TikTok reduces screen time for users under 18

Godfrey Elimian
TikTok reduces screen time for under 18 users
TikTok reduces screen time for under 18 users

Hello there! Welcome to another roundup of the major global tech news this week.

This week, TikTok has been trending for not-so-user-friendly reasons. First, the US and Canadian governments have banned the platform from the devices of federal workers. They say this is in a bid to keep U.S. data safe.

In other news, the platform has said for users under the age of 18, it would adopt automatic screen-time limits. The short-form video content platform explained that this is being done to place a cap on the amount of time young people spend on the app.

Following the recent AI trend, Whatsapp and Instagram users are about to have their own AI chatbot. Meta says it is working on AI-powered chatbots for WhatsApp and Instagram.

These and more are contained in the global tech roundup for this week. If you missed the major stories during the week, this roundup would provide all the details to catch up on global trends and news.

Summary of the bulletin

  • US and Canadian governments ban TikTok for workers
  • TikTok set to introduce time cap for teens on its platform
  • Meta is working on its AI-powered chatbots for WhatsApp and Instagram
  • Nokia unveils new logo

Read also: Layoffs reach over 67% of last year’s figure in Q1 of 2023

US and Canadian governments ban TikTok from workers’ devices

Federal workers in the U.S. and Canada have been mandated to remove the popular social media app TikTok from their devices to ensure their data are safe.

Reuters reports that the White House gave government agencies 30 days to ensure they do not have the Chinese-owned app on federal devices and systems on Monday.

US and Canada ban TikTok for Federal workers

All federal entities must remove TikTok from phones and networks and block internet traffic from the corporation to protect the security of U.S. data. Shalanda Young, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget instructed all organizations in a memo.

The ban was enacted by Congress late last year after similar measures were taken by Taiwan, Canada, the EU, and more than half of the states in the United States. Although it only affects a small fraction of TikTok’s U.S. user base, the device ban strengthens arguments for an outright ban of the video-sharing app.

Since then, the platform operated by ByteDance has disproved the criticisms levelled at it. They have denied using the software to spy on Americans while pointing out that their claims are supported by false information.

The over 100 million Americans who use TikTok on personal or business-owned devices are unaffected by the action. Regarding the White House memo, TikTok did not immediately respond.

New screen time limit for teens on TikTok

Earlier this week, TikTok said it would implement an automatic 60-minute screen time limit for all users under 18. According to the company, when the 60-minute limit is reached, teens will be prompted to enter a passcode to continue watching videos on the social media app, “requiring them to make an active decision” to keep scrolling.

TikTok to continue layoff plans in the coming weeks

Although they can disable the feature, TikTok stated that if users spend “more than 100 minutes on TikTok in a day,” the app will prompt them to create a restriction.

As it faces increasing attention from regulators and lawmakers about its security and the safety of youngsters on the site, TikTok is taking steps to limit screen time for its younger users. In an August 2016 Pew Research Center research, 67% of American teenagers reported using TikTok, with 16% of all teenagers reporting doing so “constantly.”

The social media platform also said it is working hard to increase outreach to parents as part of an ongoing effort to “bring joy and play a positive role in how people express themselves,” according to a press statement.

Meta joins AI chatbot frenzy

As part of efforts to beat the trend or offer users a competitive edge on their platforms, Meta has joined the AI chatbot frenzy with its latest plan for Instagram and Whatsapp.

Earlier this week, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Meta is building “a new top-level product group” to consolidate generative Artificial Intelligence into its services, including Instagram and WhatsApp.

Meta's lawsuit with the Kenyan court can change the operations of multinational companies in Africa
Meta to launch its own AI-powered chatbots for WhatsApp and Instagram

The CEO said this integration of AI into Meta products will start by building creative tools, but its long-term goal is to create “AI personas that can help people in diverse ways.” Zuckerberg noted that the team would do a lot of foundational work before it shares these “futuristic” experiences with users.

This evolution commences by testing text-based AI tools on WhatsApp, Messenger or ChatGPT-styled conversation bots. However, Meta might maximize these features to help businesses in sales and customer support.

The Facebook parent company will also experiment with AI-aided filters and ad formats on Instagram along with “video and multi-modal experiences.

New logo, new beginning for Nokia

Last week, Nokia revealed a new logo redesign as part of a rebranding process to distance itself from its phone-making past as it focuses on more B2B products. The company also disclosed strategies for faster growth as the world increasingly adopts fifth-generation mobile technologies.

Nokia changes logo, set aside past

The phone-making company held a court at Intercontinental Hotel in Barcelona to unveil its new logo, a design of five distinctive shapes forming the company name. According to Pekka Lundmark, the Chief Executive Officer, “there was the association to the smartphones, and nowadays, we are a business technology company.”

Private 5G networks and automated factory equipment are some B2B items the company wants to concentrate on to compete with Microsoft and Amazon in the technology industry.

“There will be multiple different types of cases, sometimes they will be our partners … sometimes they can be our customers… and I am sure that there will also be situations where they will be competitors,” Lundmark said.

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