Friday Five: Trump to tell ‘TRUTH’ on own social platform

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

1. Trump to tell ‘TRUTH’ on own social platform

Donald Trump is launching a new social media platform to “stand up to the tyranny of big tech”. The former US president — who was banned from Twitter and Facebook earlier this year after his supporters stormed the US Capitol in Washington DC — says he plans to share his thoughts with the world on TRUTH Social.

Trump said: “We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favourite American President has been silenced. This is unacceptable. I am excited to send out my first TRUTH on TRUTH Social very soon.” He also revealed that he is forming a new company called Trump Media & Technology Group.

2. Privacy fears over facial recognition in school

The Information Commissioner’s Office is to intervene over concerns about the use of facial recognition technology on pupils queueing for lunch in school canteens. Nine schools in North Ayrshire began taking payments for school lunches this week by scanning the faces of their pupils, with more schools expected to follow.

The ICO said it would be contacting North Ayrshire council about the move and urged a “less intrusive” approach where possible. Other types of biometric systems, principally fingerprint scanners, have been used in schools in the UK for years, but campaigners say the use of facial recognition technology is unnecessary.

3. Facebook plans to rebrand with new name

Facebook is planning to change its company name next week to reflect its focus on building the metaverse, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter. The coming name change, is meant to signal the tech giant’s ambition to be known for more than social media and all the problems that entails.

The rebrand would likely position the blue Facebook app as one of many products under a parent company overseeing groups like Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus and more. A rebrand could also serve to further separate the futuristic work Mark Zuckerberg is focused on from the intense scrutiny Facebook is currently under.

4. Scam texts and calls widespread in the UK

Almost 45 million people in the UK were targeted by scam text messages or phone calls over the summer, according to Ofcom. About half reported getting a scam call or text at least once a week. The elderly are more often targeted using landlines, with 61% of those over 75 receiving a scam phone call between June and August.

Text scams are most common among 16 to 34-year-olds, with two-thirds receiving one. UK residents can report a scam text message by forwarding it to 7726 — the numbers on the keypad that have the letters for spam on them. However, Ofcom found that 79% of mobile phone users were unaware of that service.

5. Old mobiles worth their weight in gold

Gold and precious metals are to be extracted from old phones and laptops by Britain’s coin-maker. The Royal Mint plans to introduce a world-first technology to the UK to recycle gold from electronic waste. The Mint said the technology would help to “make a genuine impact on one of the world’s greatest environmental challenges”.

Less than one fifth of electronic waste is recycled. If nothing is done to counter the problem, electronic waste could reach 74 million tonnes by 2030 — almost a doubling of tonnage in a decade. The Mint described the tech’s potential as “huge” in its ability to reduce electronic waste, preserve precious metals and develop new skills.

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