Facebook parent Meta Platforms said on Thursday that it had taken down a network of phony accounts that started in Iran and targeted Instagram users in Scotland with content advocating Scottish independence.
Some of the fraudulent identities, according to Meta, included profile images that got made using AI techniques. The network used bogus accounts to impersonate locals in England and Scotland, uploading photos and memes about current events and criticism of the UK government. These fraud accounts also used photos of UK and Iraqi media stars and celebrities as profile pictures.
According to the firm, the accounts organized their content around common hashtags that promoted the cause, albeit they occasionally misspelled them. The profile also made posts on football and UK cities, presumably to make the fictitious personas appear live.
Scots chose 55 percent to 45 percent to stay in the United Kingdom in a referendum on independence in 2014. But Brexit and the British government’s handling of the COVID-19 situation have bolstered support for dependence and demands for a second ballot among Scots.
Meta said its research turned several connections to persons in Iran, including people who had previously taught English as a foreign language.
It said the operation had some ties to a tiny Iran-based network it shut down in December 2020, which used bogus accounts to target Arabic, French, and English-speaking audiences. But it didn’t go into depth about who might be behind it.
In a press briefing, Ben Nimmo, Meta’s global threat intelligence head for influence operations, said, “We’ve observed a spectrum of operations coming from Iran over the previous few years.” “It’s not a one-size-fits-all atmosphere.”
In December, the social media giant announced that it had banned eight Facebook accounts and 126 Instagram accounts from the current network for breaking its rules against coordinated inauthentic conduct.
Meta also said in December that it had eliminated a network-based in Mexico that targeted audiences in Honduras, Ecuador, and El Salvador, as well as a network-based in Turkey that targeted persons in Libya.
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Meta, Snapchat users are moving towards TikTok – Here’s why?
As more people, particularly millennials and Generation Z, use social media to view videos, both Meta (formerly previously Facebook) and Snapchat have stated that the future of social media looks more like Chinese short-video creating tool TikTok.
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel stated during an earnings call that people are spending less time on Snapchat watching friends’ Stories.
Instead, Snapchat users are increasingly turning to Spotlight, a TikTok feature and Snapchat competitor, to view videos.
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“This is consistent with the trajectory we’ve seen during the pandemic, and daily active user-friend story publishing and viewing haven’t restored to pre-pandemic levels,” Spiegel told investors late Thursday.
“While we hope that our community will return to the friend’s story behaviors we saw before the epidemic in the future,” he continued, “we are focused on innovating on our content offerings in best serving our community now.” TikTok is rapidly expanding, according to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
“People have a lot of options for how they want to spend their time,” he said at Meta’s earnings conference this week. “Apps like TikTok are developing extremely rapidly.”
The amount of money spent on TikTok by people all around has only increased. Last year, users paid $2.3 billion on the mobile app, including the iOS version of Douyin’s Chinese localization.
According to Sensor Tower, this sum represents a 77% year increase from $1.3 billion in 2020.
In Q4 2021, consumer expenditure on ByteDance’s short video platform totaled $824.4 million, more than double the $382.4 million produced in the same quarter in 2020.
Although China is still TikTok’s largest market in terms of consumer expenditure, its proportion has shrunk dramatically.
In Q4 2021, Chinese consumers accounted for 57% of in-app spending, whereas in Q4 2020, China’s App Store accounted for 85% of in-app expenditure.
The United States remained TikTok’s second-largest income source, with its percentage of expenditure increasing year over year.
During border tensions with China, the Indian government banned the popular short-form video app TikTok, as well as numerous other Chinese applications, in June 2020.
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Instagram Rolls Out ‘Take a Break’ Feature
On Friday, Instagram announced that its ‘Take a Break’ feature has begun to roll out to all countries, including India. The feature allows users to set reminders to stop scrolling after a certain amount of time has passed, and it is available to all service users as an option.
Take a Break will join Instagram’s existing Daily Restriction feature. It lets users set a daily restriction on how much time they spend on the platform. The Meta-owned company has teamed up with youth portal We The Young to launch a campaign called Break Zaroori Hai to create awareness about the feature. Take a Break on Instagram will be an optional tool for all users.
Instagram’s head of product, Adam Mosseri, revealed in November that the Take a Break function is meant to remind users to exit the app after a set length of time. Users can choose between 10-, 20-, or 30-minute intervals to get warned to leave the app, according to Mosseri.
After months of testing in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, the functionality finally rolls out to all countries.
While the Take a Break feature will be voluntary, with users having to opt-in to receive reminders, Instagram claims that it will appear for users who have been scrolling for a particular length of time. According to the firm, users will get prompted to set up reminders to take more breaks in the future, as well as “expert-backed advice to help them reflect and refresh.” Younger users will receive notifications recommending that they enable the Take a Break feature.
Last year, when whistleblower Frances Haugen disclosed that Instagram’s parent company, Meta (previously known as Facebook), had determined in its research that the app could be harmful to young users’ mental health, the corporation came under fire.
Shortly after the discoveries, Instagram started testing the Take a Break feature to assist younger users who wished to spend less time on the service. According to Instagram, the new Take a Break function is now available on iOS and Android in the following weeks.
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Meta launches four-foot buffer zone to cut back VR harassment
Meta, formerly known as Facebook, introduces a new feature for its Horizon Worlds and Horizon Venues virtual reality platforms that it thinks will reduce harassment, abuse, and other weird behavior among its users. Personal Boundary is a new feature that stops avatars in virtual worlds from being too close to one another, “providing more personal space for people and making it easier to avoid unwanted interactions.”
The system’s operation appears to be pretty straightforward: when someone approaches too close, their forward movement gets blocked. At launch, the distance between avatars will be slightly under four feet. There will be no visible barrier or haptic indication when someone gets stopped, so users will be unaware that someone is attempting to sneak upon them.
According to The Verge, avatars can go past one another when Personal Boundary is enabled. Thus the technology can’t get used to blocking or trapping users.
“We’re purposely turning Personal Boundary on by default because we believe it will help define behavioral norms—which is critical for a new medium like VR,” Meta explained. “In the future, we’ll look into introducing further controls and UI tweaks, such as allowing users to modify the size of their Personal Boundary.”
The simple fact is that this thing is essential for the same reason that board administrators are required. Certain people are incapable of acting appropriately on the internet. Strange behavior, including outright violence, is unfortunately in augmented environments.
During an 11-hour VRChat session in December 2021, one user documented over 100 “severe events,” some of which involved users pretending to be under the age of 13, according to the New York Times.
Bloomberg tech reporter Parmy Olson recently told the BBC that she’d had her own “weird” encounters in Horizon Worlds, including males taking virtual photos of her and leaning in close to speak to her, which “sounds like someone is physically talking into your ear.”
A beta tester stated in the official Horizon group on Facebook on December 9, the day Horizon Worlds went online, that she’d to get virtually grabbed by another user during a session.
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