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LastPass hacked, OpenAI opens access to ChatGPT, and Kanye gets suspended from Twitter (again)

Aaaaand we’re back! With our Thanksgiving mini-hiatus behind us, it’s time for another edition of Week in Review — the newsletter where we quickly wrap up the most read TechCrunch stories from the past seven(ish) days. No matter how busy you are, it should give you a pretty good idea of what people were talking about in tech this week. Want it in your inbox every Saturday morning? Sign up here . most read Instafest goes instaviral : You’ve probably been to a great music festival before. But have you been to one made just for you ? Probably not. Instafest, a web app that went super viral this week, helps you daydream about what that festival might look like. Sign in with your Spotify credentials and it’ll generate a promo poster for a pretend festival based on your listening habits. LastPass breached (again) : “Password manager LastPass said it’s investigating a security incident after its systems were compromised for the second time this year,” writes Zack Whittaker. Investigation

This Week in Apps: The year’s best apps, Twitter rival Hive’s security woes, App Store backlash grows

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Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy. Global app spending reached $65 billion in the first half of 2022, up only slightly from the $64.4 billion during the same period in 2021, as hypergrowth fueled by the pandemic has slowed down. But overall, the app economy is continuing to grow, having produced a record number of downloads and consumer spending across both the iOS and Google Play stores combined in 2021, according to the latest year-end reports . Global spending across iOS and Google Play last year was $133 billion, and consumers downloaded 143.6 billion apps. This Week in Apps offers a way to keep up with this fast-moving industry in one place with the latest from the world of apps, including news, updates, startup fundings, mergers and acquisitions, and much more. Do you want This Week in Apps in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here: techcrunch.com/newsle

Copycats can drown  

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Welcome to Startups Weekly, a nuanced take on this week’s startup news and trends by Senior Reporter and Equity co-host Natasha Mascarenhas. To get this in your inbox, subscribe here. To end the year, let’s continue to return to columns that I wrote that have aged, well, interestingly. In July, I wrote about how Y Combinator is building a Product Hunt, Product Hunt is building an Andreessen Horowitz and Andreessen Horowitz is building a Y Combinator. It was a not-so-subtle nod to how top institutions are trying to be accelerators, discovery engines, content marketers and check-writers all in one. Enter the latest. Future, Andreessen Horowitz’s formal foray into tech media, is shutting down less than two years after first launching, according to Business Insider. To me, the shutdown is less about a venture firm failing to jump into the editorial space — the firm is still very much creating content and even building a new podcast on tech and culture as we speak — and more about ho

It’s foie gras season in unicorn land

W elcome to the TechCrunch Exchange, a weekly startups-and-markets newsletter. It’s inspired by the daily TechCrunch+ column where it gets its name. Want it in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here . With most startups getting repriced behind closed doors, we love getting data that gives us a glimpse of what’s going on. This week, our new information comes from EquityZen, which shared insights on secondary stock sales. EquityZen also put up a few IPO predictions that gave us food for thought. Let’s explore. — Anna A glimpse of repricing How do you know when a unicorn has lost its billion-dollar valuation? Usually you only find out long after the fact, when — and if — the company raises a down round that makes it clear that its equity valuation is no longer in the unicorn realm. The thing is, not many founders want to advertise that they have raised capital at a lower valuation than their previous round; in most cases, they just won’t disclose their new valuation. Startup va

Tech’s growth story shifted this year. How has that impacted transparency?

When Vijay Chattha was building a startup, his competitor was what some would call a media darling. The competition had a good story, which created investor interest. In turn, that interest helped land key customers. And so the cycle repeated. Chattha eventually sold that company in a lukewarm exit and took with him an important lesson: Earned media has the power to be a kingmaker. Chattha is now the founder and CEO of VSC, a public relations firm that has helped launch over 600 companies. The firm works with startups across all stages and recently introduced a $21 million venture firm to back the companies that it advises. (Or, as Chattha puts it, to put some skin in the game). Now, 20 years in, Chattha has thoughts regarding how tech’s cyclical nature has impacted its relationship with media, the power of sharing real numbers and whether founders should prepare to fall on their sword in the name of transparency. “I think it’s a dangerous thing. It’s like water. If you don’t have

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

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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.) T

Looks like sex tech startup Lora DiCarlo is done for

Lora DiCarlo, a sex tech startup that made headlines in 2019 after being blacklisted from the Consumer Electronics Show, seems to have shut down. The company’s website is offline and reportedly orders have gone unfulfilled for months. TechCrunch has reached out to the eponymous founder for confirmation, but it sure looks like the end of the line for a briefly promising high-tech sex toy enterprise. Founded in 2017, Lora DiCarlo was one of a new wave of tech-forward sexual health companies headed up by women. It won an innovation award at CES 2019 for, as our writer put it at the time, “a hands-free device that uses biomimicry and robotics to help women achieve a blended orgasm by simultaneously stimulating the G-spot and the clitoris.” But then the Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES, withdrew the award and banned the company from exhibiting at the show. Their explanation at the time was that neither the company nor its devices “fit a product category.” Predictably, th

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