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Big Tech News

A group of over 40 US state attorneys general sued the social media company Meta, alleging that its products are addictive and contribute to the youth mental health crisis. The lawsuit comes in the midst of debates over the effects of social media on children’s mental health, safety, and general well-being. It’s also taking place as multiple states and Congress have introduced or passed legislation designed to protect children’s safety and privacy on social media.

The US Federal Trade Commission’s Chair Lina Khan, and the rest of the neo-Brandeisian movement, have made Amazon the top target in their crusade to reshape US antitrust policy and take on “Big Tech.” With the FTC having now filed its long-awaited complaint challenging several of the company’s business practices, FTC v. Amazon will no doubt prove to be one of the defining cases that determines the antitrust reform movement. And yet, following a string of recent losses against large technology companies in FTC v. Qualcomm, and the Meta/Within and Microsoft/Activision merger reviews, is the Amazon case set to be the next big defeat for the FTC? Watch this space.

Uber has made several new upgrades to its Uber Driver App with plans to significantly expand verification of rider identities next year in the USA. Uber said it is planning to significantly expand verification of rider identities to compare rider account details against trusted data sources or an ID document. It is also expanding its ‘Record my Ride’ feature across the US which allows drivers to record video of trips using their smartphone’s front-facing camera, without the need to invest in a separate dashcam. This has been built similar to an in-app audio recording feature rolled out earlier this year, which means only the driver has access to encrypted and stored recordings. A new integration with Android Auto means drivers using Android will be able to see demand heatmaps, accept trips, and use on-screen navigation directly from their car dashboard for enhanced safety and convenience.

In addition, Uber is aiming to solve one of the biggest challenges faced by couriers, which is parking. To do this, it has added a tool in the app that shows couriers free parking nearby. For couriers that need an exact location of where the customer has requested food be dropped off, there will be map labels that specify the exact door and sometimes even photos of the building. Among further enhancements, the firm said it has redesigned trip requests with clearer trip information, improved map clarity and real-time navigation feedback. Significantly, it has also made changes to the process a driver or courier must go through to appeal a decision to block someone from accessing their Uber account.

Hopefully it will also address the problem of drivers who accept your call and then cancel at the last moment, leaving you, the customer, to have to start the whole process of booking a ride all over again!

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Alastair Tempest

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