Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…
Social media firms will have to remove harmful content quickly or face multi-billion-pound fines under new legislation. The government’s Online Safety Bill, announced in the Queen’s Speech, is especially geared at keeping children safe, but promises to protect debate, saying “democratically important” content should be preserved.
The draft legislation covers a huge range of content to which children might fall victim, including grooming, revenge porn and posts relating to suicide. But it goes much further, taking in terrorism, disinformation and racist abuse. Campaigners say the plans will lead to censorship, while others warn fines do not go far enough.
Instagram is making it easier to address people by their defined pronouns. The platform is allowing people to add up to four pronouns to their profile, which they can then choose to display publicly or only to their followers. Instagram says this is available in a “few countries” at the moment, including the UK and the US.
Many people already displayed their pronouns in their Insta bio but this is the first time it’s been formally incorporated into the app’s design. Other platforms have already added the feature, including Lyft and OkCupid. Facebook began allowing users to define their pronouns in 2014 (limited to he/him, she/her and they/them).
Facebook is following in Twitter’s footsteps by testing a feature that reminds users they should read an article before sharing it with others. You can just ignore the prompt, of course, and go ahead and share it anyway, but this could be a welcome deterrent to keep people from sharing unreliable articles mindlessly.
When Twitter first tested this feature, it actually found that people opened articles 40% more often after seeing the prompt, and that many people ended up not sharing an article once they actually read it. Whether Facebook, which has had a huge problem with misinformation, sees the same positive results will be interesting…
Elon Musk has said that Tesla will no longer accept Bitcoin as payment due to concerns about climate change. When Tesla announced in March it would accept the cryptocurrency, it was met with an outcry from environmentalists and investors. A month earlier, Tesla had bought £1bn of the world’s biggest digital currency.
“We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel,” said Musk. It’s unclear how the CEO of an electric carmaker has only just realised that Bitcoin — the mining of which uses more electricity each year than Malaysia — is bad for the environment.
Apple has long maintained strict control over the App Store, in order to prevent malware, fraud and other problems. And to prove that point, it has revealed that it rejected more than a million apps from the App Store in 2020 —…