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Instagram to change stories algorithm after suppressing “pro-Palestinian” messages

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Instagram is changing the way it showcases political content by altering its algorithm.

This comes after the social media platform was called out for suppressing “pro-Palestinian” messages, during the recent Gaza conflict.

Employees raised concerns over the reach of pro-Palestinian content during the conflict in Gaza.

The app had favoured original content in its “stories” feature over existing and re-shared posts but will now give them equal treatment.

The proposed algorithm change will now essentially mean Instagram will rank original and re-shared posts on the same level.

The change will affect original and reposted content in Instagram’s Stories section.

During the conflict, social media platforms were heavily used to spread messages of support on both sides.

American supermodel sisters Bella and Gigi Hadid, criticised Israel’s actions in Gaza that sparked an uproar from Israeli celebrities and influencers on instagram.

“The way my heart feels.. To be around this many beautiful, smart, respectful, loving , kind and generous Palestinians all in one place… it feels whole ! We are a rare breed!!” Hadid wrote on Instagram.

“It’s free Palestine til Palestine is free!!!”

An Instagram spokesperson told the Financial Times that more users had been sharing posts about the recent conflict in Gaza. 

Many pro-Palestinian messages were among those widely re-shared.

“Stories that re-share feed posts aren’t getting the reach people expect them to, and that’s not a good experience,” the Instagram spokesperson told the FT.

“Over time, we’ll move to give equal weighting to re-shared posts as we do originally-produced stories.”

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Business

Tesla unveils longest supercharging route in China

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Tesla data will be stored in China

Tesla has unveiled what it claims is the longest supercharging route in China.

Stretching 5,000 kilometers, spanning China from east to west, Tesla has unveiled what it claims is the longest supercharging route in the world. The route is studded with 27 electric-car charging stations along the way.

The electric car company released a promotional video about the ultra-long route, which also pays homage to China’s majestic landscape.

The charging route covers nine cities, starting from the eastern coastal hub of Zhoushan and stretching to the western city of Horgos bordering Kazakhstan.

It loosely follows the same path as the legendary Silk Road, a network of trade routes that for centuries was at the forefront of economic, political, cultural, and religious interactions.

With this new charging route, Tesla drivers will be able to travel to tourist attractions without the fear of their car running out of power.

Destinations on the route include the Kumtag Desert, the Turfan volcano and Sayram Lake, famous scenic destinations in Xinjiang.

China is the world’s biggest electric car market and is critical to Tesla

Elon Musk’s Tesla company has a factory in Shanghai and sells thousands of cars in the nation every month.

The recent unveiling will now see one charging station every 100 kilometers to 300 kilometers along the Silk Road.

EV drivers will have the ability to charge their cars in 15 minutes so that they can run for up to 250 kilometers – but that’s dependant on weather conditions.

Charging facilities are vital to the promotion of electric cars.

As the world embraces new EV technology, ‘range anxiety is one of the main reasons why people don’t want to make the switch away from gasoline vehicles.

The California-based company has already set up around 840 charging stations within China and more than 65,000 supercharging poles covering over 310 cities.

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Business

Regulators again investigating Google

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Google is again in the spotlight of European regulators

Regulators have opened an investigation into Google’s lucrative digital advertising business.

The new investigation will examine whether it favours its own business over rivals, advertisers, and online publishers.

The tech giant generated $147 billion in revenue from online ads last year, more than any other company in the world. Advertisements that run on its properties which include YouTube, and Gmail, accounted for the bulk of sales and profits.

About 16% of revenue came from its display or network business, in which other media companies use Google technology to sell ads on their website and apps.

The EU’s main concern

The European Commission says it will be investigating to determine whether Google distorts competition by restricting access to third parties to user data for advertising purposes on websites and apps, while reserving such data for its own use.

“We are concerned that Google has made it harder for rival online advertising services to compete in the so-called ad tech stack,”

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

“We will also be looking at Google’s policies on user tracking to make sure they are in line with fair competition,” she said.

Google said it would engage constructively with the Commission.

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Business

The top court fight Youtube has finally won

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Youtube has won a top court fight in the EU.

Europe’s top court has confirmed that Google-owned Youtube as well as other tech companies are not liable for copyright-infringing works uploaded by users onto their platforms under certain conditions.

The case marks the latest development in a long-running battle between Europe’s $1 trillion creative industry and online platforms.

“As currently stands, operators of online platforms do not, in principle, themselves make a communication to the public of copyright-protected content illegally posted online by users of those platforms,”

the EU Court of Justice said.

YouTube found itself in hot water following a lawsuit filed against them by music producer Frank Peterson.

Peterson had sued the company and Google in Germany over the uploading to YouTube by users in 2008 of several clips to which he holds the rights to.

In a second case, publishing group Elsevier took legal action against file-hosting service Cyando in Germany after its users uploaded several Elsevier works on its platform Uploaded in 2013 without its approval.

The German court subsequently sought advice from the EU Court of Justice, which ruled on both cases on Tuesday.

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