Top 3 tech, startup and sustainability stories of the week Apr 29-May 3rd 2024

Instagram, OpenAI and FCC are this week’s top 3 tech stories

1-Instagram’s algorithm change to reward original content

Instagram changed its algorithm and corrected its ranking system to help smaller accounts. In a blog post announcing the changes, Instagram said it’s making effort to “correct” its ranking system so that accounts with smaller followings will have an easier time expanding their reach. “Historically because of how we’ve ranked content, creators with large followings and aggregators of reposted content have gotten more reach in recommendations than smaller, original content creators,” the company announced. “We think it’s important to correct this to give all creators a more equal chance of breaking through to new audiences.”

As for Reels, Instagram’s recommendation algorithm for Reels to boost “original content” in a move that will have important implications for aggregator accounts and others that primarily repost other users’ work. Let me add that Instagram is also changing the way it ranks Reels in an attempt to give smaller accounts more reach in the app.

Bad news aggregators: those aggregator accounts that “repeatedly” publish posts from others will be penalized even more harshly. The company explained it will stop recommending Reels from these accounts if they have posted unoriginal content 10 or more times over the previous 30 days. That change could remove the reach of popular aggregator accounts that share other users’ clips, often in order to promote affiliate shopping links and other schemes.

Instagram’s algorithm change to reward original content (Image:Instagram)

2-OpenAI and Financial Times sign a deal to train its AI

The Financial Times becomes one of the latest media outlets to sign an agreement with OpenAI. I saw this story at Engadget and FT and OpenAI said that maker of ChatGPT will use the FT’s journalism to train its AI models and cooperate on developing new AI products and features for the publication’s readers. ChatGPT will also attribute and and link back to the Financial Times when it includes information from the publication in its responses (By the way I have a story here about Turkish startups to meet the world via London)

“It is right, of course, that AI platforms pay publishers for the use of their material,” said Financial Times CEO John Ridding in a statement and added that the Times is “committed to human journalism.” Financial terms of the agreement have not been disclosed. As a side note, rarlier this year, The Information reported that OpenAI offers news organizations between $1 million and $5 million a year to license their content to train its AI systems.

OpenAI and Financial Times sign a deal to train its AI

3-FCC fines US telcos $200 million for selling users’ real-time location data

The Federal Communications Commission, US telco watchdog,  announced it fined T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon $196 million “for illegally sharing access to customers’ location information without consent and without taking reasonable measures to protect that information against unauthorized disclosure.”

The penalties are $80.1 million for T-Mobile, $57.3 million for AT&T, and $46.9 million for Verizon. T-Mobile is also on the hook for a $12.2 million fine issued to Sprint, which was acquired by T-Mobile shortly after the penalties were proposed more than four years ago.

“Our communications providers have access to some of the most sensitive information about us.  These carriers failed to protect the information entrusted to them. Here, we are talking about some of the most sensitive data in their possession: customers’ real-time location information, revealing where they go and who they are,” explained FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.  “As we resolve these cases – which were first proposed by the last Administration – the Commission remains committed to holding all carriers accountable and making sure they fulfill their obligations to their customers as stewards of this most private data.”

All telcos announced to appeal the penalties, adding that they stopped the data-sharing programs that the fines relate to.

FCC fines US telcos $200 million for selling users’ real-time location data

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