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Snapchat Introduces Its First Parental Controls

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SAN FRANCISCO — Snapchat, the ephemeral messaging app, introduced its first parental controls on Tuesday, as social media platforms face increasing scrutiny for exposing young users to potentially harmful content.

Snap, Snapchat’s parent company, said in a blog post that its new tools would let parents see whom their teenagers were friends with on the app and whom they had communicated with in the previous seven days. Parents will also be able to report accounts that their children are friends with if they violate Snapchat’s policies. Parents will not be able to see their children’s conversations on the app.

To gain access to the controls, people have to create Snapchat accounts and be friends with their children, who have to agree to the controls. The company said it would introduce additional features later, including one that lets parents see whom their children recently became friends with. Teenagers will also be able to notify their parents if they report accounts or content.

“Our goal was to create a set of tools designed to reflect the dynamics of real-world relationships and foster collaboration and trust between parents and teens,” Snap said in the blog post.

Snap, Instagram, TikTok and other social media companies have faced questions from lawmakers, regulators and activists over toxic content on their platforms that has led some young people to say the apps have worsened eating disorders and contributed to other mental health problems. Snap has also been criticized for how its app enables teenagers to buy drugs like fentanyl.

These issues gained traction last year after a former Facebook employee released internal documents showing that some teenagers appeared to feel worse about themselves after using its products, such as Instagram. Executives from Instagram, Snap, TikTok and YouTube later testified in Congress over whether social media harms young people. In March, a group of state attorneys general asked Snap and TikTok to increase parental controls on their apps.

Other countries have also acted to protect young people from the effects of social media. In September, Britain instituted new child-safety regulations, which spurred platforms such as Instagram to introduce its first parental controls. Instagram’s parental controls let people see and limit how much time their children spend on the app.

Snap has also recently struggled with a declining business. Last month, the company reported its slowest-ever quarterly growth amid a softening economy and challenges to its advertising business.

Snapchat’s parental controls will add to existing restrictions on how teenagers can use Snapchat. Teenagers currently have to be mutual friends to message each other on the app, and their profiles and friend lists are private. The app requires users to be older than 13, and teenagers cannot change their birth year in the app until they are 18.

The parental controls are available in the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. They will be available in other countries starting this fall.

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Tuesday’s top tech news: Elon squares off against Apple

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Oh Elon. It was pretty obvious something was up when Twitter’s new CEO tweeted out of the blue that “Apple has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter,” and asked whether “they hate free speech in America?” Following a question from my colleague Jake Kastrenakes, Musk confirmed that the iPhone maker was threatening Twitter’s presence in the App Store and/or making moderation demands. Welcome to hell, Elon.

Away from the chaos at Twitter there was more bad news in the crypto sector with the news that finance firm BlockFi has filed for bankruptcy amidst the continued FTX fallout, while crypto exchange Kraken has agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in fines over possible Iran sanction violations. Thank god we’ve got another trailer for The Super Mario Bros. Movie to look forward to later today.

For now, here’s a silly tweet:

Stay tuned, as we continue to update this list with the most important news of today: Tuesday, November 29th, 2022.



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‘No Cooperation’: How Sam Bankman-Fried Tried to Cling to FTX

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“Sam this is an excellent pick and I wholeheartedly hope you sign this tonight,” Mr. Dexter wrote in an email on the evening of Nov. 10. “The faster John is in place, the faster the company can resolve issues that require urgent progress.”

A flurry of emails followed. In a message at 3:38 a.m. on Nov. 11, Mr. Miller asked for an update on Mr. Bankman-Fried’s decision. “I am chatting with Sam,” responded Ken Ziman, a lawyer at the firm Paul Weiss who was representing Mr. Bankman-Fried.

Ten minutes later, Mr. Ziman confirmed that Mr. Bankman-Fried had signed the document, authorizing Mr. Ray to take over FTX. The company filed for bankruptcy a few hours later.

The filing was hardly the end of the chaos. The court submission listed more than 130 corporate entities tied to FTX, including its U.S. arm and Alameda, the hedge fund. But the filing was inaccurate: Some of the entities were not owned by the exchange. They belonged to AZA Finance, a separate company that had recently become partners with FTX to promote crypto in Africa.

FTX later acknowledged the error. But in a Nov. 11 Slack message to Mr. Miller and other officials, Elizabeth Rossiello, the chief executive of AZA Finance, called the mistakes in the bankruptcy filing “a storm of wild irresponsibility.”

“This is hurting 9 years of work we have done to create this platform!!” she wrote.

Mr. Miller responded defensively. “We had no cooperation of the founders in preparing this week,” he said. “It was unfortunate.”

Mr. Bankman-Fried was also frustrated. Despite giving up control of FTX, he continued contacting possible investors about new funding for the exchange. In a letter to former colleagues last week, he said he regretted filing for bankruptcy, claiming that “potential interest in billions of dollars of funding came in roughly eight minutes after I signed the Chapter 11 docs.”

He presented no evidence for that claim, and in any case, FTX was no longer his company to run. On the morning of Nov. 11, Mr. Miller moved quickly to make that clear, requesting the deletion of information about the firm’s old leadership from its website.



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The best Cyber Monday deals available now

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Below, we’ve rounded up the best Cyber Monday deals you can currently get, whether you’re in the market for a 4K OLED, a gaming laptop, or another piece of big-ticket tech that would normally require you to shell out your entire paycheck. We’ve included a number of budget-friendly items, too, just in case you’re looking for chargers, a cheap(er) pair of earbuds, or other essential gadgets to round out your arsenal.

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