Particle secures $10.9M in new funding and expands publishing partners for AI news reader

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Traffic is down, newsrooms are undergoing layoffs, and publishers fear that AI technologies will only make matters worse. Entering the fray, news reader startup Particle is teaming up with publishers to seek out a new business model for the AI era, where AI summaries of news don’t have to mean lost revenues. Now, the company is bringing its first publishing partners into the mix to help it guide its next steps. As a start, Particle now subscribes to Reuters newswire to help it deliver information about current events in the news. What Particle isn’t yet ready to reveal is its business model.

a16z-Funded Twitter Rival “Post News” Will Be Ceasing Operations

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Post News, a microblogging site that emerged in the days after Elon Musk’s Twitter acquisition, is shutting down just a year and a half after launching in beta. Founder Noam Bardin, previously CEO of Waze, broke the news in a post on Friday. “At the end of the day, our service is not growing fast enough to become a real business or a significant platform,” Bardin said. Instead of subscribing to various different publications, Post users could purchase individual articles from certain partner outlets. But perhaps it was too soon to try to capture this nascent movement in a social platform.

Enhancing Substack’s Notes Feature with Twitter-like Capabilities

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Substack is adding new capabilities to its Twitter-like Notes feature that bring it more in-line with the social network now known as X. The company announced on Tuesday that users can now post videos directly to Notes in the Substack app and on the web. Notes let users share posts, quotes, comments, images, links and ideas in a Tweet-like format, The short-form content is displayed in a dedicated Twitter-like feed. Starting today, users can post videos directly to Notes by recording a video or selecting one from their phone’s camera roll or their desktop. In its blog post, Substack explains that Notes is especially valuable for users who don’t have large pre-existing audiences.

“Unleashing Lyrak: The Ultimate Fusion of Twitter and the Fediverse”

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Lyrak to take on X by combining the best of Twitter with fediverse integrationThreads. Once live, Lyrak users will be able to see posts from Mastodon users and vice versa. Founded by London-based web designer and marketer Rishi Siva, Lyrak is named form a lead character in the TV show “His Dark Materials,” Lyra. Lyrak says it will focus initially on getting journalists to join the network, to help it with becoming a real-time social app. “The advantage of being a startup building a social app is that we have a fresh perspective on things.

” Threads fails to create seismic buzz until late afternoon

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Despite its similarities, Instagram Threads is no X. The traffic surge drove #earthquake to the top of X’s Trends section, followed by other areas of impact, like “East Coast,” “Long Island,” “Philly,” “Manhattan” and “Brooklyn.” Meanwhile, earthquake-related terms didn’t register on Threads’ trends section until closer to 2 p.m. That’s not to say people weren’t discussing the earthquake on Threads — many were. Around 1 p.m. on Friday, TechCrunch reached out to Instagram to ask why the earthquake didn’t make it into Threads’ top trends. The phone kept buzzing, and there was, ‘earthquake, earthquake, earthquake.

Was that tremor only felt by me, or was it truly an earthquake?

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Is it just me, or was that an earthquake? “DID WE JUST HAVE AN EARTHQUAKE IN NEW YORK”“was that an earthquake????? People on microblogging sites (it wasn’t just X — I see you, Bluesky) had already determined the scope of the earthquake, confirmed it was, in fact, an earthquake, and began posting jokes about the situation before the less chronically online people even realized what happened. Dom says she used to live in LA, and this was definitely an earthquake. On Facebook, I am delighted to learn there is a new grocery store coming to my neighborhood, but no one is talking about the earthquake.

X Bestows Blue Checkmarks upon Influential Users (as Intended)

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X is giving blue checks to influential users (which is what blue checks were supposed to be all along)X is giving free blue checks to users who have more than 2500 “verified” followers (or, people that subscribe to X Premium). So, basically this means that if you are a popular poster, you will get a blue check. This also means that these lucky people are frantically posting to make it clear that they didn’t buy a blue check — the blue check was foisted upon them. Back in days of yore, Twitter’s blue check indicated that a user was influential in some way. Back then, blue checks actually helped us determine if public figures are who they say they are.

Screenshots reveal X’s exploration of NSFW adult communities

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The platform, formerly Twitter, is working on an addition to its Communities feature that would let X users create groups for X-rated material, according to app researchers. — Nima Owji (@nima_owji) February 28, 2024Twitter introduced its Communities feature in 2021. So, the platform’s more-lenient policy on adult content is critical for online sex workers to grow their businesses. Adult creators are allowed to post explicit content on X, though they can’t monetize it on the platform. Even though X seems to be working on this NSFW Communities feature, that doesn’t mean it’ll come to fruition.

Fine-tuning the User Demographic of LinkedIn: Strategizing for Those Straddling Between TikTok and the Older Twitter

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Two weeks ago, TechCrunch broke the news that LinkedIn was getting into games, helping users “deepen relationships” through puzzle-based interactions. And on Wednesday, TechCrunch reported that the Microsoft-owned social network was experimenting with short-form videos. It’s as if LinkedIn is targeting a whole new “type” of user — one caught in limbo somewhere between two other well-known social networks. And LinkedIn shouldn’t try to be Twitter or TikTok — it’s aimed at an entirely different audience. And now with games and short-form videos in the mix, LinkedIn wants even more of the action.

“Artifact by Instagram’s Co-Founders: The AI-Powered News App That Won’t Die”

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Artifact, the well-received AI-powered news app from Instagram’s co-founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, may not be shutting down as planned. “It takes a lot less to run it than we had imagined,” Systrom confirmed to TechCrunch, adding that it’s just himself and Krieger running Artifact right now. Artifact made a splash at launch, not only because it was the first major effort at a new social app from Instagram’s co-founders, but also because of its clever use of AI. — (@samhenrigold) March 16, 2024Following Artifact’s announcement of its impending closure, interest in using AI to summarize the news has heated up. Browser startup Arc implemented an AI-powered “pinch to summarize” feature ahead of its $50 million fundraise.