YouTube says it’s fixing the bug that let someone fake a new oldest video
YouTube is setting the record straight: “Me at the zoo” is still the oldest YouTube video.
“Me at the zoo,” uploaded on April 23rd, 2005 and featuring YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim standing in front of elephants at the San Diego Zoo, is an important piece of internet history, as it marks the oldest video on one of the most influential video services on the planet. But earlier on Thursday, a video started circulating that, somehow, had an even earlier upload date: April 5th, 2005.
Titled “Welcome to YouTube!!!”, the 48-second video definitely looks like something that could have been used to test out a mid-aughts video website. The video has just one image: a low-res graphic with a YouTube logo with the text “Welcome to YouTube!!!!” that’s attributed to Chad, Steve, and Jawed, a likely reference to co-founders Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim. The video is backed by Van Halen’s iconic song “Jump.”
But if you watch the (now unlisted) video on YouTube’s website, you’ll probably spot some suspicious red flags. You might notice, for example, the “Live chat is disabled for this Premiere” notice under the video. Premieres let people pre-schedule videos to play at a certain time with features like live chat, and they definitely were not a thing on 2005 YouTube. You might also spot that the video was uploaded by a mysterious account named enn who joined YouTube in September 2005, which is months after this supposed earliest video was posted to the site. The account claims that the join date was “reset during a database update.”
While I was writing this article, the description said that the video “premiered” on April 5th; for a video this old, there typically wouldn’t be a “premiered” descriptor ahead of the date. (The description also points to a Discord server that’s filled with sketchy-seeming links and posts with derogatory slurs, and I strongly recommend against visiting it.) But shortly before publishing, the video reverted to premiering 23 hours ago.
In a statement to The Verge, YouTube spokesperson Kimberly Taylor said that “we’re aware of an issue that allowed the upload date of this video to be changed, and are working on a fix. Rest assured, the oldest video on YouTube will always be ‘Me at the zoo’ which was uploaded on April 23, 2005 by one of our co-founders and helped kickstart more than 17 years of creativity on YouTube.”
We tried contacting the uploader on Discord for comment, but they aren’t accepting friend requests or DMs from people who aren’t already their friend.
Alibaba founder Jack Ma returns to China after a year of uncertainty
Jack Ma’s whereabouts are making headlines again roughly a year after the billionaire founder of Alibaba disappeared from the public eye.
Bloomberg reported Monday that Ma had chosen to stay abroad despite China’s efforts to restore confidence in entrepreneurs, citing unnamed sources. Within hours, however, news surfaced that Ma actually visited an Alibaba-funded K-12 school in Hangzhou, according to an article published by the school, Yungu.
The Bloomberg article had since been updated to reflect Ma’s appearance in Hangzhou, home to the founder and Alibaba, where he talked about how ChatGPT posed a challenge to education during the school visit.
The renewed attention to Ma’s location comes at a time when China is trying to voice support for the private sector following a years-long crackdown on the tech industry, including shelving the IPO plans of Ant Group, the fintech affiliate of Alibaba. The movement prompted some founders to move abroad and seek overseas expansion.
The news of Ma also comes as Chinese tech firms are facing unprecedented pressure in the West. Last Thursday, U.S. lawmakers grilled TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew in a congressional hearing that spanned five hours, firing harsh questions that brought to light the irreconcilable differences between the two superpowers. The hearing, as one Chinese founder said to TechCrunch, sent a chill up their spine.
TikTok isn’t the only one running into roadblocks in the U.S. A group of “businesses and individuals” have formed a “Shut Down Shein” campaign to question the business practices of Shein, the Singapore-headquartered fast fashion giant that has risen to global dominance thanks to its data-driven supply chains in China. Shein refuted a report that it faced risks of being shut down in the U.S.
GitHub takes down repository containing Twitter’s source code
Microsoft-owned GitHub took down a repository by a user named “FreeSpeechEnthusiast” that contained proprietary source code to Twitter after the social network filed a DCMA takedown request. The username certainly seems to be a jab at Twitter owner Elon Musk, who has claimed to be a “free speech absolutist” many times.
On Friday, Twitter filed a petition in the District Court of Northern California asking GitHub to take down the code and also help it find the perpetrator. The subpoena asks GitHub to disclose name(s), address(es), telephone number(s), email address(es), social media profile data, and IP address(es) linked with “FreeSpeechEnthusiast”.
The development comes days before March 31, when Musk will supposedly make Twitter’s algorithm related to the recommendation open source.
It’s not clear what part of Twitter was leaked on GitHub and for what duration. GitHub’s DCMA takedown blog just mentioned it took down the repository containing “Proprietary source code for Twitter’s platform and internal tools.”
The code-hosting site didn’t say if any users were able to access the repository before the company took it down. We have asked for a comment and will update the story if we hear back.
Twitter might be concerned about copies of the code that might not be present on GitHub. Twitter’s internal investigation suggested that the people who were responsible for the leak left the company last year, as per a report from the New York Times. The story also suggested that the social network’s executives got to know about the code leak only recently.
The company is facing a tough time after Musk’s takeover last year. Recent reports suggest that the Tesla CEO now values Twitter at $20 billion — less than half of the $44 billion he paid for the social network. According to a report from the New York Times, Musk also wrote an email to employees to announce a new stock compensation program that said Twitter could be worth $250 billion one day.
To get Twitter’s finances in better shape, Musk has taken radical steps for cost-cutting including mass layoffs and relaunching a new subscription program that offers verification as one of the benefits. According to data from analytics firm Sensor Tower, Twitter has managed to just get $11 million out of this new service. For comparison, Twitter registered $1.17 billion in revenue for Q2 2022.
At a recent conference, Musk said that time on users’ Twitter is poorly monetized.
“The average amount of time that people spend on Twitter per day that 250 million [monthly active users] is around half an hour or so. So what we have is — the thing that’s I think most interesting — is there are about 120 to 130 million hours of human attention per day on Twitter,” he said
“Every single day on, average, which is — I think it comes to a really interesting point which is to — just it’s startling how poorly monetized that is — because you have to say like how valuable is that attention 100 to 130 million hours of human attention per day of people that read — so these are the generally the smartest people in the world, the most influential people in the world.”
As expected, when we reached out to Twitter, we got a poop emoji.
Activist investor Elliott ditches director nomination plans for Salesforce
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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