Instagram reportedly served up child-sexualizing reels to followers of teen influencers

Following X's alleged ad controversy involving antisemitic content, it is now Meta's turn to be put under the spotlight for its content algorithm. According to an experiment conducted by The Wall Street Journal, Instagram’s Reels video service would serve "risqué footage of children as well as overtly sexual adult videos" to test accounts that exclusively followed teen and preteen influencers — namely young gymnasts and cheerleaders. These sort of ads were supposed to be forbidden on Meta's platforms.

To make matters worse, such salacious content was also mixed in with ads representing notable US brands like Disney, Walmart, Pizza Hut, Bumble, Match Group and even The Wall Street Journal itself. The report added that the Canadian Centre for Child Protection achieved similar results with its own tests separately.

While Walmart and Pizza Hut apparently declined to comment, Bumble, Match Group, Hims (retailer of erectile-dysfunction drugs) and Disney have since either pulled their ads from Meta or pressed the firm to address this issue. Given the earlier controversy on X, advertisers are obviously even more sensitive about the type of content shown next to their ads — especially for Disney which was affected by both X and now Instagram. 

In response, Meta told its clients that it was investigating, and that it "would pay for brand-safety auditing services to determine how often a company’s ads appear beside content it considers unacceptable." However, the firm stopped short at providing a timetable nor detail on future prevention.

While one could say that such tests don't necessarily represent real user experience (as tech companies tend to argue with), Instagram's tendency to aggregate child sexualization content was a known problem internally — even before the launch of Reels, according to current and former Meta employees interviewed by the WSJ.

The same group of people suggested that an effective solution would require revamping the algorithms responsible for pushing related content to users. That said, internal documents seen by the WSJ suggested that Meta made it difficult for its safety team to apply such drastic changes, as traffic performance is apparently more important for the social media giant.

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Doctor Who: The Star Beast reminds us that money isn’t everything

The following discusses spoilers for “The Star Beast” and references transphobia.

If there’s one thing the rebooted Doctor Who always tried to do, it was avoid cliches about its predecessor’s small budget. The 1963 - 1989 run was made on a shoestring, leading to lazy gags about wobbly sets and bad visual effects. The 2005 revival was well-budgeted compared to its British TV peers, but still had to work hard to not "embarrass" itself. Now, the show is back, armed with bags of cash from Disney in exchange for its international broadcast rights. And, for the first time in possibly forever Doctor Who can boast about how rich it is.

But, much as we fans may feel inferior when comparing their love to those glossy Treks and Wars, money isn’t everything. For all those wobbly sets and dodgy effects, Doctor Who is a writer’s and actor’s medium first; great writing and acting can go a long way. It can make you believe an alien parasite consuming a person inside out is real, and not just green bubble wrap. It’s also the reason Doctor Who never succeeds when its creative team tries to ram it into the same cult-sci-fi-TV pigeonhole as its supposed American counterparts. This show thrives on taking left turns and playing on the fringes of the epic rather than aping the SyFy-industrial complex.

So what happens when Russell T. Davies returns to re-reboot the show with a big pile of Disney dollars? He writes a kitchen sink drama about a struggling family that’s thrust into the middle of an alien conflict. He writes a script that hinges not on an extended battle sequence with plenty of practical effects, or a lavish CGI moment of London being torn apart. But one where the big blockbuster moment is when Catherine Tate is locked in a tiny room across from David Tennant. This is the story of a mother who loves her daughter so much that she opts to sacrifice herself without a second thought. The Star Beast says, both in its production and dialogue, that there are better things to have than money, including love. And money was never the thing that made Doctor Who good.

The Star Beast has a difficult job, serving as a 60th anniversary special and as a jumping-on point for new viewers. Doctor Who is already a global hit, but its arrival on Disney+ means it’ll no longer be something people need to seek out in order to find. But beyond a short prologue where the Doctor explains why Donna can’t get her memories back, or else she’ll die, you’re dropped in cold. Keep up. The episode is an adaptation of the ‘70s comic of the same name, where the alien Beep the Meep lands on Earth, pursued by the Wrarth Warriors.

The Doctor (David Tennant), with his new / old face and a new sonic, arrives in Camden in time to bump into Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) and her daughter, Rose (Yasmin Finney). He’s anxious to get out of their way since, if Donna remembers him or their time together, she will die. (In the resolution to 2008’s Journey’s End, Donna absorbed a bunch of the Doctor’s regeneration energy, becoming a human-Time Lord hybrid. But in doing so, nearly burned out her own brain until the Doctor wiped her memory in order to save her life.) But while she’s packing a box of shopping, a falling spaceship streaks across the sky, crashing into a nearby steel works. The Doctor hijacks a taxi driven by Shaun (Karl Collins), Donna’s husband, and asks him to drive to the steel works while finding out what Donna has been up to in the last 15 years.

Last time we saw Donna, the Doctor handed her a winning lottery ticket as a gift to celebrate her marriage to Shaun. But beyond paying for the house they live in, she gave the rest of her £160 million windfall to good causes, leaving them on the poverty line. Rose, her daughter, has set up a sewing business selling handmade toys to rich people in Dubai, to help earn some extra money. And as they walk home Rose, who is trans, is deadnamed by a bunch of kids from her school, much to Donna’s ire.

The Doctor investigates the crashed spaceship, avoiding the UNIT soldiers who are swarming the plant. But he is spotted by Shirley Ann Bingham (Ruth Madeley), UNIT’s new scientific advisor – the 56th – the latest in a long line of advisors to follow the Doctor. Rose, meanwhile, encounters Beep the Meep (Miriam Margolyes), a cuddly alien who is on the run from some giant green bug-eyed monsters with laser gun hands. Her compassion sees her hide Beep in her sewing room in the garden shed, which is eventually discovered by Donna. And then the Doctor turns up, followed soon after by a squad of UNIT soldiers who have been hypnotized by some glowing form in the spaceship.

A pitched and lengthy battle ensues where the Doctor fashions an escape by breaking through the walls between houses to get around the warring factions. It’s here, in a set piece that drags out far too long, that you can feel the show reveling in its supersized budget. Doctor Who of old could have probably staged something like this in its late-noughties heyday but not without a lot of cutting elsewhere. But we’re allowed a moment or two of self-indulgence when you get so much money you can flip a Land Rover onto a parked car and have them both explode in flames, right?

After escaping, the Doctor pulls out a judge’s wig from inside his coat and beams in two Wrarth Warriors. He’s not so sure that the cute and cuddly Beep is as innocent as it initially claimed – as fans of the comic will already know – instead being a genocidal maniac. It was Beep that possessed the squad of UNIT soldiers, and plans to wreak more havoc on the universe as soon as their ship is repaired. Meep kills the two Wrarth Warriors and is about to do the same to everyone else but the Doctor convinces them to take them hostage instead. Marched back to the steelworks, where they’re saved by Shirley who has a set of hidden guns and a rocket launcher hidden inside her wheelchair. Beep’s spaceship is ready to go, whereby its Dagger Drive engine will burrow into London and burn the city, and its nine million or so inhabitants, to fuel its takeoff.

The Star Beast reminded me of a lengthy email, written by Russell T. Davies, in the tail end of Doctor Who: The Writer’s Tale. Towards the end of his first tenure running the show, Davies wrote to Benjamin Cook discussing his process. But the email also had the tone of someone addressing the criticisms that had perhaps dogged much of his initial tenure on the series. I’m paraphrasing, but his point was that structure was far less important to him than emotional catharsis. A Davies story is often messy and disorganized, much like life, in contrast to the Swiss Watch formalism of his successor, Steven Moffat. It should come as no surprise that The Star Beast doesn’t quite gel on the structural level, and is instead a series of big, emotionally cathartic set pieces.

But Davies’ instincts are right, and while many shows would build to a wide-frame and glossy climax, Davies shrinks it down. Catherine Tate leaps onto the spaceship to help the Doctor, willingly risking her life to save her daughter and the rest of London. Here, when it’s just David Tennant and Catherine Tate in a small, round room, separated by a glass partition, that things get intense. The whole episode, in fact, hinges on Tate’s acting as she makes the decision to die to save her family, a bigger and better moment than a thousand flipped Land Rovers.

And to fix things, the Doctor has to unlock those memories, sealed away inside Donna’s brain, of when her mind had merged with the Doctor. With it, she is able to help destroy the ship’s launch mechanism in a big moment of heroism before dying in the Doctor’s arms. But, when rescue arrives, she’s not actually dead, and it’s all thanks to Rose, who was helping outside all along. The hidden memories, and the Doctor’s power, were passed down to Rose in the womb who diluted their intensity enough not to overwhelm and kill Donna. It’s a seemingly sweet way to resolve the story, but I’m not sure if the implication the show makes is the one Davies intends. But I’m going to leave the nature of the episode’s resolution, and how it relates to Rose’s gender in the hands of infinitely better-qualified writers.

The episode ends with the Doctor and Donna cruelly preventing Rose from taking a look at the new TARDIS. Which, much like the rest of the episode, is a big money moment, with what feels like the biggest console room set ever. Again, there are probably too many beauty passes over the architecture as the show reminds everyone what it can do with some extra cash. Sadly, the coffee machine gets just one run out before Donna spills a cup all over the console and the TARDIS is engulfed in flame. Man, it feels good to be excited about the next episode of Doctor Who, and that’s a feeling I haven’t felt since March 1st, 2020.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

1Password Black Friday deal: Save 50 percent on the password manager’s individual and family plans

At this point in time, you probably have a ton of passwords to keep track of across a vast number of websites, apps and services. One way to keep them safe and organized, and to prevent losing access to your accounts, is to use a password manager. For Black Friday this year, 1Password is giving you the chance to purchase an individual or a family subscription for 50 percent off their normal prices, as long as you're a new subscriber. The manager's individual account normally costs $35.88 a year, while its family account is typically priced at $59.88, so expect to pay half those amounts, respectively. 

Both subscription tiers come with access to the service's mobile and desktop passwords, as well as its browser extensions. You can save not just log in credentials with 1Password, but also addresses and credit card details, and you can hide select vaults when you switch on Travel mode. 1Password will allow you to temporarily share logins with anybody, as well, even if they're not a user. But if you purchase a family subscription, you can share the account between five people who can create an unlimited number of shared vaults. Each member can also help another recover their access in case they get locked out.

It's worth noting that 1Password recently went beyond well, passwords, and rolled out support for passkeys to desktop and mobile users. That means you'll be able to sync your passkeys across devices and across platforms, so you can log in to your accounts without having to resort to using your credentials. This special Black Friday discount will be available from November 24 to November 27 only. 

Your Black Friday Shopping Guide: See all of Yahoo’s Black Friday coverage, here. Follow Engadget for Black Friday tech deals. Learn about Black Friday trends on In The Know. Hear from Autoblog’s experts on the best Black Friday deals for your car, garage, and home, and find Black Friday sales to shop on AOL, handpicked just for you.

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Apple Black Friday deal: Get a $15 Amazon credit when you buy a $100 Apple gift card

If you're planning to pick up some new Apple gear in the near future, a new Amazon Black Friday deal may be of interest. If you purchase an Apple gift card totaling $100 or more from the retailer, you can get $15 in Amazon store credit for no extra cost. Just use the code APPLET5USA at checkout to see the offer. The deal applies to the digital version of the card; as of this writing, you can get the credit with a physical Apple gift card as well by using the code APPLET5USAP, though you may not want to clip the coupon on those cards' product page, as Amazon's listing says that will only give you a $10 credit. 

Amazon's fine print says you can only apply the credit once per account, and that you'll receive the credit alongside an email confirmation within 24 hours of your purchase. From there, you'll be able to use the credit until January 17, albeit only on products that are listed as shipped and sold by

As a refresher, you can use an Apple gift card for App Store credit, subscription services like Apple Music or iCloud, and/or purchases made at a physical Apple store. If you often shop at Amazon anyway, this deal effectively gives you a bit of free money, which is always hard to beat around the holidays.

Your Black Friday Shopping Guide: See all of Yahoo’s Black Friday coverage, here. Follow Engadget for Black Friday tech deals. Learn about Black Friday trends on In The Know. Hear from Autoblog’s experts on the best Black Friday deals for your car, garage, and home, and find Black Friday sales to shop on AOL, handpicked just for you.

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The 29 best Black Friday tech deals under $50, including the Echo Dot with a free smart bulb

Turns out there are lots of tech devices you can buy for under $50 — and Black Friday means some items above that threshold have now dropped comfortably within reach. These accessories and gadgets make great stocking stuffers too. We've tested plenty of these small and useful devices and found a slew of them seeing sizable discounts with sales at Amazon, Target and Best Buy. Cables, portable chargers, controllers, smart home displays and more are all on sale. Here are the best Black Friday tech deals under $50. 

Amazon Echo Dot with a Kasa Smart Bulb

Xbox Wireless Controller

Biolite PD 40 power bank

Moft Sit-Stand Desk

Google Nest Hub 

Roku Streaming Stick 4K

Tile Mate

Echo Dot

Echo Dot Kids

Echo Show 5 (3rd Gen, 2023)

Anker Nano power bank (USB-C)

Blink Mini

Amazon Smart Plug

Kasa Smart Plug

Otterbox Fast Charge

Tribit Stormbox Micro 2

JBL Clip 4 Eco

Anker Soundcore 2

Newvanga travel power adapter

HyperX Cloud Stinger 2

EarFun Free 2 wireless earbuds

Amazon Echo Buds

Thermacell E55 Mosquito Repeller

Google Chromecast with Google TV (4K)

Logitech Signature M650 mouse

Kasa Smart Light Bulbs

Sengled WiFi Color Changing Bulb

Anker Bio-Braided USB-C to C cable

Anker 100W 10ft USB-C cable

Your Black Friday Shopping Guide: See all of Yahoo’s Black Friday coverage, here. Follow Engadget for Black Friday tech deals. Learn about Black Friday trends on In The Know. Hear from Autoblog’s experts on the best Black Friday deals for your car, garage, and home, and find Black Friday sales to shop on AOL, handpicked just for you.

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The best outdoor gifts for 2023

The great outdoors can be enjoyed all year round, so we’ve compiled a list of the best gifts for the backyard lounger, patio napper or woodland hiker on your list this holiday season. We even offer help with items to improve your tailgate or next beach trip. With everything from grilling gadgets to drinkware and hammocks to splash-proof speakers, there’s something for everyone – no matter how long or how often they venture outside. What’s more, you don’t have to break the bank.

BrüMate Hopsulator Trio

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3

Stanley IceFlow Straw Tumbler

Thermacell EL55

Solo Stove Ranger 2.0

Meater+ thermometer

ThermoWorks Thermapen One

MiiR Aero Flask

Wise Owl Outfitters Hammock

RTIC Soft Pack Cooler

Solo Stove Pi Prime

Traeger Flat Top Grill Essentials

Shibumi Shade

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A $50 Xbox gift card is $5 off in this Black Friday deal

These days, it's perhaps more difficult than ever to buy someone a video game as a gift. Not only are there thousands of options, your intended recipient may already have access to a given game on another platform or it may already be included in a subscription service they pay for. A gift card is likely a safer bet. To that end, you can save 10 percent on Xbox and PlayStation gift cards for Black Friday. At both Amazon and Target, you can snap up a $50 Xbox gift card for $45.

That's almost enough to cover three months of access to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which now costs $17 per month. Alternatively, that's enough to pay for four months of Xbox Game Pass access (at $11 per month) or five months of PC Game Pass ($10 per month). Should your recipient choose to pay for Game Pass with their gift card, they'll have access to a library of hundreds of games. They could always just buy games outright, of course.

PlayStation Plus gift cards are also 10 percent off at Amazon. A $70 gift card is down to $63, while a $30 option is on sale for $27. The former will cover five months of PlayStation Plus Extra access. Similar to Game Pass, that tier of Sony's subscription service includes access to hundreds of PS4 and PS5 games. PS Plus Extra costs $15 per month, $40 per quarter or $135 per year.

Last but not least, a 12-month Nintendo Switch Online Family membership is available for $32 (usually $35) at Amazon. This is a solid gift for a household that has at least two Nintendo Switches — a family membership lets up to eight people use Nintendo Switch Online. The service includes access to online multiplayer, as well as a library of NES and SNES classics and a few battle royale-type exclusives from Nintendo, such as Tetris 99 and F-Zero 99.

Your Black Friday Shopping Guide: See all of Yahoo’s Black Friday coverage, here. Follow Engadget for Black Friday tech deals. Learn about Black Friday trends on In The Know. Hear from Autoblog’s experts on the best Black Friday deals for your car, garage, and home, and find Black Friday sales to shop on AOL, handpicked just for you.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The best tech gifts and gadgets of 2023

If you couldn’t tell, we’re unabashedly nerdy about tech here at Engadget. While our jobs revolve around testing and reviewing gadgets and reporting on technological breakthroughs and social media controversies, our staff is composed of people who genuinely love tech and everything that goes into making cool gadgets. If you have someone in your life who shares the same passion, it might be difficult to find a piece of tech that you think they’d appreciate (and one they don’t already own). Here, we’ve gathered some of our favorite gear that we've tested and used and think would make great gifts for the tech nerd in your life — and no, they all don’t cost a fortune.

Marshall Emberton II

Amazon Echo Show 15

Sonos Ray

DJI Mini 3

Audeze Maxwell

Anker Prime 20,000mAh Power Bank

Peak Design Tech Pouch

Logitech G PowerPlay Wireless Charging Mouse Pad

Govee M1 RGBIC LED Light Strips


Boox Page

LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System

ASUS ROG Strix Scope II 96 Wireless Gaming Keyboard

XGIMI MoGo 2 Pro 1080P

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The best home theater gifts of 2023

The living room is where most people spend a good chunk of their time when they want to relax, but most people’s home theater setup could use a little TLC. While you can drop serious money fast in this space, that doesn’t have to be the case. If you’ve got a movie-lover on your gift list, or someone who’s particularly hard to shop for, getting them something to upgrade their TV-watching experience is usually a set bet. Here are some of the best home theater gifts for this year, and no, not all of them cost a fortune.

Apple TV 4K

Monoprice Monolith THX Atmos home theater speakers

Roku Ultra

Sonos Ray

Govee LED Strip Light M1

Samsung 55-Inch S90C OLED 4K Smart TV

Hisense U8K Mini-LED Smart TV

Sony PlayStation 5

Beyerdynamic DT 900 Pro X

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB Direct-Drive Turntable

BenQ HT2060 Home Theater Projector

LG Cinebeam smart portable projector

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The best gifts for cyclists in 2023

Other than a bike, helmet and a few emergency maintenance essentials, there aren’t many things a person needs to enjoy a bike ride outside. But having the right accessories can go a long way towards making the experience more fun, more safe and, ultimately, more rewarding. The list of recommendations below cover the gamut of things you can give to the cyclist in your life, from must-have safety accessories like bike lights, to more techie gadgets like bike computers. However, each represents an item the staff here at Engadget have personally tested or swear by, and would make for a great holiday gift.

Crankbrothers M19 Multi-Tool

Knog Rear Blinder or Rear Plus Lights

Ornot Handlebar Bag

Garmin Varia Radar

Knog Oi Luxe Bike Bell

Kryptonite New York U-Lock

PS Bagworks Rider Strap

Patagonia Houdini Jacket

Planet Bike Waterproof Bike Seat Cover

Park Tool Cyclone Chain Scrubber

Wahoo Elemnt Bolt V2

Ortlieb Back-Roller Plus Panniers

Outdoor Research ActiveIce Sun Sleeves

Steadyrack Vertical Bike Rack

Burley Kazoo Trailercycle

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