Friday Five: People spending five hours a day on apps

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

1. People spending five hours a day on apps

People are spending an average of 4.8 hours a day on their phones, according to app monitoring firm App Annie. In 2020 Ofcom found similar amounts of time spent, although its research included watching TV. App Annie’s report indicates that apps were downloaded 230 billion times in 2021, while $170bn (£125bn) was spent.

TikTok was the most downloaded app worldwide, with users spending 90% more time there compared to 2020. The report was calculated across 10 markets, including India, Turkey, the US, Japan, Mexico, Singapore and Canada. Of that 4.8 hours, seven out of every 10 minutes was spent on social, photo and video apps.

2. Influencers may be forced to display warning

Social media influencers should be required to display a logo on digitally altered photos of people, according to an MP who is calling for new legislation. Advertisers, broadcasters and publishers, including anybody being paid to post on social media, would have to be “honest and upfront” about having edited a body part in a picture.

Former GP Dr Luke Evans, now a Conservative MP, is introducing the Digitally Altered Body Image Bill to tackle the growing number of people with eating disorders and body confidence issues. He said: “One of the biggest things I’m concerned about is people are trying to respond to an image that they can never actually get to.”

3. Celebrities sued in crypto ‘pump and dump’

Kim Kardashian and Floyd Mayweather Jr. were among the celebrities who promoted a crypto token called EthereumMax last May. A group that invested in the token has now filed a class-action lawsuit against the celebrities and the creators of the coin, saying they were victims of a ‘pump and dump’ scheme.

EthereumMax’s value shot up by 1,000% in a day after the celebrities promoted it, before quickly plummeting. Crypto pump and dump scams became commonplace last year as creating crypto tokens became easier, celebrities’ influence grew and the number of people looking to get rich quick off crypto increased.

4. Pokemon-playing policemen ignore robbery

Two officers with the LAPD were fired for ignoring a robbery in progress at a Macy’s store to play Pokemon Go, according to recently released court documents. The men, Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell, lost their appeal against “multiple counts of misconduct” which had in part been based on a recording of them in the car.

Instead of responding to the call Lozano and Mitchell — who a commanding officer spotted in a police car “tucked back in an alley just feet away” from the Macy’s — started “to back up down the alley” away from the robbery. In reviewing the recording it was discovered they had heard the radio call and agreed to ignore it.

5. Heroic life-saving rat Magawa dies at eight

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Magawa, an African giant pouched rat trained to detect land mines, was famous for his skill. During his career, he located over 100 land mines and explosives in Cambodia, where the scars of past conflicts remain dangerously hidden in the ground. Sadly, he died this week at the age of eight.

Born in Tanzania, Magawa started his explosive-sniffing career in Cambodia in 2016 and retired in 2021. He was one of a group of rodents called HeroRats. Magawa was the most successful working rat in the programme, and was the first rat to earn a prestigious PDSA Gold Medal in 2020. Rest in peace, Magawa.

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