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Instagram’s finally working on protecting users from unsolicited nude photos

Instagram’s finally working on protecting users from unsolicited nude photos

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Meta says the feature will be optional and that it is still in the early stages of development

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Illustration by Kristen Radtke / The Verge

Instagram is working on a way to protect users from receiving unsolicited nude photos in their DMs. Instagram’s parent company, Meta, confirmed to The Verge that the feature was in development after an app researcher published an early image of the tool.

Meta says the optional user controls, which are still in the early stages of development, will help people shield themselves from nude photos as well as other unwanted messages.

The tech giant likened these controls to its “Hidden Words” feature, which allows users to automatically filter direct message requests containing offensive content.

According to Meta, the technology will not allow Meta to view the actual messages nor share them with third parties. “We’re working closely with experts to ensure these new features preserve people’s privacy, while giving them control over the messages they receive,” Meta spokesperson Liz Fernandez said.

Meta says it’ll share more details about the new feature in the next few weeks as they get closer to testing.

A report published earlier this year by the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a British nonprofit organization, found that Instagram’s tools failed to act upon 90 percent of image-based abusive direct messages sent to high-profile women. Many were sent sexual images by men, and not even the “hidden words” feature could completely filter out swear words like “b*tch.”

Meanwhile, last year, The Pew Research Center published a report that found 33 percent of women under 35 had been sexually harassed online.

Work on the new Instagram feature comes as cyberflashing, which involves sending unsolicited sexual messages to strangers — often women — online, could soon become a criminal offense in the UK if Parliament passes the Online Safety Bill.

Cyberflashing is not, however, a crime in much of the US, though Texas made cyberflashing a misdemeanor in 2019. That’s despite the fact some experts believe it can be just as psychologically damaging as sexual abuse that takes place in person.

“Some will come forward and say [cyber flashing] is harmless,” Durham Law School’s professor Clare McGlynn, an expert in image-based sexual abuse, told HuffPost. “Everyone struggles with the fact it isn’t face to face, but you can’t rank sexual offences like that. The harm of sexual offences is so significant and different forms of offending can have the same impact on different people.”

Today’s Storystream

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Apple Music’s set to sponsor the Halftime Show next February, and it’s starting out strong with a performance from Rihanna. I honestly can’t remember which company sponsored the Halftime Show before Pepsi, so it’ll be nice to see how Apple handles the show for Super Bowl LVII.


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The Elon Musk-owned satellite internet service, which covers all seven continents including Antarctica, has now made over 1 million user terminals. Musk has big plans for the service, which he hopes to expand to cruise ships, planes, and even school buses.

Musk recently said he’ll sidestep sanctions to activate the service in Iran, where the government put restrictions on communications due to mass protests. He followed through on his promise to bring Starlink to Ukraine at the start of Russia’s invasion, so we’ll have to wait and see if he manages to bring the service to Iran as well.


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While Apple was initially expected to hold an event to launch its rumored M2-equipped Macs and iPads in October, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicts Apple will announce its new devices in a series of press releases, website updates, and media briefings instead.

I know that it probably takes a lot of work to put these polished events together, but if Apple does pass on it this year, I will kind of miss vibing to the livestream’s music and seeing all the new products get presented.


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Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.


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At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.


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Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.


A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
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Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.


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Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.