Social Media

Facebook will no longer recommend any political groups

Globally and permanently

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Leading up to U.S. presidential elections last November, Facebook, along with other social media platforms, tightened their policies over politically induced content. Their goal was to stave off a potential repeat of 2016’s elections when social media unfairly influenced the results of the polling period. Now, after the events of last year’s elections and this year’s riots, Facebook is making it permanent. Facebook will no longer recommend any political groups for good, as reported by Reuters.

Prior to the new policy, lawmakers had persistently called Facebook out for continuing to foment hate across the platform. Despite the promises, inciteful parties kept using the platform to recruit new members and spread misinformation through niche groups.

As it usually works, Facebook suggests groups for users with similar interests. If the algorithm determines that you might like far right groups, it will continue to suggest similar ones that you might like.

Even then, sneaky conspirators can easily dupe the system by, for example, creating a seemingly innocuous group and, when the group finally has enough members, slowly inculcating them into controversial belief systems.

At the very least, Facebook is doing something to lessen the effect of social media manipulation. However, we’ll have to see how the platform will enforce the new policy going forward.

SEE ALSO: WhatsApp now forced to share data with Facebook

Apps

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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Apps

Twitter unveils its premium subscription service called Twitter Blue

Available in Canada and Australia, for now.

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Twitter is officially introducing its Blue subscription plan, and it has already rolled out for many. Users in Canada and Australia will be among the first users that can opt-in for the plan. However, the pilot run is limited to iOS for now.

For about US$ 3 a month, hardcore Twitter users get minor enhancements that are usually missing from the app. Undo Tweet, Reader Mode, and Bookmark Folder are some of the new additions that’ll give a slightly better experience. You can also change the app’s theme color, something that’s available on the web app for ages.

“This subscription offer is simply meant to add enhanced and complementary features to the already existing Twitter experience for those who want it,” Twitter’s Smita Mittal Gupta wrote in a blog post announcing Blue. Twitter has vehemently said that the service will always be free-to-use, and the current subscription is only for those who need a little edge over the others in terms of functionality.

The social media platform said it is launching the “first iteration” of its subscription service and plans to listen to feedback and build out even more features and perks for subscribers over time.

Twitter is on a massive overhaul spree as multiple companies like Revue, Scroll, and Breaker were acquired. Revue lets users create a newsletter within the app, Scroll tries to bring a better and ad-free news experience, and Breaker looks after podcasts. It has also launched Spaces, a direct competitor of the voice communication app Clubhouse.

It has also announced “dedicated subscription customer support” for its paying users. This means that users who have purchased a Blue subscription will get a prioritized response to tickets and troubleshooting.

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Apps

Spotify’s Only You gives us a reason to showcase our weird listening activities

And here’s how you can find it

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Spotify’s year-ender Wrapped has just got a mid-year version called Only You.

It’s a global campaign that gives people a reason to share their weird listening activities and show off their bizarre personalities through social media.

By now, you might be seeing your friends sharing their personalized experiences through their social media accounts.

So how do we access the feature? (In case you have FOMO.)

First, you can go to Spotify.com/OnlyYou to enjoy a Wrapped-like experience that you can share with your friends. That, or you can visit your Spotify app on iOS or Android. For first-time viewers, you can see the Only You tab automatically on the homepage.

If you want to revisit it again, just search Only You on the search tab and it will appear as a genre meant only for you.

But what’s the content?

Assuming you know how to preview your Only You feature, it’s time to get ready for several pages that will show you what kind of listener you are.

Your unique artist pairs

This page highlights the unique pairings you’ve listened to, demonstrating your range of listening interests. In my case, I listened to Rihanna particularly “S&M” and “What’s My Name?” after playing American alternative rock band The Score’s top hits.

Your Song Year

If time travel via music is real, then this is a glimpse of how your music interests will transport you through time. This page shows the different time periods you listened to, based on your favorite songs’ debut.

And yes, I’m obsessed with Taylor Swift’s reputation album, particularly “Dress”, “Call It What You Want”, and “New Year’s Day”. Also, Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” has been on my repeat every month.

Olivia Rodrigo has been my 2021 music travel, just because my dear friend Martynne suggested listening to her so I can cry my heart out.

Your Genres/Topics

The weirdest of the bunch — this page combines the music and podcast genres you’ve listened to. Don’t ask why I listen to Business podcasts and Otacore (also known as Otaku Core). I’m a complex human being.

Your Time Of Day

Oh for heaven’s sake, I can’t believe Spotify is reminding me how I wheeze-cried myself to sleep listening to “The Days We Loved” by Baek Ji Young, which was featured on the K-drama The World of the Married. I can’t help but remember the days I was with my ex-lover and Spotify is a witness to that!

Your Dinner Party

Okay, Spotify lets you plan your dream dinner party by letting you cheese three artists you’d love to invite.

For my first guest, I chose Taylor Swift — three-time Album of the Year Grammy award winner.

My second guest is Yuki Hayashi — Japanese composer and arranger behind the heavenly official soundtracks from Haikyū!!

My last guest is Dua Lipa — the embodiment of strength and independence.

Of course, I would want LANY as well but Dua Lipa has more songs that I enjoy singing in the shower, so she gets that spot.

Once you select your dream dinner party guests, Spotify will create an option for you to personalize Spotify Mix for each artist.

Your Audio Birth Chart

For some reason, Spotify Philippines didn’t have an Audio Birth Chart on the Only You feature. It would have been fantastic for avid fans of astrology (and an astrologer like me).

But in case you want to know, the Sun Sign picks the artist you kept listening to for the last six months. Your Moon sign will showcase an artist you listen to that best shows your emotional side.

Meanwhile, your Rising sign puts the spotlight on an artist you’ve recently connected with. It’s like the stars aligned based on your music tastes!

Blend

Aside from the Only You feature, Spotify rolls out a new personalized feature called Blend. While it’s still in beta, Blend lets you and a friend merge your musical tastes into one curated playlist. What a fun way to connect and share music they love, right? After all, music brings people together and Spotify came up with a better way to appreciate that.

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