Musk logs on to Twitter
Also in today’s edition: A new language is here, Government will protect your data, Pakistan hits reset (again) and Sunak scrutiny continues
Good morning! One of the greatest golfers may not be at the top of his game, but he remains unchallenged in the TRP race. Tiger Wood, 46, is back at golf’s most prestigious tournament just a year after a near-fatal car accident. Never mind that he’s currently placed fifth at the 2022 Masters; Bloomberg reports that his return gave ESPN its largest audience for the tournament since 2018. Not for nothing is 2022 the Year of the Tiger.
The Market Signal*
Stocks: Benchmark indices cheered after the RBI kept the repo rate unchanged at 4% to curb inflation. This is a contrast as central banks globally raised the rates, including the US Federal Reserve, which raised its interest rates for the first time since 2018. Price rise in petrol and diesel dented investor sentiment.
Algospeak Is The New 1337
Leetspeak—also known as ‘1337’, ‘l33t’, and ‘L33t5p34k’, and itself derived from the world ‘elite’—is nearly as old as the internet itself. Back then, hackers and gamers replaced letters with digits and ASCII to circumvent IRC operators and signal to each other.
Fast forward to today, it’s found its newest iteration in algospeak.
Explain: People on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, etc. use emoji, code, and new terms to bypass algorithmic content filters and censorship. The result is internet-native lexicon, not unlike ‘pwn’ and other predecessors that made their way into daily communication.
Examples: ‘Nip nops’ instead of ‘nipples’. Sunflower emoji for ‘Ukraine’. ‘Unalive’ instead of ‘dead’. The corn emoji for ‘porn’. Anti-vaxxers calling the vaccinated ‘swimmers’. ‘Le dollar bean’ for ‘lesbian’.
Takeaway: Algorithms are already flagging some replacement words; but they can’t catch up with ever-evolving human speech. One wonders if internet users in China have developed their own sub-language/s.
🎧Want to know more about algospeak? Hop over to today’s episode of The Signal Daily.
Government Takes A Step to Safeguard Your Data
The Indian government intends to introduce the ‘Digital India Act’ to determine the governance of citizen data. This comes at a time of growing concerns around the government’s collection, use, sharing, and monetisation of data.
What is it? The framework comes two months after the government introduced the ‘India Data Accessibility and Use Policy’, which wasn’t exactly seen in a good light, particularly the idea to monetise non-personal data. That has now been revised and includes personal datasets such as Aadhar, the Economic Times reported.
Multi-pronged: The government intends to overhaul India’s digital cyberspace, currently governed by the IT Act, 2000, an over two-decade-old legislation. To this effect, it wants to introduce several frameworks and legislation, including a new Digital Law, a cybersecurity policy, and a fresh version of the Personal Data Protection Bill.
Midnight Drama Ends In Change Of Guard
A day that began with defiance ended in a defeat. The now-former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan created history on the country’s Constitution Day, but not in the way he’d have liked. A post-midnight no confidence vote resulted in his ouster after 3.5 years at the helm. Come Monday, leader of the opposition Shahbaz Sharif will likely succeed Khan as PM.
Desperate: Khan’s last-ditch bid to stay in power saw him resort to a reported showdown with the country’s powerful military establishment, and using the power of the speaker’s office to delay proceedings, ahead of the Supreme Court deadline to hold the vote.
No show: While Khan’s rise to power was about his off-field charisma, Saturday’s events highlighted a graceless exit: a refusal to resign, a no-show in parliament, and a middle of the night one-way helicopter ride from the prime minister's house to his Bani Gala residence in Islamabad.
Khan and his Tehreek-e-Insaaf party will now briefly return to familiar surroundings: the opposition, while leaving Shahbaz Sharif with a grand mess to clean up — particularly on the economic front. However, it is Pakistan’s foreign policy that might need major fixing, with Khan politicising it ahead of the no-confidence vote. Khan’s reign pushed Pakistan closer to China and Russia and away from the West. And then there’s the Taliban regime at its gate. It could now veer towards a more balanced approach.
For India, the Sharifs present a “known devil” challenge, but Shahbaz isn't exactly a fan of the Modi government. A thorny ride awaits the new government, in a moment that is a throwback to the SEATO days.
Murty To Pay Her Dues To The Crown
Akshata Murty, the 0.93% owner of Indian software services giant Infosys—founded by her father Narayana Murty—described as richer than the queen, has said she would pay all taxes in Britain.
Colonial loophole: Murty’s income from Infosys has politically singed her husband and finance minister Rishi Sunak, often seen as destined for 10 Downing Street. An Indian citizen, Murty did not pay tax in the UK on her non-UK income under an 18th century provision designed for British colonialists. Sunak has now ordered a probe into how his wife’s non-domicile status was leaked to the press. The family is also moving out of Downing Street.
Sunak came under fire in a sort of Tebbit Test over his wife’s citizenship and her not paying taxes after he steeply raised them for Britons as the economy transits a difficult period.
Musk Gets Started At Twitter
Part-time Tesla CEO and full-time Twitter board member Elon Musk wants to ring in the changes. And fast. He broadcasted it on Twitter with a town hall-style meeting.
Game plan: Musk is pushing to introduce tweaks in the Twitter Blue premium subscription service. These include price cuts, authentication checkmarks, and payments in (no surprises here) dogecoin. He also floated the idea of no ads for Twitter Blue users.
Musk's online shenanigans haven’t gone down well with Twitter employees, who've questioned Musk's induction to the company. Musk will now host an "AMA" to alleviate fears.
In other news: Musk and his good friend Jack Dorsey will work together. Block and related crypto Blockstream Corp will mine bitcoin using Tesla’s solar power infrastructure in Texas.
🎧We take a closer look at Musk’s virtual takeover of Twitter in today’s The Signal Daily. It’s something you don’t want to miss. Tune in!
Start-stop: Coinbase has disabled the option to buy crypto using UPI just days after announcing that Indians would be able to do so.
🚀 🚀 🚀: India’s startup ecosystem created 14 unicorns in Q1 2022. This is the third consecutive quarter in which total funding has crossed $10 billion.
BRICS in the wall: Sanctioned Russia is calling on fellow BRICS members to integrate payment systems and develop an independent financial messaging system and rating agency.
Ad subtract: Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg is reportedly worried about TikTok being on track to overtake the combined ad revenue of Snapchat and Twitter.
Paris glances right: French far-right candidate Marine Le Pen is snapping on the heels of incumbent Emmanuel Macron as presidential elections kick off in France.
Slow recovery: It could take up to two years for blockchain play-to-earn game Axie Infinity to recover the $600 million that was hacked from its network.
Xxxtra charge: Electric car owners in the Isle of Wight, UK, were in for a shock when they plugged their vehicles into charge points. EV signages in three locations were hacked to display a porn site. The unamused local council has now covered all signages.
8-bit fizz: Coca-Cola is stuntin’ just two months after its Starlight limited edition. It’s launching Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Byte, a ‘gamified’, ‘metaverse’ edition that comes with a side of Byte–a lost pixel that you have to reunite with the brand logo in an AR journey.
Eight times the charm: Australia’s version of Urban Company is witnessing a demand for a new kind of skill: spider catching. But that’s not the only niche task on Airtasker. The marketplace also has tasks listed for trampoline assembly and ‘Lego tuition’.
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