Economics/Class Relations

Dark side of therapy apps

April 20, 2023
Hello, Insiders. Matt Turner, editor in chief of business, here. Depression is a massive challenge that conventional mental-health care has struggled to tackle. Today’s big story centers on the dark side of the startups that believe tech can solve the world’s most complex problems — including mental health.


Here’s what else we’re covering:


— Matt Turner

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Ukraine, SpaceX, & more

  • SpaceX Starship launch. The tallest and most powerful rocket ever built is set to embark on its first orbital flight on Thursday. More here.
  • A 1960s-era cannon is “kicking ass” against Russia’s drones, but Ukrainian forces need more ammo. Read more.
  • Current or former Facebook users can now submit a claim to receive a share of a $725 million class action settlement. Here’s how.

Therapy apps

Marianne Ayala/Insider


Despite being touted as the fix for the broken mental-health-care system, the tech-based mental-health industry has a dark side.

In the past year, reports have found that some of the most recognizable names in the industry such as BetterHelp, Cerebral, and Talkspace have repeatedly engaged in creepy and harmful data-sharing practices that treat people in need of help as prospective sources of profit.

For instance, Loris is a startup that used data generated from text conversations with people in distress to make “empathetic” customer-service software. The source of the data? Crisis Text Line, a nonprofit suicide-prevention hotline and the parent company of Loris.

Taken together, the reports reveal a dangerous cocktail of tech solutionism, abuse of consumer trust, and regulatory failure that puts highly vulnerable people at risk. And they raise important questions about the future of mental-health care and the role of technology in it.


Swift, Musk, & more

Octavio Jones/TAS23/Getty Images for for TAS Rights Management; Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images


  • Taylor Swift avoided signing a $100 million sponsorship deal with FTX. A lawyer suing celebrities, including Tom Brady and Stephen Curry, says Swift was the only one to ask about unregistered securities. More here.
  • Earning $300,000 in New York, San Francisco, and Honolulu feels like earning $100,000. Inflation surged to highs not seen since the 1980s in 2022, pushing the cost of living higher — and a study found surging living costs are restricting buying power in big cities. Read more.
  • A look back on Elon Musk’s middle-school humor. It’s rare that the 51-year-old goes a day without cracking some kind of joke. From 420 jokes to marketing gag merchandise, here are some examples of Musk’s humor.
  • We mapped out the 113 most powerful people at Warner Bros. Discovery. The company laid off hundreds of employees and slashed costs after Discovery acquired WarnerMedia. These are the most powerful people under CEO David Zaslav leading WBD film and TV studios, HBO, CNN, and more. See them here.
  • How to grow your Turo fleet. Natalia Zorina is a Turo host in Miami who started her business on the car-rental app in 2018. She now has a fleet of 69 cars including a Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin, and several Lamborghinis. Here’s how she scaled her business.
  • Meta’s latest layoffs. Thousands of Meta workers received early-morning emails about their employment status after layoffs hit workers in Facebook, Reality Labs, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Get the full story.
  • Gen Z work trouble. Nearly 75% of managers and business leaders in a recent survey said they find Gen Z more difficult to work with than other generations — and 12% of managers said they’ve fired a Gen Z employee in their first week of work. Here’s why.

Tiny homes

Mark Pankey


A Southwest Airlines pilot turned a catering truck into mobile tiny home. Mark Pankey bought a decommissioned aircraft-catering truck at an auction for $3,300. He then spent seven months converting it. See how he did it.

Big Business

Why starting a marijuana business is so hard. It can take $1 million in startup capital to get a license to start a weed business. Watch here.

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This edition was curated by Matt Turner, and edited by Hallam Bullock, Lisa Ryan, Nathan Rennolds, Jensen Rubinstein, Shona Ghosh, and Jack Robert Stacey. Get in touch:

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