About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

@benlovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer who started his career on PC World and has written for dozens of computer and technology magazines, as well as numerous national newspapers, business and in-flight magazines. He has also written two novels.

He thinks wires are evil and had a custom desk made to hide them, known as the OC Desk for obvious reasons.

He considers 1000 miles a good distance for a cycle ride, and Chernobyl a suitable tourist destination. What can we say, he’s that kind of chap.

He speaks fluent English but only broken American, so please forgive any Anglicised spelling in his posts.

Today

Twitter’s promised clampdown on hate and abuse begins today

Twitter’s promised new rules designed to tackle abusive tweets and posts by hate groups kick in today. The company first vowed to do more back in October, in response to a #WomenBoycottTwitter protest …

If you’ve ever battled with your kids to limit their screen time to the recommended 1-2 hours per day, there’s good news: it doesn’t appear to be necessary.

A joint study between the Oxford Internet Institute and Cardiff University published in the journal Child Development found that there was ‘no consistent correlation’ between limiting screen time and a range of child well-being measures …

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December 15

Alphabet’s innovations lab, X, is testing a new approach to bringing Internet connectivity to people in developing countries. In addition to floating Wi-Fi hotspots in balloons, it is now using laser beam links which it has described as ‘just like fibre optic cable, but without the cable’ …

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Everyone can use an Echo Dot: Just $50!

December 14

App-controlled wearable button offers OLED display and panic feature for $99

The iPhone X isn’t the only new gadget to boast an OLED screen. A startup that says it wants to spark conversations between strangers has launched Beam, a wearable OLED button that allows you to display anything you want, and update it as often as you like …

December 8

Amazon launched its Music Unlimited service just over a year ago, adding to competition in the streaming music space – and a major international expansion today sees it available in 28 new countries.

Amazon quickly followed its US launch by rolling out the service to Austria, Germany and the UK the following month, and Japan later. It subsequently offered a family plan and student deal, and recently added Chromecast support to its Android app …

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December 7

Facebook made the controversial decision back in 2014 to remove private messaging from the main app, moving it instead into Facebook Messenger. It now seems the company may have similar plans for Instagram.

From today, Instagram is testing a new app called Direct. For those who choose to install it, the inbox disappears from the main app …

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December 5

Can apps prevent teen depression? A large-scale clinical trial aims to find out …

Small-scale studies of smartphone apps that claim to improve mental health have yielded some positive results in teenagers, but these are only indicative. Only a large-scale clinical trial can provide the data needed by mental health professionals to determine the true value of such apps, and a $1.6M study aims to provide the answer …

Following reports of sexualised videos of children attracting hundreds of comments from suspected pedophiles, YouTube has announced that it will be boosting its content moderator team to 10,000 people – but only by the end of 2018. The current team is reported to be around 8,000 people.

Times investigation first uncovered the scale of the problem eleven days ago, with volunteer flaggers claiming that YouTube wasn’t taking the problem seriously …

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December 4

Facebook is about to rollout a version of Messenger aimed specifically at kids, known as Messenger Kids. The emphasis is on safety, with all contacts having to be approved by parents.

The app will be iOS-only when it launches in the next few days, with an Android version to follow later in the month …

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December 1

Gartner predicted last month that global smartphone sales would return to growth next year, and its latest numbers show that this was actually achieved sooner than expected, in Q3 this year.

Global sales of smartphones to end users totalled 383 million units in the third quarter of 2017, a 3 percent increase over the same period in 2016, according to Gartner, Inc. All of the top five smartphone vendors achieved double-digit growth apart from Apple …

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November 30

Brits who used an iPhone between June 2011 and February 2012 could receive as much as £500 ($672) each from Google as compensation for the search giant bypassing Safari privacy settings between those dates.

A British campaign group has launched a ‘representative action’ (the UK equivalent of a class action lawsuit) on behalf of the 5.4M iPhone users in England and Wales affected by what is known as Google’s ‘Safari workaround.’ The lawsuit could cost Google as much as £2.7B ($3.63B) in total …

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November 29

X-Files game coming to Android and iOS in February, alongside season 11 of TV show

Hard to believe, but next year will be the 25th anniversary of The X-Files. To celebrate the event, and the premiere of season 11 of the TV show in January, a new mobile game will be launched the following month.

Popular navigation app Waze is being updated today with three new features. First up, and long overdue, is a hands-free mode. The app now supports an ‘Ok Waze’ command that allows you to set common destinations without taking your hands from the wheel.

Commands supported include ‘Take me home’ and ‘Find a gas station’ …

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Facebook asking users to upload a face photo to verify identity when it spots suspicious activity

Facebook is asking some users to upload a face photo to verify their identity when automated processes spot suspicious activity …

November 28

YouTube has responded to reports of ‘sexualized videos of children‘ which attracted numerous comments from suspected pedophiles.

The company says that it has terminated more than 270 accounts, removed more than 150,000 inappropriate videos and turned off comments on over 625,000 videos which had attracted interest from child predators …

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Analytics data from Adobe shows Cyber Monday projected to be the largest online sales day in history, with a total spend of $6.59B.

Chromecast and Samsung tablets were among the most popular purchases, with those shopping on Android devices spending an average of $110 each …

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November 27

YouTube ran into trouble last week after it was revealed that advertising for major brands was appearing alongside sexualised videos of children. The videos were reported to have attracted ‘hundreds of comments’ by suspected pedophiles.

The company now seems to be having similar problems with its auto-complete functionality …

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We’re expecting a major revamp of the Snapchat app to land early next month, but it seems the company isn’t holding back everything until then. It’s been quietly rolling out a feature that recognises (some of) the content in your photos, and suggests relevant borders and filters …

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November 24

Major brands like Lidl, Mars and Cadbury maker Mondelez have pulled advertising from YouTube after they found their ads appearing alongside sexualised videos of children.

The videos in question are reported to have attracted ‘hundreds of comments’ by suspected pedophiles …

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November 23

Although the Trump administration is pressing ahead with plans to remove net neutrality, there’s still time for you to play your part in preventing it.

The proposal still needs to pass a vote in Congress, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation has provided a webpage allowing you to instantly lobby your representative …

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