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Snapchat to let parents see who their kids are chatting with in app

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As part of Snap’s child safety efforts, Snapchat is launching a new supervision tool on Tuesday that the company says mimics how parents and teenagers interact in the real world.

Snapchat’s new “Family Center” hub allows parents and guardians to keep tabs on who their teens message with on the app without disclosing what it is they’re saying to each other. Both the guardian and the child must accept the Family Center invite before the oversight tools can take effect. Once the invites are accepted, a guardian can see the entirety of their child’s friends list and a list of accounts they’ve interacted with over the last seven days and report concerning accounts to Snap’s Trust and Safety Team.

“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 its Tuesday blog post. The feature is meant to copy real-life relationships, like when a parent lets a kid’s friends come over but doesn’t monitor everything they say.

Snap plans to roll out new Family Center features over the next few weeks, including tools allowing parents to view the new friends their children have added along with additional content controls.

Snapchat’s Family Center allows parents to see who their children are talking to on the app.
Image: Snap

Snap’s new parental controls come as lawmakers continue their work to address children’s online safety. After Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked internal documents disclosing how Meta’s platforms can harm young users, some of the largest tech platforms were called in to testify before Congress. Among YouTube and TikTok was a representative from Snap before a Senate committee last October.

At last year’s hearing, Jennifer Stout, Snap’s vice president of global public policy, said, “Snapchat was built as an antidote to social media” — distinguishing how Snap is distancing itself from Facebook and other social media platforms.

Haugen’s disclosures and the following hearings led to the introduction of a number of bills to tackle children’s safety online. Late last month, a Senate panel approved two bills that would restrict how tech platforms can collect and use data from young users, according to The Washington Post.

One bill, the Children and Teens’ Online Privacy Protection Act, would ban tech companies from collecting the data of users between 13 and 16 years old without parental consent. A second bill, the Kids Online Safety Act, would create an “eraser” button allowing for young users to easily delete their data from platforms. The measures were approved amid a growing movement of advocates who are calling for lawmakers to raise the age limits in federal law to cover the privacy of children between the ages of 13 and 18 years old, rather than simply children under the age of 13.

Following Snap’s October congressional hearing, the company announced that it was working on the Family Center tool it announced on Tuesday. In a statement to The Verge last year, a Snap spokesperson said, “Our overall goal is to help educate and empower young people to make the right choices to enhance their online safety and to help parents be partners with their kids in navigating the digital world.”

In January, Snap launched a feature limiting the number of friend suggestions teenagers see on its app, via its Quick Add menu. According to the company, kids between the ages of 13 to 17 only receive suggestions for accounts that “have a certain number of friends in common with that person.”

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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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