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Facebook and Instagram users will be able to verify their accounts with a government ID and get a blue badge as part of a new subscription service launching this week called Meta Verified.

Meta users will be able to verify their accounts with a government ID, and get a blue badge as part of a new subscription service called Meta Verified, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced today in a Facebook post.

Starting this week, users in Australia and New Zealand will be able to sign up for the service. When it rolls out to the US, Meta Verified will cost $11.99 per month on web or $14.99 per month on iOS. The higher cost for iOS subscriptions is likely down to the 30% commission that Apple takes on in-app purchases. 

In the post, Zuckerberg said the feature will be rolled out to “more countries soon” and would “increase authenticity and security across [Meta] services.” Meta Verified subscribers, he continued, would be granted “direct access to customer support” and “get extra impersonation protection against accounts claiming to be you.”

Verified badge holders must be 18 years or older, and send a government ID that matches the name and photo they have on their Facebook or Instagram profiles. As The Verge notes, users who sign up for the service will receive exclusive stickers for Stories and Reels, as well as 100 free Facebook stars, the platform’s digital currency that allows users to tip creators.  

It won’t be possible for Meta Verified users to change their profile name, username, birthday, or profile photo without going through the verification process again, The Verge reports.


Meta Verified comes after Elon Musk revamped Twitter’s verified subscription service, Twitter Blue, late last year. According to The Information, 180,000 US-based Twitter users had subscribed to the service as of January, two months after its November relaunch.

It’s not clear if Zuckerberg will follow Musk in saying that those who have a historic blue checkmark will lose it if they don’t sign up to be verified, or whether businesses will be allowed to apply for a Meta Verified badge in the future, which Twitter does allow. Meta did not immediately respond to PCMag’s request for comment on this.

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Italy said on Friday it was temporarily blocking ChatGPT over data privacy concerns, becoming the first western country to take such action against the popular artificial intelligence chatbot.

The country’s Data Protection Authority said US firm OpenAI, which makes ChatGPT, had no legal basis to justify “the mass collection and storage of personal data for the purpose of ‘training’ the algorithms underlying the operation of the platform”.

ChatGPT caused a global sensation when it was released last year for its ability to generate essays, songs, exams and even news articles from brief prompts.

But critics have long fretted that it was unclear where ChatGPT and its competitors got their data or how they processed it.

Universities and some education authorities have banned the chatbot over fears that students could use it to write essays or cheat in exams.

And hundreds of experts and industry figures signed an open letter this week calling for a pause in the development of powerful AI systems, arguing they posed “profound risks to society and humanity”.

The letter was prompted by OpenAI’s release earlier this month of GPT-4, a more powerful version of its chatbot, with even less transparency about its data sources.

OpenAI has not yet commented on the Italian decision.

– ‘Unsuitable answers’ –
The Italian authority imposed a “temporary limitation of the processing of Italian user data” by OpenAI and said it had launched an investigation.

As well as a lack of legal basis for data collection, the authority also highlighted a lack of clarity over whose data was being collected.

It said wrong answers given by the chatbot suggested data was not being handled properly, and accused the firm of exposing children to “absolutely unsuitable answers”.

The watchdog further referenced a data breach on March 20 where user conversations and payment information were compromised — a problem the firm blamed on a bug.

Nello Cristianini, an AI academic from Bath university in Britain, said securing user data and enforcing age limits were easy to fix.

But the other two accusations were more problematic — that the model is trained on personal data that is gathered without consent and then not treated properly.

“It is not clear how these can be fixed anytime soon,” he said.

The company has been given 20 days to respond and could face a fine of 20 million euros ($21.7-million) or up to 4 percent of annual revenue.

The runaway success of ChatGPT garnered OpenAI a multibillion-dollar deal with Microsoft, which uses the technology in its Bing search engine and other programs.

It also sparked a gold rush among other tech firms and venture capitalists, with Google rushing out its own chatbot and investors pouring cash into all manner of AI projects.


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Gordon Moore, a pioneer in the microprocessor industry and a co-founder of Intel

Gordon Moore, a pioneer in the microprocessor industry and a co-founder of Intel, which at one time was the world’s largest semiconductor maker, died on Friday at the age of 94, Intel said.

Moore was a giant in the technological transformation of the modern age, helping companies bring evermore powerful chips to smaller and smaller computers.

An engineer by training, he cofounded Intel in July 1968, eventually serving as president, chief executive and chairman of the board.

Gordon Moore, a pioneer in the microprocessor industry and a co-founder of Intel
Gordon Moore, a pioneer in the microprocessor industry and a co-founder of Intel

Intel, based in Santa Clara, California, said Moore died “surrounded by family at his home in Hawaii.”

In its early days, Intel was known for continuous innovation, growing to become one of the biggest, most important companies in technology.

In an article in 1965, Moore first coined a theory that later became known as “Moore’s Law.” It stated that integrated circuits would essentially double in power every year. He later revised the law to say the doubling would occur every two years.

The axiom held true for decades and became synonymous with the rapid rate of technological change in the modern world.

“All I was trying to do was get that message across, that by putting more and more stuff on a chip we were going to make all electronics cheaper,” Moore said in a 2008 interview.

After earning his PhD from CalTech, Moore and a colleague in 1957 joined Fairchild Semiconductor Laboratory, one of the earliest firms to manufacture commercially viable transistors and integrated circuits.

As the company grew, the seeds were planted for the transformation of the peninsula of land south of San Francisco into what became known as Silicon Valley.

Moore and long time colleague Robert Noyce struck out on their own in 1968, bringing along a third, Andy Grove, who would become a future Intel CEO.

Moore retired from Intel in 2006.

Over his lifetime, he donated more than $5.1 billion to charitable causes through the foundation he set up with his wife of 72 years, Betty.

“Though he never aspired to be a household name, Gordon’s vision and his life’s work enabled the phenomenal innovation and technological developments that shape our everyday lives,” said Harvey Fineberg, president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Leaders of Intel heaped tribute on Moore.

“He was instrumental in revealing the power of transistors, and inspired technologists and entrepreneurs across the decades,” said Intel chief executive Pat Gelsinger.

“He leaves behind a legacy that changed the lives of every person on the planet. His memory will live on,” Gelsinger added on Twitter.


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Beatrice Eyong

The UN Women showcased various technological innovations by young women and men that advanced gender equality and women’s empowerment in Nigeria.

The UN Women on Thursday showcased various technological innovations by young women and men that advanced gender equality and women’s empowerment in Nigeria.

Beatrice Eyong, UN Women’s country representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said the event was part of activities to mark International Women’s month in Abuja.

Ms Eyong noted the gender gap in employment and education in the technological sector in Nigeria, with women making up only 22 per cent of the total engineering and technology university graduates annually.


“This is due to gender stereotypes and social norms that still categorise jobs in these sectors as men’s jobs, which inhibits women from applying to study and demonstrate an interest in such subjects. It also prevents companies from hiring qualified women for these roles,” the UN official stated.

According to her, the showcase will demonstrate young women and men in Nigeria digital and innovative solutions to various issues across several sectors.

Also speaking, Kashifu Inuwa, director-general of the National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA), said the organisation, through its several policies and strategies, had trained over 200,000 young people on ICT to bridge the gender divide.

“We trained no fewer than 222,000 Young people in ICT, and we believe that we have a growing population, vibrant entrepreneurial and expanding tech eco-system, which, if we leverage, can provide an opportunity for us to achieve Gender Equality and women empowerment,” added Mr Inuwa.

Pauline Tallen, Minister of Women Affairs, stressed the need for women and young girls to leverage technological innovations to improve their lives and bridge the gender disparity in all sectors.

Ms Tallen highlighted the need to empower women and girls with digital skills and access to technology and support women-led businesses.

Also, Ola Williams, the country manager of Microsoft Nigeria, said the organisation had partnered with the federal government to skill five million youths through the ministry of communication and digital economy to improve technological innovations.

Mr Williams said these would improve access to jobs, the right tools and resources, and markets for their business.


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