Hashtag Trending Sept. 9 – Free tax filing; remote proctor fails; Facebook button gone

IRS is looking to set up a free tax filing system, remote proctoring doesn’t seem to work, and big brands are ditching the Facebook button.

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Friday September 9, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service is looking into establishing a free electronic tax filing system. To make it happen, the agency wants to use $15 million from the $80 billion allocated for the Inflation Reduction Act. As reported by the Washington Post, IRS officials said the biggest barrier to establishing a free filing system was the lack of funding. Now that’s out of the way, Americans may finally have an alternative to paid tax filing services like TurboTax. The system is still in the blueprint stage, however, and there’s no word on when it will officially enter service.

Source: Yahoo News, Washington Post 

Despite their best efforts, remote proctoring doesn’t appear to work. A study found that Proctorio, a common anti-cheating software used by schools, failed to catch all of the cheaters in a testing environment. First reported by Motherboard, the researchers of the study concluded that it’s as effective as a placebo, and that it reduces cheating not because it works, but because people believe that it works. Students were able to easily defeat the system with virtual machines, or literally just calling a friend.

Source: Vice

Big brands appear to be ditching Facebook sign-in as the social platform loses popularity. Dell, Best Buy, Ford Motor and even Twitch have removed the ability to sign in with Facebook accounts. Facebook has seen a cutback in users due to stronger competition from other platforms, new privacy changes, and tons of legal and privacy issues. Without trust from consumers, companies are also more hesitant to build partnerships with Facebook. Still, Meta’s other platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp still enjoy an active user base and are thriving.

Source: CNBC

Heat pumps, a device that compresses heat from one source to deliver to another, are becoming a hot topic. It’s already being used in cooling systems such as refrigerators, but it can also be used to heat homes, which can help reduce natural gas use and combat climate change. Also, it saves a ton of money compared to gas-based heating systems, lowering operating costs by as much as half. The system is already being mass deployed in countries like the U.K., and has been deemed as an essential part of national defence by U.S. President Joe Biden.

Source: The Conversation

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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