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Agility Robotics and Playground Global join TechCrunch Live to speak on fundraising robotic delivery – TechCrunch

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Delivery has become one of the fastest growing verticals for robotics investments amid pandemic-related shutdowns. There’s been plenty of interest in the category over the years, but Covid-19 has accelerated interest on all sides of the equation. Among this category, however, Agility stands out – in more ways than one.

Born out of research from Oregon State University’s Dynamic Robotics Laboratory, the firm has developed a bipedal robot capable of conquering the arch nemesis of its wheeled brethren: stairs. Agility CTO Jonathan Hurst – who cofounded the company in 2015 with CEO Damion Shelton – will be joining on TechCrunch Live on March 2nd at 1130am PT / 230pm ET to discuss the strides the company has made of late.

He’ll be joined by Bruce Leak, a Founding Partner at Bay Area VC firm Playground Global, which co-lead Agility’s $20 million Series B, back in October, 2020. Leak will join us to discuss the state of robotics investment in firms like Agility, which struck a delivery deal with Ford Motors back in 2019 and has since been working to bring its legged robots into the equally red hot world of warehouse automation.

Leak and Hurst will be joining TechCrunch Live on March 2 at 1130am PT / 230pm ET to discuss their partnership. Click here to register for free!

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‘Humiliating Sh*t’: Corporate Media And Liberals Circle The Wagon, Attack Matt Taibbi For Unveiling ‘Twitter Files’

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  1. Liberal personalities and members of the corporate media lashed out at journalist Matt Taibbi Friday following the release of internal documents detailing Twitter’s censorship of a New York Post report on Hunter Biden’s laptop.

“Imagine throwing it all away to do PR work for the richest person in the world,” NBC reporter Ben Collins tweeted. “Humiliating shit.”

Elon Musk, who bought Twitter in October, released the documents detailing how the social media site censored the New York Post’s Oct. 14, 2020 article about emails and documents on a laptop Hunter Biden abandoned to Taibbi, who reported on them in a lengthy Twitter thread Friday. The documents show the Biden campaign requested Twitter address certain posts. (RELATED: ‘Absolutely Shocking’: Fox News Contributor Reacts To ‘Coordinated Effort’ By Former Twitter Execs)

“Matt Taibbi…what [a] sad, disgraceful downfall. I swear, kids, he did good work back in the day,” Daily Beast columnist Wajahat Ali posted. “Should be a cautionary tale for everyone. Selling your soul for the richest white nationalist on Earth. Well, he’ll eat well for the rest of his life I guess. But is it worth it?”

“It’s true: in 2014, I taught Matt Taibbi keyboard shortcuts for copy and paste,” CNN correspondent Elspeth Reeve tweeted. “If I had not done that, maybe all this could have been averted. I am deeply sorry.”

The Federal Elections Commission cleared Twitter of wrongdoing in September 2021. The laptop was confirmed as authentic in March 2022 by the Washington Post and New York Times.

“Matt Taibbi is very upset that the Biden campaign asked a platform to take down some revenge porn targeting the candidates son,” Tim Miller of the Bulwark posted on Twitter.

Democratic activists also attacked Taibbi as he posted about the documents detailing Twitter’s discussions about the Hunter Biden laptop.

“Matt Taibbi always was, and still remains, a fraud,” Democratic pollster Matt McDermott posted. “Doing PR for the richest person in the world should come as no surprise.”

“Forget any ‘Just Say No’ or ‘This Is Your Brain On’ ad, instead show folks the before and after writing & critical thinking skills of Matt Taibbi,” former Biden ad writer Cliff Schecter tweeted.

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Elon Musk vicariously publishes internal emails from Twitter’s Hunter Biden laptop drama • TechCrunch

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Elon Musk reminded his followers on Friday that owning Twitter now means he controls every aspect of the company — including what its employees said behind closed doors before he took over.

Earlier this week, Musk teased the release of what he called “The Twitter Files,” declaring that the public “deserves to know what really happened” behind the scenes during Twitter’s decision to stifle a story about Hunter Biden back in 2020.

On Friday evening, Musk delivered, sort of. Twitter’s new owner shared a thread from author and Substack writer Matt Taibbi who is apparently now in possession of the trove of internal documents, which he opted to painstakingly share one tweet at a time, in narrative form.

Taibbi noted on his Substack that he had to “agree to certain conditions” in order to land the story, though he declined to elaborate about what the conditions were. (We’d suspect that sharing the documents in tweet form to boost the platform’s engagement must have been on the list.)

Taibbi’s decision to reveal a selection of the documents one tweet at a time was apparently not painstaking enough. One screenshot, now deleted, published Jack Dorsey’s private personal email address. Another shared an unredacted personal email belonging to Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), who expressed concerns about Twitter’s action at the time. Both incidents appear to run afoul of Twitter’s anti-doxing policy.

The documents, which are mostly internal Twitter emails, depict the chaotic situation that led Twitter to censor a New York Post story about Hunter Biden two years ago. In October 2020, The New York Post published a story that cited materials purportedly obtained from a laptop that the younger Biden left at a repair shop. With a presidential election around the corner and 2016’s hacked DNC emails and other Russian election meddling fresh in mind, Twitter decided to limit the story’s reach.

In conversation with members of Twitter’s comms and policy teams, Twitter’s former Head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth cited the company’s rules about hacked materials and noted the “severe risks and lessons of 2016” that influenced the decision making.

One member of Twitter’s legal team wrote that it was “reasonable” for Twitter to assume that the documents came from a hack, adding that “caution is warranted.” “We simply need more information,” he wrote.

In his Twitter thread, Taibbi characterized the situation to make such a consequential enforcement decision without consulting the company’s CEO as unusual. In reality, then-CEO Jack Dorsey was well known for being hands-off at the company, at times working remotely from a private island in the South Pacific and delegating even high profile decisions to his policy team.

After Twitter acted, the response from outside the company was swift — and included one Democrat, apparently. “… In the heat of a Presidential campaign, restricting dissemination of newspaper articles (even if NY Post is far right) seems like it will invite more backlash than it will do good,” Khanna wrote to a member of Twitter’s policy team.

At the time, Facebook took similar measures. But Twitter was alone in its unprecedented decision to block links to the story, ultimately inciting a firestorm of criticism that the website was putting a thumb on the scale for Democrats. The company, its former CEO and some policy executives have since described the incident as a mistake made out of an over-abundance of caution — a story that checks out in light of the newly published emails.

Musk hyped the release of the emails as a smoking gun, but they mostly tell us what we already knew: that Twitter, fearful of a repeat of 2016, took an unusual moderation step when it probably should have provided context and let the story circulate. Musk has apparently stewed over the issue since at least April when he called the decision to suspend the Post’s account “incredibly inappropriate.”

Files from the laptop would later be verified by other news outlets, but in the story’s early days no one was able to corroborate that the documents were real and not manipulated, including social platforms. “Most of the data obtained by The Post lacks cryptographic features that would help experts make a reliable determination of authenticity, especially in a case where the original computer and its hard drive are not available for forensic examination,” the Washington Post wrote in its own story verifying the emails. The decision inspired Twitter to change its rules around sharing hacked materials.

Twitter’s former Head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth shared more insight about the decision in an interview earlier this week, noting that the story set off “alarm bells” signaling that it might be a hack and leak campaign by Russian group APT28, also known as Fancy Bear. “Ultimately for me, it didn’t reach a place where I was comfortable removing this content from Twitter,” Roth said.

Dorsey admitted fault at the time in a roundabout way. “Straight blocking of URLs was wrong, and we updated our policy and enforcement to fix,” Dorsey tweeted. “Our goal is to attempt to add context,” he said, adding that now the company could do that by labeling hacked materials.

Musk has been preoccupied with a handful of specific content moderation decisions since before deciding to buy the company. His frustration that Twitter suspended the conservative satire site The Babylon Bee over a transphobic tweet appears to be the reason he even decided to buy Twitter to begin with.

Now two years after it happened, the Hunter Biden social media controversy is still a sore spot for conservatives, right wing media and Twitter’s new ownership. The platform’s past policy controversies are mostly irrelevant now with Musk at the wheel, but he apparently still has an axe to grind with the Twitter of yore — and we’re seeing that unfold in real(ish) time.

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REPORT: Rep. Ro Khanna Was The Only Democrat To Raise Issue With Twitter Nuking Biden Laptop Story

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Rep. Ro Khanna of California was the only Democrat concerned that Twitter was violating the First Amendment when the social media platform suppressed the New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story, Matt Taibbi reported Friday.

Taibbi, a Rolling Stone contributing editor, released what Elon Musk called “The Twitter Files,” Friday afternoon. In the Twitter thread, Taibbi shared an email showing that Khanna reportedly contacted Vijaya Gadde, former general counsel and head of legal, policy, and trust at Twitter.

“Democratic congressman Ro Khanna reaches out to Gadde to gently suggest she hop on the phone to talk about the ‘backlash re speech,’” Taibbi tweeted. “Khanna was the only Democratic official I could find in the files who expressed concern.”

The documents Taibbi posted show that Gadde apparently replied to Khanna, explaining that Twitter released a clarifying thread of tweets previously that day that explained the policy around posting private information on “hacked materials.” The document further showed that Trump Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s account was not permanently suspended but she would need to delete “the tweet containing material that is in violation” of Twitter’s rules.

Khanna then explained that he is more concerned about First Amendment principles, even as a “Biden partisan,” according to the documents posted by Taibbi.

“If there is a hack of classified information or other information that could expose a serious war crime and the NYT was to publish it, I think the NYT should have that right,” he reportedly told Gadde, according to Taibbi’s tweet. (RELATED: ‘Absolutely Shocking’: Fox News Contributor Reacts To ‘Coordinated Effort’ By Former Twitter Execs)

Carl Szabo from NetChoice, a research company, reportedly let Twitter know a “blood bath” was awaiting them in upcoming Capitol Hill hearings, according to Taibbi’s Twitter thread. Szabo allegedly explained that Democrats agreed that “social media needs to moderate more.”

“Ro Khanna is great,” current CEO of Twitter Elon Musk replied to Taibbi.

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