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An AI's work never stops💪[HTC #58]
...even over spring break
Hello World! Welcome to the 58th edition of Hold the Code! This will be our last release of the month but we will return shortly! In this week’s edition, we explore social media’s future and leave you with a few AI news updates to follow over the break. As as always, happy reading!
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What’s Next for Social Media?
Image Source: OrangeCrush
In the past few weeks, two key news stories are raising questions about the future of social media. The first is about the Supreme Court cases on Section 230, a controversial law that protects internet companies from being held liable for the content users post on their platforms. The second news story is the introduction of a subscription service for Facebook and Instagram.
Supreme Court hears arguments about Section 230
In the last week of February, the US Supreme Court heard arguments about Section 230 in two cases, Gonzalez v. Google LLC and Twitter, Inc. v. Taamneh. As we previously reported in October last year, these cases center around whether Section 230 protects technology companies even when their algorithms recommend content that could radicalize viewers.
Lawyer Eric Schnapper, who represented the victims in both cases, argued that algorithms used by companies are encouraging illegal conduct under the Federal Anti-Terrorism Act. However, not everyone agreed.
Throughout the arguments, the Supreme Court justices tried to find a line between an algorithm and an act of collusion in promoting terrorism.
Justice Clarence Thomas, who historically has been a critic of the protections technology companies receive, said that he was unsure how YouTube could be aiding and abetting terrorism when its “neutral” algorithms worked the same way regardless of whether a viewer was searching for content on ISIS or making rice pilaf.
Washington lawyer Lisa S. Blatt, who represented Google, reinforced that their algorithms were a necessity as a search function:
“Helping users find the proverbial needle in the haystack is an existential necessity on the internet. Search engines thus tailor what users see based on what’s known about users.”
But as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wondered, is recommending a video to someone equivalent to a bookseller directing a customer asking about a sports book to the section of the store where sports books are kept?
Section 230 protects everything
Blatt continuously maintained that Section 230 means that companies are not liable when dealing with the content users publish on their platform, regardless of how they promote or don’t promote the content to users.
In a hypothetical question, Justice Amy Coney Barrett asked if companies would still be protected if their algorithms were not neutral but instead purposely promoted “defamatory or pro-ISIS [content]”, to which Blatt replied saying that Section 230 would still protect it.
The decision by the courts regarding these cases is expected in the coming months [cq].
Meta recently announced a new paid verification subscription service called Meta Verified for Facebook and Instagram, which would allow users to submit their government ID to obtain a blue verification badge. This feature, strikingly similar to Twitter Blue, is going to cost $11.99 a month on the web and $14.99 a month on iOS.
On Instagram and Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted: “This new feature is about increasing authenticity and security across our services.”
Though it seems that Zuckerberg is taking a page from Elon Musk’s decision to launch a similar subscription service for Twitter, it could indicate a long term change in how social media companies make money.
The vulnerability of ad revenue
All mainstream social media companies make the majority of their revenue through advertising. This tactic, historically very successful, isa combination of personalized ads and algorithms that optimize for engagement so that users consume more ads. In 2022, Meta reported a revenue of $116.6 billion, of which 97.5% came from advertising.
However, the advertising business model is facing increasingly more scrutiny from regulators who are worried about technology companies’ failures to protect user data. In an EU ruling in January, Meta’s personalized ads were found to violate EU data laws. Though the fine of $413 million is insignificant for Meta, they now have to introduce an ‘opt-in for ads targeting’ option for EU users which would be a huge blow to their EU profits.
Furthermore, in 2021, Apple proved that Meta and other social media platforms are at their mercy by introducing a feature where apps had to obtain users permission before tracking their activity. This wiped over $200 billion from the value of Meta on the stock market.
With all these changes, social media companies are unsurprisingly seeking new ways to make money.
Late last year, Snapchat introduced Snapchat Plus costing $3.99 per month and recently added a new incentive for users to become a subscriber: A ‘My AI’ bot powered by ChatGPT.
After Zuckerberg’s announcement, Musk replied to a tweet about the news on Twitter in a single word:
What to follow over the break…
Image Source: The Newyorker
ChatGPT API for purchase
OpenAI has released its API for ChatGPT for sale and this is sure to have a surge of large companies revamping their virtual language services.
With this new release, we could see more companies like QuickVid AI, a software that automates generating ideas for YouTube videos. Youtube Creators can input details about the topic of their video and what kind of category, allowing QuickVid to implement ChatGPT for a script
Elon Musk’s own AI
Musk has also announced that he intends to bring together a team that will create an alternative to ChatGPT. In reference to OpenAI’s regulations to prevent ChatGPT from producing offensive text, Musk claims to fight’ that is trained to be “woke”.
Based on his comments, we can assume that the regulations, or lack thereof, placed on Elon’s AI will likely be as “neutral” as possible. Considering that role play has been the key to “jailbreaking” language generation models, Musk’s AI could essentially be ChatGPT’s alter ego.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced that the company is in the midst of creating “AI personas'' in order to help people, more specifically with text within apps like Messenger and WhatsApp. While not the most concise statement, this could likely involve some application of generative AI in order to make these apps more interactive.
Be sure to read the original article to stay updated over the break!
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