Apps

Facebook scans everything you send on Messenger

Yep, that includes messages, links, and photos

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Facebook has just admitted that it looks at everything you send through its Messenger app — photos, links, cheesy messages to your boyfriend, all of it.

On a podcast with Vox‘s Ezra Klein, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg admits to scanning all Messenger content as policy. Zuckerberg explains that this is done so that there is assurance that all platform content abides by the social network’s community guidelines. He furthers that this mechanism detects sensational messages and stops them from being sent.

The company maintains, however, that these monitoring tools are only being used for content housekeeping. Facebook told Bloomberg that no information is being sent to advertisers and that all conversations on Messenger still remain private. According to a Facebook rep, “Facebook designed these automated tools so we can rapidly stop abusive behavior on our platform.”

These statements do very little to assuage the public’s fear of Facebook mishandling its users’ information. Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal which led to a data breach of 50 million Facebook users that possibly influenced the previous elections, people are now more wary of the social media network’s policies on privacy. The company has since then rolled out more privacy options for its users.

Messenger is Facebook’s main instant messaging platform and ever since becoming a dedicated application in 2014, it has quickly become one of the company’s fastest-growing apps. In 2016, Zuckerberg put user figures at 900 million active ones per month. Unlike WhatsApp which is a messaging platform that Facebook also owns, messages on the Facebook Messenger app are not encrypted. This means that, again, unlike WhatsApp which encrypts both ends to ensure that WhatsApp itself doesn’t see what you’re sending, Messenger sends conversations as is. This makes data easy to be scanned and monitored. Though there is an encryption option on the app, it’s something that users have to activate first.

SEE ALSO: Facebook makes navigating through privacy tools easier

Apps

Top iOS 15 Features to look out for

FaceTime for Android, anyone?

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The next version of iOS rolls out this fall. There are new features such as FaceTime for Android, new Memojis, rebranded Safari and Messages app, personal identification card compatibility for Wallet, and more.

But in this video, we rounded up our Top 10 iOS 15 Features you should look out for.

Watch the whole video by clicking here.

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Voilà AI Artist turns your selfies into 3D cartoons, caricatures

And many more artistic renditions!

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Voilà AI Artist

From FaceApp to Zepeto, plenty of avatars from these apps proliferated social media platforms. Most recently, the Internet went crazy with cute avatars once more. You probably noticed how people have been posting a 3D cartoon version of themselves, akin to a Disney character. It’s all thanks to Voilà AI Artist — a photo-editing app using artificial intelligence to turn your photos into artistic renditions.

Get yourself painted as a Renaissance painting.

Voilà AI Artist

Have your selfies transformed into a 3D cartoon from an animated movie.

Turn your photos into a 2D cartoon…

Voilà AI Artist

… or even have your face drawn as a caricature.

Voilà AI Artist

Voilà AI Artist is developed by WeImagine.AI., a Canada-based team of creators and developers. The app is free to download on the App Store and Google Play Store. If you’re concerned about the app’s privacy policy, read it here.

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The US revokes Trump’s executive order that banned TikTok

A level-playing field for everyone

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President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday that sets criteria for the government to evaluate the risk of apps connected to foreign adversaries. It’s specifically meant for apps like TikTok and WeChat, which President Trump banned.

It should use an “evidence-based approach” to see if they pose a risk to US national security, said Biden. If apps are found violating fundamental laws, a ban can be imposed. The task of identifying threats has been given to the US Commerce Department.

Trump’s executive order particularly targeted TikTok and WeChat. Instead, Biden is opting for a level-playing field for everyone. Biden shares the same concerns as Trump, but their approach is vastly different.

Under the previous administration, TikTok remained in a precarious position as Trump sought to ban the app unless it sold to an American company. A proposal was produced that would have seen Oracle and Walmart owning a US entity of the service and taking responsibility for handling TikTok’s US user data and content moderation.

But there were numerous legal challenges, and before they could be ironed out, Trump lost the election. The Biden administration’s new executive order does not affect those negotiations, which are a separate process. The order also calls upon federal agencies to develop recommendations – for future executive actions or legislation — on how to protect the data of US citizens.

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