Tech Digest daily roundup: Instagram to require birthday confirmation


Instagram will begin requiring users to confirm their birthdays as part of an effort to create new safety features for young people, the Facebook Inc-owned (FB.O) social media app said Monday. Instagram has explored building a version of its app for kids under the age of 13, prompting lawmakers to urge Facebook to drop the plans, saying the social media company “has a clear record of failing to protect children on its platforms.” Instagram said in a blog post it will use the information to “ensure we provide the right experiences to the right age group.” Last month, the company said it would default users under 16 to a private account when they join the platform. Reuters

Online gamers under the age of 18 will only be allowed to play for an hour on Fridays, weekends and holidays, China’s video game regulator has said. The National Press and Publication Administration told state-run news agency Xinhua that game-playing would be only allowed between 8pm to 9pm. It also instructed gaming companies to prevent children playing outside these times. Earlier this month a state media outlet branded online games “spiritual opium”. Inspections of online gaming companies will also increase, to check that the time limits are being enforced the regulator said. BBC 

More than a billion Chinese citizens now use the internet, majority via their smartphones, according to the latest round of figures released by the China Internet Network Information Centre. Parsing their latest edition of the usage written in Chinese, The Register notes that the country got an additional 21.75 million people online in Q1 2021, helping it surpass the billion-user mark. Of the 1.011 billion Chinese that are online, virtually all (1.007 billion) access the internet via mobile devices. Tech Radar

Global sales of electric vehicles increased by 160% in the first half of 2021 from a year earlier to 2.6 million units, according to research firm Canalys, the latest sign of transformation afoot in the global auto business. EV sales growth topped that of the total global car market, which was up 26%, Canalys said. Auto demand returned as Covid-19 restrictions eased in many markets and makers overcame component shortages, it said. Overall car sales are still below pre-pandemic levels, Canalys noted. China remained the world’s top EV market with 1.1 million vehicles sold in the first half, accounting for 12% of sales. Forbes

The price of Uber rides has spiked as the taxi-hailing app struggles to match soaring demand with a supply of drivers. Data from market research company Edison found that the average cost of a journey had risen by a third since April, from £9 to around £12. Rival operator Bolt has also had higher fares. Uber said the number of drivers on its app had recovered to pre-pandemic levels, but that it was experiencing unprecedented demand as cities reopen. Public transport usage remains 17pc below pre-pandemic usage, according to Google data, while in London, Uber’s biggest market, it is 30pc below. Telegraph

Chris Price
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