It’s almost time to turn back the clocks and put pumpkins out on our doorsteps as October draws to a close. It’s been a busy month in the tech world, with a balance between the war on social media raging on and some brighter innovations that aim to make our daily lives easier. If you missed anything, here’s our tech news roundup to get you up to speed.
One thing almost nobody missed was that Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram experienced an outage that lasted almost six hours. The company blamed an internal technical issue, that on top of affecting the functioning of Facebook’s platforms, resulted in issues with internal employees’ work passes and email. The event provoked questions about our reliance on social media, forcing people around the globe to rethink their relationship with these platforms.
This outage occurred within the context of additional bad press for Facebook as whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before US Congress. She explained that the social media giant has repeatedly prioritised profit over reining in hate speech and misinformation, as its AI systems only catch a tiny minority of offending content.
Nevertheless, numerous social media giants fought back against this mass denunciation. Facebook introduced new measures which attempt to push teens away from harmful content. Similarly, Twitter is testing a warning for users which will appear before they engage with heated conversations on the platform. These may be small steps but represent a move in the right direction to a safer social media world.
In lighter news, October saw a number of innovative developments in the world of tech. Royal Mail has been trialling drone deliveries in Scotland’s Orkney Islands to better connect remote communities. Google Maps is set to show drivers the lowest carbon route for their journeys in a drive towards more environmentally friendly policies. That’s not all for Google, as its experts have also developed an AI-based system to accurately predict if it will rain in the next 90 minutes, which will certainly be useful here in London!
That’s all for our October roundup. Want to receive a daily news roundup of the biggest tech stories? Sign up to our Firewire here.