It’s midterm Election Day in the US. With key races unfolding across the country, we’ve got a continuously updated live blog you can follow for the latest news.
As with everything in 2022, there’s an Elon Musk angle: Yesterday, he encouraged his followers to elect a Republican Congress, despite previously saying that Twitter should be “politically neutral.”
I’m your host, Jordan Parker Erb. We’ve got more Musk news — and other tech stories, believe it or not — so let’s get into it.
1. Twitter downloads and usage have surged. Elon Musk’s leadership of Twitter so far has proved chaotic and unnerving for workers and advertisers, but users appear unfazed: Both the app’s average daily downloads and daily average usage have increased considerably.
- According to data from Apptopia, daily downloads for November are already up 28% compared to October. And compared to September, downloads are up 46%.
- As for daily active users, Nov. 6 also turned out to be an all-time high for Twitter, with 245.4 million people using the app that day.
- The last spike in Twitter usage like this was in late April, around the time that Musk and Twitter revealed their $44 billion merger agreement, according to the data.
- Apptopia’s director of content surmised the new growth stems from people curious to see what’s going on with the platform under Musk: “It’s like a car accident on the highway. People like to stop and watch.”
In other news:
2. An AI version of Elon Musk talked with us about Twitter, Trump, and Tesla. We wanted to talk with the real Musk, but he seemed kinda busy, so we decided to go with the next best thing: a chatbot version of him. Read everything the Musk chatbot said.
3. Following layoffs, Shopify outsourced many customer-support roles to the Philippines. The ramp-up in outsourcing comes after the company laid off about 1,000 employees — many of whom worked in support — in July. Now, some staffers say they’re worried for their job safety. Here’s what they told us.
4. Mark Zuckerberg can’t be fired as CEO of Meta. We explain why. Zuckerberg structured Meta so that he has total control of any decisions that affect the company, meaning that even with growing pushback against Facebook’s pivot to the metaverse, he cannot be fired. A look at what that means.
5. Love is Blind star Sikiru “SK” Alagbada shared the startups he invests in. We spoke with the reality TV star who said he prioritizes founder-market fit, Africa-based startups, and diversity when choosing where to invest. Here’s what SK looks for in a startup.
6. It seems like all the tech layoffs are happening at once. That’s the result of multiple factors, including economic conditions and budget-planning for next year. Here’s why experts say the next few weeks could be the worst of them.
7. Fintech darling Brex wants potential hires to be located outside of New York and California. Job posts show that Brex is looking for engineers based in areas outside the traditional tech hubs, including Idaho, Alaska, and other states. Here’s why the startup calls that its “competitive advantage.”
8. A former SpaceX employee says Twitter execs must be ready to work with “good Elon and bad Elon.” In an essay, the employee said working with Musk was like working with two different people: one who was charming and funny, and another who yelled and called employees to work at 3 a.m. Read the full essay here.
Odds and ends:
9. The electric Hummer will soon have a $4,000 e-bike counterpart. Starting in December, you can buy the GMC Hummer EV All-Wheel-Drive Ebike to match your Hummer EV pickup truck. Get a look at the electric bike.
10. We rounded up the best early Black Friday deals of the year. Major retailers like Amazon and Best Buy are already offering sales on everything from 4K TVs to Apple gadgets. Everything you need to know to maximize savings.
What we’re watching today:
- The Walt Disney Company, Nintendo, and others are reporting earnings. Keep up with earnings here.
- Twitter shares will be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange today.
- ZoomTopia, a Zoom user conference, is happening in a hybrid format today and tomorrow.