Instagram has introduced safety features for young ones

Instagram is introducing new policies limiting interactions between teenagers and adults to make its platform safer for young users. The app has banned adults from direct messaging teenagers who don’t follow them and is introducing “safety prompts” that will be shown to teens when they DM adults who have been “exhibiting potentially suspicious behavior.”

Safety prompts will give teenage users the option to report or block adults who are messaging them. The prompts will remind young users not to feel pressured to respond to messages and to “be careful sharing photos, videos, or information with someone you don’t know.”

Notices will appear when Instagram’s moderation systems spot suspicious behaviour from adult users. The company is not sharing detail on how these systems operate but says such suspicious behaviour could include sending “a large amount of friend or message requests to people under 18.” The Facebook-owned Instagram says this feature will be available in some countries this month (it did not specify which) and available globally “soon.”

Instagram also says it’s developing new “artificial intelligence and machine learning technology” to try and detect someone’s age when they sign up for an account. Officially, the app requires that users are aged 13 and above, but it’s easy to lie about one’s age. The company said it wants to do “more to stop this from happening” but did not go into any detail about how new machine learning systems might help with this problem.

New teenage users who sign up to Instagram will also now be encouraged to make their profile private. If they choose to create a public account anyway, Instagram will send them a notification later “highlighting the benefits of a private account and reminding them to check their settings.”

The do’s and don’ts when voting

Voting can be a great time to vent your opinions and frustration on social media.

But theres essentially things you can and can’t do. Do you know the do’s and dont’s?

Some key election rules are from elections.nz

You can’t influence voters

Don’t influence voters or tell them to vote or not vote for a candidate, party or referendum option in the Cannabis and End of Life Choice Act referendums.

This rule applies to websites and social media

Don’t post anything to social media or a website on election day that could influence voters. Also make sure your profile pictures on social media don’t include anything that could influence voters.

You may only keep existing election or referendum material up on a website or social media if all the following apply.

  • You don’t update it on election day
  • It’s only available to people who choose to access it
  • The site isn’t advertised

You can’t film or take photos in voting places

Don’t film or take photos of voting papers or of people as they vote, or in a way that disrupts voting. Candidates or promoters can be filmed voting if they have arranged it earlier with the returning officer.

If you want to be a bad cop, you can report people here.

You might not be able to download Tiktok after the weekend! WTF?

Donald Trump will reportedly issue an order banning new downloads.

Brace yourselves, TikTok fans and users, the popular video-sharing platform, is once again in jeopardy here in the United States. 

new report from Reuters cites three government officials who say that President Donald Trump and the Department of Commerce will issue an order on Friday, September 18, which will “bar people in the United States from downloading Chinese-owned messaging app WeChat and video-sharing app TikTok.”

According to Reuters, this means the Commerce Department order will “‘deplatform’ the two apps in the United States and bar Apple Inc.’s app store, Alphabet Inc.’s Google Play, and others from offering the apps on any platform.”

The outlet reports that there still is a chance that the order will be rescinded. That’s because of the possibility that ByteDance, TikTok’s owner, may still reach an agreement to sell off its U.S. operations. 

In case you’ve been too busy falling down a rabbit hole of TikTok videos and not following this story, here’s the gist: Back in August, President Trump said, “As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States. I have that authority….” He said he might invoke the Emergency Economic Powers Act to ban the app because of national security concerns—TikTok is owned by a Chinese company and some have expressed concern about data being available to the Chinese government. 

That ban did not in fact come to fruition, but the drama continues. Microsoft was reportedly in talks to buy the U.S. arm of TikTok but that fell through. However, Reuters notes Oracle Group and others are still talking to ByteDance about creating “a new company, TikTok Global, that aims to address U.S. concerns about the security of its users’ data.”

“We have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Reuters in a statement

Basically, if you don’t already have TikTok downloaded, you might want to do that ASAP and keep an eye on this ever-evolving social media situation.

Facebook has launched a Bitmoji competitor

Facebook has made an avatar feature, which is the Facebook version of Snap’s Bitmoji. Avatars were first introduced last year and have been since made available in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Canada.

Based on early feedback, Facebook is also today expanding its range of Avatar customizations to include a variety of new hairstyles, complexions and outfits.

Avatars may seem a little silly, but they allow for a form of self-expression that extends beyond the capabilities of text and emoji alone. On digital platforms, using an avatar can be a helpful way to indicate the tone of your comment, so you’re not misinterpreted. Plus, many people like having the option of crafting a digital character that looks like them — meaning their candy-coloured hair, piercings, glasses, goatees, sense of style or anything else doesn’t come across when using just an emoji alone.

Initially, Facebook users will be able set up their Avatar from either the Facebook or Messenger comment composer. From here, you’ll click on the smiley face icon that takes you to stickers. You’ll then see a new option: “Make Your Avatar.”

After completing your Avatar, you can return to edit it at any time from Facebook’s Bookmark section (the three horizontal lines in the bottom-right of the Facebook mobile app.) You’ll need to click on “See More,” then “Avatars,” in the list that appears.

Today, the Avatars can be used with Facebook comments and Messenger conversations, and they can be used on your Facebook Gaming profile. But soon, Facebook says Avatars will be able to be used in text posts with backgrounds.

The company isn’t yet sharing any metrics on the feature’s adoption, but did say Avatars have become particularly popular with the gaming community.

However, the source of inspiration for the feature, Bitmoji, has seen widespread adoption.

In January, Snap said 70% of its daily active users, or 147 million of its then 210 million, had made themselves a Bitmoji. The company first bought its way into the “digital persona” business back in 2016 when it picked up Bitmoji’s parent company Bitstrips for $62.5 million. It more recently launched Bitmoji TV, a Snapchat show that puts users’ Bitmoji avatars into animated situations.

Facebook hasn’t yet detailed any grand ambitions to make its Avatars more of a platform or a monetizable feature. Instead, it seems to be playing a game of catch-up with its rivals.

Though Snapchat popularized the concept, many companies have since cloned the Bitmoji phenomenon. Apple in 2018 introduced a customizable persona called Memoji to complement its existing Animoji characters, for use in iMessage and FaceTime. Samsung and Google also rolled out their own take on Bitmoji in 2018.

But despite its delayed arrival, Facebook hasn’t broken any new ground — for example, by introducing Avatars created automatically from your Facebook profile photo or those that move and react as in the popular Gen Z app, Facemoji.

Facebook says its Avatars feature will roll out to the U.S. starting today. You may not see it yet — as rollouts can take time — but should soon.


Facebook is making some swish changes to enhance their live experience on not only Facebook but Instagram as well.

For Facebook the features are as follows, Facebook ‘Live With’ is back (the ability to bring a guest on via mobile); this feature was there in the past and for some odd reason Facebook quietly removed it), Paid Facebook Live is coming (viewers access via ticketed FB Events); it’s not clear yet if FB will charge a fee and how much, Audio only option for your audience on some FB Pages (shows a toll-free number; I’m seeing this option in Facebook Live Producer); ideal for low bandwidth areas and Donate button coming to FB Live. 

Annnnnnd for Instagram, Instagram live, you can now watch Instagram live via any desktop and you have the ability to save your IG Lives to your IGTV is coming (yay!)