Is It Possible to Fix Social Media? One Platform Is Trying.

It is Friday evening! I am writing to you from New York, I am Jordan Parker Erb.

Social media networks have no shortage of pitfalls. They are known to be “toxic” to mental health, especially for teenagers. They can become echo chambers for disinformation. And the screen time we can accumulate isn’t great either.

However, some platforms are trying to detox social media. Today we looked at Mastodon, a platform trying to do things differently.

That and more below.

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The Twitter bird logo is attacked and overpowered by mastodon logos.

Twitter; Mastodon; Vicky Leta/Insider

1. A pioneering platform is working to detox social media. Once championed as harbingers of a more connected world, social media has instead contributed to loneliness, low self-esteem and the spread of harmful disinformation, writes Evan Malmgren. A platform could change that.

  • Mastodon aims to create a “decentralized” platform – a social media ecosystem where control of content and features is distributed among users, rather than being concentrated in the hands of the main provider.
  • With 4.4 million users, Mastodon looks like Twitter, but it’s not a single website, it’s an open-source software platform that allows users to run self-hosted “connected” social networks.
  • “I wrote a post and immediately it got thoughtful engagement from random people I’d never spoken to,” said one Mastodon user. “It felt like the internet should be.”

A look at a less toxic online experience.

In other news:

Andy Jassi

Mike Blake/Reuters

2. Leaked Amazon slides instruct employees to “double the frugality.” In an all-hands meeting, Amazon leaders encouraged workers to “do more with less.” In another sign that the notoriously frugal company is about to tighten its belt, Amazon is also closing its ORCA robotics team and Explore’s virtual travel division.

3. Intel plans mass layoffs. The layoffs, which are likely to affect thousands of employees, are expected to take place later this month, according to Bloomberg. Everything we know about Intel’s downsizing.

4. Is it time Mark Zuckerberg resigned? Bill Gates left Microsoft. Larry Page and Sergey Brin let someone else run Google. It’s time Zuckerberg followed her example, writes senior correspondent Linette Lopez. She explains why resigning would save Zuck’s empire.

5. Twitter is reviewing its permanent ban rules. As Elon Musk’s takeover attempt progresses, the company is reviewing its policy on permanently banning users – but even if the rules change, former President Donald Trump is unlikely to get his account back. Get the full overview here.

6. Internal critics say Uber’s chief product officer has made the company too short-sighted. According to some former executives, Sundeep Jain lacks the innovative drive Uber needs to thrive, and his no-nonsense style has made him one of the more divisive figures at the company. Meet Jain, Uber’s chief incrementalist.

7. One of the investors who agreed to back Elon Musk’s Twitter bid wants out of the deal. Manhattan Venture Partners pledged to invest in the deal earlier this year, but the company is trying to back out of its commitment because Twitter’s value has fallen. Read our full report here.

8. Quiet quitters could be prime targets for layoffs. As the labor market slowly shifts back in favor of employers, workers may not get away with the bare essentials or “quiet giving up” – and those who are idle could be the first to walk out the door.

Bits and pieces:

A composite image of a bottle "burnt hair" and Elon Musk.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue; The boring company

9. Elon Musk sells a perfume called “Burnt Hair” for $100 a bottle. It’s not clear what scents are actually in the fragrance, as it’s simply described online as smelling “like you’re bending over a candle at the dinner table.” Now you too can radiate “the essence of repulsive desire.”

10. Tom Cruise could be spacewalking outside of the International Space Station. As part of one of his upcoming adventure films, Cruise could be the first civilian to spacewalk outside of the space station. What we know so far.

What we see today:

  • Delta, Walgreens and others report profits. Stay up to date with earnings here.
  • SpaceX’s Crew 4 mission is set to return to Earth.
  • Google’s new Pixel 7 smartphones are available now.

Stay up to date with the latest tech news throughout the day by watching The Refresh from Insider, a dynamic audio brief from the Insider newsroom. Listen.

Curated by Jordan Parker Erb in New York. (Feedback or tips? Email [email protected] or tweet @jordanparkererb.) Edited by Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) in London.

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