Instagram Head Addresses Concerns About App Amid Criticism From Kylie Jenner
Jenner, like many other users, is frustrated by the platform’s new focus on video content.
The KarJenners Vs. Instagram
Instagram head Adam Mosseri posted a video on Tuesday morning addressing recent criticisms lodged at the social media app, including from celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian.
On Monday, both Jenner and Kardashian shared a post complaining about changes on the platform to their Instagram stories.
“MAKE INSTAGRAM INSTAGRAM AGAIN,” the post read. “Stop trying to be TikTok, I just want to see cute photos of my friends. Sincerely, everyone.”
“PLEASE,” Jenner wrote in text alongside the image. Kardashian included a similar message in her story.
Recently, Instagram has leaned more into video content, specifically reels, in an effort to compete with the short form videos that thrive on TikTok. Meta, Instagram and Facebook’s parent company, recently announced even more upcoming changes that would reshape the platforms to look more like the Bytedance-owned Gen Z app of choice, but many are not on board with those decisions.
Mosseri defended the ongoing changes in his video, which was posted to Instagram and Twitter. While he did not name Jenner or Kardashian specifically, he said he has been listening to recent concerns and wanted to clarify a few of the new revisions to the app.
He began by addressing full-screen feeds, a feature he said only a handful of Instagram users are experiencing as it is still an experimental test, and therefore is “not yet good.” He said it would only be rolled out to the rest of Instagram after the company feels confident in its development.
Instagram’s Continued Emphasis on Video
Mosseri then moved on to address one of the primary concerns among social media users: the heavy switch to video.
“I want to be clear, we’re gonna continue to support photos. It’s part of our heritage,” Mosseri explained. “I love photos, I know a lot of you out there love photos too. That said, I need to be honest, I do believe that more and more of Instagram is going to become video over time. We see this even if we change nothing.”
“So we’re gonna have to lean into that shift,” he continued.
Mosseri also discussed recommendations on the app, which is content promoted to users from accounts they do not follow.
“The idea is to help you discover new and interesting things on Instagram that you may not even know exist,” he said.
However, he also noted that if users have no interest in the content being suggested to them, that means Instagram is failing. Still, he said the company will continue working with recommendations because he thinks it is the most effective way to grow the Instagram experience. He also believes it will boost the company’s goal of assisting small creators on the app.
In response to his message, many furthered their complaints about Instagram, often echoing the issues raised by Kardashian and Jenner.
The Power of The Kardashian Family
The sisters are among the most-followed people on Instagram. Kardashian has 326 million followers, while Jenner is ahead of her with 361 million. The power the family wields over social media is immeasurable, and criticisms levied by them can have severe consequences.
In 2018, Jenner tweeted that she no longer opens Snapchat. The following day, Snap’s stock tanked by over one billion dollars.
It remains unclear how severe the fallout will be for Instagram following their complaints. Meta’s stock fell around 1.5% after the sisters posted about Instagram on Monday, and another 2% Tuesday morning. Those drops, however, were consistent with downward trends the company had been seeing over the last several days.
Some speculate that the Kardashian family will not have the power to be as influential in impacting Instagram as they did Snapchat, largely because they rely on the platform to promote their brands. While some of the company’s recent changes may have complicated that process, tanking the company could be akin to biting the hand that feeds them.
But Instagram is not at its most powerful, either. According to CNBC, Meta is set to release its earnings report this week, and analysts are expecting it will see its first year-over-year quarterly revenue decline. That puts the company in a vulnerable position that would likely require changes to the path going forward. If some of the most influential people on its platforms are already vocally opposed to those changes, the company is left in a tricky position.
So far, neither Jenner nor Kardashian have addressed Mosseri’s response.
See what others are saying: (CNBC) (Bloomberg) (The Wall Street Journal)
U.S. Air Force Signs Contract to Put Facial Recognition on Drones
The contract has raised concerns regarding privacy, accuracy, and the overall ethics of facial recognition technology.
The United States Air Force signed a contract with RealNetworks to use its facial recognition technology, SAFR, on smaller drones.
According to VICE, the contract limits the addition of this facial recognition technology to small, typically unarmed drones rather than the larger ones equipped with weapons.
Special operations teams will use the drones for reconnaissance during ops in foreign countries. Additionally, RealNetworks includes rescue missions, perimeter protection, and domestic search operations in the list of possible utilizations.
However, VICE reports that the contract did include discussion of a future in which this tech could be applied to target identification. As of now, the larger, armed drones identify targets using cameras and cell phone tracking, but those have been known to be inaccurate. Facial recognition could be used to lower the frequency of those mistakes made by drone operators.
Some have expressed ethical concerns regarding this development, including the worry that this could allow for unsavory and lethal action without any measure of accountability.
“There are innumerable ethical implications, from the way such devices might redistribute power or threaten groups within a society, to the ways in which they threaten established international humanitarian law in conflict zones,” Nicholas Davis, an industry professor at the University of Sydney, said in an interview with Newsweek.
“Remote killing in many ways is easy killing: a kind of virtual, video-game killing. This in itself is morally problematic,” Lily Hamourtziadou, a senior lecturer in criminology and security studies in the U.K. added. “Moreover, when a killing is attributed to a machine, there is lack of accountability and justice, and violence is used with impunity.”
RealNetworks claims that their software is more than 99% accurate and can recognize a face from a kilometer away despite reports that facial recognition software in general is famously faulty.
See what others are saying: (VICE) (Firstpost) (Gizmodo)
Washington State Launches Investigation Into Abuse at Private Special Ed. Schools
Allegations include staff kicking a fourth-grader and dragging a child with autism around by his leg.
Washington State’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has launched an investigation into a system of private schools for kids with disabilities after ProPublica and the Seattle Times reported on allegations of abuse.
The series of articles focused on Northwest School of Innovative Learning (NWSOIL). NWSOIL is a set of private schools that serve 500 Washington public school students with serious disabilities. ProPublica and the Seattle Times found years of complaints from parents and school districts against NWSOIL alleging abuse, overuse of isolation rooms, and unqualified aides teaching instead of certified professionals.
One district claimed NWSOIL staff kicked a fourth-grader. Another alleged that a child with autism was dragged around by his thigh.
Many former NWSOIL employees also claim that they were pressured by their parent company to to enroll more students and skimp on basic resources, like staffing.
In a seven-page letter, OSPI reminded NWSOIL of its authority to revoke or suspend a school’s approval, meaning that it could shut NWSOIL down.
“Given the serious nature of the allegations made in the articles, OSPI is examining what, if any, actions need to be taken with respect to Northwest SOIL’s approval to contract with Washington school districts,” Tania May, assistant superintendent for special education at OSPI, wrote in the letter.
OSPI has demanded any records of mistreatment, maltreatment, abuse, or neglect as well as documents pertaining to restraint or isolation of students and calls to the police. They are also seeking information about the student-to-teacher ratio and staff qualifications.
In the letter, OSPI claims that all of this was previously unknown to them as well as to police, Child Protective Services, and local school districts. They are asking NWSOIL for an explanation as to why the allegations were not reported.
NWSOIL defended itself in a public statement.
“Use of restraints and seclusion are always used as a last response when a student is at imminent risk of hurting themselves or others,“ it said. “We strongly deny any allegation that we understaff and/or pressure staff to increase admissions in order to maximize profits.”
Washington state representatives are considering a reform bill that will give them more oversight on the publicly funded system of private special education schools.
In this legislation, OSPI and at least one district that sends students to this program would be required to visit before approving the contract. It would also standardize district agreements with programs like NWSOIL, including financial safeguards to make sure funds are being used appropriately.
See the full series: (ProPublica) (The Seattle Times)
31 Children Found Working Graveyard Shift in U.S. Meatpacking Plants
Evidence suggests the company may have minors employed at 400 other locations.
The Department of Labor (DOL) recently found that a leading contractor for sanitation allegedly employed 31 minors from ages 13 to 17 for overnight cleaning of slaughterhouses and meatpacking facilities.
Packers Sanitation Services, Inc. is under investigation for employing over 30 minors in three locations in the Midwest. The DOL claims the children were cleaning dangerous equipment with hazardous chemicals up to 6 or 7 days a week. Several of these children reported injuries, including chemical burns.
The DOL filed a complaint with the Federal District Court of Nebraska for a nationwide injunction on Packers. According to their complaint, evidence suggests that Packers may have kids working at 400 other locations across the country.
The court partially fulfilled the DOL’s request and ordered Packers to “immediately cease and refrain from employing oppressive child labor.”
The order also demanded Packers comply with the DOL’s investigation because the complaint included claims that Packers’ managers had been tampering with evidence – including obstructing interviews and attempting to hide or delete important documents, text messages, and incident reports.
According to the complaint, the purpose for the nationwide injunction request is the safety of the kids while the DOL investigates.
“While Wage and Hour is continuing to pour over records to identify such children, it is slow, painstaking work. Yet, the children working overnight on the kill floor of these slaughterhouses cannot wait,” it reads.
Packers denied the accusations. In a statement to NBC News, it said that it has “an absolute company-wide prohibition against the employment of anyone under the age of 18 and zero tolerance for any violation of that policy — period.”
Packers also said it was surprised by the complaint because it claims to be cooperating with the investigation by providing important documents and responses.
A hearing has been set for Nov. 26 to decide whether the order will be dissolved, extended, or modified.