Hashtag Trending – Samsung Unpacked unpacked; Twitter braces for big fine; Instagram launches Reels

We unpack a bunch of news from Samsung’s virtual event, Twitter braces for a mega fine, and Instagram is doing its best to keep you off of TikTok.

It’s all the tech news that’s popular right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Thursday, Aug. 6 and I’m your host, Baneet Braich.

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Yesterday at its Galaxy Unpacked virtual event, Samsung unveiled the expected – its annual update to the Note line – and the unexpected – a sneak peek at the upcoming Z Fold2 folding phone – as it urged us to embrace the next normal. We saw new Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra phablets, Galaxy S7 and S7+ tablets, a much-improved S-Pen, two elegant (and very expensive) watches, and kidney-shaped Galaxy Buds Live, all offered in colours that are, Samsung says, “neither trendy nor fleeting”. They’re all nice to look at, but you need a fat wallet to afford these devices. The Note20 line starts at $1400 Canadian, with the Ultra hitting an eye-watering $2029.99. The two Watch 3 models cost $550 and $600, the Buds are $250 and the S7 and S7+ models go from $120 to $920. What can we expect next? As Samsung mobile head TM Roh told us, “Going forward, 5G and foldable will be the major pillars of Samsung’s future.” So hang tight until September 1, when more info about the Z Fold2 will be on its way.

Twitter is bracing for a potential $250 million fine for using two-factor authentication with phone numbers and emails for marketing. The news comes after Twitter violated its agreement with the FTC to stop misleading consumers about how it protects their personal information. Twitter had done the same between 2013 and 2019 where phone numbers and email addresses provided “for safety and security purposes” to help target ads. However, Twitter had said it was done in error. According to The Verge, Twitter says the commission filed its complaint at the end of July and Twitter estimates that it could be fined anywhere from $150 million to $250 million.

And lastly, Instagram officially launched its own version of TikTok this week called Instagram Reels. It has been launched across 50 countries so far. Users can record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects, and creative tools. The reels can be shared with followers or publicly through a new space in Explore. Facebook is making the most of the new feature during a vulnerable time for TikTok as it is being banned in the US.

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 Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing.I’m Baneet Braich, thanks for listening

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