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🐟 The canned fish boom

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Netflix is looking to hire a flight attendant for a private jet. The job, based out of San Jose, California, requires “discretion” and pays between $60k and $385k. That’s… quite the range.

In today’s email:

  • Breasts on main: Meta’s board wants it to rethink nudity.
  • Chart: The canned fish boom.
  • Restaurant workers unknowingly fund lobbyists.
  • Around the web: Happiness tips, exploring data, wandering the world, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear about the tuna industry finding a savior in TikTok, Meta’s nudity policy news, Shell’s EV acquisition, and more.

The big idea

Meta’s board wants new nudity guidelines

Activists have long advocated to “free the nipple,” and that debate continues online.

Men can post as many shirtless bathroom selfies as they please, but Meta’s Adult Nudity and Sexual Activity guidelines state that “uncovered female nipples” aren’t allowed, unless depicting:

  • Breastfeeding
  • Giving birth
  • Medical or health contexts (e.g., breast cancer awareness, gender-affirming surgery)
  • Protests

Meanwhile, its content moderation systems seem utterly confused by trans and nonbinary chests.

Meta’s Oversight Board, which helps the tech giant make decisions about content moderation, wants an overhaul, saying current policies pose “greater barriers to expression” for women and LGBTQ+ people.

It started with an appeal…

… from a couple — one of whom is transgender, the other nonbinary — who said Meta had removed two photos in which they appeared bare-chested with nipples covered while fundraising for one partner’s top surgery (a procedure to remove breast tissue).

Following alerts from user reports and Meta’s automated systems, Instagram removed the posts for violating sexual solicitation policies, despite top surgery being a gender-affirming procedure.

The board overturned Meta’s decision…

… and wants Meta to revamp its “convoluted and poorly defined” moderation criteria, which it says is based on a binary view of gender, is confusing for users and moderators, and results in wrongfully removed content.

The board recommends Meta:

  • Define how it moderates adult nudity after conducting a human rights impact assessment
  • Provide more detail in its public-facing guidelines on what gets removed and why
  • Revise guidance for moderators to accurately reflect those details

Meta has 59 days to issue a public response, per The Guardian.

But moderation may remain difficult, according to experts, who say that bad actors may still flag posts that don’t violate standards — and that AI isn’t always great at nuance.

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eyeball wearing a hat

Take a peak at this insane new clip of Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot helping out around a fake construction site by tossing an engineer a toolbag while doing parkour.


Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella confirmed in a memo that the company will reduce its workforce by 10k people, or ~5%, by the end of the Q3.

Shell USA, best-known for its gas stations, is acquiring electric vehicle charging company Volta for $169m.

China’s population dropped last year for the first time since 1961, falling by ~850k to ~1.411B. The birthrate fell to a record low of 6.77 births per 1k people, down from 7.52 in 2021.

You’ll likely see Apple’s ~$3k mixed-reality headset this year, though technical challenges have delayed the company’s plans for lightweight AR glasses.

Not the OJ! This year, the Agriculture Department estimates Florida will harvest 18m boxes of oranges, down 56% from last year’s already-low yield.

Twitter really wants users to pay for a blue check. It’s now offering an $84 annual subscription, a 12% discount for Android users and 36% for iOS. The company saw revenue drop 35% YoY in Q4.

Party City has filed for bankruptcy, but will keep stores open thanks to $150m in financing.

One for humans: CNET had AI explain compound interest in an article, which resulted in a very long, 163-word correction.

One for AI: ChatGPT applied for a job at a consultancy firm. Hirers found its writing brief better than 80%+ of human applicants’.

Productivity vs. efficiency: The terms seem interchangeable, but they’re different. And understanding the difference can be the key to maximizing both.

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search interest for canned fish
Olivia Heller

Did TikTok help scale the tinned fish industry?

For quite some time, the canned tuna market has been in need of a tuneup.

USDA data shows that between 1989 and 2018, per capita availability plummeted 46%.

Moreover, in 2017, Bumble Bee and StarKist paid a combined $125m after pleading guilty to price-fixing their tuna. In 2019, Bumble Bee filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and agreed to be purchased for $925m.

But new data…

… shows a recent TikTok trend may have helped turn the tide by billing the pungent snack as a $20-a-pop date night delicacy.

In 2022, US canned seafood sales jumped 9.7% to $2.7B, per The Wall Street Journal.

  • Niche brands have been especially prosperous. Alaska’s classy Wildfish Cannery doubled wholesale revenue last year; Vancouver’s Scout Canning grew revenue 82% to $4m.

The uptick is being partially attributed to influencers on TikTok, where the hashtag #tinnedfish has 26.5m+ views.

Ali Hooke, a chef from San Francisco, makes a popular series of “tinned fish date night” TikToks, which frequently rack up hundreds of thousands of views.

Not everyone’s a fan, though. Top comments say things like, “New fear unlocked” and “Sounds like the worst day of the week.”

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Free Resource

28 startup trends we’re watching this year

Last year disrupted the disruptors, so to speak. Q4 VC funding was down a dismal 63% YoY, according to Crunchbase.

But it’s not all doom and gloom: Industries like fintech, biotech, AI, and the metaverse are building momentum. We cover key 2023 startup trends in this long-form research report.

Facts and stats by HubSpot for Startups:

  • Capital funding trends
  • Startup costs
  • Success and failure statistics
  • Most promising industries
  • Most startup-friendly countries
  • Startup workplace trends
  • Startup exit trends
  • ESG in the startup ecosystem

Some comprehensive shit right here.

The startup report →
Uh, what?
restaurant workers

Why do restaurant workers fund a lobbying group that keeps their wages low?

If you start a new restaurant job, there’s a good chance you’ll be asked to pay $15 to a company called ServSafe for an online food-safety class.

You’ll learn about things like handwashing and spotting mold. What’s not taught in class, though, is that ServSafe is the fundraising arm of the National Restaurant Association, the food-service industry’s largest lobbying group.

The association, which claims to represent 500k+ restaurants, has fought minimum wage increases at federal and state levels for decades, per The New York Times.

That means workers unknowingly pay the organization that fights to keep their pay as low as possible.

And it’s already low:

  • The federal minimum wage has only risen once since 1996, from $5.15 to $7.25.
  • The federal minimum hourly wage for tipped workers has remained $2.13 since 1991.

Minimums are higher in many individual states, but still below what labor groups believe to be livable wages.

It gets worse:

  • More than 3.6m workers have taken the ServSafe training, paying ~$25m since 2010.
  • While ServSafe training is offered in all states, it’s mandatory for workers in large states like Texas, California, Illinois, Florida, and Utah.

If you’re wondering how this is all legal…

… it’s because the National Restaurant Association is a business league, a type of nonprofit that’s able to lobby more freely than traditional charities. How convenient.

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🍔 On this day: In 2007, the first McDonald’s drive-thru in Beijing opened with a celebration featuring lion dancers and Ronald McDonald.

😄 That’s interesting: A psychology expert in Finland, the world’s happiest country, offers three don’ts for staying cheerful.

🤓 Useful: The Community Explorer is an interactive online tool that lets you look at economic and demographic data across the US.

📍 Cure boredom: Visit a random street view on Google Maps.

🦌 Aww: And now, chatting with a squeaky fawn.

procrastination tweet

Very impressive. (Link)

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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, Sara Friedman, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “Sardines, please” Dent.

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