Hashtag Trending March 14 – Uber adds fuel charge; Russia wants to ban Instagram; YouTube Vanced discontinued

Uber adds extra costs amid surging fuel prices, Russia wants to ban Instagram and calls Meta an extremist organization, and YouTube Vanced is going away forever.

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Monday, March 14, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

Due to skyrocketing fuel prices, Uber is adding a temporary fuel surcharge for passengers to help offset the cost for drivers. The company says that rides customers will pay an additional $0.45 or $0.55 on each trip, and Eats customers will pay either $0.35 or $0.45 on each order, depending on their location. The fee applies to customers in the U.S. and Canada even if they’re using an electric vehicle. Uber says that all of the money will be paid to the driver. The surcharge will last for 60 days, but there’s no guarantee that it will end then, as a company spokesperson said that Uber will continue to monitor fuel prices.

Russia is contemplating banning Instagram and designating Meta as an extremist organization. The application for the ban was filed by Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office. The change appears to be in response to a recent policy change to Meta’s Instagram and Facebook. According to the company, users in some countries will be allowed to call for violence against Russian troops, reported the Independent. One other source said that WhatsApp will not be affected by the ban since it doesn’t publicly post information.

YouTube Vanced, a beloved alternative to YouTube’s official app, is being discontinued due to legal actions by Google. The app basically provided YouTube premium’s features for free, such as removing ads and playing videos with the display turned off. This doesn’t bode well with Google for obvious reasons and the company has sent a cease and desist letter to the Vanced developer team. Although it will function as normal on phones with it already installed, its download link will soon be removed. Furthermore, without continued support, it’s only a matter of time before it stops working for good.

Now for something a bit different. The new safety feature in your next car may not be technologically bleeding edge, but it’s one many welcomes. The U.S. government is working on a law that will require new vehicles to include sensors that detect the driver’s blood alcohol levels. The feature will be able to lock the vehicle if it detects a blood-alcohol level higher than 0.08 per cent. The development organization is currently evaluating all options from traditional breathalyzers to infrared sensors. There’s still much work to be done, however, as the group needs to figure out how to verify the driver’s ID, how to deal with false positives, and whether the feature is too intrusive.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash briefings or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Thursday morning. If you have a suggestion or a tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thank you for listening, I’m Tom Li.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT Business. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at tli@itwc.ca.

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