Ireland’s data privacy regulator has agreed to levy a record fine of 405 million euros ($402 million) against social network Instagram following an investigation into its handling of children’s data, a spokesperson for the watchdog said.
Instagram plans to appeal against the fine, a spokesperson for its parent company, Meta, said in an emailed statement.
The investigation, which started in 2020, focused on child users between the ages of 13 and 17 who were allowed to operate business accounts, which facilitated the publication of the user’s phone number and/or email address.
“We adopted our final decision last Friday and it does contain a fine of 405 million euro,” said the spokesperson for Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner, the lead regulator of Instagram and Facebook’s (FB) parent company.
Instagram updated its settings over a year ago and has since released new features to keep teens safe and their information private, the Meta spokesperson said.
The DPC regulates Facebook, Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOGL) and other technology giants due to the location of their EU headquarters in Ireland. It has opened over a dozen investigations into Meta companies, including Facebook and WhatsApp.
WhatsApp was last year fined a record 225 million euros for failing to conform with EU data rules in 2018.
In this clip, Boosie reacted to Elon Musk buying Twitter and said he hopes that the tech billionaire will acquire Instagram as well. Boosie and Vlad talked about how much money Musk really has to have in order to buy a publicly traded company outright. Later, Boosie talked about his friendship with the Saudi prince and Vlad warned him about indulging his vices while over there.
A truck driver named Demond George fired back at his critics after a viral Facebook post posing with over 20 children that he admitted were biologically his. If that wasn’t shocking enough, he added that he had nine more children who were not present in the photo.
In his post, George thanked the mother of his children for arranging the gathering. Viewers pointed out that many of the children looked close in age, leading them to assume various women were pregnant at the same time.
“The LEGEND The Legacy WILL LIVE FOREVER,” George’s post read. “I want [to] thank my kids mothers for helping me make dis day possible…with 9 missing it still turned out good I’m truly blessed.”
The viral photo incited widespread criticism from social media users, with one woman tweeting, “33 children. This is so irresponsible and nasty.”
George posted a fiery response by going live on social media and responding to the widespread criticism. The father of 33 specifically responded to comments about his “weak pull-out game” and emphatically stated that he doesn’t pull out.
“My pull-out game ain’t weak, I just don’t pull out b***h!” George yelled. “It ain’t weak, motherf**** I don’t pull out!”
George proceeded to claim he takes care of all of his children while flashing a stack of cash.
Just last week, Instagram users noticed that the app icon had randomly become a lot brighter. Well, now we know why – it’s all part of Instagram’s biggest rebrand in years. But it seems the internet is torn over the platform’s new look.
Meta-owned Instagram has revealed a new visual identity comprising of a brand new bespoke typeface, and the aforementioned brighter logo. Perhaps the most notable change is the new wordmark, now rendered in the ‘Instagram Sans’ typeface.
Instagram says the refresh is designed to help the platform “create more immersive and inclusive experiences.” In a blog post, the company breaks the rebrand down into three core areas:
The gradient is reimagined with “vibrant colours to make it feel illuminated and alive, and to signal moments of discovery”.
The new typeface, Instagram Sans, is “designed with Instagram’s heritage in mind and includes multiple global scripts.”
The new layout and design system is “content-forward and celebrates creativity, simplicity and self-expression.”
We’ve already seen the tweaked icon (designed by Rose Pilkington), which appears to be blinding some users. But now we’ve been given a much more comprehensive look at the new brand identity. ‘Instagram Sans‘ is a fun new typeface based around what Instagram “lovingly” calls the “squircle” – the rounded square of its logo. The typeface is also available to use in Stories and Reels.
But the most noticeable use of the typeface is in the brand new wordmark (above). Replacing the ‘handwritten’ style that’s been around for as long as Instagram, the new wordmark is a much more contemporary affair – and considering how long we’ve had to look at the last one, Daniel Piper’s a fan.
But over on that other social media platform, reactions are mixed. Yes, Twitter is, as Twitter does, making its feelings known about the new look, and the responses range from really loving it to really not loving it.
And responses to the new icon have been doing the rounds for a few days now. “I’m going to have to reduce my screen brightness for that,” one Twitter user complains, while another adds, “New Instagram icon is way over-saturated. Gross.” And lots have users have shared screen recordings of iOS seeming to struggle with the new icon – when closing the app, the icon appears to judder between the old and new design.
An OnlyFans creator has claimed during a recent podcast appearance that she had sex with Meta employees to have her blocked Instagram account restored.
Kitty Lixo, who has a growing following on Instagram, made the shocking allegation on the “No Jumper” podcast.
Podcast host Adam John Grandmaison uploaded the segment to Twitter with the caption “How to get your Instagram back if it gets deleted.”
According to Lixo, her Instagram account got “shut down like three or four times,” so she slept with “multiple” employees from the company that owns Instagram, Facebook and other social media products.
“All you have to do is have someone really, really like you,” the influencer can be heard saying in the clip, which has been viewed over 1.4 million times.
On Instagram, Lixo frequently linked her OnlyFans account, which has adult content. While it was not made clear what got her account blocked, Meta updated its community guidelines in Dec. 2020 to prohibit advertising adult content.
A Facebook spokesperson was quoted by Refinery29 last year as saying that “while OnlyFans isn’t a porn website, we know it can be used in that way, so we take action on accounts that share OnlyFans links when paired with other sexually suggestive content.”
“The first time I got my Instagram shut down, one of my friends, he works at Instagram, he’s a guy friend,” Lixo shared. “So I started sleeping with him to have him get my Instagram account back. And he did, which was really nice of him.”
Lixo shared that her friend from Instagram had earlier revealed to her “what the review process is like when you get your Instagram account shut down.”
“So, basically, he told me that the integrity department is up for reviews,” said the social media personality.
Lixo explained that Instagram’s review system implements a tedious process that involves multiple persons handling an account review.
“Every time they put in another review, it gets sent to a different person,” she explained. “In order to get it [the account] back if they deny you the first time, basically what a person has to do is keep trying, keep putting in reviews.”
She stated that the goal is to get someone to like you and perhaps they’ll “rally for you and you’ll get your account back.”
Lixo then purportedly went digging on LinkedIn to find any connections in the integrity department.
“I contacted them on Instagram through my backup and still slutty account,” said Lixo, who claimed she was able to reach some who knew her by her “Girls Gone Wireless” podcast.
“We met up and like I f*cked a couple of them, and I was able to get my account back like two or three times,” claimed Lixo.
A nonprofit blockchain developer sued Meta Platforms Inc in California federal court Friday, alleging a new logo adopted by the company formerly known as Facebook will cause consumer confusion with its own infinity-symbol logo.
Switzerland-based Dfinity said being associated with Meta’s “sordid” history with user privacy could hurt the non-profit’s efforts to attract people to its blockchain platform, which it wants to use to “take on Big Tech and its growing control over user data.”
Dfinity was founded in 2016. Its Internet Computer is an “infinite” public blockchain network designed to host authenticated smart contracts. It registered a federal trademark for its infinity-symbol logo in 2018.
Meta, Dfinity, and Dfinity’s attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Facebook Inc rebranded as Meta last October to reflect its plans to focus on the virtual-reality “metaverse.” Meta has described its new logo as a “continuous loop” that resembles both the letter ‘M’ and an infinity sign, “symbolizing infinite horizons in the metaverse.”
Dfinity’s lawsuit said Meta’s logo is confusingly similar to its logo. It also said that a Meta executive outlined plans to adopt blockchain technologies in an internal memo, which would add to the likelihood of confusion between the companies.
Dfinity asked the court to stop Meta from using the logo and for an unspecified amount of money damages.
The case is Dfinity Foundation v. Meta Platforms Inc, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 3:22-cv-02632.
Ava Majury downloaded TikTok when she was 13, and at the height of the pandemic lockdowns a year later had more than a million followers. Her fans, nearly three-quarters of them male, watched her lip-sync and dance to trending music on an account with the profile message, “Hey, I love you!!”
In early 2020 Ava noticed that one fan, EricJustin111, was trying to get her attention in comments on TikTok. He messaged her in Snapchat and on Instagram, and turned up in online games she played with her brothers. Ava responded to him a few times at first, she said, “because I used to reply to my fans, like ‘Hey, how was your day?’’’
Early on July 10, the fan — Eric Rohan Justin, 18, of Ellicott City, Md. — arrived with a shotgun at the Majury family home in Naples and blew open the front door. His weapon jammed; Ava’s father, Rob Majury, a retired police lieutenant, chased him off but fell. Mr. Majury told Collier County sheriff’s officers that he returned to the house, retrieved his handgun and stood guard at the front door, only to see the gunman return a short time later. By sunrise Mr. Justin lay dying, shot by Mr. Majury.
What began as an enterprising teenager’s lockdown venture has awakened the family of five to how online fame can fuel real-world violence. In interviews with The New York Times, they spoke for the first time about an ordeal that illuminates the dark side of a social media platform favored by millions of children.
TikTok’s owner, Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd., and many of its users emphasize the friendships, innovative content and creative collaboration enabled by the platform, but its enormous popularity among vulnerable, underage people has also been linked to mental health problems, injuries and deaths.
Today Ava Majury remains on TikTok, where she is netting thousands of dollars in sponsorship deals and has attracted interest from Hollywood, including from reality TV producers. Her TikTok fame has brought sponsorship opportunities on Instagram and Snapchat, too. Instagram, owned by Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has also been accused of causing mental and emotional health problems among teenage female users.
“Her creations, her contacts, her videos became such a big part of her that to take it away would have been hard,” her father said.
“We chose what’s best for our family,” Ava’s mother, Kim Majury, added. “We know there are going to be two sides, and some people won’t understand.”
The Majurys moved to Florida in 2019 from Manalapan, N.J., lured by its warm climate, low taxes and a quieter lifestyle. They settled in Naples, a staid, safe community of affluent retirees and growing families in Collier County, on the state’s Gulf Coast. Mr. Majury, 51, is a former Jersey City police lieutenant, and Mrs. Majury, 45, is an ultrasound technologist. The family rented a home in Raffia Preserve, a subdivision of tidy homes on curving streets.
Ava is “a go-getter,” her father said. When classmates in New Jersey admired a sticker she had designed for her laptop, she started selling them, eventually earning nearly $700. On TikTok, she has promoted a tooth-whitening product, emerging recording artists and N.F.L. games.
“I have three TikTok accounts, so I could have one brand come to me and be like, ‘Oh, I’ll do $1,000 for one video on your main account,’ and I’ll be like, ‘Oh great, I have two other accounts that are different types of people on there,’” Ava said in an interview. “So altogether, I’m making $1,700 off just my name, because I opened up three accounts rather than just building off one.”
Her venture surprised and intrigued her parents. “Honestly, we had no idea the extent of what she was able to earn,” Mr. Majury said. He has appeared in a couple of her videos, including one she made in the car while he was driving.
“We both pointed at the camera at the same time and the music stopped and she starts laughing. You know, so innocent, it was sweet for me. It’s me and her having a moment,” Mr. Majury recalled. The moment drew hundreds of thousands of views.
Downloads of TikTok grew by 75 percent in 2020, making it the world’s most-downloaded app that year, according to Hootsuite. Today the platform has more than one billion average monthly users. It welcomes account holders as young as 13, and in 2021 outflanked both Instagram and Snapchat in weekly usage by youth ages 12 to 17. While teens like Ava have used it to entertain and spread positive messages, viral “TikTok Challenges” have been cited as inspiring children to vandalize and threaten their schools, follow starvation “Corpse Bride” diets and asphyxiate themselves. Teen girls have been repeatedly targeted by child predators.
A TikTok spokeswoman, Mahsau Cullinane, emailed a statement saying that TikTok is “deeply invested in the safety and well-being of our community’’ and added that the platform uses tools to protect users under the age of 16. In 2020, TikTok classified more than a third of its 49 million daily users in the United States as 14 or younger, according to internal company data and documents reviewed by The Times.
Ava has two brothers, Evan and Logan, ages 17 and 11. She and Evan attend a sprawling public high school where much of student life revolves around social media.
In early 2020, after Ava noticed Mr. Justin angling for her attention on TikTok, she learned that friends in New Jersey and Florida were selling him photos of her as well as her personal information, including her cellphone number, which Mr. Justin used to call and text her. In another instance, Mr. Justin logged onto a classmate’s school account and did math homework in exchange for information about Ava, her family said.
“I had to unfollow all my local friends and Jersey friends,” Ava said. “And everyone around me was like, ‘Oh you’re going Hollywood on all of us, you don’t want to talk to us anymore.’ And I’m like, ‘You’re selling my stuff.’”
But Ava’s parents allowed her to sell Mr. Justin a couple of selfies that she had already posted to Snapchat.
“I wasn’t sending anything of my body,’’ Ava said. “It was just pictures of my face, which is what I assume that he was paying for. My whole thing is my pretty smile — that’s my content.” She said Mr. Justin paid about $300 for two photos, via the Venmo digital wallet app.
After that, Mr. Justin messaged Ava on Venmo with a breakdown of what he would pay for “booty pics” and photos of her feet, “stuff that a 14-year-old shouldn’t be sending,” she said. She blocked him on all her accounts. In Venmo messages viewed by The Times, Mr. Justin pleaded with her to unblock him, sending $159.18, then $100, and finally $368.50 with the message, “sorry this is all I have left i’m broke.”
Mr. Majury said he texted Mr. Justin’s cellphone, told him that Ava was a minor, and demanded that he stop contacting her.
At that point Mr. Justin’s efforts turned sinister. In a series of text messages that made their way to Ava, and which the Majury family showed The Times, he asked one of Ava’s male classmates whether he had access to a “strap,” or gun, shared plans to assault her, and wrote, “i could just breach the door with a shotgun i think.” The classmate’s mother declined an interview request.
When Ava learned of the threatening messages, she called the classmate who had received them. He confirmed that he had gotten them, and forwarded others to her. Fearful, she showed her parents. They researched Mr. Justin’s identity, saw that he lived hundreds of miles away, and reassured her that “he was one of these keyboard cowboys,” Mr. Majury said.
“I sort of discredited what could have been a threat.”
Ava’s bedroom was just inside the door Mr. Justin blasted open.
“All I remember was, I heard it, I felt it in my chest, and I looked up, and there was a hole in my door from the fragments,” she said. She ran through a connecting bathroom to her brothers’ room, clutching a blanket, water bottle and her cellphone.
Mr. Majury bolted from bed and ran shouting to the foyer, where he said debris still floated in the air. Mrs. Majury followed, dialing 911 on her phone. Outside a gangly teenager wearing what looked like a blue Walmart worker’s vest, protective earplugs and safety glasses stood on the front lawn. He turned to escape and Mr. Majury sprinted forward but fell, gashing his knee. The gunman paused, struggling to clear his jammed weapon, then ran away. Mr. Majury retrieved his handgun, and was standing at the front door awaiting the police when Mr. Justin returned. Mr. Majury said he ordered the teenager to drop the shotgun, and when he instead pointed it at him, Mr. Majury fired.
The three Majury children had retreated to their parents’ bedroom in the rear of the house. Ava’s older brother, Evan, turned to her in panic and fury.
“This is all your fault,” he said.
“The subject was most likely a stalker that resulted from her daughter’s extensive social media involvement,” the Collier County Sheriff’s Office report read, citing statements to them from Mrs. Majury. “Since her daughter’s involvement with social media, multiple subjects have attempted to ascertain her family’s address in the past.” Mrs. Majury provided them with contact information for Mr. Justin, the report said.
The Collier County Sheriff’s Office told local media at the time that a man had been shot and killed by the resident of a home in Raffia Preserve after firing a gun into the home, in an attempted home invasion robbery. The office did not name the gunman.
The Majurys said police told them that Mr. Justin was carrying two cellphones that contained thousands of photographs of Ava and hundreds of hours of her videos.
Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk and investigators from his office did not respond to requests for interviews. “This remains an active investigation and there are no updates,” Karie Partington, a sheriff’s office spokeswoman, said in an email.
The gunman’s identity was confirmed by his father, Justin Dominic. Mr. Dominic, a software engineer who is divorced from Mr. Justin’s mother, said that before the divorce the family had lived in the United States and then had moved to Mr. Dominic’s native India. When his parents split up, Mr. Justin chose to move back to the U.S. with his mother, his father said, recalling their move as around 2015.
Mr. Dominic, who said he had spoken with investigators, recalled his son as a good student who did well in math at Mount Hebron High School in Ellicott City. “He was a nice kid. I’m at a loss for words,” he said in an interview. “I don’t know what went bad with him. He made a bad choice.”
After the shooting the Majurys, reeling, moved in with friends. A few days later Mrs. Majury received an invitation from a would-be agent for Ava to visit Los Angeles, meet other influencers, and attend a couple of red carpet events. One was for “Glo-Up Girls,” a line of makeover-ready dolls advertised on a YouTube channel featuring six teenage influencers “living in a mansion and taking on sensational Glo-Up challenges.”
“It was a nice distraction, absolutely,” Mrs. Majury said.
After the Majurys returned home, their homeowners’ association sent a letter to their landlord demanding their eviction because, among other reasons, Ava’s social media venture had attracted an intruder to the property.
In early August, Ava received messages on Venmo from a man calling her “baby girl,” offering to pay $1,000 a month for her phone number. Her parents discovered that the man’s name matches that of a registered sex offender, arrested previously for soliciting a 14-year-old girl.
Mrs. Majury remembers thinking, “We can’t live like this.”
Mr. Majury said he was advised by the police that under Florida’s “stand your ground” law governing justifiable use of deadly force, he was not subject to prosecution. But just to be safe, he contacted a lawyer, James Scarmozzino, to represent him. Mr. Scarmozzino connected the family to other lawyers who organized a business centered on Ava’s potential earnings.
Michael Marino, an entertainment lawyer in New York, created an enterprise, AGM Creations, for Ava, and signed an agreement with the Majurys for a percentage of future revenues. Mr. Marino turned to a friend, Lanny Davis, a Washington lawyer and crisis manager whose public relations firm is now representing Ava.
The shooting continues to reverberate.
The boy who received Mr. Justin’s messages about his plans to attack Ava still attends high school with her. In December, Ava told her parents that he was following and watching her. The family visited the high school to report the matter. Last month, another classmate sent her a video the boy had made of himself firing a gun at a shooting range, her mother said.
Unnerved, Ava withdrew from school this month and now attends class from home. Mr. Scarmozzino filed a petition in Collier County Circuit Court seeking an injunction for protection against stalking. A hearing is set for Feb. 28, and Ava will testify.
Ava is still on social media, with her parents’ support. Mrs. Majury said she did not want “sick individuals” to force Ava off the platforms. “Why should we allow them to stop her? Maybe she’s meant to bring awareness to all this,” Mrs. Majury said.
Ava has not told her followers what happened. “I don’t want it to go out negatively and people think I attracted him,” she said.
Her greater worry is that other troubled people will “make it a contest to see who can get here first,’’ and she acknowledged that sometimes at night, trying to fall asleep after the shooting, “I’d think, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.’” But by morning, “I thought of all the benefits.’’
“Most people would say the money. And yeah, it’s a huge benefit. But it’s the experience. I got to go to L.A., the people that I met,” she said. “Just being able to make other people smile is what I like, the enjoyment of seeing the impact I made on some people’s lives.
“I’d post a video at night, close my eyes, and in the morning it was exciting to see how many views I got.”
Her father interjected: “It’s like Christmas every day, because then you see it build.”
“I think we just had to allow her to make a decision and sort of support her. I think it’s going to help her heal. It sounds corny, but I don’t know what else you would do it for.”
Social media users are criticizing American-born Eileen Gu – who won a gold medal in skiing competing for China – for taking advantage of posting on Instagram, which is banned in the country.
Instagram is blocked in China, as are other global social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp.
The block first started in 2014 amid the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong as a means for the Chinese government to control how its citizens use western social media
Gu, 18, who was born in California to an American father and a Chinese mother (who is also her coach) and took home gold in the women’s big freeski, was taken to task for her use of the photo app.
‘Why can you use Instagram and millions of Chinese people from mainland cannot,’ one user fired off at Gu in a screenshot that made the rounds on Chinese social app Weibo.
‘[A]nyone can download a vpn its literally free on the App Store,’ said Gu, referring to virtual private networks (VPN), which are designed to get around the web restrictions of various countries.
Some were irate in response.
‘Literally, I’m not ‘anyone.’ Literally, it’s illegal for me to use a VPN. Literally, it’s not fxxking free at all,’ one user replied.
China has blocked several VPN services in recent years, even going as far as to criminalize those who use them to get around the ‘Great Firewall.’
In November, Beijing introduced rules that would seek to ban VPN providers.
The screenshot was eventually censored on Weibo after it had been shared over 3,000 times.
The original post still exists, but the screenshot of her VPN comment went blank.
‘What is there to brag about a country where [that screenshot] can’t see the light of day?’ another Weibo user asked.
The IOC declined to comment on the situation. Rule 50 of the IOC handbook permits athletes to speak freely on matters of their choosing outside the confines of competition.
Gu, nicknamed the ‘Snow Princess’, amassed an army of cynics when she spurned Team USA to represent China at the Beijing Games – but she told critics after her win: ‘I’m just as American as I am Chinese’.
As Gu won her gold medal, praise for the San Franciscan quite literally overwhelmed the Chinese internet.
Of the top 10 trending topics on the platform on Weibo at the time, five were dedicated to adoration for the 18-year-old champion.
‘Gu Ailing is a genius young woman right?’ was one trending topic referencing her Chinese name.
‘Dad was Harvard, Mom was Peking University, Stanford, Grandmother was an athlete. She’s beautiful and classy,’ said one post recirculated 86,000 times.
The teenager, who is undoubtedly the Winter Olympics poster girl after her Vogue magazine and Paris fashion appearances, did not allow her glittering lifestyle to overshadow her sporting prowess.
However, Gu has remained evasive about her attempts to toe the line between the United States and China.
China does not allow dual nationality, and state media have previously reported that the 18-year-old renounced her U.S. citizenship after she became a Chinese national at the age of 15.
Gu would not confirm that on Tuesday.
‘So I grew up spending 25-30% (of my time) in China. I’m fluent in Mandarin and English and fluent culturally in both,’ she answered, when asked if she was still an American citizen.
‘So coming here, I really feel there was a sense of coming home. I feel just as American as Chinese. I don’t feel I’m taking advantage of one or another. They understand that my mission is to foster a connection between countries and not a divisive force.’
When the reporter asked again, the news conference moderator interjected: ‘Next question, please.’
The fashion model and incoming Stanford University student whose Weibo following has ballooned to almost three million from just under two million on Monday, says she feels at home in China.
‘There’s like a tower here you can see from the top of the course. And I’m also seeing it from my house in Beijing,’ she explained, where her face is ubiquitous in advertising.
Gu told her critics: ‘I am not trying to keep anyone happy. I am an 18 year old girl living my life and trying to have a great time.’
She added: ‘It doesn’t really matter if other people are happy or not because I feel as though I am doing my best.
‘I’m enjoying the entire process, and I’m using my voice to create as much positive change as I can for the voices who will listen to me in an area that is personal and relevant to myself.
‘I know that I have a good heart and I know my reasons for making the decisions I do are based on a greater common interest and something I feel is for the greater good.
‘If other people don’t really believe that that’s where I’m coming from, then that just reflects that they do not have the empathy to empathize with a good heart, perhaps because they don’t share the same kind of morals that I do and, in that sense, I’m not going to waste my time trying to placate people who are, one, uneducated and, two, probably never going to experience the kind of joy and gratitude and love that I have the great fortune to experience on a daily basis.’
She said her critics did not share the empathy she had and that she refused to bow down to them.
Gu is not the only American competing for China in Beijing. Two members of the Chinese men’s hockey team – including Jake Chelios, son of Hockey Hall of Famer Chris Chelios – are also born and raised in the US.
Lol this is too much work for one person. Triller/Verzuz wants a combo candidate who can code, design, and edit videos (a unicorn). And if they find one are they even good at all 3. The last guy or gal probably lost their mind and that’s why there’s an opening again.