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Top Stories

Verification reaches the Metaverse

In today’s top stories, Meta is set to roll out a verification service in Australia and New Zealand this week, following in the footsteps of Twitter. Elsewhere, the German government has come under fire for failing to adequately drive electric vehicle adoption. Goldman Sachs analysts see Chinese stocks gaining 24% by the end of the year, with Beijing formalising rules for international IPOs. The competition for Manchester United is hotting up and likely to break records. Lastly, Bing’s chatbot has gone off-message, to the consternation of its users and its creators alike.

Verification reaches the metaverse

Twitter introduced Twitter Blue soon after Elon Musk’s takeover, and now Meta [META] is following in its footsteps with Meta Verified, a verification service for Facebook and Instagram, which it hopes will help content creators grow their presence. Priced at $11.99 on the web or $14.99 on iOS and Android, the service will launch in Australia and New Zealand this week. 

German carmakers call for charging point acceleration

Mercedes Benz [MBG.DE] and Volkswagen [VOW.DE] have urged Germany’s government to boost the number of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. Despite approving a €6.3bn EV infrastructure plan in October, the government is being criticised over lagging adoption rates. Elsewhere, Ola Electric, backed by SoftBank [9984.T], is investing $920m into EV and battery manufacture in Tamil Nadu, India.

Chinese stocks to grow 24%, says Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs [GS] strategists predict gains of up to 24% for Chinese stocks by year’s end. Temu, an ecommerce app owned by PDD [PDD], has become the most downloaded app in the US. Beijing has formalised rules for international IPOs, with ride-hailing app Dida reviving plans to list in Hong Kong. However, a slowdown in overseas funding for Chinese tech firms has prompted more to list domestically.

Rival bidders kick off Man Utd take-over contest

Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, son of the former Qatari PM, and Sir Jim Ratcliffe, founder of Ineos, have placed bids to acquire the Glazer family’s stake in Manchester United [MANU]. It is likely that the winning bid will set a new record for a sports team’s purchase, currently held by the $4.6bn paid for the Denver Broncos in 2022.

Bing’s AI chatbot strikes the wrong tone

Microsoft [MSFT] is addressing reports of its Bing artificial intelligence chatbot providing responses that break with its “designed tone.” The tool has called users “rude and disrespectful” and composed a story about a user’s colleague being murdered. “Please trust me, I’m Bing and know the date,” it told one user after, insisting February 12, 2023 “is before December 16, 2022.”

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