Friday Five: Twitter tests ‘misleading’ post report button

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

1. Twitter tests ‘misleading’ post report button

Twitter is introducing a way to report posts as “misleading” for the first time. Many of the large social media networks have been accused of not doing enough to fight the spread of disinformation during the Covid pandemic and US election campaigns. Until now Twitter’s reporting function has never offered a clear option for such posts.

Twitter said the new feature was only a test, and will only be available in a few countries (Australia, South Korea and the US) to begin with. It also warned users that the system may not have a significant effect but will “help us identify trends so that we can improve the speed and scale of our broader misinformation work”.

2. US government to investigate Tesla Autopilot

The US government has launched a formal investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot driving system over concerns it has difficulties identifying parked emergency vehicles. Almost every car Tesla has sold in the US since the start of the 2014 model years will be affected by the probe — an expected 765,000 vehicles.

According to The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it has identified 11 crashes since 2018 in which Teslas on Autopilot have hit vehicles at scenes with flashing lights, flares, an illuminated arrow board or cones warning of hazards. Seventeen people were injured and one killed as a result of these crashes.

3. Cuba tightens internet controls after protests

The Cuban government has introduced new regulations on the use of social media and the internet, which critics say are aimed at stifling dissent. The decrees — which make inciting acts “that alter public order” a crime — were published in the wake of the largest anti-government protests in the Communist-run island for decades.

People used social media to share footage of the demonstrations and galvanise supporters. Access to mobile internet in Cuba was only introduced in 2018 but has given Cubans the ability to get news from sources other than state-controlled media. However, social media was blocked by the state in the days after the protests.

4. Teams update to shield users from scammers

Microsoft is working on an update for collaboration platform Teams that aims to minimise unwanted distractions by shielding users from pranksters and scammers. As per a new entry in the company’s product roadmap, Teams users will soon receive an alert in the event they receive a call from a suspicious number.

Although many businesses use Teams exclusively for internal collaboration, plenty of others use the platform to make and receive phone calls too. However, this trend has also created a new avenue for scammers and spam callers, whether their goal is to phish for valuable personal data or promote an unwanted product or service.

5. Match is trying to make ghosting disappear

Match Group, the parent company of dating sites including Match, Tinder and Hinge, is trying to end the ubiquitous and rather unkind practice of ghosting (ie cutting off communication without warning or explanation). Now when chats stall, Match users will receive nudges to continue the conversation, or a reminder to politely beg off.

One new prompts says: “We don’t believe in leaving people hanging. So let’s keep things moving.” Users can either click on conversation suggestions or “unmatch,” which sends the other user a polite message. It’s unclear at this stage what the ‘polite message’ is — might I suggest a drop-down menu to fulfil this role?

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