Friday Five: China limits kids’ online gaming to one hour

Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

1. China limits kids’ online gaming to one hour

China’s video game regulator has said online gamers under 18 will only be allowed to play for an hour on Fridays, weekends and holidays. The National Press and Publication Administration said game-playing would be only allowed between 8pm to 9pm and told gaming companies to prevent children playing outside these times.

The move reflects a long-running concern about the impact of gaming on the young. A month ago, an article in the state-run media claimed many teenagers had become addicted to online gaming and it was having a negative impact on them. It prompted significant falls in the share values of some of China’s biggest online gaming firms.

2. LinkedIn closes the book on Stories format

Less than a year after deciding to join every other social network in offering a Stories format, LinkedIn has decided that this particular story doesn’t have a happy ending, and has closed the book on the idea. It is discontinuing the format by the end of this month and has begun notifying advertisers and users of its imminent demise.

Instead, LinkedIn said in a blog post that it will be pivoting to a “short-form, rich interactive video format that is unique to our platform and that better helps you reach and engage your audiences”. LinkedIn has launched or tested a number of features with varying success in recent years, including voice messaging and live video.

3. UK announces plans to diverge from GDPR

The UK culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, has announced he is keen to reform UK data laws and diverge from the EU-enacted GDPR, which the nation has been adhering to since May 2018. Dowden has promised “common sense, not box-ticking”, referring to the myriad consent forms designed to protect user privacy.

Theoretically, the life of any marketer intent on web-based tracking would be easier if they were to erode these protections brought in by GDPR. But the world has moved on — Google is phasing out third-party cookies. In this Drum article, adtech execs weigh up the pros and cons of the UK’s plans to break away from GDPR.

4. New Twitter safety feature protects from trolls

Twitter is taking another step toward moderating trolls, bots and disruptive interactions on its platform with the upcoming Safety Mode feature. By turning on Safety Mode in settings, a user can have Twitter scan for, and automatically block, interactions from “harmful” accounts for seven days, the company said.

Accounts that are blocked with this feature will be unable to follow a user, see a user’s tweets, or send a direct message, albeit only temporarily. Twitter’s algorithms can assess the likelihood that a Twitter account would negatively engage with a user — from sending repetitive, unwanted tweets or replies, to insults or hateful speech.

5. Duped Banksy NFT collector gets very lucky

A hacker has returned $336,000 to a British collector after he tricked him into buying a fake Banksy NFT advertised through the artist’s official website. A link to an online auction for the NFT was posted on a now-deleted page of banksy.co.uk. The auction ended early after the man offered 90% more than rival bidders (why so much?).

The Banksy fan who got duped says he thought he was buying the world-famous graffiti artist’s first ever NFT. But he now suspects Banksy’s site was hacked, and that he was the victim of an elaborate scam. Fortunately (and totally unexpectedly) for him, the hacker returned all of his money, minus a transaction fee of £5,000.

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