Connected newsletter: Instagram rolls out Threads as Twitter staggers on

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The talk this week in tech town was unsurprisingly about Twitter once again. With owner Elon Musk opting last weekend to limit the amounts of tweets that users can access, and then announcing plans to restrict TweetDeck to verified subscribers only, more people abandoned ship.

Bluesky, the Jack Dorsey-backed alternative to Twitter had to pause onboarding new users due to heavy traffic, while Instagram’s Threads, which launched on Thursday, gained over 10 million users in its first few hours.

With Musk having slashed employee numbers, Twitter has become increasingly unstable. Add in the fact that the platform has become even more unpleasant than it previously was and it is easy to see why people are leaving it in droves. Could Twitter go the way of Bebo though? That was one of the questions I sought to answer in an explainer covering the latest issues at the company during the week.

Want to try out Threads? Well, you can’t. Not if you live in Europe Anyhow. Meta is waiting for more guidance around the Digital Markets Act, which recently came into force before rolling out Threads here. The Data Protection Commission (DPC) was quick to point out that it was Meta itself that was holding back on launching in the EU.

Meta knows more than most about running into trouble with European regulators though. Earlier this week the company, which also owns Facebook and WhatsApp, lost its court fight over a German antitrust order that homed in on the US tech firm’s power to cash in on a vast trove of users’ data. The loss follows on from the recent record €1.2 billion privacy fine imposed on it by the DPC.

Talking of big tech,  Apple is reportedly slashing production targets for its new Vision Pro headset because manufacturers are struggling with the novel gadget’s complex design. Apple is now preparing to make fewer than 400,000 units of the $3,499 headset in 2024. At that kind of roll-out and pricing, it may be many years before there is significant take-up by consumers.

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In local tech news, one of the biggest stories of the week was the confirmation that Altada, the technology company that went into liquidation earlier this year, is under ongoing Garda investigation. The news confirmed a report from the Business Post in January that the Corporate Enforcement Agency was investigating the firm.

Another big story is the departure of Jack Pierse from Wayflyer. Pierse, who co-founded the company with Aidan Corbett in 2019, is leaving the company for a new venture.

There was some good news for early stage companies announcing fundraises over the last few days. The Castlebar-based machine learning company Peroptyx, which is chaired by Dennis Jennings, one of the Internet’s founding fathers, raised €1.6 million.

Recruitroo, a software platform focused on solving labour shortages pulled in €1 million from backers and revealed that Andreea Wade, the highly-respected founder of Opening.IO, is to become its chair. Elsewhere, Webio, the ‘conversational AI’ company, revealed it had raised €2.5 million from backers.

On the jobs front, Catalyst, the technology firm formerly known as i3PT, said it is to create 100 new jobs, half of which are to be based in Ireland.

Huge congratulations go to Rhona Togher and Eimear O’Carroll, the co-founders of Sligo-based Lios, who this week won the SME category at the European Inventor Award 2023.

Congrats also go to Mary McKenna, co-founder of AwakenHub, who has just been named Europe's Business Angel of the Year. Mary shared her wisdom with Connected last year in an article that is well worth a read.

All the best



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