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YouTube, Snap and TikTok executives face the inquisition in Washington.

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On Tuesday, lawmakers grilled representatives from YouTube, Snap, and TikTok about mounting concerns that their platforms might harm children and teenagers.

A group of senators raised concerns that the platforms’ software may be steering youth toward inappropriate content, mishandling consumer data, and not doing enough to prevent harmful material from appearing. Staff of both parties reported that they were unable to locate any dangerous content — such as posts related to self-harm and pornography – in the platforms’ offerings, despite their children being able to access them.

The hearing was opened by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), a Democrat, who charged the firms with enticing children into their products further and deeper.

“Everything you do is about adding users, particularly children, and keeping them longer on your applications,” Mr. Blumenthal, the subcommittee chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee’s hearing in charge, stated.

The executives were sent to answer the questions, having prior political experience. Michael Beckerman, the head of public policy for the Americas at TikTok, was in attendance. He used to run a top lobbying organization for internet businesses and represented the company. A spokesperson for YouTube, Leslie Miller, was on hand to defend the company. A former Democratic political aide, she is also the vice president of government affairs and public policy at Google-owned YouTube. Snapchat’s parent firm, Snap Inc., dispatched Jennifer Stout, its vice president for global public policy and John Kerry’s former deputy chief of staff.

The former Facebook product manager who leaked thousands of pages of internal documents last month before the committee revealed how the company recognized that its products made teenagers feel worse about themselves. The decision to include executives from other businesses reflects the legislators’ concerns that extend beyond Facebook and Instagram to cover other major platforms on the internet.

The firms moved swiftly to disavow their connection, while claiming that they were already doing significant things to safeguard kid users.

According to Shana Stout, Snapchat is a “remedy for social media.” She highlighted the distinctions between Snapchat and Instagram. She described her firm’s app as one that aimed to link people who already knew each other in real life, rather than delivering a steady stream of material from strangers. She also said it focused on privacy, with images and messages by default being deleted.

The Democratic Platform also emphasizes that Snapchat has “a serious responsibility” to combat fake news. This is something she stressed in her opening statement, as well as the fact that Snapchat evaluates public content more strictly than other social media sites. In Discover, the public portion of Snapchat that includes news and entertainment, human moderators review material from publishers before recommending it. Snap’s Spotlight, its creator program that promotes videos from its users, is reviewed by artificial intelligence before being distributed and then reviewed by human moderators before it can be seen by more than 25 people, according to Ms. Stout.

TikTok is unique among social media platforms in that it focuses on direct interaction between users, according to Mr. Beckerman.

He added, “It’s all about uplifting and entertaining material. People love it.”

“With this in mind, platforms should be required to verify users’ ages using government-mandated systems before allowing them access to products or services.” He added that policymakers should consider the systems that check if consumers are old enough to use a product, proposing that age verification rules “should apply to all apps.”

Legislators grilled Mr. Beckerman on whether Chinese ownership of TikTok might jeopardize consumer data or other concerns. Critics have long maintained that if the Chinese government requested information from Facebook, the company would be obligated to turn over data on Americans.

“Our US teams handle access controls for our data, and independent researchers have noted that TikTok’s data is not of a national security significance and is of little sensitivity,” Mr. Beckerman continued.

A big tech firm in danger. The publication of internal documents by a former Facebook employee has provided an inside perspective on the company’s operations, renewing demands for greater regulation of its far-reaching influence over its users’ lives.

The Wall Street Journal published The Facebook Files, a set of reports based on leaked Facebook documents in September. The series revealed proof that Facebook was aware of Instagram, one of its products, exacerbating body-image concerns among teenagers.

The whistle-blower. During an interview with “60 Minutes” that aired October 3, Frances Haugen, a Facebook product manager who left the company in May, acknowledged leaking those internal papers.

On October 5, Ms. Haugen went before a Senate subcommittee and declared that Facebook was prepared to feature hateful and harmful material on its platform in order to keep people coming back. Facebook executives, including Mark Zuckerberg, have denied her allegations.

Ms. Haugen complained to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which prompted the SEC to begin an investigation. Ms. Haugen also submitted documents in redacted form to Congress, alleging that Momma’s Kitchen had misled investors during its initial public offering (IPO). The employee who had acquired the data, known as the Facebook Papers, passed them on to several news organizations, including The New York Times.

The fact that the Facebook Papers were leaked is proof of how much information they contain about what Facebook knew and did not do during the election to prevent Russian interference. They also show that inside researchers had previously determined how Facebook’s key features amplified toxic material on the platform, as well as how it could be used.

Senators attempted time and again to push the firms to provide more information for researchers to investigate the safety and wellness of their platforms as well as support for parts of any future privacy legislation.

In a series of hearings, Senators pressed YouTube’s Ms. Miller on whether the firms would allow independent researchers access to algorithms, data sets and data privacy practices. Blumenthal: “Yes or no?” When asked if the companies would let independent academics examine algorithms, data sets and data privacy procedures, Miller answered: “It really depends on the topic.”

The representatives of the three tech companies also faced questions about ways that live streaming could expose minors to dangerous or inappropriate content. “Do you plan to adopt any mandatory minimum criteria for social media sites with respect to protecting children?” Blumenthal asked. The companies made clear they are not responsible for what is posted on their platforms.

In September, YouTube announced that it would prohibit videos that promote or link to websites selling firearms and accessories as well as tutorials on how to assemble firearms. In the past week, YouTube has also taken down a video by Gab AI, an anti-Semitic social media site.

“If that’s the case, then YouTube’s response indicates clear hesitation if not outright resistance to providing access,” Mr. Blumenthal responded.

Similarly, Ms. Miller seemed hesitant to commit to aspects of possible privacy legislation such as a planned amendment to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. She was unsure whether YouTube would support a ban on targeted advertising for children or limitations on adding “likes” or comments on videos, even as she acknowledged that the firm currently did not allow such features on children’s content

The companies frequently claimed that they were already implementing the sorts of actions necessary by future legislation.

“Regulation is essential, but given the speed at which technology develops and the pace with which regulation may be implemented, regulation alone can’t do it all,” Ms. Stout said.

Lawmakers fought back against the CEOs’ claims that their companies were exceptional in terms of youth safety online.

“I understand from your testimony that your argument is: we’re not Facebook,” Blumenthal said. “Being unique from Facebook isn’t a defense. That bar has been lowered to an all-time low.”

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The Real Deal on a Four-Day Workweek

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For many people, it’s difficult to imagine a work week that doesn’t begin on Monday and end on Friday. For decades, millions of people across the world have built their week around Monday through Friday. However, as the pandemic continues to change Americans’ attitudes toward work, many are reconsidering how they may balance work and life.

After all of this research, I discovered that the concept of a five-day workweek was first proposed as early as the 1860s by many labor organizations in the United States seeking to pass legislation for an eight-hour working day. The Fair Labor Standards Act was amended in 1938 to limit the workweek to 40 hours per week, which resulted in the Monday through Friday, five-day work week that is well known today, according to Business Insider.

Despite the passage of this law, many individuals are still compelled to work more than 40 hours per week. According to a Gallup poll conducted in 2014, the typical salaried employee put in around 49 hours each week. Furthermore, according to Vox, workers are still clocking more than 40 hours per week even during the COVID-19 epidemic. Many people feel that achieving a work-life balance is difficult because they are either working from home or doing a hybrid arrangement that includes both in-office and at-home work.

A four-hour workweek might be in your future

In the previous decade, businesses and nations all over the world have started to reconsider the five-day workweek. More than 2,500 Icelandic employees were involved in a research in 2015 and 2019 that introduced them to a four-day workweek rather than the usual five-day week. The study’s findings suggested that those who took part in it reported feeling less stress and a better work-life balance, while their employers claimed that their productivity remained the same or improved. Many other countries around the world, such as New Zealand, Singapore, and Spain, subsequently looked into mandating a four-day workweek as a result of these studies. According to The Guardian, several American businesses, including Bolt Electric and Panasonic Electronics, are already adopting the four-day workweek. Microsoft, which offers a four-day workweek for its workers in Japan, states that the four-day workweek has boosted output by 40%.

Although many individuals tout the advantages of switching to a four-day week in place of a five-day one, the United States government has yet to push through any legislation establishing such a schedule in the country.But this may soon change, as more effort is put into protecting employee rights. The Great Resignation, which has seen millions of Americans leave their jobs in the past year, and the current movement for worker rights that has necessitated wage increases in many states have the potential to push forward further workplace reform in the near future, according to Vox.

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The Best Valentine’s Day Gifts for Every Stage of Your Relationship, According to a Matchmaker

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Rori Sassoon, a celebrity matchmaker and relationship expert, reveals the ideal Valentine’s Day presents for every stage of your love affair.

Valentine’s Day might be a significant event, especially if you’re new to each other. If you’re stumped as to what to get your lover this year, we’ve got you covered. Rori Sassoon, a celebrity matchmaker, offered us her top V-Day present ideas and you’ll want to check them out.

“When shopping for a Valentine’s Day gift, keep in mind that the gift is as big of a deal as your partner places on gift giving,” Rori shared. “Maybe they’re a fan of quality time over a luxury gift. Take that gesture of love and perhaps put it toward a shared experience. Most importantly, while you might strive to be the ultimate gift giver, stay within your means. If you have anxiety about being able to afford something over budget, rethink how you can find a similar item at a price point you’re comfortable with.”

Choosing the ideal present for your spouse on Valentine’s Day may be a difficult task, depending on where you are in your relationship. After all, if you’re just getting acquainted with someone, the presents you give won’t be at the same level as they’d be after a year.

Rori offered some advice on the finest types of presents to get your partner for each stage of your relationship, and we compiled a list of pointers to assist you get started.

It is good to note to learn your partners love language to help know what is the best gift to give to your partner.

Just Started Dating

When you’re starting to date someone around Valentine’s Day, you want to make a point of demonstrating that you care without being too cheesy (if that’s the case). Give them a card and a trifle. You’re indicating that you’d like to continue seeing them without unintentionally making them feel overwhelmed. Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day. However, keep in mind that there’s no need to be excessive—you’re just getting to know this individual.

We’re Not Really Strangers Card Game – 100% Realism Expansion Pack

This 50-card expansion pack for the wildly popular We’re Not Really Strangers Card Game was created for first dates to the “What are we?” phase of the relationship. It comes with all kinds of questions you’ve been dying to ask like “When’s the last time you ghosted someone and why?” and “What was the first thing you you noticed about me when we met in person?” It’s a great way to get to know your new love interest.

You Be My Valentine Pop-Up Card from YouBeBeloved is a lovely expression of love.

Lovepop has a variety of fun pop-up Valentine’s Day cards that are perfect for newly dating couples like this “Whale you be my Valentine?” card. All the options are really fun and colorful. You’ll definitely put a smile on their face.

We’ll See Where This Goes – Casually Dating

If you’re in a relationship or anything more casual, avoid wrapping gifts. Instead, create the ambiance for a raunchy night — lingerie, candles, romantic music, and maybe a sex toy or two. On this lovey-dovey day, capitalize on your physical attraction to each other. There’s no need to spend a lot of money on someone you don’t know if there’s going to be a long-term connection with. Have fun!

Tease Or Tumble Tower Game

The Tease Or Tumble Tower Game, which is simply a more grown-up version of the same thing, may be played by adults. Each brick has a hot question or activity such as “Remove an article of clothing” or “Massage your spouse for one minute.”

Box Of Dares

This box of challenges was created for couples at all stages and is especially enjoyable for individuals in a “where do we go from here” scenario. It includes 100 cards with dares that range from flirty to erotic, along with a box of 100 stickers.

Dating for at Least Six Months

When you’ve been dating someone for six months, it’s rather obvious that you care about each other. You want to give a gift that demonstrates the kind of giver you are. Gift-giving is one of love languages, and you should attempt to combine equal measures of sexy, fun, and thoughtful into your present. Regardless of the item, keep quality first! Consider a private spa trip or a concert at six months. Shared events will just bring you closer together.

Amorous Arcana: Valentine’s Tarot Lesson & Reading

What’s in store for your relationship in the future? Let the cards be your guide. This Valentine’s Day tarot lesson and reading will stay with you and your spouse forever. You’ll have the opportunity to do a tarot reading while Holly, the instructor and reader, assists you in interpreting the cards. If you already have a tarot deck, the procedure alone costs $25. If you don’t have one, a package including a deck and guidebook can be purchased for $50.

Tickets to a Concert or Event

If you want to give them something they’ll like, get them a ticket to a game, concert, or other event. It will be a shared experience that both of you can enjoy.

Committed for at Least One Year

If you’ve been with someone for a year, there’s always that lovely bright ring to it. You’re likely in love, and you see a hopeful future together. Purchase an outfit together for Valentine’s Day on a shopping trip. If you have a partner who is clueless about fashion, assist them in finding some trendy shoes or a designer belt.

Custom Couple’s Sweatshirts with Embroidered Roman Numeral Date and Initials

If you’re looking for a fun Valentine’s Day present for your significant other, consider getting them a pair of matching sweatshirts from Etsy. You may personalize it to include your initials, a date, and a heart. The New Bedtime Storybook by Leachco has a selection of colors ranging from black to white, light pink, navy, and gold. It’s a must-have for couples that have been together for at least one year.

Vertical and Horizontal Spotify Code Couples Necklace

What’s the song that holds a special meaning for you and your significant other? This personalized Spotify code necklace will always keep it close to your heart. The two necklaces are made of copper, and they’re ideal for keeping your favorite song on repeat. They’ll contain the Spotify code to your song so you can quickly scan and play whenever you want. You have the option of receiving them in rose, gold, or silver.

Long-term Relationship

When you’re in a long-term relationship, you’ve celebrated many Valentine’s Day occasions. You know what your partner wants at this point. If your partner likes jewelry, add something to their collection. If your partner can’t say no to a watch, give it to them. Regardless of the price tag on the present, make sure to include a thoughtful note. Words of encouragement might be the most appealing turn-on. Your fire never has to go out!

Personalized Dinner Spinner Date Night Idea Board

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where it takes hours to figure out what to eat because one spouse is unable to make up his or her mind while the other is great with “whatever”? The Etsy-made personalized dinner spinner board can assist you with this. It’s completely alterable, and you can pick your own names and favorite restaurants. You’ll be wondering why you didn’t get it sooner once you have this!

Personalized Ticket To Love Box

If you enjoy the concept of love coupons, this outstanding personalized ticket box takes it to a new level. You may pick from 40 ticket themes ranging from “Free Back Rub” to “clothing-optional adventures,” and the box can be personalized with your partner’s name. It’s both amusing and distinctive.

The ideas are endless, but really the key is the more thoughtful the gift the better. As well as a gift that makes your partner feel like you really know them. Getting them a gift that is simple that you know is something related to what they like can be the meaningful.

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Solana Slides 17% to Leading Losses as the Crypto Market Plunges

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The cryptocurrency market fell on Monday, following a decline in the stock indices in the United States.

On Monday, the crypto market dropped significantly as U.S. stock index futures plunged by nearly 17%, according to CoinMarketCap. Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, fell to about $33,700 at the time of publication after rising more than $4,000 in Asian morning sessions.

The price of Solana’s SOL asset was down 17%, trading at $84.17, according to data from analytics platform CoinGecko. SOL was one of the year’s top performers, increasing from $3 in January to over $259 in November. The price of Bitcoin has dropped by more than 66% from its all-time high and almost 42% from last Monday’s.

Ethereum and the Cardano, Polkadot, and Binance Coin tokens all suffered losses of nearly 10% in the last 24 hours. DOGE, the currency of Dogecoin, fell 7% in the same period among the top ten cryptocurrencies by market capitalization.

Over $240 million in liquidations occurred since Asian morning hours, according to data from analytics tool Coinglass. Liquidations occur when exchanges are unable to meet margin demands because of a margin shortage. Following a few swings in the green, we witnessed several false breakouts and retests.

Bitcoin futures markets have liquidated over $63 million in assets since their inception, according to figures published by Cboe. Ether futures surpassed this, with more than $64 million in liquidation losses. BTC futures experienced significantly fewer losses, with SOL and XRP futures both losing around $5 million in liquidations.

The ratio of bitcoin traders who were long or betting on higher prices reached nearly 81 percent, according to several technical indicators, as bitcoin was seen as being oversold and a price rise was anticipated.

Meanwhile, others predicted that the market may fall further.

“Alarmingly, the sharp reversal on Friday was not followed by any meaningful bounce,” said Alex Kuptsikevich, senior financial analyst at FxPro, in an email to CoinDesk. “Some observers point out that this is a worrying signal, suggesting further market declines, as we have not seen a final capitulation. Without capitulation, the markets will remain with an overhang of sellers.”

“Events are developing in a bearish scenario, so far broadly repeating what we saw in 2018 in terms of overall sentiment,” Kuptsikevich said.

 

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