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Facebook Messenger Kids expands, but you still shouldn’t use it

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The Facebook app “Messenger Kids” released several feature updates as well as a news alert that they’d expanded service to a number of new regions. They’ve suggested that they’ve responded to parent requests for updates, that they’ve brought software changes according to recommendations from their “Youth Advisers” and important people in child-related leadership roles. But it’s still a social networking app run by Facebook whose most likely ultimate goal is to bring new users into the fold.

Earlier this month, Facebook Messenger Kids started rolling out new controls for parents to work with the accounts used by their children. This week, Facebook pushed an expansion of Messenger Kids into new countries and regions that’d not yet had access to said service.

It’s unfortunate that Facebook’s proven their inability (so very many times) to provide a service without gathering and utilizing personal information from the people they serve. Whether they’re secretly rating users’ trustworthiness or denying users the right to delete their account. The idea that children would be able to communicate with friends during our current global pandemic would seem like a good idea. In an ideal world (that somehow still contained COVID-19 quarantine) a Messenger Kids system could provide a greatly beneficial service to the world.

But Facebook’s Messenger Kids platform is part of Facebook. Facebook is a public company, a company whose goal is profit through advertisements. Advocacy groups have suggested that Messanger Kids, even the idea of the service, is not a good idea.

If Facebook wants Messenger Kids to be a success, and for the platform to be a conduit through which kids will grow up to be lifelong Facebook users, they’re probably already taking the steps they need to make that happen. If, on the other hand, Facebook wants Messenger Kids to be of service to the world for the greater good of our global community, they’ll spin the service off from Facebook entirely.

Messenger Kids should be an independent service with developer support that’s not subject to the whims of Facebook leadership. With the infrastructure support of Facebook without the cloud of Facebook’s less-than-stellar record on user privacy (see: stranger danger), Messenger Kids could be great. Until then, use with caution.

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The First Tesla Semi Has Been Delivered After Lengthy Delays

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There had long been suggestion Pepsi would be one of Tesla’s biggest customers — with a subsidiary spotted installing charging stations at one of its plants and test driving the trucks earlier this year. Tesla also placed an order for 100 of the high tech trucks shortly after they were announced in 2017. In October, Musk confirmed the company’s first truck was almost ready for delivery, and it would be going to the soft drink manufacturer.

Today, Tesla finally made it official and delivered its first production semis to Pepsi. Speaking at the handover, which took place at a Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada, Musk described his motivation for designing the truck. The Tesla CEO claims that trucks make up less than 1% of vehicles in the United States, but are responsible for a large chunk of emissions. Musk said it will both help the environment and improve the health of individuals living near highways. At the end of the presentation, Musk thanked Pepsico and described them as a “great partner.” 

The trucks’ keycards were then handed over to Pepsi’s representatives, followed by several high fives. The trucks’ first cargo run involved “an enormous amount of Frito Lays” which were handed out to people in attendance. Pepsi’s Kirk Tanner then took the mic and said: “I want to thank the people who have spent countless hours to make this a reality.” before thanking Elon Musk and the other Tesla representatives. Other companies are also interested in Tesla’s electric semi. Budweiser, Walmart, and UPS are amongst those who have placed pre-orders — with Budweiser ordering at least 40 of the large electric vehicles.

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Kanye West Is No Longer Buying Twitter-Rival Parler

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It’s unclear whether West’s recent controversies have anything to do with the Parler deal falling apart. In a statement shared with CNBC, Parler’s owner notes that the “decision was made in the interest of both parties in mid-November.” Parler says it will be on the lookout for the growth opportunities, without clarifying if it was looking for investors to scale up, or full-fledged buyers. The latter seems unlikely to happen, given the current state of layoffs in the tech industry and the looming fears of a recession.

Parlement Technologies reportedly had high hopes from its acquisition deal with Kanye West. Soon after the agreement press release went out, Parler sent out an email to its “VIP” users, offering them perks like a gold badge for being valuable personalities on the platform. Politico reports that the email campaign inadvertently revealed the personal contact information of nearly a dozen lawmakers and some well-known conservative personalities.

Citing an insider source, Axios reports that West’s unstable financial situation following the cancellation of lucrative deals with the likes of Adidas played a role in his Parler plans falling apart. In the meanwhile, West has returned to Twitter, after his account was restricted for a few weeks ago over sharing anti-Semitic remarks. West currently has a huge follower base of over 18 million on Twitter, which dwarfs the total number of users on Parler, as of December 2021.

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Elon Musk Says Twitter’s Potential Removal From iOS App Store Was ‘Misunderstanding’

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Barely two days after Elon Musk feuded with Apple publicly, he met with Tim Cook to settle the differences. “We resolved the misunderstanding about Twitter potentially being removed from the App Store. Tim was clear that Apple never considered doing so,” Elon Musk tweeted last evening. This was a few hours after he shared a video of Apple’s HQ to disclose the location of the meeting.

However, Elon Musk didn’t reveal if Apple will continue advertising on Twitter. According to the Washington Post, Apple was the biggest ad spender on Twitter in Q1 2022. It spent an average of $4 million per week to run ads on Twitter between January to March this year — this added up to about 4% of Twitter’s revenue. However, Reuters reports that Apple reduced its weekly ad budget on Twitter to $131,600 a few weeks after Elon Musk bought the social media company. We also haven’t heard from Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, about the agenda of his meeting with Elon Musk. 

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