Hashtag Trending Sept. 14 – Instagram Reels lacks engagement; Google faces U.K. and EU lawsuits; iOS 16 launches

Instagram’s Reels feature lacks user engagement, Google faces a 25 billion euro lawsuit in the U.K. and EU, and Apple launches iOS 16 with new features to iMessage. 

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Wednesday, September 14, and I’m your host, James Roy.

While social media apps like Instagram and YouTube have hopped on the TikTok-style trends with short-form video’s, Instagram’s “Reels” feature hasn’t done as well as expected. The Wall Street Journal reported that it had seen copies of internal research documents, which revealed that Instagram users are not spending much time watching these short-form videos, and even worse, “most Reels users have no engagement whatsoever.” The Wall Street Journal reported that users are spending less than 17.6 million hours a day on Reels in comparison to TikTok users who spend 197.8 million hours on the video platform. Instagram is apparently putting a big part of the blame on its lack of content creators and influencers making use of the Reels feature. Of the 11 million users named creators on Instagram in the U.S., only 2.3 million post each month. Additionally, the report also noted that a third of all Reels were originally created on other sites, mainly TikTok, and they all still bear the other app’s logo. 

Google faces a 25 billion euro lawsuit in the U.K. and EU that accuses the company of anticompetitive conduct in the digital advertising market. Google, which is a prominent force in the online ad market, is accused of abusing its power in the ad tech market, which coordinates the sale of online advertising space between publishers and advertisers. According to a Belgian law firm involved in the EU case, publishers, local news and national news media are being harmed by Google’s “anticompetitive conduct”, The Guardian reported. Additionally, a U.K. law firm is planning to bring a case to the competition appeal tribunal over the next month, however this process could take many years to reach a conclusion.

On Monday, Apple released its latest software update, iOS 16, which comes with several new features. One of the more popular additions is the ability to edit and delete iMessages that have already been sent. Users will have only two minutes to unsend an iMessage and 15 minutes to edit an iMessage. However there are some drawbacks. This feature doesn’t work with SMS text messages and will only work if the other person you’re texting also has iOS 16 installed. Within iMessage, the new update will allow users to mark texts as “unread”. iOS 16 will also let users customize their iPhone’s lock screen with different fonts and colours. iOS 16 is available for everyone with an iPhone released in 2017 or later.

Last week, residents in Colorado found themselves locked out of their smart thermostats during hot temperatures in an effort to prevent power demand from overwhelming the grid. Over 20,000 Xcel customers lost control of their smart thermostats for hours. This prompted customers to social media, where they revealed that the temperatures inside their homes had reached as high as 88 degrees Fahrenheit. All of the customers affected had enrolled in an energy-saving program, called AC Rewards, which was created to ease the strain on the power grid during heatwaves. When the utility adjusts a customer’s thermostat, the customer normally has the option to opt-out. However, according to the company, on rare occasions, system emergencies could cause a control event that cannot be overridden. Last week was the first time Xcel stopped customers from overriding their adjustments since the program started.

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 James Roy.

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