Twitter chaos, Mastodon grows and WhatsApp launches Communities • TechCrunch

This Week in Apps: Welcome Back! the weekly TechCrunch seriesThis recaps the latest news in mobile OS news and mobile applications, as well as the overall app economy.

Global app spending reached $65 billionThe first half of 2022 saw a slight increase in revenue from $64.4 billion in the 2021 period. This is because hypergrowth caused by the pandemic decreased. Overall, however, the app economy continues to grow. a recordAccording to the report, 2021 will see a combined number of downloads and consumer spending across both iOS and Google Play stores. latest year-end reports. Last year, $133 billion was spent globally on iOS and Google Play. Consumers downloaded 143.6 billion apps.

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Twitter is dying. Twitter, live!

Is it really only been one week? Elon Musk bought Twitter? It seems like it will last a lifetime.

The Tesla and SpaceX executive has made the bird app his own. He started with the immediate layoffs by the Twitter executive team including CEO Parag Agwal, CFO Ned Segal and General Counsel Sean Edgett, Head of Legal Policy and Safety Vijaya Gadde, before moving to reduce upper management and then the widespread layoffs of staff. (Which he’s now being sued over, in fact, as the required 60 days legal notice wasn’t given.) Twitter expects to reduce 50% of its staff or 3,700 jobs.

The roles being reduced span areas large and smallFrom the mission critical moderation, trust & safety, ethical AI curation teams — just ahead of a major election, worryingly — as well as those working on more experimental features, like Communities, and in all types of business and tech areas, such as sales, policy and research, partnerships, accessibility and data science, machine-learning, communications, and many more, including core engineering. Twitter’s Developer Platform lead is out and the developer conference Chirp was also canceled.

Employees are already warning that such significant cuts combined with cost-cutting in areas like cloud hosting will lead to difficulties in maintaining Twitter’s infrastructure, The Verge reports.

Advertisers are becoming more concerned about the impact of job cuts in key areas on brand safety. They have put their campaigns on pause to see how it all plays out. Twitter’s chief customer officer, Sarah Personette, who managed the company’s relationships with advertisers, also departed last Friday as a result of the takeover. Musk, of course. blames “activist groups” pressureAdvertiser’s situation and not his actions.

The Twitter product is also undergoing rapid changes, with Musk planning to introduce new features. like Revue and NotesRedesign the Twitter Blue subscription to make blue check a paid feature. He’s also been thinking about rebooting Vine.

To say that the changes are occurring at a rapid pace is an understatement. Employees were let go via emails and often still working when suddenly their access to Twitter’s internal resources was cut. (Not being allowed to log in was a clue that they could check their email to see if the job was lost.

Musk has never spoken to his staff before. layoffs, reports said. But his message, nonetheless was clear: Twitter is being reformed and it’s not going to be the same place it was ever again. Now, the question is, will users stick with it?

Mastodon reaps the benefits of the Twitter exodus

As it turns out, some people decided they won’t be sticking around for whatever Twitter is turning into.

The open-source, decentralized social network MastodonOne platform that has benefited from the Twitter takeover. In addition to the seeing a record number of downloads for the Mastodon mobile app this past weekend, the nonprofitCompany also this week announcedA new milestone. In a post on Twitter — where Mastodon has been successfully marketing its app to those now considering leaving the service — it noted that 230,000 people have joined Mastodon during the last week alone. The post stated that the network now has 655,000 users. This is due to both new sign-ups and people returning to accounts they created previously.

This is the highest number of users Mastodon has seen to date and follows on news that the network had gained over 70,000 new sign-ups on Friday, October 28 — the day after Musk’s deal to acquire Twitter had closed. The Mastodon mobile app was available from Friday to Sunday. saw around 91,000 new installs, third-party data from Sensor Tower indicated — a 658% increase from the 12,000 installs it saw the three days prior.

Social experienced outages and lags due to the sudden increase in users. Additionally, some users were not fully conversant with Mastodon’s functions and found the process confusing or technical. They may have already given up and moved on to another platform, despite how this week was the prime opportunity to convince them of decentralization’s perks — like how Mastodon can’t be sold to a person like Musk.

Soon, another decentralized social app will come for Twitter’s user base. Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-founder and former CEO, is launching Bluesky, a social protocol that is decentralized and appThat aims to build a Twitter-like product using a different approach. But the open-source community has been frustrated with the Silicon Valley exec’s decision to go his own way with Bluesky, instead of using established protocols like ActivityPub, which powers MastodonOther.

Then there’s the fact that @Jack sold Twitter to Musk to begin with, so would anyone ever trust him again?

Substack also targets Twitter

Another company hoping to capitalize on Twitter’s upheaval is the newsletter platform Substack. The company openly targeted Twitter’s user base over the past few days and then threw its hat into the ring as a more direct competitor with the launch of a new feature, Substack Chat. This new feature allows Substack authors to communicate directly via the Substack mobile application with their most loyal readers.

Chat Substack is not only taking on TwitterThere are many back-and forth threaded discussions between readers and writers at, as well as other online communities where writers have been creating their own networks, such as Discord, Slack, and Telegram.

The company says the new Chat feature will eliminate the need for its writers to “frankenstein together different software tools and cross-reference subscriber lists,” its announcement read.

Chat is not a Twitter clone by any means — though there is overlap with how writers have used Twitter in the past.

The Chat feature will only be available to subscribers who have opted in. This means that not all newsletters may allow chats. Publications will have to first enable the featureOn their Settings page or simply by starting a new Substack thread. The user interface is not a timeline that you can scroll through, but rather resembles a traditional chat application.

The launch could however move some of the Twitter-based discussions to a more private space.

WhatsApp launches Communities

WhatsApp this Week officially launched CommunitiesThe new feature offering larger, more structured discussion groups that first entered into testing earlier this year. Designed to help organizations, clubs, schools and other private groups better communicate and stay organized, Communities bring a number of new features to the messaging platform, including admin controls, support for sub-groups and announcement groups, 32-person voice and video calls, larger-file sharing, emoji reactions and polls.

Communities can offer end-to-end encryption and support groups up to 1,024 members.

Some of the features that were developed for Communities. like emoji reactionslarge-file sharing (up to 2GB) and the ability for admins to delete messages, had already made their way to the WhatsApp platform ahead of today’s launch. The company now claims that polls, 32-person video chats, and larger group sizes will be supported on WhatsApp beyond Communities.

Group admins will have the ability to move their group into a Community at launch. Over the next few months, the feature will be available to all WhatsApp users worldwide on both iOS and Android.

Google Platforms

  • Google announced a revamp of the Google Play Store that will impact Android apps’ discoverability, how developers can market their apps to consumers and various trust and safety concerns. Of note, Google is advising developers that the Play Store will begin to prioritize apps that deliver on both technical and in-app quality by promoting them in more places across the Play Store where they can be discovered by consumers. It’s also rolling out new tools to reacquire churned users and help developers better handle coordinated attacks on their app ratings and reviews.


  • Google Search addedNew shopping features for the holiday seasonThe company will now mark discounts and promotions, and offer features such coupon clipping and deal comparisons. These features should be available on mobile, as well as the Google app.
  • Etsy launchedA search function for images on iOS The new addition allows you to use images to search the app’s marketplace of 5.3 million sellers.

Augmented Reality

Image Credits Meta

  • Instagram launched a collaboration with Art d’Egypte to release 11 AR filters on the app highlighting the “Forever is Now II” exhibition at the Pyramids of Giza.The exhibition features artwork and installations from JR, a French artist, Ahmed Karaly, an Egyptian sculptor, Emilio Ferro, and el Seed, a French-Tunisian graffiti artist. It also offers an immersive experience of art against the backdrop of the Pyramids of Giza. The filters feature a guide. This animated cat, inspired by the ancient Egyptian god Bastet, accompanies users while they explore each piece of art through immersive videos, images, illustrations and AR technology.
  • Snapchat and Amazon partnered on AR LensesFor eyewearAmazon Fashion launched shopping lenses for brands such as Maui Jim, Persol and Oakley.

Image Credits Snap/Amazon


  • Robinhood reported a decline in revenue in Q3With a 1% YoY decline to $361 million, instead of the $357.8 million. Net loss fell 87% to $175million, while MAUs dropped 1.8 million quarterly to 12.2million as of September 2022.
  • Digital banking app Chime began cutting costs, including a 12% staff reduction,approximately 160 people.
  • Investing app Public announced it’s expanding globally in 2023.The company announced that global investors will be able convert their local currency into the U.S. Dollar and invest in a variety of assets.
  • Police and other sources said Block’s Cash App has become a popular tool for adult and child sex traffickersLax monitoring – Forbes reported. 
  • PayPal and Venmo added Tap to Pay on iPhone, Apple Pay is now available for its branded debit/credit cards. Apple Pay can also be used as a payment option at checkout. In Q3, PayPal reportedRevenue rose 12% to $6.8billion YoY, roughly in line to the $6.81billion expected. Payments volume increased 14% to $337billion YoY, below the $343.2billion expected. Due to a lower forecast for annual revenues, the stock fell more than 8%.


Meta Instagram NFT

Image Credits Meta

  • Instagram now allows creators to make and market NFTs in their app.Traditional in-app purchases. Meta has chosen Polygon as its first partner for this feature. While the feature is being tested in the U.S. with a group, creators from Polygon will not be paid a cut.
  • Instagram is also available added supportThe Solana blockchain and Phantom wallet allowed for expanded subscription access to all U.S. creators, as well as gifts on Instagram Reels.
  • Facebook expanded “professional mode”To allow all creators to earn money through its various programs of monetization, including Reels Play bonuses or subscriptions.
  • Facebook also increasedAccess to StarsStars Party community challenges were added to Reels and automated onboarding was tested for creators.
  • Meta announced it will stop using human editorsTo curate articles for Facebook News in all marketsInstead, they will use algorithms. (That sounds familiar.)
  • Reddit has a new feature in development that will let you see how many people are in a Live Chat at once. as well as a new “Happening Now” page where you can see which Live Chats and Reddit Talks are active.
  • Truth Social now has more unique users than any other right-wing app. including Gab, Parler and Gettr, largely in part to Trump’s posts, The NYT reported.


  • Google is adding a limited version of the Imagen text-to-image generatorIts AI Test Kitchen app which will allow users to try out new interactions called “City Dreamer” and “Wobble” for designing cities around a theme or making little monsters, respectively. The app is not yet accessible to the public.
  • Cross-platform app Darkroom got a major update It also includes shadow and highlight recovery to help users make the most of ProRAW files captured by the new-generation iPhones. It also added Preset Sharing and new sliders for Exposure, Whites, Highlights, Shadows and Blacks.


  • Telegram removed a featureiOS users can now create pay-to see posts which creators were selling access to through third-party payments or donation bots, citing Apple’s App Store Rules. Apple’s policies don’t allow for third-party payment processors and require developers to pay up to a 30% commission on in-app purchases.


  • Match Group beat on earningsQ3 revenue rose 1% YoY to $810 Million, exceeding the $793 million estimate.Paying users grew by 2% YoY, to 16.5 millions. The stock also climbed 15% on the news. The company announced that it would invest in Hinge (The League), and two new apps that target specific demographics in 2023.

Streaming & Entertainment

Image Credits Amazon

  • Amazon rolled out a new benefitFor its Prime members, the addition of a full music catalogue with 100 million songsInstead of the 2 million songs previously available, it will now offer a wider selection. It will also make most of the top podcasts on its service available without ads, and added a “Podcast Previews” feature to its Music app that allows customers to listen to short clips as a way to discover new podcasts they may like. Amazon Music Unlimited allows users to upgrade to on-demand music.
  • Disney+ now offers e-commerce. The streaming service introduced a new subscriber perkThis service allows early access to select merchandise from brands such as Disney Animation Studios, Marvel, Disney Star Wars, and Pixar. Subscribers can see the merch listed in the detail pages of selected movies, shorts, and TV shows. They can scan a QR code on their phone to purchase the items, or they can go to the website. websiteDirectly authenticate with your Disney+ credentials.
  • YouTube launched Primetime Channels in the U.S.The video platform partnered with 35 streamers, including Paramount+, Showtime, Epix, Starz, AMC+ and others, which can be found in the Movies & Shows hub.
  • Clubhouse added supportBackground music and sound reactionsIts audio streaming platform.
  • Newly added references to a “TikTok Music” service have appearedThe code for the Resso streaming application, owned by TikTok’s parent ByteDance. The code appears to suggest that user activity may sync between the Resso app and TikTok Music, and specifically refers to a “” URL. The company has also set-up social accounts for TikTokMusic, signaling a possible Resso expansion and rebrand.


  • Google expandedGoogle Play Games beta for PC in the U.S.Canada, Mexico and seven other countries, including Canada and Mexico. The service provides 85 Android games that can all be played on Windows computers. Over the last couple of months Google added popular titles like “1945 Air Force,” “Blade Idle,” “Cookie Run: Kingdom” and “Evony: The King’s Return” among others.

Travel & Transportation

  • Uber beat in Q3Revenues rose 72% YoY, to $8.34 Billion above estimates of $8.1 billion. Gross bookings increased 26% YoY, to $29.1 Billion. This includes $13.7 Billion from Uber Eats.
  • Uber started annoying its users this week with unwelcome push notification ads. Beginning last weekend, people began complaining about the notification-based ads, which also included notifications for non Uber businesses like Peloton. Users said the notifications were being sent out when they weren’t even engaging with the Uber app itself. Uber claimed it was a limited test and noted people could turn off the notifications in the app if they didn’t like the ads.


  • Google announced new parental controlsGoogle Assistant platform.The new features will be made available over the next few weeks to Google Home and the Family Link and Google Assistant apps for iOS and Android. Parents will be able to limit or completely disable certain Assistant functions like calls, set kid-friendly settings, adjust downtime, and configure call limits. The settings will allow parents to set default services, limit how many answers they can get from Assistant, and introduce new voices that are child-friendly.
  • Google will shut down its Street View appFor iOS and Android by 2023Street View was made possible by the app, which allowed users to upload 360-degree imagery.

Government & Policy

  • The U.S Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against homework helper app Chegg Its security lapses which saw the personal data and passwords of nearly 40 million users stolen in 2018 were a result. The FTC’s order requires Chegg to strengthen security safeguards, offer consumers an easy way to delete their data and limit information collection on the front end. Chegg assured that it would comply.
  • Google indefinitely paused enforcement of its Google Play Store’s billing policy in India following an order by the country’s antitrust body that ordered the company to stop restricting developers from using third-party payment processing services for in-app purchases and buying apps. Google was also fined $113 Million by the Competition Commission of India after it abused its dominant position in India through its Play Store.
  • TikTok will update its privacy policyDecember 2, to grant staff from outside Europe, including China, access to data belonging to EU users. The change was announced months ahead of a drafted decision into a year-long investigation into the platform’s data exports to china under the GDPR.

Security & Privacy

  • Malwarebytes identified four apps that were listed by the developer Mobile Apps Group contained known malware that’s used to steal users’ information. At Tuesday’s time, the apps were already listed in the Play Store.

🤝Google bought AI avatar startup Alter around $100 million.The company allowed creators and brands to express their virtual identities. Google has Memoji ambitions. Alter started as Facemoji. This platform allowed developers of apps and games to integrate avatar systems into their apps.

🤝 Netflix acquiredSpry Fox, a Seattle-based developer of games, for an undisclosed sumAs part of its mobile game push. This is now the company’s sixth in-house studio, after earlier acquisitions, which have included Next Games, Night School Studio and Boss Fight Entertainment. The game developer, founded in 2010, is known for popular titles like “Triple Town,” “Alphabear” and “Cozy Grove.”

💰Givingli is a digital gifting platform raised $10 millionSeries A funding led by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s VC firm, Seven Seven Six. The app allows users to send e-cards or e-gifts via email, text, and social media. It is also integrated with Snapchat in 2020.


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