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Twitter vows to take ‘less severe actions’ against rule-breaking accounts

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Twitter is promising that it’ll take “less severe actions” when disciplining accounts that break its rules; it’ll only suspend Twitter accounts that engage in “severe or ongoing, repeat violations” of its rules. The company also says it’ll be letting anyone appeal suspensions starting February 1st, and that those doing so will be judged using updated standards.

What will Twitter do instead of suspending your account? The “less severe actions” are things that Twitter has been doing for years, such as limiting visibility of a tweet, or telling a user to remove a tweet before they can get back onto the site. Today’s change is that Twitter is promising to reach for those tools more often, instead of going straight for the ban button.

The company also says it’s planning to be more transparent with its enforcement actions, and will be rolling out some unspecified new features to help with that next month. One possible example: CEO Elon Musk promised last year that Twitter would let you know when you’ve been “shadowbanned,” and why.

Today, Twitter also seems to be justifying its decisions to bring those people back to Twitter, saying it “did not reinstate accounts that engaged in illegal activity, threats of harm or violence, large-scale spam and platform manipulation, or when there was no recent appeal to have the account reinstated.” That does make it rather odd that Trump’s been let back on, given that Twitter said in 2021 that it permanently suspended the former president “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” However, it’s possible that’s because — like the genesis of the amnesty policy itself — Trump was let back on because Elon wanted him back and decided to poll his own audience.

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Activist investor Elliott ditches director nomination plans for Salesforce

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Activist investor Elliott Investment Management won’t be proceeding with plans to nominate its own directors to Salesforce’s board, citing improved performance and a clearer “focus on value creation” from the enterprise software company.

Elliott — one of five activist investors within Salesforce’s ranks — announced ahead of Salesforce’s recent Q4 earnings that it was pushing several of its own candidates toward the Salesforce board after a turbulent 2022 for the company. However, after a return to financial form for Salesforce, beating growth forecasts and announcing more shareholder returns, it seems this has been enough to convince Elliott that Salesforce has corrected course.

In a joint statement today, the companies said that in light of Salesforce’s recently announced “profitable growth framework” dubbed “New Day,” alongside its strong fiscal year 2023 and a slew of additional “transformation initiatives,” Elliott won’t pursue its director nominations.

“I have great respect for Marc [Salesforce co-founder and CEO Marc Benioff] and his team, and I have become deeply impressed by their strong ongoing commitment to profitable growth, responsible capital return and an ambitious shareholder value creation plan,” Elliott managing partner Jesse Cohn noted in a press release.

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First Citizens to acquire Silicon Valley Bank

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First Citizens BankShares has agreed to buy Silicon Valley Bank, the California lender that served as lifeblood of thousands of startups and whose collapse sent shockwaves through the financial sector, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said on Monday.

The deal includes the purchase of about $72 billion assets of Silicon Valley Bank at a discount of $16.5 billion. About $90 billion in securities and other assets of the California-based lenders will remain “in receivership of disposition” by the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

The announcement comes weeks after the FDIC seized control of Silicon Valley Bank on March 10 after a run on deposits made the lender insolvent. The 17 former branches of Silicon Valley Bank will open as First Citizens Bank on Monday, the FDIC said.

“In addition, the FDIC received equity appreciation rights in First Citizens BancShares, Inc., Raleigh, North Carolina, common stock with a potential value of up to $500 million,” the FDIC said in a statement.

Before the collapse, the Silicon Valley Bank was the 16th largest bank in the U.S. Its meltdown was the largest bank failure in the U.S. since the 2008 financial crisis.

More to follow.

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Microsoft says it has stopped its Xbox Game Pass $1 trial offer

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Microsoft has stopped its $1 trial offer for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and PC Game Pass. The trial has been available for years, with brief periods where it wasn’t always available in certain markets, and it now looks like Microsoft is considering new promotions instead.

“We have stopped our previous introductory offer for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and PC Game Pass and are evaluating different marketing promotions for new members in the future,” says Kari Perez, head of global communications at Xbox, in a statement to The Verge.

The $1 trial has allowed people to sign up to Xbox Game Pass for a month, before the full Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription kicks in at $14.99 per month or $9.99 a month for the PC- or console-only subscriptions. It’s been a great way to recommend the service to a friend or family member, but we’ll now have to wait to see what these “different marketing promotions” are for new members.

Microsoft has also been working on its Friends & Family plan for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. The plan lets you share Xbox Game Pass Ultimate benefits with up to four other friends or family members. Pricing in Ireland is set at €21.99 per month (nearly $24), working out to less than $5 per person.

Microsoft expanded this Friends & Family plan to New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, Hungary, Israel, and Sweden recently, but it’s still not available in many European markets or the UK and US. This $1 trial removal could be a sign that Microsoft is getting ready to expand Friends & Family even further, after trialing this new subscription for less than a year.

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