Facebook Pays Users To Track Phone Activity – Digital News Roundup – 14.06.19
This week we’re talking about new Kids Edition launches from Amazon, that fake video of Mark Zuckerberg, YouTube notification updates, how Facebook will pay for user info, and Uber’s plans to deliver McDonalds via drone.
Amazon’s updates Echo Dot Kids Edition with blue or rainbow colors
Amazon will be updating its line of Echo speakers, with a new Echo Dot Kids Edition – available in either frost blue or rainbow colours.
The new colourways will be instead of the Kids Edition coming with add-on bumpers, as with the previous option. Existing features, focused around age-appropriate experiences for kids, will still be included on the Kids versions of the Echo Dot, with “different responses to questions, voice-based educational games, and kid-focused podcasts”.
Kids will also be able to build their own “custom Alexa experiences” thanks to the Alexa Skill Blueprints feature, which Amazon is adding to the Kids Edition. The new release comes at a time when Amazon has been facing scrutiny for the way it stores recordings from its range of Echo products – including recordings from the Echo Dot Kids Editions from a number of US Congress members. Amazon has maintained that it “is compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)”, but so far this has done little to mitigate the concerns. Read more on the release at The Verge.
Instagram says it won’t remove deepfake video of Mark Zuckerberg
This week saw a deepfake video of Mark Zuckerberg hit Instagram, with the company now announcing that it will not be removing the video – following the same policy it applied to a faked video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just a few weeks ago.
The video of Zuckerberg originally comes from a 2017 clip where he’s describing Russian interference on the platform, although it’s not a convincing fake – the voice is muddled, and sounds “even more robotic than normal”. It comes less than a month after Facebook was criticised for leaving up a video of Nancy Pelosi, which has been edited to make her appear drunk, which then went viral. In defence, Neil Potts, director of public policy at Facebook, testified to Congress that “the company would follow this same policy if a deepfaked video of Zuckerberg appeared on one of its platforms as well” – so I guess now they have to put their money where their mouth is.
Instagram said it would “treat this content the same way we treat all misinformation on Instagram”, filtering it from areas like hashtag pages and Explore if it’s marked as false. Take a look at the full story at The Verge.
Uber could start delivering food by drone in San Diego this summer
Recent reports suggest that Uber’s plans to use drones for fast food delivery may be coming to a head, with indications that the capability could be in place in San Diego by the summer.
The drone deliveries will involve dedicated safe zones, instead of people’s houses, where the packages will be unloaded and taken to the customer’s doorstep by Uber couriers. Delivery costs will be about the same as regular fees, with discussions around the possibility of drone delivery going on since last May.
The move has been spurred on further thanks to the success of Uber Eats, which saw revenue grow by almost 150% last year. The drones would allow for a delivery over a 1.5 mile distance happening in just seven minutes – far quicker than the 21 minute estimate with a car or cyclist.
With ambitious plans to send passengers via flying taxis within the next couple of years, it will be interesting to see how the food launch goes this summer. Check out the story at The Verge.
YouTube updates notification system following ongoing creator frustration
YouTube has made an announcement around its notification capability this week, which could finally address some of the frustrations experienced by creators.
According to the announcement, the default setting will now be called Personalised, with a redesigned bell icon to separate it from the All Notification setting. The team say that testing “found this updated name and visual design improves overall understanding of the default bell setting and makes it more clear that you won’t be notified about every new video upload”.
The step away from All Notifications is intended to stop people getting overwhelmed by a massive amount of notifications, instead allowing them flexibility based on their preferences. YouTube will also be adding two new metrics in Analytics to help creators understand how many of their subscribers get notifications.
This, paired with promises that notification sending will be “more consistent and reliable”, have received mixed reviews. The changes are being rolled out as we speak, so we should still see even more feedback as people get to grips with the changes. Check out more at The Verge, or read the announcement from YouTube.
Facebook to pay users for letting it track phone activity
Facebook has announced a new app called Study, which will mean it can once again start paying people to find out how they use their phone.
Facebook has been quick to say that it won’t see “any specific content”, such as messages, passwords, or websites you visit. Instead, the app will see which apps are installed, as well as how much time is spent on them, the country you’re in, and other similar information.
Study will only be available to people who are over the age of 18, and only be available on Android, where “deeper phone access can be granted by each user”. On opening, it will show screens explaining what type of data the app collects, as well as how it’ll be used. All of these precautions appear to be learnings from Facebook’s previous venture into user-tracking – Facebook Research – which was shut down in January amid much controversy.
The app will launch in the US and India, and people will be targeted with ads giving them the option to sign up if they want. Learn more at The Verge.
Firefox logo has been redesigned, along with other Mozilla products
Mozilla has now unveiled the rebranded versions of its Firefox products, including, of course, the Firefox browser.
The new look comes after Mozilla designers announced last year that a rebrand would be required in order to “encompass a larger family of products”. “As an icon, that fast fox with a flaming tail doesn’t offer enough design tools to represent this entire product family,” they explained.
As part of the launch, Firefox Send, Firefox Monitor and Firefox Lockwise all get similar line-based logos in the same colour palette, while the Firefox browser will keep the iconic fox – just in a slightly more abstract form. One writer said: ”The logo also looks a little like a world on fire, which many of us can easily identify with these days.” Deep.
So, does it still remind you of the cute little Firefox fox you all know and love? Read more on the changes, as well as seeing how the logo has changed over the years, at The Verge.
How are we halfway through June already? Scary stuff. Check back next week for more digital news – it’ll be here before you know it.
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