Posts tagged with "Instagram"

Seriously, stop sharing your vaccine cards on social media

March 19, 2021

When one of her editors at CNN Business recently shared a celebratory picture of his vaccine card on Instagram, Samantha Murphy Kelly sent him a direct message: “Didn’t you read our story about not posting your record? Scammers are watching!”

He argued they’d be hard pressed to dupe him based on anything listed on the card: “What scam are you gonna run on me just by knowing my name and my birthday? Unless it’s that you sign up for free ice cream scoops on my birthday and don’t give them to me in which case, yes, that is very serious.”

But it’s not just his birthday that was listed. The card showed medically sensitive information, including his vaccine lot number, clinic location and the brand of vaccination received. And for some people, the card contains even more.

As the COVID vaccine rolls out to more people around the country, Kelly writes that she has lost track of how many vaccine information cards I’ve seen across social networks and chat apps.

While selfies are encouraged as a way to express joy at being vaccinated and broadcast that people are doing their part to help stop the spread of Covid-19, multiple government agencies have warned about the risks of posting vaccine card images online.

“Think of it this way—identity theft works like a puzzle, made up of pieces of personal information. You don’t want to give identity thieves the pieces they need to finish the picture,” the Federal Trade Commission said in a blog post last month. “Once identity thieves have the pieces they need, they can use the information to open new accounts in your name, claim your tax refund for themselves, and engage in other identity theft.”

Cybersecurity experts said they’re not aware of any widespread hacks or scams specific to vaccine cards—although the roots of identity theft are hard to uncover. But some also said these security threats would be easy to execute.

For now, it’s mostly “speculation but plausible,” Mark Ostrowski, head of engineering at cybersecurity company Check Point Software said in an interview with CNN. “We will have hundreds of millions of people getting vaccinated. If cyberattack history repeats itself, these threat actors or scammers will try to find a way to take advantage of this situation.”

At the same time, there have been a number of COVID-19 scams—ranging from people pretending to be COVID-19 contact tracers to fake websites promising vaccine appointments.

Many of us (perhaps Kelly’s boss included) may be desensitized to the risks given how much information we assume is already available online about us—either because we posted it ourselves, it’s been harvested from public data, or because it was dumped as part of a previous security breach.

But Rachel Tobac, an ethical hacker who specializes in social engineering, told CNN that one of the biggest concerns around the vaccine card trend is that the information is visible all in one place and easy to access.

“Posting an unedited vaccination card, unfortunately, makes it much easier for a criminal to target a specific person,” she said. In some cases, a person’s medical record number is listed on the card. “To gain access to sensitive medical records over the phone, having the medical record number, last name, and date of birth—all of which are listed on the vaccination card—are all I need to authenticate as that individual and gain access to sensitive details.”

A cybercriminal could attempt to impersonate you and call your healthcare company to learn about your medical history or diagnoses, cancel upcoming procedures, change prescription doses and more.

With or without the medical record number, she said, vaccine cards could also allow a hacker to conduct a phishing scheme to steal data and passwords. With the lot number of the vaccine you received or the location of the place where you got the shot, they’d be able to spoof the email address of that facility with a message about, for example, a recall urging you to click a link, supposedly to reschedule an updated dose but really intended to take information from you.

This doesn’t mean you should ignore any email you get about your vaccine, but it is a good reminder to be thoughtful about links you click with any email about any subject and to make sure the sender is who they say they are.

People who are in the public eye more, whether they’re influencers, celebrities or journalists like my editor, have a higher threat of this because criminals are more likely to target them. Stealing their free ice cream scoops on their birthday would be just the start of it.

“There are all kinds of issues related to potential identity theft,” said Michela Menting, a research director who specializes in cybersecurity at tech market advisory firm ABI Research. “Individuals should be as wary of posting vaccine records information as they would be about posting their credit card numbers online.”

Research contact: @CNNBusiness

Casper and Romeo are the ‘reigning’ cats and dogs on Instagram

January 27, 2021

They think they are twins, but there are some obvious differences. People Magazine reports that Instagram’s newest odd couple is Casper and Romeo—a white and fluffy Samoyed dog and Peke-faced cat that have found love, despite their distinctive personalities.

The pet pair belongs to Rinsa Li from Christchurch, New Zealand. And despite what you would assume, the Casper of the pair is the smiley dog; Romeo is a gruff-looking two-yea-old feline with a heart of gold.

“Romeo looks grumpy but he is the sweetest cat I have ever met; he allows everyone to hold him and gives great cuddles,” Li first told Daily Mail about her kitty.

The animal lover always wanted a cat, but was worried about how Casper would react. After the six-year-old dog spent an enjoyable play date with a kitty belonging to Li’s friend, Li decided to take the plunge.

Casper and Romeo kept their distance at first, but soon curiosity got the best of both of them. It only took a few weeks of adjustment for the duo to become inseparable, People reports. Now, the pair spends two hours of each day outside exploring New Zealand with their owner, who also happens to be a professional photographer.

Li posts her shots of the pets to their Instagram #CasperAndRomeo, where they have over 43,000 followers.

When Casper and Romeo aren’t on road trips, they can often be found cuddling together on the couch at home.

“It warms my heart so much to see them as siblings and I enjoy waking up to the both of them every day; I can’t imagine a life without them,” Li said of her adorable Instagram celebrities.

Research contact: @people

After COVID, Bryan Cranston isn’t stopping to smell the roses

December 9, 2020

Bryan Cranston, 64—still celebrated for his memorable acting turn in Breaking Bad and now appearing in Your Honor—still can’t fully taste or smell after getting the coronavirus back in March, the actor shared December 4 on The Ellen Show.

Both Cranston and his wife, actor Robin Dearden, came down with the illness, Self Magazine reports.

As he told DeGeneres: “She got it first. She gave it to me because we share.”

Overall, Cranston and his wife had a mild experience with the virus. “We had a few days of achiness, but not enough to keep you in bed, and I had a temperature of about 99 [degrees] for about three hours. And then just exhaustion for a week after that,” he explained. “We were very lucky, in all seriousness.”

The majority of the couple’s symptoms lasted for about ten days, Cranston said. But his sense of taste and smell still aren’t what they used to be. “The only thing that lingered and still to this day is I lost a percentage of my ability to taste and smell,” the actor told DeGeneres. “I think about 75% has come back. But if someone was brewing coffee, and I walk into a kitchen, I cannot smell it.”

A loss of taste or smell is one of the strange but not uncommon symptoms of this novel coronavirus. One small study published by JAMA Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery last June surveyed 204 people who had been diagnosed with coronavirus and found that 55.4% of them reported a loss of taste, while 41.7% reported a loss of smell.

Then an August 2020 systematic review and meta-analysis by the Mayo Clinic looked at 24 studies with a collective 8,438 test-confirmed COVID-19 patients and found an average of 41% of patients had a loss of smell, while an average of 38.2% had a loss of taste.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 symptoms run the gamut. In addition to a new loss of taste or smell, symptoms can include fevercough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.

The CDC continues to update the list as new symptoms emerge. If a person with the virus develops symptoms, signs of illness appear between 2 to 14 days after exposure, though asymptomatic people can and certainly do spread the illness as well. Experts also continue to look into “long-haulers” such as Cranston—who experience coronavirus symptoms weeks or months after first getting the disease.

Several other celebrities have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Neil Patrick Harris also experienced a loss of taste and smell back in March, which alerted him to the fact that he didn’t just have the flu. Hugh Grant sprayed his wife’s perfume directly in his face to try to trigger his sense of smell, but got nothing—and also struggled with a feeling of pressure on his chest. Rita Wilson initially thought her fatigue symptoms were just jet lag when she and her husband, Tom Hanks, were diagnosed.

“I was pretty strict in adhering to the protocols and still… I contracted the virus. Yep. it sounds daunting now that over 150,000 Americans are dead because of it,” Cranston wrote on his Instagram back in July. “I count my blessings and urge you to keep wearing the damn mask, keep washing your hands, and stay socially distant. We can prevail—but ONLY if we follow the rules together.”

Research contact: @SELFmagazine

Photo finish: 33% of us are guilty of doing this to our exes, research shows

November 19, 2020

It’s human nature to want to rid yourself of any reminders of your ex after he or she is out of the picture. The thought of seeing you and your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend smiling in a picture together is often too much to bear. So, you take their photos down from your wall, donate the old sweatshirt they left in your drawer—and if you’re like many people, you delete any evidence of them from your social media profiles, as well, Best Life reports.

Dating app Plenty of Fish has just released its annual list of dating trends—and points out that this phenomenon is fairly common among daters, with more than one-third of people copping to it. In fact, there’s a word for it: sanitizing, which Plenty of Fish describes as “the act of wiping your social media of all photographic evidence of a past relationship.”

There are many reasons you may feel compelled to delete all traces of your ex from social media—and the following may be among them:

  • It helps you avoid those “Where’s your better half?” questions. If you want to avoid getting asked where your partner is all the time, deleting him or her from your social media can be a good way to send the message to others that you two are no longer together.
  • After a breakup, you enter a new chapter of your life, and with that shift, you may want to reinvent yourself a bit. Relationship expert and matchmaker Rori Sassoon tells Best Life that people are eager to “redo, restart, and reinvent themselves” after a relationship ends. “Once you break up, it’s not about the relationship anymore; it’s about you and your next chapter in life, which doesn’t include that other person.”
  • It’s cathartic. If you were in a toxic or abusive relationship, you’ll likely want to remove anything that will remind you of that experience. Indeed, deleting these images could even be therapeutic. Pressing ‘delete  on photo after photo, many of which are associated with painful memories, can feel cathartic and help you move on.
  • It helps you gain closure. Catching a glimpse of your ex every time you open an app could make it harder for you to move forward. Removing those photos allows you a symbolic fresh start. “Closure is an important part of the healing process to allow the person to move on,” marriage counselor Wyatt Fisher tells Best Life. “Part of what helps with closure is removing everything that reminds you of your ex, including all pictures of him or her on social media.”
  • It signals that you’re single and ready to mingle. If your Instagram is inundated with photos of you and your ex, it may impede on your ability to get back out there when you’re ready. Some people sanitize to make it clear on their profile that they’re single.

Research contact: @bestlife

Taylor Swift to re-record songs after music catalog is sold to private equity fund for $300M

November 18, 2020

Singer and songwriter Taylor Swift has confirmed a November 16 report that her music catalogue has been sold to a private equity group without her knowledge or consent—or the second time in two years—dashing her hopes of regaining control over her masters after they were controversially acquired by music mogul Scooter Braun last year.

At the time, Swift described Braun’s acquisition of her catalog as her “worst case scenario,” Forbes reports.

Variety, which first reported the story, say the deal is believed to be worth more than $300 million, with Swift confirming that Shamrock Holdings, an investment vehicle for certain members of the Roy E. Disney family, had “bought 100% of my music, videos, and album art” from Braun.

In  statement shared to Twitter and Instagram on Monday, Swift said she had initially welcomed the prospect of working with Shamrock, before discovering that the agreement meant that Braun and his company, Ithaca Holdings, which acquired her catalog last year would “continue to receive many years of future financial reward” from her master recordings, something she “cannot currently entertain.”

“We made this investment because we believe in the immense value and opportunity that comes with her work. We fully respect and support her decision and, while we hoped to formally partner, we also knew this was a possible outcome that we considered,” Shamrock said in a statement. The purchase is the firm’s first major investment in a music catalog.

Swift also shared a letter she wrote to Shamrock Holdings, in which she said she has already begun re-recording her old music—something she acknowledges will “diminish the value” of Shamrock’s investment, and a move she announced she announced last August.

Photo source: @Forbes

‘Tressing’ for success: 2020 Kids Mullet Championships winner crowned

November 11, 2020

With business in the front and party in the back, the results of this election are something we can all agree on. The Kids Mullet Championships has crowned an inaugural winner, announcing that an eight-year-old boy from Texas has the most marvelous mane among the pint-sized competitors, Fox News reports.

Jax recently first prize among babies and boys (ranging in age from one to 14) for his classic “Curly Mullet” tresses, the USA Mullet Championships noted. The contest went viral in September—with over 20,000 votes and 50,000 social media reactions across Facebook and Instagram.

With his victory, the young Texan won a $500 cash prize and gift card package to businesses in Fenton, Michigan, where the contest is headquartered. Second-place winner Noah, 12, from Illinois, and third-place winner Jude, 7, from Colorado, each will receive smaller bundles of cash and some swag, too.

Kevin Begola, president of the USA Mullet Championships, speculated that Texas voters went wild for the third grader’s toothy grin—pushing him to first place on the podium.

“Jax is the man! He is a little guy that has 100% accepted the mullet lifestyle and was rocking the hairstyle well before we did this contest,” Begola told Fox News on Tuesday. “His smile and missing teeth might have put him over the edge.”

Although he’s cool with his overnight fame, Jax endearingly can’t sign autographs “because he doesn’t know cursive yet,” the organizer added.

The USA Mullet Championships began with an adult competition earlier this year, and the kids edition followed soon after. According to Begola, “This contest was just what 2020 needed! It was fun and brought back a lot of memories for people who lived through the ’80s,” he explained. “Life has been pretty hectic around the world for most people this year and the mullet lifestyle really makes people smile.

“When many states shut down, it only meant that haircuts were not happening and we figured it would be a great time to compete for the best mullets in all the land!”

Research contact: @FoxNews

You can now buy Serena Williams’ daughter Olympia’s favorite doll, Qai Qai

October 16, 2020

If you follow tennis pro Serena Williams and Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian on Instagram.then you’ve probably met Qai Qai—their daughter Olympia‘s favorite baby doll.

Now, anyone can have their very own Qai Qai! The doll is available for purchase on Amazon, according to a report by Good Morning America.

“When I was looking for a doll for Olympia, I felt like I was picking out a doll for me too. We can all relate to the sheer joy of playing make-believe and giving our toys their own characters and voices, and it is even sweeter when you can find a doll that looks like you,” Serena Williams told GMA recently. “Our responsibility as parents is to raise our children to be loving, accepting and empathetic to everyone’s experiences. Qai Qai is the platform and brand we created to champion these messages and make people laugh while doing it.”

Qai Qai has over one million followers across social media platforms and goes on all of Olympia’s adventures, including, most recently, the U.S. Open.

“There’s something really special about the relationship between a child and their favorite toy. … We are incredibly excited to be able to bring the same delight we see in her every time she plays with Qai Qai to the homes of children everywhere,” Williams said.

Olympia is rarely seen without Qai Qai and in turn the doll has become somewhat of social media icon. The baby doll’s mission has become to tell uplifting stories, spread humor and share important social messages.

“Qai Qai is no ordinary doll, and we’ve been amazed at the way she’s been able to become a platform to educate and inspire her audience online,” Williams said.

Qai Qai is available exclusively on Amazon for $29.99.

Research contact: @GMA

 

Chadwick Boseman mural inspires Downtown Disney

September 28, 2020

A powerful tribute to beloved actor Chadwick Boseman, who died in late August at the age of 43, has been unveiled in California’s Downtown Disney District.

The mural, entitled “King Chad,” was created by former Disney Imagineer Nikkolas Smith and depicts Boseman, who played King T’Challa in “Black Panther,” giving a Wakanda salute to a child wearing a hospital gown and a “Black Panther” mask, ABC-TV’s Good Morning America reports..

Boseman, who succumbed to colon cancer, had famously visited with children at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

“This one is special. My King Chad tribute is now on a wall on display at Downtown Disney,” Smith wrote on Instagram on September 24. “It is a full circle moment for me: My final two projects as a Disney Imagineer last summer were working on the Children’s Hospital project and the Avengers Campus.

“To millions of kids, T’Challa was a legend larger than life, and there was no one more worthy to fill those shoes than Chadwick Boseman,” Smith added, noting,. I’m so thankful to be able to honor Chadwick’s life and purpose in this way.”

Disneyland is not yet open to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Downtown Disney reopened in July, GMA reports,  with capacity restrictions.

Research contact: @GMA

The meaning behind the #FilterDrop campaign you’re seeing on Instagram

September 9, 2020

While “authenticity” is highly valued these days, you wouldn’t know it by looking at social media: Just as many women wouldn’t leave the house without some form of makeup, many Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter users wouldn’t post a selfie without a filter.

In the age of image-altering apps like Facetune and seemingly flawless influencers, many would likely admit to being filter-dependent. In fact, according to a survey results posted by Bustle, fully one-third (33%) of girls and young women will not post selfies online without using a filter. 

The findings, published by the UK-based charity Girlguiding, highlighted that two out of five of the young women (40%) surveyed “feel upset” that they can’t look like the way they do online.

Between influencer culture and social media ads and posts, more than half of the girls said they have seen ads that have made them “feel pressured to look different”—and this figure is higher for girls who identify as LGBTQ.

The findings also revealed girls from Black, Asian, and minority backgrounds are “more likely” than their white peers not to use social media “because of fear of criticism of their bodies.”

As part of their 2020 survey, which spoke to more than 2,000 young women aged 11-21, Bustle reports that Girlguiding is calling out the apps, filters, and online adverts that “knock girls’ confidence.”

In reaction, a new #FilterDrop campaign has emerged online—but what is it and how is it helping?

UK-based model and make-up artist Sasha Louise Pallari launched the #FilterDrop campaign after noticing influencers “advertising a makeup brand with a beautifying filter on.” Taking to Instagram, the 28-year-old claims “false advertising” in this way is contributing to low self-esteem.

“I so strongly wish you would realize the vast scale of damage the constant use of filters are,” she wrote in the caption. “Flawless, poreless, scarless, wrinkle-less skin does not exist and it’s only because of the overuse of these [filters] we believe it does.”

In a video posted to her Instagram page, the model showcased how drastically different filters can make you look. In the clip, she’s seen heavily filtered and with her “normal skin.”

And, following the response to her filter-free images, Pallari has since devoted her Instagram page to normalizing skin blemishes on the app, as well as exposing the deceptive nature of filters.

She writes in another post: “Please think about what using filters all the time is doing to our already damaged society. A LOT of money is made from us not feeling good enough. So let this be a reminder that your pores, wrinkles and the texture on your skin are beautiful, yet still the least interesting things about you.”

The model also questioned the lasting damage filters could have on children who may base their self-worth on “how beautiful they are” and “the filter they need in order to even be beautiful.”

It’s a legitimate concern.

People seem to be watching. The #FilterDrop campaign page on Instagram now shows hundreds of photos of people ditching the filter and sharing what they really look like. Here’s hoping for a more unfiltered reality.

Research contact: @bustle

Strut your stuff: A digital dance-off spreads from Argentina to the world

September 7, 2020

Care to dance? With theaters closed around the world, three South American hoofers have created a digital dance-off for aspiring twirlers, with Instagram the new stage where competitors from Argentina and Brazil to Israel and Italy post clips of their moves, Reuters reports.

The competition, open to all, has attracted hundreds of applicants— some professionals, others amateurs—dancing from lockdown in their own homes. A panel described as “renowned expert judges” assesses each dance, and viewers also can vote with “likes.”

“We were struck by the desire of participants to be seen, to express themselves and their dance, what is happening to them at the moment,” Argentine Facundo Luqui, who organized the ‘@stayhomedancecompetition’ event with two other dancers, told Reuters.

“What we thought when we started this project was that anyone can participate,” added Luqui, 23, who is a member of the ballet company at Buenos Aires’ iconic Teatro Colón.

The competition, which wraps up on Sunday, September 6, challenged dancers to raise awareness about the pandemic, reference the coronavirus, and honor an artist. In one video, a mother wearing a doctor’s coat and a mask guards her daughter while she dances.

Giovana Soria, 18, a Paraguayan who has studied Latin rhythms for two years, told the news outlet that her dance was to encourage people to take steps to prevent infections spreading.

“I started to watch the news and saw that many people respected the quarantine, but when going out they did not take measures like putting on a mask, they touched everything and didn’t wash their hands,” said Soria.

Paz Schattenhofer, an 11-year-old who studies classical dance and who took part from Buenos Aires, said her performance was a homage to Russian photographer Yulia Artemyeva, who made a series of works comparing ballerinas to flowers.

“I would love to win it, but in reality it’s to have fun. It is great when people ‘like’ you and that people see me, it is like a stage,” she said.

Performance art globally has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, closing theaters and leaving dance troupes unable to perform or rehearse at close quarters.

 “I think dance at the moment is undergoing a great crisis,” said Manuela Lavalle, 24, another of the organizers, who dances in a company in the United States but is passing the quarantine in her native Buenos Aires.

“It’s complicated because many companies do not have the money they need to get by. I believe the world of dance is going to change a lot and we still do not know how, but it is a matter of waiting and continuing to create in the meantime.”

Research contact: @Reuters