Friday, May 20, 2022

Hashtag Trending April 27 – Backflash following Elon Musk’s Twitter deal, Brooklyn library offers digital access to banned books; Meta

Elon Musk’s Twitter deal sparks backlash, the Brooklyn Public Library is offering digital access to banned books, and Meta is opening its first store.

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Wednesday, April 27, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

After news of Elon Musk’s Twitter deal hit the web, backlash from people and governments have emerged. Brussels has warned Musk that Twitter must comply with the EU’s new digital rules under his ownership or he could face major fines or even a ban. Thierry Breton, the EU’s commissioner for the internal market, told the Financial Times that Musk has to follow the rules regarding online content moderation after Twitter sold to Musk for $45 billion. Additionally, some high-profile celebrities are also voicing their concerns about Musk’s move. Actress Jameela Jamil tweeted that she was leaving the platform and New York Times columnist Charles Blow said he was also considering parting ways with the app. The hashtag “GoodByeTwitter” emerged following the news.

Source: Ars Technica

After recent attempts to remove reading materials from schools and libraries in the United States, Books UnBanned, a teen-led initiative from the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) aims to give teens access to banned books digitally. The BPL announced this week that teens can register for a library card and receive access to hundreds of banned and challenged books in digital and audiobook formats. In 2021, the American Library Association reported the highest number of challenges to libraries and individual book bans since the association began gathering this information twenty years ago, Vice reports. Most of the banned content was for a teen audience and was written by or about Black or LGBTQ+ persons. And over the past two years, governments in Texas and Florida have made serious efforts to discourage or ban the teaching of issues relating to systemic racism and LGBTQ+ issues. The new program is providing users access to BPL’s digital catalogues regardless of location. In the first two days since launching the program, 200 teenagers have signed up, with more than 700 applications received in total.

Source: Vice

Meta is opening a physical store in May to promote its products for its virtual universe. On May 9th, the Meta Store, located in California will showcase any physical product the company sells, including products like the Meta Quest 2 VR system. The company’s first retail store will be located in a 1,550-square-foot space on Meta’s Burlingame, California campus. The campus houses several of Meta’s VR- and AR-specific development efforts, and it will allow the public to test out and buy any of Meta’s physical products. Visitors will be able to try out many games and apps on Meta Quest VR systems. In addition, the store offers a “demo wall” which showcases what the VR user sees to anyone outside of the headset. According to Ars Technica, this demo station will include mounted cameras that capture the gameplay session, then combine the real footage and virtual footage in a 30-second “mixed reality” video clip that the user can access.

Source: Ars Technica

In response to intense COVID-19 lockdowns in Shanghai, a video with a montage of audio clips titled “The Voice of April,” was shared widely on WeChat, emphasizing the lockdown’s human toll. Shortly after the video spread, Chinese state censors began removing it from platforms, prompting people to find unique ways to dodge censorship and continue to share the video. Essentially every technological tool was used to circumvent or deceive censors, Technology Review reported. Some tactics included disguising the video by embedding it in other clips, overlaying its audio onto other videos, and using QR codes to share the link. As videos were further censored more and more ideas to keep them online emerged. People reuploaded copies to their personal accounts, some stored the video on the blockchain, and others minted it as an NFT. People even put the original audio under footage of party propaganda or popular anime, with hopes to trick algorithmic censors.

Source: Technology Review

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash briefings or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Thursday morning. If you have a suggestion or a tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thank you for listening, I’m Tom Li.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT World Canada. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at tli@itwc.ca.

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