Hexbyte – Science and Tech Instagram has considered hiding the like count on people’s photos – The Verge

Hexbyte – Science and Tech Instagram has considered hiding the like count on people’s photos – The Verge

Hexbyte – Science and Tech

Instagram has considered hiding the like count on photos, so audiences can’t see how many people have liked an individual post. An unreleased feature that would publicly hide like counts was spotted today by code hunter Jane Wong, who says the test states that Instagram wants “your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get.” Only the person who posted a photo will be able to see the number of likes it’s received.

Instagram says that it has not tested the feature. In a statement to The Verge, an Instagram spokesperson said: “We’re not testing this at the moment, but exploring ways to reduce pressure on Instagram is something we’re always thinking about.”

Details of the test come just days after the Independent indicated that the British Information Commissioner’s Office has recommended that social platforms, like Instagram and Snapchat, offer the option to turn off features like likes and “streaks” that encourage users to keep posting. The agency wants to ban these features in order to protect the safety and privacy of the platforms’ youngest users.

Instagram is testing hiding like count from audiences,

as stated in the app: “We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get” pic.twitter.com/MN7woHowVN

— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) April 18, 2019

This would be a massive change to how the platform functions. Likes, while absolutely demoralizing at times, encourage people to post and give them incentive to post content that performs. It also can incentivize the posting of less authentic content, however, like gorgeous landscapes, nudity, or thirst trap photos that might garner likes, but aren’t the most interesting or thoughtful.

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Hexbyte – Science and Tech Facebook is working on an AI voice assistant similar to Alexa, Google Assistant – Ars Technica

Hexbyte – Science and Tech Facebook is working on an AI voice assistant similar to Alexa, Google Assistant – Ars Technica

Hexbyte – Science and Tech

AI —

There’s no indication that it will extend outside Facebook’s own hardware—yet.


Hexbyte - Science and Tech Facebook's Portal+ smart display.
Enlarge /

Along with video chatting through Facebook Messenger, both Portal devices have built-in Amazon Alexa.

Facebook is working on developing an AI voice assistant similar in functionality to Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri, according to a report from CNBC and a later statement from a Facebook representative.

The CNBC report, which cites “several people familiar with the matter,” says the project has been ongoing since early 2018 in the company’s offices in Redmond, Washington. The endeavor is led by Ira Snyder, whose listed title on LinkedIn is “Director, AR/VR and Facebook Assistant at Facebook.” Facebook Assistant may be the name of the project. CNBC writes that Facebook has been reaching out to vendors in the smart-speaker supply chain, suggesting that Portal may only be the first of many smart devices the company makes.

When contacted for comment, Facebook sent a statement to Reuters, The Verge, and others, saying: “We are working to develop voice and AI assistant technologies that may work across our family of AR/VR products including Portal, Oculus, and future products.”

Portal is a messaging-focused smart display product that launched in November of last year. Currently, it includes Amazon Alexa instead of a Facebook-developed voice assistant. The product’s price was recently cut from $199 to $99.

Facebook has previously experimented with AI integrations and bots within its Messenger service, including a chat-based virtual assistant. But this new project appears to be focused on interfaces for hardware devices like the Portal and the Oculus Rift VR headset.

The revelation that Facebook is working on an assistant like this has been cause for concern among privacy hawks, as devices like this may often be listening to the households in which they’ve been installed. The company has an abysmal track record when it comes to user privacy, such that CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently announced nascent plans to overhaul large parts of the business.

There’s no reason to assume at this point that Facebook will seek to compete with Alexa or Google Assistant by offering its own assistant to third parties for use in their devices. But the company’s poor privacy track record will be a concern should it pursue that path.