Lots has happened this past week in the tech world! With Meta offering ad-free subscription services in Europe, a new surge in global ad blocker uninstallations, Swedish ports considering blocking entry to Teslas, and more, there’s much to catch up on. So, let’s get started!
Meta Offers Ad-Free Subscription Service in Europe
On Oct. 30, Meta announced it’ll introduce a subscription option without ads for Facebook and Instagram in Europe. In the European Union, tech users will have the option to pay 9.99 euros ($11) per month on the web or 12.99 euros ($14) per month on iOS and Android to access the ad-free versions of Facebook and Instagram.
This Meta subscription covers all linked accounts for a user. However, starting in Mar. 2024, an additional fee will be applied for each account.
A New Surge in Global Ad Blocker Uninstallations
After several months of testing, YouTube has fully implemented its crackdown on ad-blockers. This new policy has resulted in a surge of uninstalls of ad-blockers and not YouTube itself.
YouTube’s efforts to combat ad-blockers began earlier this year with limited enforcement and gradually expanded to affect a growing number of users. This week, it was in full force, impacting users worldwide who employ ad-blockers. YouTube contends that using ad-blockers violates its tech policies.
There was a record number of new ad-blocker installations as users sought alternatives to continue blocking ads. For instance, Ghostery, an ad-blocking company, revealed that 90% of users who responded to a survey when uninstalling their ad-blocker cited YouTube’s changes as the primary reason.
Swedish Ports Consider Blocking Entry to Tesla
In Sweden, dock workers threaten to prevent new Teslas from entering the country, marking one of the most significant labor disputes the company has faced in Europe. Tesla vehicles enter Sweden through four ports: Malmö, Gothenburg, Trelleborg, and Södertälje.
This action supports workers at Tesla’s Swedish repair shops on strike. The strike started to protest Tesla’s refusal to sign the collective agreement in Sweden’s labor market. The Swedish Transport Workers’ Union has threatened to block these deliveries, which will begin on Nov. 7.
OpenAI Advancements Are on the Way
OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, is set to present changes to its AI models, making them more cost-effective and versatile, during its inaugural developer conference on Nov. 6. This conference reflects OpenAI’s ambition to transition from consumer-focused to a developer platform provider.
OpenAI is predicted to announce tech updates aimed at reducing costs for its developers, as well as new vision capabilities. The vision capabilities will enable OpenAI’s software to analyze and describe images, opening the door to novel applications in various fields, from entertainment to medicine.
Telegram Restricts Hamas-Related Accounts
The messaging app Telegram has limited access to several channels closely associated with or run by Hamas. The restrictions represent a significant crackdown on a major source of content in favor of Hamas.
One prominent channel, operated by Hamas’ military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, with over 700,000 followers, is no longer available to Telegram users on the iOS and Google Play Store tech apps.
Another account representing Hamas, having more than 500,000 followers and sharing content like videos from a Hamas spokesperson and information about Israeli hostages, has been restricted on the iOS app but remains accessible on the Google Play Store version.