Jeff Blackburn is departing the company. | Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage Amazon’s Jeff Blackburn, who leads the company’s media and entertainment businesses, is retiring from Amazon for a second time, according to emails from Blackburn and CEO Andy Jassy on Friday. With Blackburn’s departure, there will be some shifts in Amazon’s org chart. Mike Hopkins, who heads up Prime Video, Amazon Studios, and MGM, will report directly to Jassy. Steve Boom will add Audible, Twitch, and Amazon’s games division to his current responsibilities overseeing the company’s music and podcasting groups. He’ll also report directly to Jassy. Blackburn first retired from…

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Netflix currently has a relatively small group of about 2,000 subscribers who it invites to preview upcoming projects and provide feedback about them ahead of release, but that number’s about to grow significantly as the streamer looks to maximize its profits in an increasingly competitive streaming market. The Wall Street Journal reports that Netflix plans to open up its Preview Club program to “tens of thousands” more subscribers across the globe in order to glean reactions from people that might end up being used to make last-minute tweaks to the streamer’s films and…

Kristen Radtke / The Verge; Getty IMages Elon Musk is trying to explain why he let Donald Trump and others back onto Twitter, even after he promised that decision would be left up to a content moderation council made up of people with “widely diverse viewpoints.” And wow, his explanation sure is something; in a tweet on Tuesday night, he claimed the council was part of a deal he made with an unnamed “large coalition of political/social activist groups,” implying it was their fault. Musk claims he made a deal to keep those groups from trying to destroy Twitter’s ad…

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Amazon will be cutting jobs again at some point in early 2023, CEO Andy Jassy informed employees in a memo on Thursday. The company publicly confirmed some layoffs on Wednesday, and Jassy says that as Amazon’s annual planning process extends into the new year, “there will be more role reductions as leaders continue to make adjustments.” Jassy says the company hasn’t determined exactly how many additional roles will be cut but did state that there will be “reductions in our Stores and [People, Experience, and Technology] organizations.” Amazon will inform who will be…

Image: Google Google says it’s rolling out a software update for the new Nest Wifi Pro early next week to address the slow internet speeds experienced by some users. In a statement to The Verge, Sanjay Noronha, Google Nest Wifi’s product lead, says the company’s “currently investigating reports of a small number of users experiencing reduced internet speeds on Nest Wifi Pro routers,” and that its “teams are working to roll out a fix.” Google launched the $199 Nest Wifi Pro mesh router last month while touting support for the faster Wi-Fi 6E that’s supposed to enable speeds of up…

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge After Apple issued several copyright claims, YouTube took down an archival channel containing hundreds of decades-old videos from past Apple Worldwide Developer Conferences (WWDC). Brendan Shanks, the owner of the Apple WWDC Videos channel, says his account’s been permanently disabled after receiving well over three copyright strikes — the maximum number of violations you can incur before YouTube removes your account. In screenshots of emails shared by Shanks, Apple issued a number of takedown requests against his videos, some of which dated back to the early 2000s. Shanks says he still has all…

Tilda Swinton as Julie in The Eternal Daughter. | A24 Director Joanna Hogg’s The Eternal Daughter, starring Tilda Swinton, mesmerized audiences at this year’s Venice Film Festival with its quiet, arresting story about a woman and her elderly mother being haunted by the mysterious presence dwelling within a hotel. After watching the movie’s first trailer, it’s easy to see why it left such a lasting impression. The Eternal Daughter expands on the semi-autobiographical world of Hogg’s previous The Souvenir films with the story of Julie Hart (Tilda Swinton), an artist who decides to make a go of connecting with her…

Kristen Radtke / The Verge; Getty Images Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) is demanding a national security review of Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover and the nearly $2 billion in Saudi funding for the deal. In a statement on Monday, Murphy called on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) to open an investigation into Saudi investment in Twitter. Musk’s deal, totaling $44 billion, includes billions in foreign funding from both Saudi Arabia and Chinese investors. Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding Company and the private office of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal claimed to be Twitter’s “second largest investors,” with a combined…

Bucks Gaming celebrating winning the 2022 NBA 2K League 5v5 finals in August. | Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images The NBA 2K League has announced that six players and a coach have been “disqualified indefinitely” following a gambling controversy. The esports league made the announcement yesterday. The suspended players include Christopher Lafanette, Dorian Earl Miller, and Robert Nastasi from the league’s affiliate of the Portland Trail Blazers; Zekirri Dennis of Mavs Gaming; and Kimanni Ingram of Jazz Gaming, who the league said “wagered or attempted to wager on NBA 2K League games, either on their own or through…

The Verge After Facebook’s Bitmoji-style avatars invaded Instagram and Messenger, now they’re coming to Whatsapp, too. According to a report from WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is rolling out support for customizable avatars in the latest 2.22.23.9 beta on Android, but only for some users. Those with access to the feature will see a new “Avatar” category in their settings menu that they can use to customize the digital version of themselves. Just like on Meta’s other apps, WhatsApp will then generate a sticker pack with the avatar in various poses, which users can use to express themselves when messaging family and friends….

The new Lyft parking feature allows users to search for and reserve parking spaces directly within the app. | Image: Lyft Lyft users can now search, reserve, and pay for parking spaces from the app in cities across the US, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Drivers can access the new Lyft Parking feature by tapping the steering wheel icon located on the bottom-right corner of the Lyft app, according to Lyft’s website. The parking reservation feature is made possible by a partnership between Lyft and SpotHero, a Chicago-based parking company, and is available through both the iOS and Android versions…

The device appears to extend and retract with the push of a button. | Image: Motorola At parent company Lenovo’s Tech World 2022 event, Motorola is showing off a rollable mobile phone in a quick video demo. With the press of a button, the screen extends and retracts, with a moving wallpaper to match. The demo video only gives us a glimpse of the front of the device, and the screen appears to wrap around the phone, rolling up from the bottom edge. At least as far as prototypes go, this concept appears to be on the “operational” side of…

Mark Zuckerberg recently demonstrated the current quality of Meta’s Horizon Worlds avatars. | Mark Zuckerberg / Meta Meta’s VR social network Horizon Worlds — the company’s flagship “metaverse” app — is suffering from too many quality issues and even the team building it isn’t using it very much, according to internal memos obtained by The Verge. In one of the memos to employees dated September 15th, Meta’s VP of Metaverse, Vishal Shah, said the team would remain in a “quality lockdown” for the rest of the year to “ensure that we fix our quality gaps and performance issues before we…

Natasha Lomas / TechCrunch: UK’s CMA says Google has agreed to an expanded set of commitments as part of the regulator’s oversight in the development of Privacy Sandbox  —  As part of an ongoing antitrust investigation into Google’s Privacy Sandbox by the UK’s competition regulator, the adtech giant has agreed …

Gillian Tan / Bloomberg: SoundHound, which offers voice AI tech to companies like Mercedes-Benz, Snap, and Mastercard, is going public via a SPAC merger at a ~$2.1B valuation  —  – Company counts Mercedes-Benz, Snap, Pandora among customers  — Shazam competitor’s technology can identify a song via humming

The Economic Times: Indian startup GoKwik, which helps e-commerce merchants improve conversions and lower return rates, raises a $15M Series A led by Sequoia Capital India  —  GoKwik plans to use the funds to expand its client base to social commerce startups, scale up the product and technology teams and launch new products.

Fred Wilson / AVC: Seed rounds at $100M post-money valuations, now fairly common, are unlikely to perform well for investors, given dilution and early startups’ high failure rate  —  We have been seeing quite a few seed rounds getting done in and around $100mm post-money and that concerns me for a few reasons:

Julie Jargon / Wall Street Journal: Doctors and researchers say social media is contributing to the rise of negative body image issues and eating disorder cases among boys  —  Griffin Henry, a promising young baseball player from Missouri, had his dreams derailed by anorexia  —  Eating disorders are on the rise among boys …

Wolfie Zhao / The Block: Taproot, the first major upgrade to Bitcoin’s code since the introduction of Segregated Witness in 2017, has been activated  —  Taproot, Bitcoin’s long-anticipated code upgrade with a focus on enhancing the network’s privacy and security, has been activated.

Reuters: Turkish delivery startup Getir, which promises 10-minute grocery deliveries, launches in Chicago, and plans to roll out in NYC and Boston by the end of 2021  —  Turkey’s ultrafast grocery-delivery company, Getir, said on Thursday it has launched operations in the United States …