Where there’s smoke, there’s Fyre, there’s a new frontline opening up in the US war on TikTok, Sex bots can now like Instagram stories and it’s creepy

December 11, 2023



Where there’s smoke, there’s Fyre, there’s a new frontline opening up in the US war on TikTok, Sex bots can now like Instagram stories and it’s creepy

Billy McFarland is fighting Fyre with fire

“The defendant is a serial fraudster and to date his fraud, like a circle, has no end.” That’s what Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald said when she sentenced Billy McFarland, aka the Fyre Festival Fraudster, to 6 years in prison.

And she wasn’t wrong. McFarland, who spent close to four years in prison for defrauding investors and duping attendees of the ill-fated Fyre Festival, is making a comeback and he’s gone full circle to do it.

Under his new venture PYRT (pronounced “Pirate"), he is putting together a tropical island extravaganza that is not a festival (wink wink). He describes it as a ‘virtual immersive decentralised reality’ in which users will be able to participate and control what happens on the island in real time from their home.

So he’s basically creating another festival that never really happened. Clever.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, McFarland said he needed to try really hard and just do things the right way this time, which involves not promising any results. And if he lies to anybody again? Well… “I go to jail for a very, very long time.”

Promising. Or not. Previous employees of McFarland have urged people not to play with Fyre a second time, claiming his new venture bears all the hallmarks of his fraudulent behaviour - smoke and mirrors, buzzwords and empty words.

US universities are banning TikTok

US colleges are blocking access to TikTok on their campus networks as the war against the platform ramps up.

Public universities in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Dakota and now Texas have taken measures to restrict access to the app, blocking it from campus Wi-Fi networks and school-owned devices.

The university bans come amid an on-going battle between the US government and TikTok, the former of which fears the platform is being used to access the personal data of its citizens. Over the last few months, lawmakers have blocked access to TikTok on federal government devices and government-affiliated accounts. And universities are now echoing the sentiment that TikTok is no longer safe.

But critics of the move have been quick to highlight the irony of purportedly combatting Chinese censorship by censoring these apps themselves.

“If it weren’t so alarming, it would be hilarious that US policy makers are trying to ‘be tough on China’ by acting exactly like the Chinese government,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of non-profit advocacy group Fight for the Future. “This is classic, state-backed Internet censorship.”

Critics have also pointed out how clumsy the move is, arguing that students can still access the platform by using their phones’ data plans.

But some lawmakers hope these bans will mark a step toward a more aggressive goal: banning TikTok for everyone nationwide. A House bill introduced this month by 19 Republicans proposes to block federal funding from any “institution of higher education” that refuses to ban the app.

That sounds like bringing long-form content to a short-video fight. No fair.

Users have a bone to pick with Instagram

And finally, western civilisation is under threat by a new first world problem.

Emotionally attentive sex bots.

In an absurd evolution, Instagram’s sex bots have started liking users’ stories, leading people to notice just how much more supportive emmahart283204r is than their so-called best friends or partner.

But while many users have been able to make light of the situation, the development has left others to question the safety of the platform.

In a statement to Buzzfeed, Meta, Instagram’s parent company, said the company blocks millions of spam accounts every day.

“We continue to invest in anti-spam technology, and in our safety and security team of over 40,000 people, who are focused on keeping spam and other types of harmful content off our platforms.”


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