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Instagram will now hide likes in 6 more countries

Would the internet be a better place if we all paid a little less attention to fake internet points? Instagram is still trying to figure it out.

Just a few months back, Instagram started testing a design tweak that would no longer show the total number of “likes” other users’ posts had received. You could still see everyone that liked your photos and videos — but anyone else’s stuff? Don’t worry about it.

While the company hasn’t said much about how the tests are going so far, it seems they’re going well enough to expand them. Initially rolled out in just Canada, it’ll roll out to users in six more countries starting today:

  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Brazil
  • Australia
  • New Zealand

Curiously, some users in Canada (the first country where hidden likes were tested) reported yesterday that likes had returned to their feed. Instagram confirmed to us that the testing in Canada is still ongoing. Meanwhile, likes seem to be gone again in Canada as of this afternoon.

We wrote about Instagram’s like-hiding experiments a few weeks prior to the public tests, after the pending rollout was discovered by reverse-engineering extraordinaire Jane Manchun Wong.

So why hide likes? Instagram says it’s “because [they] want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.�

In other words: when likes are public, people care too much about them. People view it as a metric of success — teasing those who get too few, or buying likes to try to gain admiration. If a post doesn’t get enough likes, people delete them to make it seem like all of their photos are hits. In theory, hiding likes from the feed but making them visible to the creator lets people get some sense of what’s working, without having to worry so much about whatever anyone else is taking away from the like count on any given photo.

Here’s what Instagram looks like with the design tweak. Note the banner up top giving the user a heads up of the change, and that the like bar just says “Liked by username and others” instead of any specific number of users:

 


Source: TechCrunch

Digitize old photos and film with the best photo scanners for 2019

Got a box of old photos to scan, or a batch of fresh film to digitize? The best photo scanners offer high-resolution, colorful scans along with features to make the scanning process less tedious.
Source: Digital trends

The best tech gifts under $25

We live in a world where you can get a cheeseburger for $1, a functioning computer for $5, and thousands of HD movies for $10 — so it stands to reason that you should be able to pick up some pretty sweet gear for $25.
Source: Digital trends

Think FaceApp Is Scary? Wait Till You Hear About Facebook

The idea that FaceApp is somehow exceptionally dangerous threatens to obscure the real point: All apps deserve this level of scrutiny.
Source: Wired

The new MacBook Pro scored a pathetic 2/10 for repairability. Does it matter?

Apple’s devices aren’t exactly known for their repairability, and the latest MacBook Pro has done nothing to change that, as repair experts iFixit have just given it a lowly 2 out of 10 score for repairability.
Source: Digital trends

The #IceBae Meme Captures the Worst of 2019 So Far

It’s come to this.
Source: Wired

The Paradox of the Incredible Shrinking Comic-Con Expansion

The pop-culture event keeps getting bigger, even as it feels smaller. Welcome to the Age of Content.
Source: Wired

When an Online Teaching Job Becomes a Window into Child Abuse

More than half a million Chinese kids take virtual English classes on VIPKid. What can the platform do to keep them safe in their own homes?
Source: Wired

Ford wants to make this pickup truck emoji a reality – Roadshow

It’s not exactly a Ranger or an F-150. But I guess it’s more useful than the fax machine emoji, at any rate.
Source: CNET

Europe is now formally investigating Amazon’s use of merchant data

European regulators have announced a formal antitrust investigation of Amazon’s use of data from third parties selling on its ecommerce platform.

Commenting in a statement, competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager said: European consumers are increasingly shopping online. Ecommerce has boosted retail competition and brought more choice and better prices. We need to ensure that large online platforms don’t eliminate these benefits through anti-competitive behaviour. I have therefore decided to take a very close look at Amazon’s business practices and its dual role as marketplace and retailer, to assess its compliance with EU competition rules.â€�

The move is not a surprise as Amazon was already on the radar of Vestager’s department.

Last fall it emerged the regulator was making preliminary enquiries about Amazon’s use of third party sellers’ data — to try to determine whether or not merchants selling on its platform are being placed at a competitive disadvantage vs the products Amazon also sells as a consequence of its access to their data.

Dual sided platforms — that both host sellers on a marketplace and sell stuff themselves — raise competition-related questions about what is done with third parties’ data, she said then.

Based on its preliminary fact-finding the Commission said today that Amazon “appears to use competitively sensitive information — about marketplace sellers, their products and transactions on the marketplace”. Although it’s worth emphasizing that this is a preliminary finding and does not prejudice the outcome of the formal probe.

The Commission said its in-depth investigation of Amazon’s practices will focus on:

  • the standard agreements between Amazon and marketplace sellers which allow its retail business to analyse and use third party seller data — saying that, in particular, it will focus on “whether and how the use of accumulated marketplace seller data by Amazon as a retailer affects competition”
  • the role of data in the selection of the winners of the ‘Buy Box’ and “the impact of Amazon’s potential use of competitively sensitive marketplace seller information on that selection”. The Commission notes that the ‘Buy Box’ is “displayed prominently” on Amazon and “seems key for marketplace sellers as a vast majority of transactions are done through it”

The Buy Box — an example of which can be seen in the below screengrab — refers to a coveted section of the Amazon website where consumers who are viewing a product can click to add it to their shopping cart.

Seller/s who win placement in the box likely gain an advantage over competing sellers of the product.

 

Screenshot 2019 07 17 at 12.25.32

Responding to the Commission’s announcement of a formal probe, an Amazon spokesperson sent us this statement: “We will cooperate fully with the European Commission and continue working hard to support businesses of all sizes and help them grow.”

Yesterday the ecommerce behemoth was among a number of tech giants being questioned by US lawmakers about antitrust concerns.

On both sides of the Atlantic regulators are fast dialling up their scrutiny of the tech sector. Although Europe has led the charge — with Vestager spearheading a number of investigations into tech giants during her tenure as competition chief, including probes of Google, Apple and now Amazon.

Earlier this year EU institutions also reached agreement over new regulations designed to boost transparency around online platform businesses and curb unfair practices to support traders and other businesses that rely on digital intermediaries for discovery and sales.

The new fairness and transparency rules online platforms are likely to come into force in the EU next year.


Source: TechCrunch

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