How to delete your Instagram account

Sometimes you just need a break from Instagram. If you’re ready to delete your Instagram account, you can deactivate or delete it from either a computer or mobile device. In this guide, we’ll walk through the steps involved and also break down the difference between deactivation and deletion.

Deactivating/Deleting Instagram
Malak Saleh

Deactivating vs. deleting Instagram

Deletion is for people who want to permanently remove their account from Instagram. Deletion will not only make your account vanish from the platform, but it means all your likes, photos and videos will be permanently stripped. So if you had a photo where you tagged other accounts , that photo will no longer show up under your friends’ tagged tabs, for example. It’s important to note that deleting your account is irreversible.

In contrast, when you deactivate your account your likes, photos and videos will temporarily be hidden until you reactivate your account. While reactivating your account is as simple as logging back into the app, if you delete your account and decide to return to the app, you will have to create a new account entirely. You can only deactivate your account once a week, meaning if you deactivate your account then decide to relog in within that window, you won't be able to hide your profile again.

How to permanently delete Instagram

In Instagram’s iOS and Android apps, deleting your account is all done through the Settings page. To start, go to your account’s page and tap the icon with three horizontal lines at the top right corner of the screen. Tap the Settings and privacy icon in the dropdown menu at the top of the list. Once you select that icon, you will navigate to a new page with a full list of tools. At the very top of the new Settings page, tap Accounts Center, then select Personal details under Accounts settings. A new page will appear showing your contact information and birthday. Tap “Account ownership and control”’ and then a new tab that reads “Deactivation or Deletion” will appear.

Settings and privacy screen grab
Malak Saleh

If you have more than one Meta account registered to your Instagram, you will have to choose which account you want to deactivate or delete. After you select the profile you want to manage, a new page will open showing you your options. Instagram lets you choose between deactivating or deleting at this point. The page you’re looking at here includes an explanation of the difference between permanently deleting or deactivating your account.

To wit, Instagram will remind you that deleting your account is permanent and that your profile, photos, videos, comments, likes and followers will be permanently removed from the app. Once you tap “Delete account,” a drop-down will appear asking you why you are removing your account. You can select which reason applies to you, such as “Too many ads” or “Too busy/too distracting.” If you do select certain options, such as “Privacy concerns,” Instagram will share articles available through its Help Center designed to address your concerns and persuade you to keep your account active.

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Malak Saleh

How to delete or deactivate your Instagram account from a web browser

If you prefer using Instagram on your computer (who does that?!), deleting or deactivating your account from a web browser might be easier for you.

To delete your Instagram account from a computer, the instructions are pretty much the same as when you take action on your mobile device, but some of the drop-downs are in different places. If you're on the Feeds page, select that same icon with three horizontal lines in the bottom left corner of your page. You can also take the same initial step from your profile page and tap the Settings icon in the top right corner of your profile. Either way, you will automatically end up on the Settings page or you can tap to select it from a drop-down after selecting the More button.

screengrab of deleting
Malak Saleh

Tap Account Center and a menu will appear showing you the singular or multiple profiles you manage and all the tools on one page. Instead of selecting “Personal details” as you would on a mobile device, tap “Your information and permissions,” which will open up three drop-down menus, one of which reads “Deactivation or deletion.” Tap and then select the profile you want to deactivate or delete, then select which action you want to proceed with.

Either way, you will be prompted to write your password for that profile if you select to deactivate or delete the account. Finally, you will need to select a reason for deleting or deactivating the account, and then you’re done. Once you select the reason, for a second time, Instagram will ask you to confirm deletion and give you a date that your account details will be permanently deleted off of the platform.

Again, after your request goes through, it can take Meta up to 30 days to delete the account and affiliated information permanently. Meta does warn that during the 30 days pass, your content will remain subject to Instagram’s privacy policy, but your information and profile will not be accessible to other people using Instagram. It also is worth noting that it can take up to 90 days for the deletion process to finish after it gets initiated. So if you're really trying to disappear, it could take a while.

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Malak Saleh

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/how-to-delete-your-instagram-account-130017501.html?src=rss

EV maker Polestar cuts 15 percent of its workforce globally

Swedish electric car company Polestar is slashing its workforce by 15 percent globally. About 450 employees are expected to be let go due to “challenging market conditions.” The news comes despite its six percent increase in global car deliveries compared to 2022, according to its recent fourth quarter global fiscal report.

The company did, however, warn that it would reduce its headcount back in May 2023 which was around the same time it announced its production goals were disappointingly off by 10,000 to 20,000 cars from its initial goal. Polestar defended its decisions and explained it was “intensifying its focus” on cutting costs to make the business more efficient.

Despite delays in shipments last year, the 2024 Polestar 2 lineup is coming in strong with a suite of new upgrades, including longer mileage and faster charging. However, the company is faced with the issue that buyers might be turned off by its nearly $50,000 price tag when they can get newer models produced by rivals like Tesla for more than $10,000 less.

Job cuts across the EV sector have become commonplace, with rivals like Lucid Motors’ announcement to cut 18 percent of its workforce last year and Rivian slashing six percent. These trends might be due to the fact that supply chain issues are a huge problem in the EV industry, coupled with buyer hesitancy to invest in electric cars.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/ev-maker-polestar-cuts-15-percent-of-its-workforce-globally-154941678.html?src=rss

Japan’s SLIM lunar spacecraft landed upside down on the moon

Shortly after Japan’s space agency became the fifth country to land a spacecraft on the surface of the moon, its scientists discovered the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) unfortunately touched down upside down. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said that the SLIM landed on the lunar surface on January 20 but it knew it might have bigger problems due to an issue with power generation. Just hours after making landfall, JAXA expected the power to run out, before it ultimately did.

SLIM met the moon’s surface about 55 meters east of the original target landing site, JAXA said. The agency did get all of the technical information related to its navigation prior to landing and ultimately becoming stationary on the lunar surface. JAXA captured photos of the SLIM from its The Lunar Excursion Vehicle 2, its fully autonomous robot currently exploring the moon.

The reason behind the main engine malfunctioning is under investigation by the space agency. There is a slim chance for regeneration because the solar cells that power the spacecraft are facing west, meaning there is a chance for SLIM recovery if enough light from the sun reaches the cells as more time passes. The SLIM JAXA team took to X earlier this week to write, “We are preparing for recovery.” The agency said it will “take the necessary preparations to gather more technical and scientific data from the spacecraft.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/japans-slim-lunar-spacecraft-landed-upside-down-on-the-moon-202819728.html?src=rss

New York City has designated social media as a ‘public health hazard’

New York City has officially become the first city in the US to designate social media as a “public health hazard.” During a State of the City address, Mayor Eric Adams shared that Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan determined apps like Tik Tok and Instagram are considered “environmental toxins” that impose harm onto young teens and adolescents. “We are going to correct this crisis that is facing our children,” Adams said during the address.

Social media, the mayor explained, is fueling the growing mental health crisis in the city. This can be attributed to the addictive nature of these platforms, he added. On X, Adams wrote, “We won't let Big Tech endanger our kids.” However, besides delivering an advisory warning, the city did not clearly explain how it plans to actually curb the “risk” of social media use. More details about this designation and plans to implement strategies will be explained in the near future.

During a convention in June 2023, NYC officials gathered together stakeholders to discuss possible implications of social media use among young people and recommendations for how to tackle the issue. According to experts, a huge part of the initiative to make social media safer for teens can be accomplished by increasing protocols that enforce better data transparency. Tech companies were called on to improve algorithms and moderate harmful content out of feeds. While the Kids Online Safety Act, the Congressional bill passed last year, places the onus on tech companies to make their platforms safer for children, it's unclear how a state-specific initiative could logistically tackle the expansive nation-wide issue.

New York City could follow in California’s footsteps and roll out regulations like the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act (CAADCA), which sets limits on the amount and kind of information a tech company can collect from underage users. While it doesn't officially become enforceable until July of 2024, when it does, the Attorney General will be able to penalize tech companies with civil fees if they fail to remain compliant. CAADCA is based on the success of policies enforced in the UK designed to protect children online. For example, its enactment encouraged TikTok and Instagram to disable direct messages between children and adults they dont follow on social media.

While New York City’s measures to protect children online is still more of a sentiment than an actionable plan, any moves to further restrict the way tech companies operate in the city might sour some relationships with business leaders and officials. While the social media stance Adams has might be harsh, it could also be perceived as contradictory when considering his administration has been pretty tech-friendly otherwise. For example, the Adams administration openly embraced the rollout of AI within the city’s digital infrastructure. An AI-powered GPT program called the MyCity Chatbot (run on Microsoft Azure’s AI services) is publicly available for New Yorkers to use to help residents find answers about running businesses in the city. Adams’ office is also creating artificial intelligence to make robocalls to residents in several languages.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/new-york-city-has-designated-social-media-as-a-public-health-hazard-182523034.html?src=rss

Google’s next Chrome update adds three new generative AI features

With today’s release of Chrome M121, Google announced it will introduce new generative AI features that will make the browser easier to use. The new additions will include a tab organizer, a writing assistant that helps draft text and the option to customize the artwork and themes throughout the browser. The “Experimental AI” toggle must be flipped on in the Settings page — found in the three-dot dropdown menu — to enable these new features.

The Tab Organizer will do pretty much what it says: The built-in AI will automatically suggest ways to classify any open tabs in your Chrome windows and suggest the option to create groups. This might be helpful if you have a lot of recurring tabs open. When you click ‘Organize Similar Tabs,’ the AI will aggregate open pages together based on topics. For example, tabs related to shopping might all cluster together and the AI could suggest a name like ‘Ski-trip shopping gear.

Chrome's new text assist too might also have some practical applications. It will launch as an experimental tool that will help users draft text — including Google reviews or social media posts. To enable this when it launches, you need to select "Help me write" to let the tool finish your sentences or suggest options for continuing the text.

Chrome gen AI text assist tool
Google

Customization is not new to most Google tools like Mail or Docs and now on Chrome web browsers, you can personalize the browser's visuals — something the company considers an extension of the AI wallpapers it built out for Pixel phones recently. To do so, you need to select the ‘Customize Chrome’ button on the side panel and instruct the AI to generate a theme for you. You can search for a description, such as ‘small beach town’ or ‘Blade Runner vibes,’ and preview the AI-generated theme options before selection.

Introducing these new tools will naturally rival Microsoft's AI-infused Bing engine, which introduced AI-powered tab grouping and a text composition helper back in September. Chrome, however, still dominates the US browser market share by a wide margin, which Bing is usually lumped into the "others" category, well below competitors like Firefox and Opera.

Google Chrome Customization
Google

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/googles-next-chrome-update-adds-three-new-generative-ai-features-170032292.html?src=rss

Vibrating belt that treats low bone density gets FDA approval

The FDA has provided clearance for a medical device called Osteoboost, a vibrating belt that improves bone density in patients with osteopenia. The device, which was developed by California-based startup Bone Health Technologies and in part with NASA, is the first medical device of its kind to get regulatory approval as a treatment option for postmenopausal women.

One in two older women who have experienced menopause gets osteoporosis (the disease that comes after prolonged and untreated osteopenia), which is characterized by porous bones that can easily fracture. The Osteoboost belt is designed to prevent bone density from reaching that stage through early intervention. It works by mechanically stimulating the strength of the bones in the hips and spine of a wearer and prevents the further progression of bone density disintegration. The blueprint for the technology comes from NASA research that was investigating ways to prevent bone density from weakening in astronauts that work in mostly zero gravity environments where deterioration becomes a concern.

The belt should be worn for 30 minutes every day or at least five times a week for it to fully take effect. It delivers a gentle vibration that makes it easy to be worn pretty much anywhere or at any time, such as during dog walks or while washing dishes. During clinical trials, CT scans showed that following the integration of the belt into a patient’s care plan, bone density visually improved over time. In a study backed by the NIH, women aged 50 to 60 lost 3.4 percent of their bone density by the end of 12 months without any intervention, while patients who wore the belt lost only 0.5 percent of their bone strength.

Current standards of care for preventing osteoporosis during the osteopenia stage are mostly lifestyle suggestions that can be hard to adhere to, such as a well-balanced and calcium-rich diet, frequent weight-bearing exercises and reducing the risk of falls. “Although lifestyle interventions such as exercise and diet are beneficial to bone, the effect is small. The Osteoboost shows promise in slowing the loss of bone density and strength and may fill the treatment gap,” Laura Bilek, a researcher who has studied the belt’s effectiveness said.

Osteoboost is still not yet available for sale, but you can sign up to get notified when the device is released. A company representative said they will begin shipping later this year and will accept pre-orders in the next few months. While the price is also still not disclosed, the representative told Engadget that the belt will be “affordable and accessible to the millions of patients who need it.” To get the device, you will need a prescription from your doctor — so pricing may vary depending on insurers and co-pays. Bone Health Technology said it is currently in talks with insurers regarding coverage for the medical device. While the price projection could have drastically changed, three years ago the CEO Laura Yecies told NS Medical Devices she believed the device could debut for about $800.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/vibrating-belt-that-treats-low-bone-density-gets-fda-approval-181552362.html?src=rss

Microsoft’s tool for AI reading lessons is now a standalone app

Microsoft is rolling out Reading Coach as a standalone app, which will expand its tools for educators in Microsoft Teams. The new app will be part of its Reading Progress suite designed to help students improve literacy in the classroom and at home. The tool will use artificial intelligence to provide users with personalized feedback on how to improve reading scores as well as specific suggestions for how to improve things like pronunciation. It will be free to any users that have a Microsoft account.

With prolonged use, the AI tool will flag specific words that a reader frequently mispronounces or misunderstands during reading sessions. To keep students engaged, the program will also ask a reader to choose prompts that can change a storyline as they progress.

Microsoft says teachers can integrate its program in classrooms through learning platforms starting in the Spring. But the tool is available to educators this month in preview. Teachers will be able to track how student’s feel about assignments using the Reflect tool within the program. This kind of feedback might help an educator determine what assignments students feel most excited about and which lessons might not be working. Beyond tracking student performance, the new features for Microsoft’s Teams for Education suite will help teachers generate content for lessons, such as passages and assignments for a student to engage with.

Microsoft also introduced new features for its Teams for Education app, which is designed to help educators tailor content for digital learning platforms. The Classwork tool will use AI to emphasize particular messages in an assignment’s instructions, according to an educator's particular goals for that lesson. The Assignments tool will use AI to streamline the rubric generating process. Outlines can be tailored by a teacher based on grade level, evaluation scale or other factors.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/microsofts-tool-for-ai-reading-lessons-is-now-a-standalone-app-230520756.html?src=rss

Microsoft’s tool for AI reading lessons is now a standalone app

Microsoft is rolling out Reading Coach as a standalone app, which will expand its tools for educators in Microsoft Teams. The new app will be part of its Reading Progress suite designed to help students improve literacy in the classroom and at home. The tool will use artificial intelligence to provide users with personalized feedback on how to improve reading scores as well as specific suggestions for how to improve things like pronunciation. It will be free to any users that have a Microsoft account.

With prolonged use, the AI tool will flag specific words that a reader frequently mispronounces or misunderstands during reading sessions. To keep students engaged, the program will also ask a reader to choose prompts that can change a storyline as they progress.

Microsoft says teachers can integrate its program in classrooms through learning platforms starting in the Spring. But the tool is available to educators this month in preview. Teachers will be able to track how student’s feel about assignments using the Reflect tool within the program. This kind of feedback might help an educator determine what assignments students feel most excited about and which lessons might not be working. Beyond tracking student performance, the new features for Microsoft’s Teams for Education suite will help teachers generate content for lessons, such as passages and assignments for a student to engage with.

Microsoft also introduced new features for its Teams for Education app, which is designed to help educators tailor content for digital learning platforms. The Classwork tool will use AI to emphasize particular messages in an assignment’s instructions, according to an educator's particular goals for that lesson. The Assignments tool will use AI to streamline the rubric generating process. Outlines can be tailored by a teacher based on grade level, evaluation scale or other factors.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/microsofts-tool-for-ai-reading-lessons-is-now-a-standalone-app-230520756.html?src=rss

EU says music streaming platforms must pay artists more

The European Parliament is calling for new regulations to ensure streaming services pay artists fairly. The proposal also calls for more transparency around how algorithms generate suggestions for which artists to stream and what tracks get the most promotion.

The proposed changes will be designed to ensure smaller artists are compensated fairly. Currently, royalty rates are set in a way that makes artists accept lower pay for the distribution of their content in exchange for visibility on streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. The members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are primarily concerned with introducing new legal frameworks to help support artists.

MEPs believe that the current way royalties are distributed is unfair. Current algorithms favor major labels and artists when providing suggestions, making it more difficult for less popular and diverse genres to get exposure. “Cultural diversity and ensuring that authors are credited and fairly paid has always been our priority; this is why we ask for rules that ensure algorithms and recommendation tools used by music streaming services are transparent as well as in their use of AI tools, placing European authors at the centre,” rapporteur Ibán García del Blanco of Spain said.

As part of this call for change, the MEPs want there to be more regulation regarding the use of artificial intelligence. The actual implementation of a legal framework by EU regulators might take some time to come to fruition. Similarly, UK regulators also raised the issue of pay fairness on streaming apps and even started investigating the effects of algorithms on listening habits. It's no secret that streaming platforms account for more than half of the music industry’s revenue. Streaming represents about 67 percent of the music industry’s revenue on a global scale.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/eu-says-music-streaming-platforms-must-pay-artists-more-151515204.html?src=rss

The best cheap fitness trackers for 2024

Achieving your fitness goals doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Keeping tabs on your daily movement can make you conscious of your activity level and motivate you to stay on top of your gym sessions, or at least hit your steps. That rings especially true if you spend most of your day sitting at a desk like I do. Having a device handy that can keep you accountable can be a game changer. While many smartwatches on the market are decked out with fitness tools, the average affordable tracker might offer just enough to help kickstart your health journey.

You might be surprised by how much a $100 (or less) wearable can do. They go well beyond just counting steps, providing in-depth reports on how you're sleeping at night or giving you a breakdown of your heart rate variability during a workout. But given their price, there are tradeoffs: don’t expect a plethora of features or third-party app integrations. To help you decide which cheap fitness tracker to get, I tested a few of the latest devices that are available for $100 or less to find out which are worth your money.

What to look for in a cheap fitness tracker

Even the most basic tracker should have at least three features: a program to track workouts or movement of some sort, the option to monitor and collect sleep data and the ability to measure health metrics like heart rate and blood oxygen levels (though, the readings might not be super accurate).

Fitness features

A cheap workout tracker can be great for someone looking to keep tabs on small, achievable goals like 10,000 steps before sundown or 30 minutes of a HIIT workout to get your heart rate peaking. An experienced long-distance runner looking to train for a triathlon might opt for a more expensive device that can measure cadence or ground contact time, and can track more customizable workouts or give deeper insights into performance data.

At the very least, a budget workout tracker should be able to track workouts beyond walking and running — otherwise, it would just be a pedometer. The number of activities a device will recognize varies. Some will get funky with it and consider skateboarding a workout, while others won’t be able to track a jumping jack.

At this price, you can expect a device to measure a mix of cardio, machine workouts and strength training. With each, you might get a numerical or visual breakdown of heart rate activity, overall pace, and calories burned per session. Although some cheap trackers can offer a really good overview of heart rate zone activity during a workout, a more technically advanced device might be able to go a step further and explain what your results mean and coach you on how to keep your heart rate in a specific bracket so that you can burn more fat per workout. I found that the more budget-friendly the device, the more likely it is that a tracker will fall short when it comes to smart counseling or offering predictive insights beyond a given workout. If a budget tracker does happen to offer some semblance of a coaching program, you can expect it to sit behind a paywall.

Tracking and planning your recovery is just as essential to any fitness journey. A sub-$100 device should be able to tell you how long you’ve slept and provide a breakdown of deep, light and REM sleep activity. It's not a guarantee that you will get a sleep “score” or insights on how to get better rest — that data is usually found on more expensive wearables. Also, because these trackers aren’t designed for bedtime specifically — be mindful of comfort. The bands and watch face on a budget fitness tracker may not be ideal for getting some good shut-eye.

Connectivity and practicality

Not all activity trackers, budget-friendly or not, are designed to seamlessly integrate with a smartphone. The trackers tested for this roundup can’t directly make calls or send texts to contacts on a paired smartphone. They can, however, display and dismiss incoming calls and notifications. You can forget about checking your email or paying for a coffee from your wrist using these more affordable devices.

Most cheap fitness trackers also won't include a built-in GPS. Instead, they usually depend on a paired smartphone to gather location data. The drawback of using a fitness tracker without GPS is that it might not provide as precise for tracking distance or pace. You also can't use a budget tracker to get turn-by-turn directions during a walk or while running errands. For the more outdoorsy consumers, having GPS could be a key safety feature.

Design

You also might find that an inexpensive fitness tracker is harder to navigate than a more advanced smartwatch. Whether it be a screen size issue or simply not having a smart enough interface, don't expect every feature to be one that you can engage with directly on your wrist. Oftentimes, you will need to pull out your smartphone to log information or access more in-depth health data.

The quality and build of displays and bands will also vary in this category. Don’t expect the highest resolution displays or the fanciest materials in the bands. But you can expect some level of sweat and water resistance.

Other cheap fitness trackers we tested

Wyze Watch 47c

I didn't have high expectations of the Wyze Watch 47c, but I was shocked at how little this tracker can do. The 47c can only track walks and runs. It has a dedicated widget, a small logo of a man running, and when you tap it, it begins measuring your pace, heart rate, calories burned and mileage. It does not auto-detect or auto-pause workouts and it doesn't differentiate between a run and walk. Most importantly, this device can’t track any other exercises. It’s basically a glorified pedometer.

The 47c was also my least favorite to sleep with, mainly because the square watch face is so large and heavy. Even if I did manage to sleep through the night with it on, it only gave me a basic sleep report.

Garmin vivofit 4

The Garmin vivofit 4 has a tiny display that is not a touchscreen and all navigation happens through one button. The watch face is impossible to read outdoors and the exercise widget is also very finicky. To start tracking a run, you have to hold down the main button and flip through some pages until you get to a moving person icon. Once there, you have to press the bottom right corner of the bar and hold down and if you press for too long or in the wrong spot, it’ll switch to another page, like a stopwatch. It’s incredibly frustrating.

Once you start a run though, it will start tracking your steps, your distance — and that's pretty much it. It does not auto-detect or auto-pause workouts. It doesn't alert you of any mileage or calorie milestones.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/best-cheap-fitness-trackers-140054780.html?src=rss