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TOPIC: meta


Inside Poland’s Quietly Booming Tech Sector

Poland has received widespread investment from multinational companies and now, the country is bucking the worldwide trend by adding jobs in the tech sector.

The Polish economy and its tech sector have experienced marked growth in recent years, especially since it joined the European Union . Poland currently has 60,000 tech companies, including 10 of its own— companies that reach a value of $1 billion without being listed on the stock market .

IT and tech currently accounts for 8% of the Polish GDP. Giants such as Microsoft , Google , Meta , Intel, Samsung and Amazon have all invested in Polish IT and established their own centers within the country. Poland’s central location within Europe, and its proximity to other countries experiencing their own tech successes such as Germany and Lithuania, has also granted it a strategic advantage for additional investment.

In late March, experts began to warn that Polish tech wanted too much too fast, especially when the IT market was impacted by the same layoffs happening across the sector worldwide. Some technicians who did not lose their jobs were allowed to keep them on the condition that they accept a lower pension in the future.

But in spite of these challenges, the sector is still expected to grow. As of June 22, 38% of Polish IT firms have said that they are looking to hire new staff, according to Polish tech news service CRN . Even taking into account those firms saying they are looking to cut down, this amounts to 26% in employment growth across the industry.

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Russia Hits Lviv, Greta Charged, Dutch Schools v. Phones

👋 ሰላም ሃለው*

Welcome to Thursday, where four are killed as Russia strikes a residential building in Lviv, western Ukraine, Greta Thunberg is charged for resisting police at a protest last month, and Meta’s brand-new “Twitter killer” already has millions of sign-ups. Meanwhile, Catarina Pires in news website Mensagem takes us to Vilnius to see how the Lithuanian capital has been turned into an open-air classroom.

[*Selam halewi - Tigrinya, Eritrea and Ethiopia]

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More Attacks Inside Russia, Clashes Breach Sudan Truce, WhatsApp Edits

👋 Servus!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where fighting continues between Ukrainian troops and Russian paramilitaries in Russia’s Belgorod border region, airstrikes are reported in Sudan despite a week-long ceasefire, and WhatsApp will soon let its users fix their whoopsies. Meanwhile, Lisbon-based news website Mensagem looks at how a revised song has become an anthem of female resistance in the “patriarchal” universe of samba.

[*Bavarian, Germany and Austria ]

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*Michael Nolan

Biohack Your Brain? New Neurotechnology Products Raise Serious Privacy Questions

A new flood of consumer-facing neuroscience-driven products, including those using electroencephalograms (EEGs) raise complicated questions about data privacy and beyond.

The past few decades of neuroscience research have produced a wide array of technologies capable of measuring human brain activity. Functional magnetic resonance imaging, implanted electrode systems, and electroencephalograms, or EEGs, among other techniques, have helped researchers better understand how our brains respond to and control our bodies’ interactions with the world around us.

Now some of these technologies — most notably, EEG — have broken out of the lab and into the consumer market . The earliest of these consumer-facing neurotechnology devices, relatively simple systems that measured electrical signals conducted across the skull and scalp, were marketed mostly as focus trainers or meditation aids to so-called “biohackers” seeking to better themselves through technology.

However, tech industry giants have lately taken notice, and they are exploring inventive new ways to make use of the inner electrical conversations in our brains.

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eyes on the U.S.
Ginevra Falciani and Bertrand Hauger

Eyes On U.S. — California, The World Is Worried About You

As an Italian bestseller explores why people are fleeing the Golden State, the international press also takes stock of unprecedented Silicon Valley layoffs. It may be a warning for the rest of the world.


For as long as we can remember, the world has seen California as the embodiment of the American Dream.

Today, this dream may be fading — and the world is taking notice.

A peek at the Italian list of non-fiction best-sellers in 2022 includes California by Francesco Costa, a book that looks to explain why 340,000 people moved out of the state last year, causing a drop in its population for the first time ever.

To receive Eyes on U.S. each week in your inbox, sign up here.

Why are all these people leaving a state that on paper looks like the best place in the world to live? Why are stickers with the phrase “Don't California my Texas” attached to the back of so many pick-up trucks?

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In The News
Laure Gautherin, Renate Mattar, Sophia Constantino and Anne-Sophie Goninet

U.S. Midterm Results, New North Korea Missile, Huge Facebook Layoffs

👋 Adishatz !*

Welcome to Wednesday, where the expected Republican midterm victory wave turns out to be more of a ripple, Zelensky remains defiant as battles intensify in Donetsk, and 2,300 year-old bronze statues are found in pristine condition in Tuscany. Meanwhile, Chinese-language media The Initium has rare testimonies from workers forced to flee China’s huge Foxconn factory, for fear of being trapped inside by COVID orders.

[* Occitan, France ]

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Yuri Litvinenko and Valeria Lebedeva

Instagram Nyet! Russian Influencers Lose Mojo On Homegrown Platforms

It's a different kind of "migration" indeed, from Instagram to VKontakte, after U.S. social media were banned in Russia. It's yet another kind of difficulty for Russians trying to continue with daily life.

MOSCOW — Since the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine, access to international digital platforms and social networks within Russia has become virtually impossible. Facebook and Instagram were banned in late March, the activities of their parent company Meta were declared extremist and blocked, and Twitter was quickly added later to the hit list.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war , with our exclusive international coverage.

The platforms themselves also set restrictions: in particular, YouTube prevented the ability to monetize content in Russia, Meta blocked certain advertisers' accounts, and TikTok limited the download of new videos and access to foreign content.

All this has resulted in another mass migration since the start of the war: this time, of a different sort. Russians who earn their living through Western social media must now move their online activity to domestic Russian platforms.

Expectations and Reality

Russian social networks have been busy boasting a growing audience. A representative of VKontakte, the Russian Facebook equivalent, told Kommersant that in March, the daily number of users in the Russian Federation increased by 9% and the total monthly audience in the country amounted to 72 million, the first time it ever exceeded 50 million. Other networks such as Odnoklassniki and Gazprom-Media, which owns the Yappy short-video service, have claimed similar growth.

The transition of the Facebook and Instagram audience to Russian platforms was facilitated not only by its unilateral blockage, but also by the lack of clarity regarding the consequences for those who continued to use the sites via VPN.

The decision of the Moscow Court on Meta states that judicial protection measures do not limit the use of social networks by users who are not involved in prohibited activities. The wording raised major questions, though. The office of the Prosecutor General was asked for clarifications as lawyers wanted to understand whether individuals and legal entities can be held administratively and criminally liable for posting links to Meta resources , “liking” posts, using platform symbols, as well as using the messaging tools that have become integrated into daily life.

No clarification has yet been given.

Lost In Translation

Mediascope notes that the Telegram messaging platform is growing the fastest of all Russian social channels: its average daily coverage has grown from 25% (for the period February 21–27) to 34% (April 11–15). The platform accounts for a significant portion of news content consumption, according to Mediascope.

The coverage of VKontakte has not changed so noticeably - from 38% to 41%, while Odnoklassniki has hardly changed at all. In comparison, the average Instagram reach fell from 32% to 12% and Facebook from 8% to 2%,

But for influencers, the change is not as easy as it seems at first glance. Indeed, Epicstars Communications Director Anastasia Yermoshina said that popular bloggers with an audience of more than 1 million subscribers will not be able to quickly transfer them to new platforms.

The Russian services themselves aren't ready to accept users from Facebook or Instagram.

When switching from Instagram to other social networks, bloggers can lose around 15-20% of the "legacy" audience.

As a result, neither bloggers nor advertisers “can immediately adapt to all the changes and are in no hurry to leave their usual platforms,” Ekaterina Bibik, head of Admitad Affiliate in Russia, emphasizes. Nor are the Russian services themselves yet ready to accept users from Facebook or Instagram.

Kirill Lubnin, vice-president of the CROS agency for strategy and development notes another issue. Users of VKontakte and Odnoklassniki discuss politics and topical issues less than people on Facebook and Instagram who bypass their blocking.

There is a lot of consumer and entertainment content on VK social networks, as well as "content with a regional or territorial reference," he noted. Russian social networks when compared to Instagram, are less aimed at the audiences of Moscow and St. Petersburg, and instead appeal to more rural ones.

Differences in user preferences are largely related to how the platforms were positioned in the early stages of development, Kirill Borisov explains: “Aesthetic content has a greater response on Instagram than on other platforms, since the philosophy of “sharing photos” is still alive.”

\u200bScreen of a smartphone displaying the logos of the social networks

Screen of a smartphone displaying the logos of the apps VKontakte, Twitter, RT News, Facebook, Instagram and Telegram.

Fernando Gutierrez-Juarez/dpa/ZUMA

Telegram Is Different

The move to Russian platforms comes with another challenge. Here, the tools for advertisers are still geared towards groups: “In order to become commercially successful, a blogger has to create communities. For many, this is a new practice.”

The hype simply won’t last.

Originally conceived by the founder Pavel Durov as a means of secure messaging, Telegram has become something closer to a social media platform with the addition of “groups” and “channels”. This format, though, remains entirely different to that of Instagram, and bloggers who don't readjust their habits could be at risk of having their followers turn off notifications and therefore drop in audience reach.

While some influencers are taking the move in their stride, attempting to master Russian social networks as quickly as possible and avoid severe drops in earnings, others consider attempts to replace Western social networks with others as doomed to failure. Influencers “may try to build their following on the new platforms," says Yermoshina, "but in the long run, the hype simply won’t last."

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Raphaël Balenieri

Don't Let The Metaverse Become Just Another Club For The Wealthy

Metaverses are introducing ownership and rarity to the internet for the first time in its history. It is already generating billions of dollars in transactions, but the risk is that it becomes a club exclusively for the wealthy.


PARIS — Gas, electricity, paper… The prices of everything are soaring. But this is nothing compared with what is happening in the metaverse, a place of a multitude of new, virtual and immersive universes, populated with 3D avatars.

In The Sandbox, a metaverse launched in 2012 by two Frenchmen and backed by the Japanese conglomerate Softbank, the prices of virtual lands (more than 166,000 of them exist on the platform) compete with real estate prices in Paris, London or Hong Kong. A user called “EnzoFar” recently put his land for sale … for 66,666 Ethers (a top cryptocurrency, along with Bitcoin), or more than $227 million at the current exchange rate.

Others have done even better. Since their creation by four friends in 2021, the 10,000 unique virtual apes of the Bored Ape Yacht Club have generated what equates to $1.5 billion in transactions. Justin Bieber, Paris Hilton, Snoop Dogg and Eminem have all succumbed to the craze and bought their own.

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In The News
Jane Herbelin and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Ukraine Lockstep, Meta vs. Europe, Farewell Ye Olde Pub

👋 Szia!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where the West shows unity on Ukraine, Meta threatens to pull Facebook and Instagram from Europe, and it’s last orders for England’s oldest pub. French daily Les Echos ’ correspondent Frédéric Schaeffer slides down the ski slopes in China , where the Olympics have boosted the development of winter sports.


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In The News
Jane Herbelin and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Controversial Olympic Kick Off, Ukraine Attack Plot, Message In A Bogey

👋 你好*

Welcome to Friday, where Xi and Putin meet as the Beijing Winter Olympics kick off, South Africa develops its own Moderna vaccine, and a 95-year-old message in a bottle is found on a Scottish golf course. We also look at what is making Latin America change its mind regarding coworking.

[*Néih hóu - Cantonese]

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Raphaël Suire

The Metaverse Will Make All That's Bad With The Internet Worse

The change of Facebook's name to Meta is a hint to the general public of where social media and digital sovereignty risks taking us in a future "virtual" world.


PARIS — The first bricks of the internet emerged in post-World War II California at the crossroads of a double ideology: military and libertarian, based on the virtues of decentralization. It was all about inventing a network infrastructure that was resilient to targeted attacks. It also allowed for individuals to be emancipated through a new set of capabilities, including in communication, interaction and learning, facilitated through a microcomputer.

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