Collaborating Authors

Instagram down: App and website break, showing only '5xx Server Error' rather than pictures of food

The Independent - Tech

Instagram is completely down, leaving people unable to use either its app or website. Visitors to the website see a message reading "5xx server error" and nothing else. App users will see a message saying that the app "couldn't refresh feed" – though the problem looks temporary, it isn't actually possible to get new pictures at all. It isn't clear what the source of the problem is or if it will be fixed any time soon. Connected company president Shigeki Tomoyama addresses a press briefing as he elaborates on Toyota's "connected strategy" in Tokyo.

WhatsApp data sharing with Facebook forced to stop after UK Information Commissioner's Office steps in

The Independent - Tech

Facebook has been forced to end a hugely controversial data sharing agreement with WhatsApp. The decision would have seen WhatsApp hand out information on all of its users to Facebook, letting the latter use data about people's chats to inform its advertising. It would also have gone the other way – allowing companies to send WhatsApp's to people based on things they've bought on Facebook, for instance. But now the UK's Information Commissioner's Office has told the company that it needs to bring that arrangement to an end because it does not have "valid consent" from its users. Facebook had looked to gain permission from its users to have their data used as part of the deal.

Facebook bans Admiral from using profile data for insurance quotes, hours after it was launched

The Independent - Tech

Facebook has banned an insurance company from using people's profiles to price their insurance. Just hours after Admiral announced that it would launch a new app that scoured Facebook profiles and tried to work out their personalities, the site has said that the plan breaks its terms and so will be banned. Admiral had hoped that by using Facebook information it could build up a picture of people, and hopefully work out whether they were more or less likely to crash. Customers could be given up to a 15 per cent discount if they signed up to the app. Connected company president Shigeki Tomoyama addresses a press briefing as he elaborates on Toyota's "connected strategy" in Tokyo.

Robot judges could soon be helping out with court cases


An artificial intelligence (AI) judge has accurately predicted most verdicts of the European Court of Human Rights, and might soon be making important decisions about cases. Scientists built an artificial intelligence computer that was able to look at legal evidence as well as considering ethical questions to decide how a case should be decided. And it predicted those with 79 per cent accuracy, according to its creators. The algorithm looked at data sets made up 584 cases relating to torture and degrading treatment, fair trials and privacy. The computer was able to look through that information and make its own decision – which lined up with those made by Europe's most senior judges in almost every case.

Facebook users less likely to die, says major study conducted by social network on 12 million people

The Independent - Tech

People who use Facebook live longer, according to a new study. Using the site to stay in touch with people appears to suggest that using the site is associated with living longer. Scientists have long known that people have stronger social networks and relationships also tend to live longer. The new study shows that the same is true of the online world. "Interacting online seems to be healthy when the online activity is moderate and complements interactions offline," said author William Hobbs in a statement.