Tech Digest daily roundup: Facebook puts Instagram Kids on hold


Plans to make an “Instagram experience” for under-13s, dubbed Instagram Kids, have been paused. Facebook would use the time to listen to “parents, experts, policymakers and regulators”, Instagram head Adam Mosseri wrote. It follows leaked internal research the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said Instagram was “toxic for teen girls”. But in a recent blog, Facebook head of research Pratiti Raychoudhury called this allegation “simply not accurate”. Instagram requires users to be at least 13 before they create an account – but many children under that age use the platform anyway. And the company previously told BBC News Instagram Kids would be a “practical solution to the ongoing industry problem of kids lying about their age to access apps” and enable children to connect with family and friends in an “age appropriate way”. BBC

Ford will invest some $7 billion (£5.1bn) in building the “largest, most advanced, most efficient auto production complex in its 118-year history”, claiming it’s the largest single investment in electric vehicles by any American manufacturer. As part of a drive to scale up its US-market EV offering, Ford will build two new dedicated “mega-sites”. The new $5.6bn (£4.1bn) Blue Oval City in Stanton, Tennessee, will comprise a factory for electric F-Series pick-up trucks, a battery-manufacturing facility and an on-site recycling and supplier network. Ford anticipates that it will create 6000 new jobs but will send no waste to landfill and be wholly carbon-neutral. It will be one of the largest vehicle production sites in the US, spanning across some 3600 acres, powered in part by sustainable sources including solar and wind power and using always-on cloud-based technology to improve quality and productivity levels. Autocar 

The latest in a series of U.S. satellites that has recorded human and natural impacts on Earth’s surface for decades was launched into orbit from California on Monday to ensure continued observations in the era of climate change. Landsat 9 was carried into space aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket that lifted off from foggy Vandenberg Space Force Base at 11:12 a.m. The satellite successfully separated from the rocket’s upper stage more than an hour later. A project of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey, Landsat 9 will work in tandem with a predecessor, Landsat 8, to extend a nearly 50-year record of land and coastal region observations that began with the launch of the first Landsat in 1972. Landsat 9 will take the orbital track of Landsat 7, which will be decommissioned. Landsat 9 carries an imaging sensor that will record visible and other portions of the spectrum. It also has a thermal sensor to measure surface temperatures. AP News

Dry eye disease, a painful, debilitating condition that causes a lack of tears, redness, fatigue and stinging and stabbing pains in the eyes, isn’t something that normally affects the young.  But 24-year-old gaming fanatic Natalie Burns has been struck down with the disease, which normally affects people at least twice her age, after spending hours each week glued to a computer screen. The trainee floor planner was just 18 and studying graphic design at college in Scotland in 2014 when she first became sensitive to light. She also noticed stabbing pains in her eyes, which were red, itchy and tired – leading to a diagnosis of dry eye disease. Yahoo!

Chris Price
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