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Instagram apologises for promoting weight-loss content to users with eating disorders | Instagram

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Instagram has apologised for a “mistake” that meant it promoted weight-loss content to users with eating disorders.

A new feature on the social network provides users with suggested search terms based on their interests, with default prompts including terms such as “yard work”, “home decor” or “sunsets”. But some people with eating disorders found the app was prompting them to search for terms like “appetite suppressant” instead, raising the risk of a relapse or worse.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, said the inclusion of such harmful terms, first reported by the BBC, was an oversight and it had removed them in an update.

“To help people discover content they’re interested in, we recently rolled out a new way to search on Instagram beyond hashtags and usernames, where you tap on the search bar and we suggest topics you may want to search for,” the company said in a statement.

“Those suggestions, as well as the search results themselves, are limited to general interests. Weight loss should not have been one of them and we’ve taken steps to prevent these terms from appearing here. We’re sorry for any confusion caused.”

Instagram has had relatively tight rules surrounding weight-loss posts since 2019, when the company imposed restrictions on posts related to diet products and cosmetic surgery. Posts that promote the use of certain weight-loss products or cosmetic procedures, which have an incentive to buy or include a price, are hidden from users known to be under 18, and any claim of “miraculous” weight-loss abilities linked to commercial offers are banned from the site.

Facebook and Instagram also ban content that encourages eating disorders, so-called “pro-ana” material, under rules that ban users from sharing content promoting suicide or self-injury more generally. But Instagram has long come under fire from campaigners for its limited enforcement of the ban, in part because of the difficulty of drawing a dividing line between banned “pro-ana” content and conventional weight-loss, fitness, or healthy-eating posts.

A Guardian investigation in 2019 found thousands of hashtags and accounts promoting anorexia, including diaries of weight loss, alarming pictures and comments on goal weights, with exhortations to upset users to “please don’t report, just block” to get around the site’s enforcement.

Instagram does allow users to share their own experiences of eating disorders, provided they are not intended to promote it as a desirable outcome, but says such posts “may not be eligible for recommendations” through the platform’s algorithmic tools.



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Orion the humpback whale ‘a dream sighting’ for marine observers

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A member of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group spotted the humpback whale while out conducting a survey on marine life off the Donegal coast.

Marine mammal observer Dr Justin Judge described the moment he spotted a lone humpback whale off the coast of Donegal as “a dream sighting.”

Judge spotted the whale at 9.30 on the morning of 9 July while representing the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) on board the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Explorer.

The group of researchers and observers was out on the waters around 60 kilometres north-northwest of Malin Head when they saw the whale. They were carrying out the annual Western European Shelf Pelagic Acoustic (WESPAS) survey.

“This is a dream sighting for a marine mammal observer,” Judge said. He explained that the creature would be nicknamed Orion – which had a personal meaning for Judge and his family.

“The individual humpback whale ‘Orion’ has been named after the Greek mythological hunter, since the whale was moving with the fish stocks for food. It is also my son’s middle name so fitting on both fronts,” Judge said.

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He added that the team had also observed “a lot of feeding action from a multitude of cetacean species that day, including bottlenose, common, Risso’s and white-sided dolphins, grey seals and minke whales.”

To date, the IWDG has documented 112 individual humpback whales in Irish waters since 1999, many of which are recorded year after year. Humpback whales are frequent visitors to Irish waters as they are an ideal feeding area for humpback whales stopping off in the area on their migration across the Atlantic.

The beasts are identifiable thanks to the distinctive pattern on the underside, which is unique to every individual whale.

“Observing any apex predator in its natural environment is exciting but a new humpback whale for Irish waters, this is special,” WESPAS survey scientist, Ciaran O’Donnell of the Marine Institute said.

The Marine Institute’s WESPAS survey is carried out annually, and surveys shelf seas from France northwards to Scotland, and west of Ireland. WESPAS is the largest single vessel survey of its kind in the Northeast Atlantic, covering upwards of 60,000 nautical miles every summer. The survey is funded through the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund under the Data Collection Programme which is run by the Marine Institute.

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Tesla second-quarter profits top $1bn even as it struggles to handle demand | Tesla

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Tesla made a profit of more than $1bn in the last three months even as it struggled to keep up with demand for electric cars in the face of a global chip shortage.

The company announced Monday that it has made a profit of $1.14bn in its second quarter, 10 times what it made a year ago and its eighth quarter of back-to-back profits.

Tesla has already reported deliveries of 201,250 electric vehicles, and production of 206,421 total vehicles, during the quarter ending 30 June.

Car manufacturers across the world have struggled to keep up with demand amid a shortfall of semiconductors.

“Our biggest challenge is supply chain, especially microcontroller chips. Never seen anything like it,” said Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, in June. “Fear of running out is causing every company to over-order – like the toilet-paper shortage, but at epic scale.”

The company has pivoted to using other suppliers and the shortage has not dampened enthusiasm for its vehicles, especially Tesla’s Model Y compact sport-utility vehicle, the most popular all-electric vehicle in the US.

“Public sentiment and support for electric vehicles seems to be at a never-before-seen inflection point,” the company said in a statement.

The company’s shares rose more than 2% in after hours trading.

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SSD belonging to Euro-cloud Scaleway was stolen from back of a truck, then turned up on YouTube • The Register

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In brief Deepmind and the European Bioinformatics Institute released a database of more than 350,000 3D protein structures predicted by the biz’s AI model AlphaFold.

That data covers the 20,000 or so proteins made in the human body, and is available for anyone to study. The proteomes of 20 other organisms, from Zebrafish to E.coli bacteria, are also in there, too, and hundreds of millions of more structures will be added over time, we’re told.

“In the hands of scientists around the world, this new protein almanac will enable and accelerate research that will advance our understanding of these building blocks of life,” said DeepMind’s CEO Demis Hassabis. He hopes that it will be a valuable resource that will be used in the discovery of new drugs and our understanding of diseases.

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