Tech Digest daily roundup: Pope has Twitter ‘blue tick’ removed


Twitter has finally started removing “legacy” blue ticks from verified accounts, with some of the world’s best-known figures losing the verification sign. The Pope, author JK Rowling, football star Cristiano Ronaldo, US rapper Jay-Z, and TV stars Ant and Dec have lost their blue ticks on the social networking site, along with the Conservative and Labour parties. Sky News 

US Facebook users can now apply for their share of a $725m (£583m) privacy-case settlement. The legal action alleged the social-media company shared 87 million users’ data without their consent, via third parties such as Cambridge Analytica. The allegation, dating back to 2018, remains one of the highest-profile data-privacy scandals. Meta, which owns Facebook, has denied any wrongdoing but agreed to the settlement.

British dealers are welcoming a slew of new car brands from China as it gears up its electric car industry to export more of the vehicles, undercutting competitors. In turn, Tesla and Ford are slashing electric vehicle (EV) prices in anticipation of competition from China, where brands like BYD and Ora can undercut their Western rivals for a host of reasons, including cheaper power and labour. Shares in Elon Musk’s mass-market electric car pioneer slumped earlier this week after his own price-cutting ate into the company’s profits. Telegraph

WhatsApp’s disappearing messages no longer have to self-destruct if you don’t want them to. Thanks to a new update, the app can save a private text before it times out, with the sender’s approval. However, if they don’t agree, then you’re out of luck. As WhatsApp notes in a blog post, “the sender will have the ability to veto the decision”. Launched in 2020, WhatsApp’s disappearing messages can be set to vanish after either 24 hours, seven days, or 90 days from the time they are sent. Evening Standard 

Alphabet is combining its DeepMind and Google Brain AI research units, ending a long-running internal rivalry between the London and Silicon Valley-based groups as it tries to make up lost ground in generative AI against Microsoft and OpenAI. The shake-up will leave Demis Hassabis, the British head of DeepMind, in charge of an expanded group that can lay claim to many of the research breakthroughs that have turned AI into the industry’s most important new technology since the arrival of the internet.

The Galaxy Watch 5 is finally gaining access to the temperature sensor that has been dormant since its launch. Samsung announced this week that an update will allow the watch to use the sensor for health-tracking purposes. More specifically, the Galaxy Watch 5‘s temperature sensor will be used for enhanced cycle tracking. This new capability is a result of the partnership between Samsung and Natural Cycles that was announced in February. The watch will use the sensor to estimate the user’s basal body temperature (BBT) to help manage and forecast the next menstrual cycle. Android Central 

On Sunday 23 April, there will be a national test of the UK’s new Emergency Alert service. The alert will work on all 4G and 5G phone networks in the UK on Apple devices that are compatible with iOS 14.5 or later and on Android devices that are able to run Android 11 or later. Recent news reports have detailed the concerns surrounding the new emergency alert, with many referring to it as the ‘armageddon alert’. But it’s important to note that these alerts will only be sent when there is an immediate risk to people’s lives. Tech Digest 


Chris Price
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