Roundup – UK govt may ban TikTok; OpenAI unveils new GPT-4 and Meta ditches NFTs plus announces second round of mass layoffs
Westminster asks National Cyber Security Centre to review TikTok
Speaking to Sky News, security minister Tom Tugendhat said the government has asked the NCSC to look into the Chinese-owned video sharing app – telling the broadcaster he did not rule out imposing a ban, both internally among government departments or – going further – a full ban on UK users – but wanted to wait for the Centre’s review to conclude.
“Understanding exactly what the challenges that these apps pose, what they are asking for and how they’re reaching into our lives is incredibly important,” he added.
A report in The Sunday Times last weekend strongly predicted that a ban for UK government officials was coming after initial security assessments had raised concerns about the safety of sensitive data.
The European Parliament axed TikTok from staff phones at the beginning of this month.
Meta to axe NFTs on platforms amid crypto crash
As clouds continue to loom over the crypto market, Meta is cutting off support for digital collectibles or non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on its platform less than a year after roll-out.
“We’re winding down digital collectibles (NFTs) for now to focus on other ways to support creators, people, and businesses,” the social media firm’s fintech head, Stephane Kasriel, tweeted on Monday.
The company invested in NFTs following a surge in popularity with sales of cartoon apes to video clips touching billions of dollars. But Bitcoin and other tokens took a pounding late last year after major exchange FTX crashed into bankruptcy.
“We’ll continue investing in fintech tools that people and businesses will need for the future. We’re streamlining payments w/ [with] Meta Pay, making checkout and payouts easier and investing in messaging payments across Meta,” Kasriel added.
Microsoft-backed OpenAI begins launch of GPT-4
The Californian startup said on Tuesday that it is starting to release a powerful AI model known as GPT-4, setting the stage for human-like technology to proliferate and add more competition between its backer Microsoft Corp and Alphabet Inc’s Google.
OpenAI, which created the chatbot sensation ChatGPT, said in a blog post that its latest technology is “multimodal,” meaning images as well as text prompts can spur it to generate content. The text-input feature will be available to ChatGPT Plus subscribers and to software developers, with a waitlist.
Meta to slash 10,000 jobs in round two of layoffs
In more Meta news, the announcement came on Tuesday as the Facebook parent braces for a deep economic turndown. Meta said that it will reduce the size of its recruiting team and make further cuts in its tech groups in late April, and then its business groups in late May.
The company has also been engaged in a wider restructuring that will also see Meta scrap hiring plans for 5,000 openings, cancel lower-priority projects and flatten layers of middle management.
“This will be tough and there’s no way around that,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a message to staff. “It will mean saying goodbye to talented and passionate colleagues who have been part of our success.” Zuckerberg said he believed “this new economic reality will continue for many years”.
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