Meta’s Threads goes live, OpenAI launches GPT-4 and Pornhub blocks access


Hey, folks, welcome to Week in Review (WiR), TechCrunch’s regular roundup of the week in tech. Been too slammed to follow the news cycle as closely as you’d like? Not to worry. That’s why WiR exists. We’ll get you up to speed in no time.

Thanks to the July 4th holiday, the workweek was somewhat disrupted. But plenty still happened. Meta released Threads, its Twitter competitor, which quickly grew to tens of millions of users. Meanwhile, Twitter quietly removed the login requirement for viewing tweets that it’d imposed only days before. Somewhere in the midst of it all, secretive hardware startup Humane revealed the details of its first product. And OpenAI made its GPT-4 generative AI model generally available.

Read on for more of the top stories from the week — and if you haven’t already, sign up here to get WiR in your inbox every Saturday.

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Threads goes live: This week, Instagram announced the highly anticipated launch of its text-based social networking app, Threads, which allows Instagram users to authenticate with their existing credentials in order to post short tweet-like updates. Within 24 hours, the app, which is available for iOS and Android in around 100 countries (but not the EU, reportedly due to local data privacy regulations), passed 30 million sign-ups.

Twitter takes the gloves off: With the success of Threads, Twitter is threatening to sue Meta, which it accuses of poaching former Twitter employees to create the new platform. Shortly after Threads launched, a lawyer for Twitter, Alex Spiro, sent a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg accusing the social media giant of engaging in unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property.

A tough thread to delete: In more Threads news, turns out that deleting a Threads account requires deleting the linked Instagram account as well. The rationale, Meta elaborates on the policy page, is that a Threads profile is part of the user’s Instagram account. The discovery of this stipulation has surprised many users, unsurprisingly.

OpenAI launches GPT-4: OpenAI this week announced the general availability of GPT-4, its latest text-generating model, through its paid API. GPT-4 can generate text (including code) and accept image and text inputs — an improvement over its predecessor GPT-3.5, which only accepted text — and performs at “human level” on various professional and academic benchmarks. But it’s not perfect, as we note in our previous coverage.

Humane unveils the Ai Pin: Humane, the startup launched by ex-Apple design and engineering duo Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno, this week revealed details about its first product: the Ai Pin. Humane’s product is a wearable gadget with a projected display and AI-powered features — like a futuristic smartphone, but in a vastly different form factor.

Pornhub blocks access: Pornhub is blocking access to users in Mississippi, Virginia and Utah, which have recently passed laws that require age verification to access adult websites. Internet privacy advocates have long been critical of these age checks, which require users to share personal information like their government ID in order to use the internet.

Reddit’s valuation gets cut, again: Fidelity has further slashed the estimated worth of its holding in the social media giant Reddit. Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund valued its holdings in Reddit at $15.4 million as of May 31, according to the fund’s monthly disclosure released last Friday. That’s down 7.36% from the $16.6 million mark at April’s closure and altogether a slide of 45.4% since its investment in August 2021. The updated share value suggests a $5.5 billion valuation for Reddit.

Goldman looks to ditch Apple: Four years after partnering with Apple on the launch of the Apple Card, Goldman Sachs may be eyeing the exits. The Wall Street Journal reports that Goldman is “looking for a way out” of its high-profile deal with Apple, which recently expanded to include savings accounts for Apple Card holders. The investment banking firm is apparently in talks to offload the partnership to American Express, the WSJ report added, but so far nothing seems to be set in stone, nor is it clear whether Apple would support the handoff.

Audio

Need a podcast to pass the time? You’ve come to the right place. TechCrunch offers a growing roster of quality shows, and this week, there’s lots in the way of new material.

Equity featured Immad Akhund, the CEO and co-founder of Mercury, which made headlines earlier this year for how it stepped in to help fill the business banking void left in the wake of Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse.

And the Found crew interviewed Charles Baron, the co-founder and CMO at Farmers Business Network, a startup that offers a suite of online services to farmers.

TechCrunch+

TC+ subscribers get access to in-depth commentary, analysis and surveys — which you know if you’re already a subscriber. If you’re not, consider signing up. Here are a few highlights from this week:

Europe, the fuzzy tech cloud: Haje writes about the differences between the U.S. and European startup environments. The latter, he writes, has an appetite for experimentation that fails to fully settle into a coherent whole — in contrast to the handful of major hubs in the U.S. attracting the bulk of the talent and investment.

Moving to save cash: For company founders and shareholders with an exit on the horizon, a move for tax reasons can make a lot of financial sense. However, many times it’s not that simple. Peyton Carr, managing director of Keystone Global Partners, expands on this.

Being a Black founder in France:  The French startup ecosystem for Black founders is shrouded in mystery, but Dom attempts to pull back the curtains. She finds that deep-seated racial stereotypes and prejudices still fester in the country, manifesting in the form of economic discrimination against Black entrepreneurs.


Get your TechCrunch fix IRL. Join us at Disrupt 2023 in San Francisco this September to immerse yourself in all things startup. From headline interviews to intimate roundtables to a jam-packed startup expo floor, there’s something for everyone at Disrupt. Save up to $600 when you buy your pass now through August 11, and save 15% on top of that with promo code WIR. Learn more.



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