June 23, 2022
Illustration: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol
Good morning! Instagram wants to verify users’ ages using new tools, including facial analysis. We’re also wondering: As crypto crashes and layoffs are rampant at blockchain companies, why are people still betting big on NFTs?
Instagram is testing using facial analysis tools to verify age on the platform, Meta announced today.
People will be able to verify their age in three ways: by submitting a picture of their ID card, taking a video selfie or by asking mutual followers how old they are. Meta calls this last part “social vouching,” which means it’s time to start sharing your real age.
The company is also expanding its AI tools to ensure that the experience is tailored appropriately.
Meta has been facing major public pressure to make its platforms safer and less toxic. Privacy bills, like the one being proposed in California, and the Children's Code in the U.K. might be adding to the pressure, too.
Meta goes to great lengths to explain why verifying people’s ages is necessary to create a less toxic environment for everyone, especially teens. But with its track record on data privacy — and with other companies facing heat for using AI tools in classrooms — is asking for selfie videos of children to be shared with third parties really the best way?
Despite crypto’s fall from grace, tech companies are still placing bets on NFTs, even though many weren’t in the blockchain space to begin with.
VCs also continue to pour money into NFTs. NFT-related startups have raised more than $3.3 billion in the past year. Marketplace Magic Eden this week raised $130 million in a series B, just three months after closing a $27 million series A.
Despite indications that NFTs might be in trouble, people's spirits seem high still. The NFT.NYC conference even has a puppy room and a meditation den. But as crypto crashes, potentially taking down NFTs with it, and fraud in the space continues to run rampant, companies may want to keep their guard up.
— Nat Rubio-Licht
How to build an equitable and inclusive future
At the same time that the pandemic demonstrated all that is possible in an interconnected world, we saw in new and increasingly stark ways how certain communities continue to be marginalized and harmed by a persistent digital divide and how effectively that divide exacerbates our society’s other inequities.
Marc Andreessen doesn’t like discussing politics in the workplace:
Mark Zuckerberg wants to get tons of people to spend money in the metaverse in the coming years:
Elon Musk called Tesla's new factories in Germany and Texas "gigantic money furnaces":
Twitter partnered with Shopify to create a sales channel app for all U.S. Shopify merchants.
Graphisoft, PROKON and TriNet joined BSA | The Software Alliance as new members.
MasterClass cut 20% of its staff, or roughly 120 employees.
Facebook Pay rebranded to Meta Pay in hopes that it will become the “digital wallet of the metaverse,” Mark Zuckerberg said.
Amazon wants to help people remember their dead relative's voice. Alexa will soon be able to mimic any voice after hearing about a minute of audio.
Binance.US will start offering zero-fee trading of bitcoin. The exchange plans to cut fees for other tokens down the line.
Meta claims that a U.K. internet safety law may pose risks of messages being “surveilled and censored.” It's one of the company's many complaints against the sweeping Online Safety Bill.
The Nothing phone won’t come to the U.S. when it’s released next month. Phone (1) will be released in the U.K. and Europe, but the company has “big plans to launch a U.S. supported smartphone in the future.”
The FDA will reportedly soon take Juuls off the U.S. market. They've been blamed for causing a surge in underage vaping.
Comcast and Google are first in line to help Netflix make its ad-supported tier. The streamer is still reportedly in the early stages of developing this strategy.
Mastercard released its debut album, titled Priceless. Each of the 10 songs incorporates the “recognizable melody” of Mastercard’s brand sound.
Your data point of the day: 42% of online influencers’ fans say they follow a creator who endorses crypto, according to a new report by National Research Group.
Start your day with some crypto talk. Freakonomics Radio is launching a three-part series on crypto and NFTs. Guests include Brian Armstrong, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin. The first episode dropped last night, and the next two are coming out over the next couple weeks.
How to build an equitable and inclusive future
There is so much more we need to do to make sure our future is more equitable and inclusive and maximizes America’s potential. It is not enough just to ensure everyone is connected. We also need to extend the full scope of digital opportunity to the people, the communities, and the institutions.
Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or our tips line, email@example.com. Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow.
Correction: The top story was updated June 23 to clarify that the tools use facial analysis.