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Donald Trump’s Social Media Firm Said to Receive Subpoenas From SEC, Federal Jury

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Donald Trump’s social media company and some of its employees received subpoenas from both a federal grand jury and securities regulators, according to a public disclosure Friday, possibly delaying or even killing a deal promising a cash infusion needed to take on Twitter.

Trump Media & Technology Group received subpoenas from a grand jury in New York and the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to a securities document filed by Digital World Acquisition on Friday. Digital World has plans to buy Trump Media, releasing $1.3 billion (roughly Rs. 10,263 crore) for its fledging business, but the deal is unlikely to be done during two legal probes.

Trump, who is Trump Media’s chairman, was not among the employees who received subpoenas, according to a Trump Media statement.

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On Monday, Digital World announced it had received subpoenas from the same grand jury convened by the Manhattan US Attorney’s Office. Digital World has been under investigation by the SEC for possible violations for months, a development that has weighed on the stock.

Digital World stock closed Friday at $5.78 (roughly Rs. 450), down 25 percent in a week. It had been at over $100 (roughly Rs. 7,800) last year after the company announced it had a deal to buy the former president’s social media firm.

The SEC has been looking into whether Digital World broke rules by having substantial talks about buying Trump’s company starting early last year before Digital World sold stock to the public for the first time in September. Just weeks later it announced it would be buying Trump’s company.

Digital World is one of a once-popular group of “blank-check” companies that go public as empty corporate entities with no operations, only offering investors the promise they will buy a business in the future. As such, they are allowed to sell stock to the public quickly without the usual regulatory disclosures and delays, but only if they haven’t already lined up possible acquisition targets.

Trump’s social media offering, called Truth Social, launched in February. It said it is fighting Big Tech limits on speech. Trump was banned from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube last year after the January 6 Capitol riot.

Trump Media last year lined up dozens of investors to pump $1 billion (roughly Rs. 7,895 crore) into the company, but can’t get the cash until the Digital World acquisition is completed. An additional $300 million (roughly Rs. 2,368 crore) would come from Digital World itself.


How is Alexa faring in India? We discuss this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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Meta Begins Testing Super Live Streaming Platform With Creators: Report

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Meta, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram, has been secretly testing Super, a live-streaming platform modelled after Twitch, according to a Business Insider report. According to a report, Meta had reached out to influencers to test the platform, along with a complete deck of slides used to pitch the service to creators. Super has only been used by a hundred creators so far, allows users to sign in with their Google account, and currently supports streaming to viral video platform TikTok Live.

A Meta representative said in a statement given to Business Insider that Super is a totally distinct product and not a part of its other platforms, like Facebook or Instagram.

Super’s website is currently accessible to all users, and the website’s footer states that the service is provided by “NPE Team from Meta.” The developer team at Meta known as NPE works on the release of new applications. There don’t seem to be any additional references to Meta on Super’s website.

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Super has been discussed in news reports before. The product appears to be different, in comparison to the one described in a Bloomberg report in 2020. Super was promoted at the time as a “Cameo-inspired tool” that would enable Facetime-style calling between famous people and their fans.

Some features, like the ability to take selfies with creators, do appear to have been carried over. The platform appears to have changed course to become more of a Twitch rival for live streaming, though.

According to the pitch deck, Super will give creators a similar opportunity to monetize their streams as Twitch does. Viewers can donate to their favourite creator and purchase additional content through tiered subscriptions.

For the time being, creators will keep all of their earnings. The pitch deck also features a sponsorship programme where companies can pay to have their marketing materials heavily integrated into a creator’s Super stream.

Creators wouldn’t need a lot of technical or graphic design expertise to set up a well-designed livestream because Super appears to have integrated specific video layouts directly into its product. Additionally, there are pre-built features like trivia and giveaway modules that enable creators to quickly incorporate those activities into a stream.

Some influencers have received payments of up to $3,000 (roughly Rs. 2,40,000) to test out Super for 30 minutes, according to the report. According to another source who spoke with the outlet, there were also “paid incentives based on the performance of the live stream.”

It’s interesting to note that Super and Meta’s other products, like Instagram and Facebook, don’t appear to be integrated. On Super’s website, users only have the choice to sign in with Google after clicking Login. At the moment, TikTok is the only other platform mentioned in the website’s FAQ. In the section where Super explains how to simulcast your stream to TikTok Live, the viral video platform is mentioned, according to the website’s FAQ.

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Super is currently in early testing, according to Meta, and it is currently unknown when it will be made available to the general public is unknown. Currently, creators can register with an email address and request early access to the platform.


What should you make of Realme’s three new offerings? We discuss them on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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Elon Musk Challenges Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to Public Debate Over Bot Users, Says Deal Cold Move Ahead

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Elon Musk said Saturday that his planned $44 billion (roughly Rs. 3.5 lakh crore) takeover of Twitter should move forward if the company can confirm some details about how it measures whether user accounts are ‘spam bots’ or real people.

The billionaire and Tesla CEO has been trying to back out of his April agreement to buy the social media company, leading Twitter to sue him last month to complete the acquisition. Musk countersued, accusing Twitter of misleading his team about the true size of its user base and other problems he said amounted to fraud and breach of contract.

Both sides are headed toward an October trial in a Delaware court.

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“If Twitter simply provides their method of sampling 100 accounts and how they’re confirmed to be real, the deal should proceed on original terms,” Musk tweeted early Saturday. “However, if it turns out that their SEC filings are materially false, then it should not.”

Musk, who has more than 100 million Twitter followers, went on to challenge Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to a “public debate about the Twitter bot percentage.”

The company has repeatedly disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission an estimate that fewer than 5 percent of user accounts are fake or spam, with a disclaimer that it could be higher. Musk waived his right to further due diligence when he signed the April merger agreement.

Twitter has argued in court that Musk is deliberately trying to tank the deal and using the bot question as an excuse because market conditions have deteriorated and the acquisition no longer serves his interests. In a court filing Thursday, it describes his counterclaims as an imagined story “contradicted by the evidence and common sense.”

“Musk invents representations Twitter never made and then tries to wield, selectively, the extensive confidential data Twitter provided him to conjure a breach of those purported representations,” company attorneys wrote.

While Musk has tried to keep the focus on bot disclosures, Twitter’s legal team has been digging for information about a host of tech investors and entrepreneurs connected to Musk in a wide-ranging subpoena that could net some of their private communications with the Tesla CEO.


What should you make of Realme’s three new offerings? We discuss them on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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Instagram Will Soon Test Tall Photos for Compatibility With Fullscreen Reels

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Photo and video sharing platform Instagram might have halted its controversial redesign, but that doesn’t mean the company plans to stop focusing on full-screen content. During the weekly Ask Me Anything, CEO Adam Mosseri confirmed that Instagram will begin testing ultra-tall 9:16 photos “in a week or two.” “You can have tall videos, but you cannot have tall photos on Instagram. So, we thought maybe we should make sure that we treat both equally,” Mosseri said.

Currently, Instagram tops out around 4:5 when displaying vertical images that have been cropped accordingly. But introducing support for slimmer, taller 9:16 photos will help them fill the entire screen as you scroll through the app’s feed. CEO Adam Mosseri confirmed that Instagram will be testing this feature during the weekly Ask Me Anything.

Recently, Instagram pulled its TikTok-like redesign. Several photographers criticised Instagram’s TikTok-like redesign for the way it forces all photos to awkwardly display in a 9:16 frame. The new feed also added overlay gradients to the bottom of posts so that text would be easier to read. But that clashed with the original appearance of photographers’ work.

During the course of Instagram’s shaky redesign test with users, Mosseri admitted more than once that the full-screen experience was less than ideal for photos. Now Instagram very much still intends to showcase that ultra-tall photo experience, but without mandating it across the board.


What should you make of Realme’s three new offerings? We discuss them on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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