Build Your Own AR Instagram Filters & Say Goodbye To Google Average Position – Digital News Roundup – 16.08.19
Another busy week in the world of digital news! This time we’re talking new AR effects on Insta, the latest Snapchat Spectacles, more audio listening controversy, the demise of average position, and concerns around facial recognition in one of London’s key areas.
Tech just got cooler and more accessible, if not scarily more invasive and not ok… 🕵️♀️
Instagram to let everyone make their own AR effects
Instagram is now offering up a rival service to Snapchat’s Lenses, opening up its Spark AR Studio software to more users.
The AR creation software, which the platform has been testing for a while, will allow users of the photo-sharing app to make their own AR selfie filters. While the software is largely aimed at creatives with a bit of experience using these types of programmes, Instagram has said that all artists should give it a go.
To promote the launch, Instagram has been showcasing users’ creations within the app; scroll all the way to the end on the camera and click “browse more effects” if you want to see them for yourself. The capability comes as a direct competitor for Snapchat’s long-standing user-generated Lens platform, which was a real differentiator from its competitors.
Anything Snap can do, Insta can do better? Only time will tell. Read more over at Mashable.
Time to say goodbye to average position in Google Ads
Google has this week announced that it will begin to remove the ‘average position’ metric from the week of the 30th September, following the announcement that it would be phasing out earlier this year.
That gives marketers around six weeks to implement updates, or make changes to any reporting or scripts that use average position. Instead, Google is advising advertisers to use the position metrics it introduced last year, which report on search top impression rate and search absolute top impression rate. The differentiator being that absolute top is classed as the first ad at the very top of the page, while top is above the organic results.
If you’re running rules, custom columns, saved reports or dashboards where average position feeds in, then it’s time to start making the switch before the end of September. Check out more on the news over at Search Engine Land.
Facebook the latest company to admit contractors listened to user recordings
Facebook has come out as the fourth major company to admit that humans have been allowed to listen in on audio recording of users without their knowledge.
In this case, users agreed to have their voice chats transcribed, but human contractors were tasked with re-transcribing the conversations to test the accuracy of the AI. However, users had only opted in to having their conversations heard by machines – not other humans.
As a result, Facebook has now “paused human review of audio”, following in the footsteps of Google and Apple, who have both recently received similar criticisms. Now, the Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK will investigate whether the “undisclosed use of human oversight” is a breach of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner, which oversees Apple and Google, will be carrying out similar investigations of its own.
Read more on the controversy at The Guardian.
Does social media cause teens to not get enough sleep?
The impact of social media on young people has been a hot topic over the past year, and now research has found that time spent on social media could be negatively impacting things like sleep and exercise.
With 9 out of 10 teens in the UK owning a smartphone, the study found that “boys and girls who checked their social-media more than three times a day had poorer mental health” . Girls on the whole were more susceptible to cyber bullying on their mobiles, and anxiety as they got older.
With more than half of the girls and 43% of the boys admitting to checking their profiles more than three times a day, it’s easy to see how balance and time for other activities may be hard to come by. Dr Dasha Nicholls, from Imperial College London, who worked on the study said: “It’s not the amount of social media… it’s when it displaces real life contact and activities.”
To help, the study suggests children are encouraged to leave phones outside of their bedrooms, or to stop using them after 10pm. Find out more about the study at BBC Newsround.
Snapchat Spectacles 3 are coming – and they’re pretty pricey
The shiny new version of Snapchat Spectacles is coming to the market this autumn, bringing with it a host of new features designed to see things “the way our eyes do”.
First launched back in 2016, Snapchat’s smart specs capture content specifically for the Snapchat platform, and while they were popular initially, sales quickly slumped. The Snapchat Spectacles 3 are hoping to turn that around, with two HD cameras to capture images in 3D, and a sleek new design.
Available in black or a goldy colour called ‘mineral’, the Spectacles 3 will capture 60-second video clips and still images, as well as audio from the four embedded microphones within the frames. These shiny new upgrades will cost you, however. The first edition retailed at around $100, while the new model will be $380 – quite the increase.
So, do you think you’ll be investing? Check out more on the Snapchat Spectacles 3 over at CNET.
Government facing pressure around facial recognition in King’s Cross
Facial recognition software around London’s King’s Cross is coming under fire once more, with mounting pressure for more details about its use to be released to the public.
Argent, the developer behind the tech in the 67-acre area, admitted it uses the facial recognition tools for “public safety”, although this was only revealed following an article by the Financial Times. While the company admits its use, it has repeatedly declined to explain what the tech is, how it’s being utilised, or how long it’s been in position.
Prof Paul Wiles, UK biometrics commissioner, has called on the government to “take action over the use of facial recognition technology by the private sector as well as by law enforcement,” as well as expanding the classification of facial recognition as biometrics.
Just last month MPs called for police and other authorities to stop using live facial recognition tools due to concerns around accuracy and bias, although generating wider debate on the topic at government level has been slow. Prof Wiles, who has been biometrics commissioner for three years, has only been granted one meeting to discuss the topic during his tenure.
Stephanie Hare, an independent researcher, said: “”We need to future-proof it. We need to discuss hugely its role in the private sector. The police and the government is one thing, we need to know if the private sector is allowed to do this and if so, under what conditions?”
Take a look at more on the story over at BBC News.
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