Tech Digest daily roundup: Instagram announces new tools to combat abuse


Instagram has announced a range of new tools it says will help protect users and combat incidents such as the abuse aimed at England players after the Euro 2020 final. At the centre of the update is a new feature called Limits, which will give people the ability to automatically hide comments and direct message requests from other users who they do not already follow, or have only recently followed them. The firm said it had been designed to stop waves of abuse from accounts who “pile on in the moment”. The Facebook-owned service has also strengthened the in-app warnings it shows to those who attempt to post abuse – warning users they face having their account removed if they continue to send abusive comments. Sky News 

Hackers have stolen some $600m (£433m) in what appears to be one the largest cryptocurrency heists ever. Blockchain site Poly Network said hackers had exploited a vulnerability in its system and taken thousands of digital tokens such as Ether. In a letter posted on Twitter, it urged the thieves to “establish communication and return the hacked assets”. In scale, the hack is on par with huge recent breaches at exchanges such as Coincheck and Mt Gox. In its letter Poly Network said: “The amount of money you have hacked is one of the biggest in defi [decentralised finance] history. “Law enforcement in any country will regard this as a major economic crime and you will be pursued.” BBC 

The technology executive leading a white knight bid to take over Britain’s biggest microchip factory has vowed to spend up to £300m on the plant amid a battle to prise it out of Chinese control. Ron Black said a consortium of six companies is ready to step in with a bid for the factory, Newport Wafer Fab, if the Government intervenes to block its acquisition by Shanghai-owned company Nexperia. Mr Black – who ran Imagination Technologies before leaving the British chip business after a bust-up over an attempted board takeover by Chinese investors – declined to directly call for ministers to block Nexperia buying the factory. But in his first public comments on the bid, Mr Black said that all technology deals should be strongly considered on national security grounds. Telegraph 

Facebook said Tuesday that it has removed hundreds of accounts linked to a mysterious advertising agency operating out of Russia that sought to pay social media influencers to smear COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and AstraZeneca. A network of 65 Facebook accounts and 243 Instagram accounts was traced back to Fazze, an advertising and marketing firm working in Russia on behalf of an unknown client. The network used fake accounts to spread misleading claims that disparaged the safety of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines. One claimed AstraZeneca’s shot would turn a person into a chimpanzee. The fake accounts targeted audiences in India, Latin America and, to a lesser extent, the U.S., using several social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram. AP News 

Twitter’s automated photo-cropping algorithm does favour young, feminine and light-skinned faces, research has confirmed. The San Francisco-based company offered a cash reward to users who could help it weed out bias in its algorithm and has now revealed the results. It comes five months after the tool was disabled amid fears of racial bias. Twitter said it had tested for racial and gender bias during the algorithm’s development, but users discovered it favoured white individuals over black people, and women over men. The social network then announced ‘bounties’ as high as $3,500 as part of the DEF CON hacker convention in Las Vegas earlier this month. Daily Mail


Chris Price
For latest tech stories go to