it stands or not many people as it stands, seem to be interested in having a streaming news service. And my question, my, my kind of thought about this is so I, I used to be, you know, like a, a, I suppose, a less focused journalist, meaning I was not just a consumer technology journalist, but was a journalist who covered all sorts of things.

Mikah Sargent (38:52):
And lived in brew in the newsroom where I constantly had to have news coming at me all the time. And so I remember after leaving that life making the conscious decision to take a break from always having the news streaming into me and knowing what all is going on and feeling okay with that. But I think about people in general with the pandemic and with everything else that has happened. And especially here in the United States where even before the pandemic, there were, there were news story after news story, after news story about horrible things happening for different reasons and how folks felt themselves in our more connected than ever world we're living in folks found themselves needing to kind of take a break from that. So I'm not surprised that the cable news network CNN you know, the, in its, in its original form, basically CNN was created to be a 24 hour news network.

Mikah Sargent (39:58):
Yeah. So that folks could tune in and it was like the first of its kind, there's this really great story about CNN starting. And I remember watching it, it was, it was awesome. Especially at the time as a bride eye story, eye journalist, but these days, not only are there so many places to get the news that you want to get, but also I find that people are, you know, really trying to take a break from that. So I personally am not surprised that there aren't that many daily active users, but I'm curious about you Jason, if you are a person seeks out news or lets it come to you in the different ways that you browse the internet.

Jason Howell (40:43):
I mean, it depends on the kind of news, right? Like obviously we do what we do for a living here. So there's a certain requirement to certain need to be tuned into aspects of the news. And a lot of that is technology news. Some things are, you know, are tangential or, you know, kind of touch on that, but aren't specific to technology. So yeah, I seek that out because I have to, in order to create the shows that I do and to just be informed and to know that, you know, if I'm ever on this network, I I'm talking about something that I actually have either opinion about, or some knowledge about, or some interest about, or some sort of connection or re rec recollection of it, you know recognition of it, news outside of that, like I don't ever watch TV news.

Jason Howell (41:28):
I've certainly had the times in my life when I had cable and, you know, would, you know, would turn on CNN or whatever to, to see what's going on and everything. Honestly that's like early two thousands for me, that's like early two thousands that I remember actually caring, but that was also the time of nine 11. And there was a lot of stuff happening worldwide. And that was the, that I, you know, that was probably the primary way that I stayed up on what was going on was through cable news. But I don't have that need as much anymore. And in fact, I've kind of hit a point in recent years where I realize the more, the more I, I like prioritize, needing to know all the things that are happening in the war or old, because I need to be informed and I don't want to, you know, have my head in the sand, blah, blah, the happier I am.

Jason Howell (42:19):
And so I kind of hit a point where I was like, you know what, like, I, I, I have to take a step back from general news consumption, cuz like you said, most of the time it's not good. Right. And like, it's not that I don't want to know that they're are as bad in the, in the world, but I know that my tendency is to be so consumed by that, that it PO that it pulls me in and it's just unhealthy for me. Yeah. I, I'm not happy. I'm not, my life is not fulfilling at that point and I'm not doing anyone else any good when I do that. Exactly. Neither am I doing myself any good. So like I'm not at all interested in CNN plus membership, you know, subscription. I, I suppose I'm not surprised from that perspective, but also from the perspective of like when I think of round the clock news, you know, cable news round the clock, I feel like so much of it is already finding filler talking heads to, to fill an hour over here and all talking about the same damn thing. Yep. And so then when I think of like CNN plus now we've got original shows with these pundits. I'm like, well, how is that any different? Like, I mean maybe, maybe you like Wallace and maybe that's enough of a draw, but it's not enough of a offer $6 a month to, to like follow one pundit on,

Mikah Sargent (43:38):
Especially when you've got all the other streaming services that you have to subscribe to these days. Yeah. You know what I mean? If you're, well, yeah, there's, there's so many different companies that have pivoted to that model that you can only get so much and you know, ever to launch their plus, but the problem is at some point people are going to reach the, the, you know, amount of saturation. Yeah. The saturation point for the plus that they can do. And I think in that way, you kind of, in some ways already needed to have done it. But you, it it's interesting. So it was fewer than 10,000 using CNN plus according to the CNBC article CNN's cable network itself did face some drop in viewership, but still sees 7,770 3000 viewers a day. So an average of 773,000 viewers a day versus monthly active users, monthly active users being fewer than 10,000 for CNN plus.

Mikah Sargent (44:45):
So this is one of those things where, well, I'm sure that they'll be keeping an eye on it, seeing where it goes, but I also found it fascinating that the company itself is kind of being a little bit being a little bit, not shady, cuz that's not the right word, but sort of not being forthright about things. I'll quote I think one of the people let's say X Warner, media CEO, Jim, a LAR decided to push ahead with CNN Plus's launch two weeks before merging the company with discovery. Klar actually left the company last week. And when he did an interview with CNBC, he said, it's ahead of my expectations in terms of where the subscribers are, the engagement, the receptiveness that we're getting in terms of people's response to the journalists of CNN. Plus I couldn't be more proud of that team. Hmm. And that's an interesting thing to say at less than 10,000 or fewer than 10,000 active day or monthly. Yeah. You so

Jason Howell (45:53):
Take it till you make it.

Mikah Sargent (45:54):
Yeah, I guess that's yeah, I guess that is what you gotta do.

Jason Howell (45:57):
I mean, in his position, you know, with a, with a brand new service launching yeah. Maybe it's just like, you know, put on, put on the smiley face and yeah. See how we get through. And then at a certain point he might have to turn that

Mikah Sargent (46:07):
People signed up today and I'm very

Jason Howell (46:08):
Happy about turn that into a frown. I mean, what also occurs to me as far as CNN is concerned is like, there are some pro there are properties cable, new or cable networks, or you know, TV network properties that I understand the streaming service around CNN seems so very specific to one type of thing. Yes. It makes more sense to me, for CNN plus to be, it's kinda like what Disney did Disney with Disney plus they don't just have Disney. They also have Marvel. They also have, well, they have discovery, right? Yeah. They have a few different is it discovery or is it a no, it's not discovery. It's not discovery it's it's on the tip of my tongue, but like

Mikah Sargent (46:47):
The animal ones, something about yeah, yeah,

Jason Howell (46:49):
Yeah. They've got where they've got a lot of like, you know, kid friendly documentaries and, and everything. Someone in chat's gonna throw it out and we'll be like, yes, exactly. But anyways, Disney did that where, I mean, and Disney what's that? Not geo that's right. National geographic Disney very well could have released a streaming service with nothing but Disney on it. Right. But they broadened out the offering offering you know, a lot more in different, different directions that increases the value of that one service. And that's really great. Like that works really well. CNN is not a Disney, like it's like a single

Mikah Sargent (47:25):
Cable news property's

Jason Howell (47:26):
News property. And 5 99 is a lot to pay for just that.

Mikah Sargent (47:29):
Especially if you were already paying your cable provider for to get CNN in store and

Jason Howell (47:35):
You're not even getting live streaming news. Like I think you're getting like 12 hours. I think someone said a week or something, 12 hours of live. I don't get,

Mikah Sargent (47:42):
I don't

Jason Howell (47:42):
Get it. It doesn't make sense. But I mean, they're owned by Warner brothers. They're owned by discovery, right? Those are all like maybe, maybe Warner brothers has a Warner brothers plus, or I don't know, maybe they already do, but a Warner's brothers plus that has the, the movie stuff that has the TV stuff and also happens to have the news stuff and make, you know, charge a little bit more for that. And maybe the value better that way. Yeah. You know, if it's part of something else which keeps them locked into the key cable news thing or, or the cable subscription thing, which, you know, they're, they're part of a large catalog of other things and can't stand on their own and maybe they don't like that so much, but I'm sorry, that's the reality. That's just the way it is.

Mikah Sargent (48:22):
That's just the way it is.

Jason Howell (48:25):
Some things will never change CNN. That's just the way it is. Okay. Anyways, now I got that rolling in my head

Mikah Sargent (48:33):

Jason Howell (48:35):
All right. We've reached the end of this episode, Tech News Weekly. We recorded this show every Thursday. So go to twit TV slash T N w. And that is our show page on the web where you can subscribe to audio video, jump out to YouTube. It's all there. Twi.Tv/Tnw.

Mikah Sargent (48:52):
And if you'd like to get all of our shows ad free, we've got a way for you to do that. You can check out club TWI at TWI for seven bucks a month. You get access to every single Twitch show with no ads. And unlike CNN, plus you also get access to some extra special cool things like the twit plus feed that has content. You won't find anywhere else, including AMAs with lots of cool people. Paul throt of windows weekly recently as well as the web engineer here at Twitch, Patrick Delehanty and loads of other cool things and access to the members only discord server. That's the place where you can go and chat with your fellow club, TWI members, and hang out with us as well. Host often in the chat and having conversations along with everybody else, TWI for all that good stuff.

Mikah Sargent (49:45):
And we've been talking about some, some new things to bring to that space. So yeah, I not, not say anything yet but it's very exciting what we are continuing to work on. Some new shows, some new ideas. So it's, it's a good time to join the club folks. And we heard that some folks wanted to support their some specific shows directly and not worry about all the rest of the stuff the club has to offer. So there is a way to do that. If you use that apple podcasts, head into apple podcasts, look up Tech News Weekly, find the audio version of the feed, and you'll see a button you can tap to subscribe for 2 99 a month in doing so you will get an ad free version of the audio feed right there in your apple podcasts app. If you would like to follow me online, I'm at Mica Sergeant on many, a social media network, or you can That's C, where I've got links to the places I'm most active online. And of course, check me out on Saturdays with Leo Leor, for the tech guy, a radio show where we answer your questions from the us and around the, the world and on Tuesdays for iOS today with Rosemary orchard, where we talk all things, iOS, tvOS, home pots, it's all the OSS that apple has on offer. Jason Howell. What about

Jason Howell (50:58):
You right on, well, you can find me on Twitter at Jason Howell and do all about Android on every Tuesday evening, twit TV, a a a, and that's really about it. Just keep myself busy producing for Leo as well on some of his shows. So I check those out as well. Big, thanks to our sneezing, John Ashley, over there, big thanks to Burke for helping behind the scenes and thanks to you for watching and listening each and every week. We couldn't do this without you. And we will see you next time on tech news, weekly, everybody.

Rod Pyle (51:31):
Hey, I'm Rod Pyle editor of ad Astra magazine, and each week I'm joined by Tariq Malik, the editor in chief over at in our new this in space podcast. Every Friday, Tariq and I take a deep dive into the stories that define the new space age what's NASA up to when will Americans, once again set foot on the moon. And how about those samples in the perseverance Rover? When are those coming home? What the heck is Elon must done now, in addition to all the latest and greatest and space exploration, we'll take an occasional look at bits of space flight history that you probably never heard of and all with an eye towards having a good time along the way. Check us out in your favorite podcast. Catcher.

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