QAnon is no longer welcome on some social media platforms, Instagram pinky swears it’s *not* spying on you and more tech “news you can use” this week.
Is Instagram Watching You Through Your Camera?
A few weeks ago, we reported that Apple’s iOS 14 beta had a hand in showing that many apps are “snooping on” users’ phone data, Gizmodo reported. Thanks to Apple, we already knew that LinkedIn, Reddit and TikTok were “secretly copying clipboard content.” Now, we are sad but not surprised that Instagram is a data-grabbing offender, too.
According to Gizmodo, several Instagram users have “reported that their camera’s ‘in use’ indicator stays on even when they’re just scrolling through their Instagram feed.” Gizmodo added that Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, already had to fix a “similar issue with its iOS app last year when users found their device’s camera would quietly activate in the background without their permission while using Facebook.”
An Instagram spokesperson is calling this breach of privacy a bug.
“We only access your camera when you tell us to—for example when you swipe from Feed to Camera. We found and are fixing a bug in iOS 14 Beta that mistakenly indicates that some people are using the camera when they aren’t,” the spokesperson told Gizmodo. “We do not access your camera in those instances, and no content is recorded.”
For more on this and what Instagram plans to do to fix the issue, click here.
Is Face ID Coming to Mac Computers?
Mashable reported that “the beta for macOS Big Sur, Apple’s next major update for its proprietary PC operating system, apparently features references in the code to TrueDepth.” Mashable added that TrueDepth “is the camera system that allows Face ID to function on iOS devices.”
Mashable explained that this change would require “specialized hardware that would have to be built into any computer meant to support Face ID.” The update would include “the TrueDepth camera” and “Apple’s latest-generation line of processing chip, which isn’t built into any currently available Mac.”
Mashable added that we’ll all know more when the Big Sur update arrives later into 2020.
QAnon Is No Longer Welcome on Some Social Media Platforms
Twitter recently announced it’s “taking steps to limit the influence of QAnon on its platform,” Wired reported.
For those who don’t know, per Wired, “QAnon is a sprawling online community loosely organized around the belief that Donald Trump is waging a secret war against an elite cabal that engages in devil worship and pedophilia.” Okay!
Twitter’s announcement stated it would: “Permanently ban anyone who tweets QAnon content and violates rules around coordinated harassment, running multiple accounts, or trying to evade previous suspensions.” It also would: “Stop recommending QAnon accounts, suppress the topic in search results, and block QAnon-related URLs from being shared.”
Although Twitter’s QAnon policy won’t stop the conspiracy theory pushers, it will slow the “group’s ability to spread” information.
“These movements mutate very, very quickly, and they’re not going to stay off Twitter,” Joan Donovan, research director at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, said. “But they’re going to have a hard time growing if they don’t solidify around a few keywords so that they can find one another again.”
TikTok also announced that it would no longer allow QAnon hashtags (the platform will block them), but it won’t go as far as removing related videos.
According to The Verge, blocked tags include “QAnon,” “QAnon Truth,” and “Out of the Shadows.”
The Verge goes on the report that other platforms, such as Twitter (which we referenced earlier), and others have “taken a harder stance against QAnon Material.”
Here’s how other major players are managing QAnon Material:
Facebook: The social media site “removed several groups and pages promoting QAnon back in April.” Facebook said the groups “were engaged in ‘coordinated inauthentic behavior.’”
Roku: The streaming platform removed a QAnon channel.
Reddit: The site “banned the QAnon subreddit r/GreatAwakening for violating its rules against ‘inciting violence, harassment, and the dissemination of personal information.’”
It’s another wild week in tech news! Here are some cute dogs, which make everything a lil better:
Abbie Stutzer is a queer, non-binary writer living in Kansas City, MO. You can find them doing witchy stuff at home with their numerous pets or at the local animal shelter saving lives. Contact Stutzer via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Background header image via Unsplash here.