Apps

Instagram created its own font, and it’s wacky

It’s called Instagram Sans

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Instagram is one of the most transient apps today. The app seemingly rolls out major revamps and refreshes every year, introducing new looks and ways to interface with the platform. Today, we’re getting the next major update to Instagram’s identity. While there might be some smaller changes, the update revolves around two aspects: a subtle gradient change and a not-so-subtle custom font.

By now, you probably recognize Instagram’s dynamic palette of colors: a mostly warm gradient shifting from orange to pink to purple. The gradient itself hasn’t changed. However, if you’re particularly eagle-eyed, you might have noticed a subtle change in Instagram’s icon. The gradient is much brighter. The subtle change supposedly contributes to the app’s dynamic and enticing nature.

On the not-so-subtle side of the spectrum, Instagram has also introduced a new font for both its marketing and user interface: Instagram Sans.

In a word, the new font is weird. That’s not a bad thing, though. The company is basking in how unconventional its font is, calling it “a contemporary remix of grotesque and geometric styles.” The font draws heavy inspiration from the curvy nature of its logo (or what the company calls “the squircle”).

As such, some elements of the typeface are strange and look like glyphs. Besides contributing to the app’s identity, it also helps with global adaptability. Though the typeface looks weird in English, it easily translates to more glyph-like scripts, such as Arabic, Thai, Cyrillic, and Japanese.

Instagram will use the new font in its marketing and as an option for user-generated content.

SEE ALSO: Instagram is working on a way to pin posts

Apps

Snapchat officially launches Snapchat Plus

Featuring the ability to call someone your BFF

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How much do you love Snapchat? Prior to the unbridled dominance of TikTok, Snapchat was the unparalleled video-sharing platform for those who wanted an alternative to Instagram. Though the platform isn’t as dominant anymore, it still has a dedicated following. If you’re one of those users, Snapchat has a (pricey) treat for you. The platform has officially launched Snapchat Plus, a premium subscription service baked into the main app.

To be fair to anyone considering the new service, Snapchat Plus isn’t an entirely different platform. As initial reports revealed, Snapchat Plus introduces only a handful of changes to the main app. (For now, at least).

First among the new features is the ability to label one of your friends as your “BFF” on the app. Subscribers can also view who watched their content. They will also have access to custom icons.

Now, they don’t seem like much for a paid subscription. Even worse, the service will not block users from seeing ads on the app. If anything, Snap does hint that Snapchat Plus will expand its features in the long run, potentially offering early access to future features.

Currently, Snapchat Plus will cost US$ 3.99 per month. For now, the service will launch only in some countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United States, and United Kingdom.

SEE ALSO: Snapchat is working on a premium subscription

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U.S. urges Google, Apple to ban TikTok

It’s about national security again

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Here we go again. Years since the last kerfuffle with the platform, the United States government is once again pursuing a ban against TikTok. However, instead of a geopolitical wave of infractions, the government’s latest pursuit will potentially untold damage on the video-sharing platform.

Recently, FCC commissioner Brendan Carr tweeted a letter he sent Apple and Google about the risks of TikTok. Carr is calling for an absolute ban from both the App Store and the Play Store. But unsurprisingly, the letter’s reasoning goes back to the old fears surrounding the Chinese app.

As reiterated in the letter, TikTok reportedly harvests an absurd amount of information from its millions of users. The platform’s owners, ByteDance, then ships that data off to servers in China. As stated in most anti-China fears, the Chinese government can notoriously request unlimited access of this data, marking a potential security risk on Americans. The letter cites evidence going as far back as 2019.

Carr urges Apple and Google to follow their policies regarding apps in their respective stores. If followed, TikTok might disappear from official sources, leaving third-party sources as the only places to get the app from.

Besides the regulatory, TikTok is also facing struggles in the competitive front. Meta’s Facebook and Instagram are reportedly taking renewed steps to compete more effectively with the platform.

SEE ALSO: Facebook is going to become more like TikTok

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Instagram is using facial recognition AI to verify your age

Currently testing

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For kids of the early 2000s, the biggest lies everyone told were whenever websites asked if they were 18 years old. Because of how limited technology was, a website’s age prompt was about as useful as blowing into a flat tire. Now, the internet has more tools at its disposal. Marking the next step in this evolution, Instagram is testing a tool that supposedly identifies a user’s age by scanning their face.

Though it’s not readily apparent with the number of children who have social media accounts, Instagram is one of those sites that require users to be at least 13 years old. But, like those old websites from yesteryear, the policy isn’t really useful for keeping children out.

Now, as reported by The Verge, Instagram wants to make the platform more secure. When a teenager wants to change their age to 18 years old or older, the app will prompt them to verify their age using one of three verification methods — at least in the United States.

The first method is simpler: submitting photos of official ID cards. The second method is a bit more complex: asking three of the user’s above-18 followers to verify the age change. On the other hand, the third uses an AI tool called Yoti.

With Yoti, users can submit a video of themselves for verification. Artificial intelligence will then analyze facial details, taking sex and race into consideration, to estimate the user’s age.

Naturally, it’s not a perfect system. There are ways to bypass it, including using someone else’s face. Regardless, it’s a bigger evolution than just simple yes-or-no prompts.

SEE ALSO: Instagram created its own font, and it’s wacky

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