👻 Horror looks to expand - The Hustle
The Hustle

👻 Horror looks to expand

Plus: Making pickles, throwing beans, how to find self-compassion, a hidden garden, and more.

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Clarkesworld Magazine, a long-time home for original sci-fi stories, has closed submissions due to a deluge of AI-generated tales, with 500+ in February alone — which is kinda sci-fi in and of itself.

In today’s email:

  • Section 230: How the Supreme Court could change the internet.
  • Chart: It’s game time for a horror giant.
  • Preservation: Home canning is on the rise… again.
  • Around the Web: A workout guide, practicing self-compassion, a strange garden, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear Jacob and Juliet discuss Blumhouse’s budding horror empire, the deal with Section 230, Spotify’s new DJ, and more.

The big idea

Why everyone’s talking about Section 230

Section 230, passed in 1996, prevents social media giants from being liable for what people use them to post. But that could change.
2023-02-23T00:00:00Z
Juliet Bennett Ryla

For 27 years, Section 230 — part of the 1996 Communications Decency Act — has shaped the internet.

It states that website operators (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, media outlets) can’t be sued over what users post or comment, and may also set policies for what gets removed and what doesn’t.

For example…

… artist Ken Zeran received a barrage of threatening phone calls after offensive ads with his home phone number appeared on AOL.

In 1997, Zeran sued AOL and lost, setting an important precedent: AOL was not liable for what an anonymous troll used its platform to post.

Section 230 has since been cited in at least 350 cases — though most related lawsuits are dismissed before they’re even heard, per NPR.

Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter…

… didn’t exist in the ‘90s. The internet has exploded in the last quarter century, and many want Section 230 reformed or repealed:

  • Some cite an influx of online hate speech and misinformation
  • Others, including the Trump admin, have claimed that allowing platforms to moderate freely lets them suppress certain ideologies

Meanwhile, advocates say it’s crucial to free speech. The Electronic Frontier Foundation notes that it protects small websites and bloggers, too.

But now…

… a group of lawsuits are challenging Section 230’s reign.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard a case in which the family of a student killed in the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks alleged that Google-owned YouTube’s algorithms recommended extremist terrorist videos.

The court carefully considered the arguments — Justice Elena Kagan quipped they’re “not the nine greatest experts on the internet” — without making any decisions, but did express concerns about overhauling the internet and endless lawsuits.

The court heard a similar case against Twitter yesterday, regarding whether social media companies are liable for “aiding and abetting” terrorists, a violation of 2016’s Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act.

No opinion was issued, but Vox reported the court seemed unlikely to hold social media companies liable.

TRENDING

“THEY THREW BEANS ON HIM” trended on Twitter yesterday as users wondered if the cover for Christ-For-Arms — a film about a boy with crosses for arms who’s taunted with beans — was real. It’s not… yet.

SNIPPETS

Cheers: Bill Gates says he isn’t a “big beer drinker,” but nonetheless bought a 3.76% stake in Heineken’s parent company.

Beat drop: Spotify is rolling out a personalized AI DJ feature that boasts a “stunningly realistic voice.” Next month the company is expected to debut a new app interface.

Today in AI: Microsoft is bringing its AI chatbot to the Bing mobile app, JPMorgan is restricting employees from using ChatGPT, and the US Copyright Office said Midjourney-created images in a graphic novel do not get copyright protection.

Amazon wants workers back in office three days per week, but 14k+ of them joined an internal Slack channel advocating for remote work. Also, certain Fire TVs now offer audio streaming to Cochlear’s hearing implants.

That’s cool: Tome, a startup whose software can create entire presentations with a prompt, raised $43m in Series B funding at a $300m valuation.

Uber’s app redesign reduces taps and lets riders quickly access saved locations. Some iOS users will also be able to track a ride via their lock screen.

Drama: Vegan cheese company Miyoko’s Creamery is suing ousted founder Miyoko Schinner for allegedly stealing proprietary recipes and trade secrets.

Moonshot: Apple is reportedly making progress on a secret 12-year-old project to develop noninvasive glucose-monitoring tech that it hopes to put in the Apple Watch.

Wow: Music equipment retailer Sweetwater saw a record $1.5B+ in sales in 2022 (up 9.5% YoY) thanks to musicians, podcasters, and streamers building home studios.

Shade away: The National Labor Relations Board ruled that employers can’t require laid-off workers not to bad-mouth them as part of their severance agreements.

FROM THE BLOG

What were the biggest business trends of 2022? HubSpot aggregated data from 158k+ companies to track changes in web traffic, conversion, and deal insights. Here’s a look at the numbers.

Chart
Olivia Heller

It’s game time for a horror giant

What’s scarier than M3gan? For Blumhouse, it’s missing out on the gaming industry.
2023-02-23T00:00:00Z
Jacob Cohen

Paranormal Activity, Get Out, M3gan, The Purge. Some scary stuff we’re talking about here, and all of it comes from Blumhouse Productions.

While these movies are frightening and all, what’s more horrifying may be missing a lucrative opportunity to get in on the global video game industry — more valuable than that of film and music combined, per Bloomberg.

Under a new division called Blumhouse Games, Blumhouse plans to start producing and publishing immersive horror-themed games.

  • Blumhouse Games will tap independent developers to work on slates of sub-$10m games. It’s aiming to finance ~15 titles over three to four years, investing ~$25m on each slate.

Blumhouse brought on Zach Woods — an industry veteran of 25+ years who’s produced games on all major platforms — to be its president, and Don Sechler of Sony PlayStation as CFO.

Horror empire: Blumhouse is also hoping to close a merger with The Conjuring director James Wan’s Atomic Monster production company this summer — a deal that’s been described as “impregnable.”

Free Resource

Five steps to start side hustling

At dinner with her family in Jamaica, Nicaila’s niece asked:

“Aunty, how do you start a business?”

So gather ‘round, family: That led Nicaila to move an interview and deliver this episode on side hustling: the best way to gauge if you’re fit to be a full-time builder.

On Side Hustle Pro episode No. 334:

  • The first side gig she tried, and why it wasn’t right
  • How to find an entry window into your industry
  • How to prove the concept of your products
  • Five steps to kickstarting your next venture

A podcast on biting the business bullet.

Side hustle talk →
Yes, We Can

Home canning is making a comeback

Canning boomed during the 2008 recession and covid lockdowns. Amid modern inflation woes, it’s happening again.
2023-02-23T00:00:00Z
Sara Friedman

What do you get when you mix rising food prices with a little apocalyptic dread? Pickled veggies, apparently.

Per Vox, canned food — like its starchy sister sourdough — rose in popularity in 2020 when covid lockdowns kept people at home and bored out of their minds:

But canning isn’t new

The practice of preserving food dates back to ancient times, but modern-day canning took off in 1897 with the debut of Campbell’s tomato soup (a cultural icon itself).

Home canning caught on in the early 20th century after the invention of screw-on lids allowed amateur cooks to preserve their own food in glass jars.

Canning had a rebirth in the 1970s with the DIY movement, and again in 2008 amid the Great Recession.

What is new is social media’s adoption of the hobby:

So, it might be time to inflation-proof your pantry and preserve some food. You can do it.

AROUND THE WEB

🎙 On this day: In 1978, Debby Boone’s “You Light Up My Life” and Barbra Streisand’s “Love Theme from A Star is Born (Evergreen)” tied for Best Song at the Grammys. Streisand also tied for an Oscar with Katherine Hepburn in 1968.

🏋️‍♀️ Useful: This workout wiki shows you exercises you can do for any particular muscles.

🥰 How to: Practice the three pillars of self-compassion.

🌿 That’s interesting: In the 1920s, a woman built a garden on the site of a defunct gunpowder mill, but it was abandoned after her death in 1958. What remains is the fascinating and beautiful ruin of a ruin.

😍 Aww: And now, a prancing okapi calf.

TWEET

Happy to help! (Link.)

How did you like today’s email?
Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, Sara Friedman, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “M3gan walking simulator” Dent.

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